Should there be more people on the leaderboard?

post by casebash · 2015-09-02T11:52:27.771Z · score: 2 (3 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 27 comments

I'm wondering what the optimal number of people on the leaderboard would be. I suspect that people who appear on the leaderboard post more often because they want to remain on it. The other advantage, is that if the leaderboard seems in reach, more people will compete to get on it.On the other hand, if too many people were added to the leaderboard, then "being on the leaderboard" would be worthless and people would only care if they had a high position.

There are currently 15 people on the leaderboard. I suspect that if there were 20 people on the leaderboard, that would increase the motivation effect, without significantly devaluing being on the leaderboard itself.

What do people think?

27 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Dahlen · 2015-09-02T14:11:03.113Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

My impression is that prolific posters show up on the Top Contributors list more often than low-post-count, high-karma posters. And, of course, worst of all they don't get ranked by positive karma percentage, or by karma per post. Somebody posting a good article in Main seems to be a less common cause of showing up on the list than high output.

For that reason, I don't see it as having a positive motivational effect either. I pay loads of attention to my positive karma percentage, none at all to karma in absolute terms. If I wanted to be on the list, my best bet would be to chime in on everything no matter how low-value my opinion actually is – which appears to be a poor and occasionally frustrating use of my time. Quality, not quantity.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-09-02T15:07:09.409Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I pay loads of attention to my positive karma percentage

I've seen a suggestion in a comment here that you don't want your positive karma percentage to be near 100%, because it indicates you are being consumed by the hive mind.

comment by Vaniver · 2015-09-02T16:34:01.774Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

you don't want your positive karma percentage to be near 100%, because it indicates you are being consumed by the hive mind.

I think there are aspects of posting where one most certainly wants to be 'consumed by the hivemind'--if your posts are never so poorly reasoned that you get a downvote for that reason, then more power to you!

And if one is polite, clear, and kind, one can weigh in on controversial topics with a different view than the hivemind and still not get downvoted.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-09-02T16:41:24.480Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If you succeed at everything you're not taking enough risks :-P

comment by Dahlen · 2015-09-03T01:38:43.527Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That's something you might want to go by. Not me. I don't thrive in controversy nearly as much as you. The topics on which LessWrongers go hivemind-y about can very easily be sidestepped without incurring downvotes; medium to low karma percentages more often indicate that the poster has a penchant for getting himself into every controversial shit the site has to offer.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-09-03T02:23:37.067Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It wasn't my comment and I don't have a strong opinion on the matter. I suspect it was at least half tongue-in-cheek, anyway.

comment by Dustin · 2015-09-02T14:50:57.077Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Embarrassingly, I never realized the leaderboard existed and I've read LW from day one.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2015-09-02T21:37:59.517Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

because the ride sidebar is filtered out habitually, or why?

And where is the stupid question?

comment by Dustin · 2015-09-03T20:25:05.545Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I suppose it's because of my habitual blocking out of sidebars, coupled with the fact that it's all the way at the bottom of the sidebar.

comment by ScottL · 2015-09-02T13:14:08.252Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm wondering what the optimal number of people on the leaderboard would be.

From a usability point of view, 15 sounds about right to me. There is already a lot of other stuff on the side bar.

I suspect that if there were 20 people on the leaderboard, that would increase the motivation effect, without significantly devaluing being on the leaderboard itself.

Maybe, if the point is to increase motivation there might be better ways. I don't know if these are any good, but here's some example ideas:

  • Designated appreciators - people who try to highlight the good parts in posts and offer constructive advice on how to improve them.
  • Month in review post - this would be a post that contains the authors favorite posts last month with short abstracts of the posts.
  • A more flexible feedback system.
  • Some designated (nice) users who offer to give advice if people message them.
  • Some designated collaborators - if you have some ideas for a post, but don't know enough about the subject you can message some users who have volunteered and have knowledge in that particular area. If they have time, they can help you find what areas to look into further and offer advice on how to improve your post.
  • Suggested articles post - a post which provides some ideas that look interesting and haven't really been explored thoroughly yet. This would be good for people who don't have any ideas on what to write for a post.
  • Perhaps, integrate the karma awards for the users who volunteer to take on certain roles.
comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2015-09-02T21:42:37.971Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Poll for it! What motivation device would you like to see most:

[pollid:1022]

comment by Elo · 2015-09-02T18:51:10.580Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

suggested articles

I wrote the rough equivalent for articles I am writing/planning to write..

Month in review

I will think about it if I have time to review things.

collaborators

Yes. Me. Write to me! Write about things; I will read things and make suggestions.

comment by ScottL · 2015-09-02T23:19:17.837Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I wrote the rough equivalent for articles I am writing/planning to write..

I liked that post. Those sort of posts are brilliant as well. For the suggested articles post, I was thinking more of something like this:

I think that I am going to move away from the reasoning aspect of the mental model theory just because there seems to be some justifiable reasons for why the wording of the examples it uses to convey itself may be skewing the results. That is, people interpret the problems in a different way and this might just be all there is to them getting the answer 'wrong'. I don't know if this issue has been dealt with in the literature on mental models. I still think that mental model theory is a interesting area to look into. But, I probably wont be able to get/devote the time to it that I need to before I am able to expand on and deal with the issues with the overview of mental model theory post I wrote. If anyone thinks that this would be an interesting idea to look into, I recommend reading this book. I haven't read it, but Johnson-Laird - the author - is the originator of the mental model theory and most prolific writer on the subject.

-

Yes. Me. Write to me! Write about things; I will read things and make suggestions.

I might do this after I have planned out some potential posts.

comment by ChristianKl · 2015-09-02T13:13:33.489Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The first question would be: "Why do we have the board in the first place?"

Do we have it because we believe it provides a significant motivation effect?

comment by Elo · 2015-09-02T18:51:55.027Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

It motivates me. Depends if you value that. I did.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2015-09-02T21:43:35.291Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Me too. Early on I set a goal to become a recognized LW member and the measure was to reach the leaderboard.

comment by Vaniver · 2015-09-02T16:35:43.457Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The first question would be: "Why do we have the board in the first place?"

Historically, I think it was to replace the Top Contributors, All Time leaderboard, which had become stale since at least half the people on it didn't post frequently anymore (and at least one of them had left permanently). I think that one had existed both for motivational and reputational effects. (If you want people to respect and listen to the top 10 posters, it helps if they know who those are.)

comment by Douglas_Knight · 2015-09-02T21:44:10.245Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Here is the all time leaderboard.

comment by moridinamael · 2015-09-02T17:27:29.376Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think it might be nice to try putting 20 people on the leaderboard. I myself have never been on the leaderboard as far as I know, although I have been on LW for a long time. (I actually have no idea what my name recognition status is in the community, relative to the average. Do people think, "Oh, a post by moridinamael, I know that guy," or have I wasted energy trying to establish an identity here?) A slightly extended leadboard would allow more people to gauge their relative position as a contributor in the community at a given time.

comment by gjm · 2015-09-03T09:12:54.584Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

FWIW, I recognize your name, vaguely think of it as associated with sensible comments, but couldn't offhand say what your areas of special interest, political views, etc., are.

[EDITED to fix a typo.]

comment by moridinamael · 2015-09-03T15:59:11.211Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks, that's surprisingly nice to hear.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-09-02T17:37:30.443Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

my name recognition status

"Call me Ishamael" :-)

comment by moridinamael · 2015-09-04T15:12:11.606Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

My daughter's cherished unicorn doll is named Lumifer, because it needed a name and I had been reading Less Wrong.

comment by Lumifer · 2015-09-04T15:22:39.799Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I feel honoured :-)

comment by gjm · 2015-09-03T21:03:43.810Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I guess the motivational effect of the leaderboard is biggest for people near its cutoff. I guess that increasing the number of leaderboard slots means a small overall motivation increase (good, I guess), and a shift of motivation from higher up to lower down (not so good, I guess).

The other point of the leaderboard is to help readers get a sense of who's who. A longer leaderboard contains more information, but I suspect is less digestible.

None of this seems like an obvious win (nor a big loss).

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2015-09-02T21:47:09.191Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think the top contributor list could be even shorter (to save space) but a link to a more complete list (via the unused header link) would be nice in that case.

comment by zedzed · 2015-09-02T14:37:58.675Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The answer is 42.

(But, seriously, I think 15 is fine. I'd even be fine reducing it to 10 (username is currently #12)).