Ranking in SQLMAG

Last Post 20 Jul 2004 12:33 PM by copelandr. 4 Replies.
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Ado_SQL
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02 Jun 2004 10:08 PM
In a recent posting, this one in fact, mention was made of ranking on the site; the comments suggested there needs to be a fuller discussion of ranking and a possible change of policy. In particular it was suggeested that there are career rankers, who rise through the ranking by answering only 'simple questions' or who simply used the forums for asking questions.

A number of issues arise here;

Firstly, I think it was BobBarker who once said 'once a thread has been succinctly and accurately answered there is little merit in adding further contributions', this is very, very true. In fact unless there is a difference of opinion many threads do not warrant above one or two contributions.

It is for this reason that many do not get the opportunity of contributing as fully as they might wish, it is sometimes a matter of pot luck as to whether you are the first to spot a new thread and contribute in any meaningful way, not that I am suggesting that my contributions are outstandingly brilliant in any way.

Secondly, there appears some question as to the quality of some contributions in the case of those who apparently target so called 'simple questions'; IMHO all contributions are valuable and a question seen as simple by many will not be seen as simple to the person asking it and yet they are thought no less of for asking it.

Thirdly, the ranking system is based simply upon the total number of postings. But if we examine this we find that this figure is actually; No of questions asked (new threads) + No of contributions made (existing threads)

I believe that ranking is important and is useful to others in guaging a contributors experience, however I do recocnise the shortcomings of the current method of ranking.

My suggestion would be to show two figures; No of postings followed by (in brackets perhaps) no of contributions and then to base a members ranking on their total number of contributions.

Admittedly this would mean that some would lose their ranking status, and that may include me, but I don't think that is any real hardship or issue ands would not affect the reputation of the real Guru's.

Having now opened the debate, what do others think and is there ground swell of opinion that the current method of ranking should be changed?
talltop
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03 Jun 2004 07:10 AM
My biggest problem with rankings has always been the accuracy/relevancy of the criteria involved in determing the ranking and WHO or WHAT does it. In these forums a 'Guru' is not necessarily a Guru and a 'Novice' is not necessarily a Novice IMHO. Therefore, if they are not accurate to begin with, then get rid of the rankings I say. They don't really mean anything anyway. Having an inaccurate ranking is kind of like a keeping a faulty Fuel Guage that is reporting you have a full tank when you are on empty, and vice-versa. Until a truly accurate method can be found we are all better off off just guessing and doing without them altogether.

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Travis Lee Alltop
SQL Server DBA
Ado_SQL
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04 Jun 2004 03:39 AM
There doesn't seem to be any bias against ranking, the issue seems to be that the current method of ranking is meaningless and is no real demonstrable guage of technical ability.

Having considered the responses (although I did expect more) the following suggests itself as a meaningful way forward:

Ranking is based upon a calculation of meaningful postings, which is defined as; the number of postings made during the previous twelve month period where, for each contributor, multiple postings to a thread count as one, postings to a thread which the contributor originally started are discounted, contributions to non-technical forums (such as this one) are discounted and contributions contained within locked threads are discounted.

The ethos behind this is that;

multiple postings are normally of the information gathering or clarrification type rather than technical answers.

Contributions to a thread, by the individual who started the thread, are normally in response to a question.

Contributions to non-technical forums simply cannot count as technical in nature.

Locked threads are generally inappropriate or duplicate postings (although yes I admit some topics do become exhausted) and should not therefore count.

The effect of this would be:

Those who contribute only to non technical forums would never score in the ranking.

Anyone posting the same question across multiple forums could only achieve a single point award at most.

Anyone who only ever begins a threads i.e. asks questions would score no ranking.

More importantly: Since the calculation, in this scenario, is based on the previous twelve months it means that ranking is dynamic. i.e. it is possible to go down the ranking as well as up the ranking whereas the current system is a one way promotional affair.

Dynamic rating would tend to discourage career rankers as there would be an associated need to maintain stamina.

To add further to the controversy perhaps the ranking could be changed also to something like:

Junior Member 0
Member 21
Senior Member 51
Valued contributor 100
Expert 200
Guru 300

Forum Pro - by appointment (No stats shown)
Forum Administrator - by appointment (No stats shown)

The distinction between Forum pro and Forum Administrator being the pro has db technical expertise and would qualify as a Guru, where an administrator has not the same level of technical expertise (or may have non at all) but is recognised as having administrative skills.

Not sure how this would go down with members but I look forward to the responses from Olu sorry I didn't cover the issue of grading questions - and talltop.
Ado_SQL
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09 Jun 2004 09:27 PM
Pro Pete, glad to hear from you, I was beginning to think you had not noticed I had drawn the topic from your (and Superman_SQL's) comments.

Absolutely agree that it would be a waste of resources and Forum Pro time to have to monitor and rank accordingly, all the replies to threads etc. which is why my proposed suggestion is based on a criteria which could be automated using a suitable TSQL query; cant give an exact one without knowing what tables and relationships are involved in running the site but I would guess the current system is based upon a very simple query (select * from....etc).

Frankly Olu I had put the lack of response down to the fact that this is the time of year when everyone is jetting off somewhere for a well earned break, rather than lack of interest, but there again I am a bit of an optomist!

In the meantime, yes it is a bit of fun, but perhaps it might be something someone could consider when they get a few spare moments, if there is a general concensus that a more meaningful ranking system would be useeful.
copelandr
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20 Jul 2004 12:33 PM
Doing a search through the Forums by author can give you an idea of the types of answers a person provides. Let's say you post a question and you get a response from one of the Gurus. If you wanted to "review" the kinds of answers that he (and I don't mean that in a gender-specific way) has been giving out, you could just click on the search button and look for posts by that author. I don't know for sure how good that solution is, but it would help you gauge the validity of the reposnse you'd received. The only problem that I've found (and I could be doing something wrong) is that when I do a search on my name in the author search, the latest post it finds in back in April. Somebody let me know if that sounds too "out there" or like to much trouble. As far as the ranking, I just look at it as what it is...number of posts. It's all fun.
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