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With something like an average of 20-50 posts a day we had 16k votes in ready circulation. Thats something like 800 votes a node if fully utilized.
Are you really saying that PM only gets 20-50 posts a day? I've never tried counting, but that doesn't jive with my experience...
And, uh, we've got over 500,000 nodes. I've been here for about 3 years and my home node is around 180,000. So, that's over 100,000 nodes per year. Without considering the rate of change, that would make the average per day somewhere around 275. With 16k votes, that works out to about 60 votes per node, a far cry from 800.
If I'm right and the above is with 4000 regular users as you said and there used to be only about 200 regular users and if the post ratio remained about the same... then we could extrapolate that there used to be an average of about 13-14 new nodes per day. With about 20 saints, that would work out to about... 60 votes per node. I.e. there has probably been very little net change in votes per node since you first joined.
One thing that probably has changed is the percentage of new nodes that a saint has been able to vote on. Previously, it seems a saint could have voted on every new node in a given day and still have votes left over. Now, if my calculations were correct, a saint couldn't quite vote on 20% of the new nodes in a given day. (This fact supports an abstention option, I think.)
With the sudden cut in votes, I'll be interested to see how the rep of new nodes will compare with the rep of old nodes... I believe we're going to see a drastic drop in node rep. I don't necessarily see that as a good thing because range compression will result in less distinction between great nodes and merely good ones. Or good ones and average ones. Etc.
So, I've got reservations about the changes to available votes. I'm definitely interested in knowing what metrics you'll be collecting and how you'll be analyzing them to determine the success of these changes.
As for the additional levels, I think it's great! I've got something to shoot for again. Once you are a saint 5 times over, what's the point? Well, the truth is that I've always come to try to help others anyway. That's where I get my real satisfaction. But still, I like the "game" too, and this brings new life to it.
-sauoq "My two cents aren't worth a dime.";