Jul
15
2010

Buzz point system mysteriously goofy

Current leaderboard (7-15-10): Notice how I'm only 6 points behind JGordon. That will soon change.
Current leaderboard (7-15-10): Notice how I'm only 6 points behind JGordon. That will soon change.Courtesy Science Buzz
There seems to be something seriously messed with the Buzz point system. I say this because lately I’ve noticed my point totals have been jumping all over the place like a kangaroo in withdrawal. At first, I couldn't for the life of me figure out why. I’ve been actively contributing to the blog, doing my part, yet I seem to keep losing points rather than gaining them. But now I think I know the answer.

I’m assuming most of you are familiar with the Science Buzz point system but for those who aren’t, here’s how it works: Each time you contribute something to the blog –be it a story, a photo, or whatever - you get points. The total you’ve accumulated is shown each time you add something, and is also displayed in your “full profile” under the My Account link near the top of the page. You can also see where you rank on the leaderboard. It means nothing of course and there are no prizes for having the most points but there is a sense of satisfaction derived from having more than anyone else, especially JGordon.

Anyway, when I first noticed my points dropping earlier this year, I didn’t give it much thought. But soon my curiosity (and suspicion) was raised, so I started collecting data, which has revealed some very startling numbers. Back on March 26th, I had 1584 points. Four days later and after I had added 8 points for a new story I still had 1584. Where did those 8 points go? I don’t know. It’s a mystery. About 3 weeks later, I managed to increase my number to 1598. But just 3 days after that and after adding at least 4 points it was down to 1587. Goodness, gracious, godness, Agnes! How can that be, I wondered. But then, somehow I managed to cross the 1600-point threshold on May 24, when the total stood at 1606 points. This put me at ease, for at least a little while. And then on May 28th my heart soared when I saw I had a whopping 1619 points. That was the pinnacle, the acme, the proverbial Mount Everest of my Buzz point totals during my data collection period. All was now right with the world. But my elation was short lived, and soon after things started to go downhill. Throughout early June my points hovered around (mostly below) the 1600 mark, dipping as low as 1552 on the 30th. And July’s trend hasn’t been much better. Bottom line: my total has managed to snake its way from a high of 1619 in May to an incredible 1564 today despite posting several dozen stories, which, on average, should have added at least 6 points per post!!?? Whatever was going on, there had to be a logical, scientific explanation, so I compiled a list of possibilities.

1. A major computer program glitch.
2. Crazy mathematics
3. The numbers are tied directly to the Dow-Jones Industrials.
4. A powerful black hole resides in the center of the point system.
5. Global warming.

These are all valid possibilities, but after serious consideration none of them stood up to close scientific scrutiny. So I was left with the only other reasonable explanation: gremlins - those little tormentors who go about sabotaging machinery and causing general mayhem (click here for actual footage). Somehow the little buggers have managed to infiltrate the Buzz point system and are making my life miserable.

I think in my case the gremlins are being led by an especially devious one related to the Norse deity known as Loki. And I suspect he hangs out in the Exhibit Department here at the Science Museum. However, I don’t think he’s clever enough to act alone, so I’m almost certain he’s had co-conspirators helping him with his mischief. But now that their plot has been exposed, I can get back to some serious point accumulation. And I should add that with this post I have finally surpassed JGordon. Not that it makes any difference, mind you.

More gremlins
Other kinds of gremlins

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

Congratulations on becoming the leader of the pack (by 5 points today). My theory is that the points you have are based on your contributions for the past 365 days. This means if you had a spurt of points about a year ago while John Gordon took a break or went on vacation, you would pull ahead. If you both posted an average of say 5 points per day you would not see any gains when you each added 5 points per day.
New points leader
New points leaderCourtesy ARTiFactor

posted on Fri, 07/16/2010 - 8:58am
mdr's picture
mdr says:

Thanks Art but it looks like my reign as top point-getter was short lived. I do like your explanation of how the point system works but how do I know you're not part of the vast conspiracy? Do you think I being too paranoid? Why? Did someone say I was?

posted on Mon, 07/19/2010 - 11:31am
bryan kennedy's picture

Yep. Hammer, meet nailhead.

posted on Tue, 07/20/2010 - 12:46pm
Thor's picture
Thor says:

It's not Loki....there's only room for one Norse deity at a time in the Exhibit Development suite of 4M!!!!!!!

posted on Fri, 07/16/2010 - 9:41am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Is it Odin?

posted on Fri, 07/16/2010 - 10:04am
mdr's picture
mdr says:

I said he was related to Loki. Who do we know that fits that description?

posted on Fri, 07/16/2010 - 11:11am
mdr's picture
mdr says:

Hmmm. More mischief. I thought I was posting this as a reply to Thor's comment.

posted on Fri, 07/16/2010 - 11:12am
mdr's picture
mdr says:

My bad. I guess it posted correctly. Never mind.

posted on Mon, 07/19/2010 - 10:58am
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

points are points. You scored extras this way.

posted on Mon, 07/19/2010 - 11:26am
mdr's picture
mdr says:

Good point.

posted on Mon, 07/19/2010 - 11:32am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

ART's points-per-year explanation is reasonable, but I'm afraid the truth is a little more complicated than that.

See, mdr, whenever you begin to approach me in points, I walk over to bryan_kennedy's computer, and I hit it with my hammers. I have two hammers, and I call them "Science" and "Industry." It's not the most precise method, but it usually works. (I say "usually" because, well, look how close we are now. Too close.)

It's one of the many, many perks of regularly working in the back of the house. One of the other perks is having no windows. Man, I hate windows.

"Gremlins," by the way, wasn't a bad guess. I do spend a lot of time tormenting William Shatner, but it's more of a prank phone call kind of thing.

posted on Fri, 07/16/2010 - 10:09am
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

Thor's hammer is mighty, too.

posted on Fri, 07/16/2010 - 11:12am
mdr's picture
mdr says:

Keep up the good work, JGordon. Shatner deserves torment.

posted on Fri, 07/16/2010 - 11:14am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

who is odin?

posted on Fri, 07/16/2010 - 12:37pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

The All-Father, of course. I mean, he's only the Flaming Eye, the Ever-Booming, the Spear Shaker, the Enemy of the Wolf, the Gallows' Burden, the Hanged One, the Wanderer, the Grey Beard, the One Eyed, the Raven Tester, the Blusterer, the Roarer, the Thunderer, the Horse-wolf, the Twice-Blind, the Victory Tree, the Sleep Bringer, and the Chooser of the Slain. Duh.

posted on Fri, 07/16/2010 - 1:33pm
Thor's picture
Thor says:

Couldn't you just shorten all of that to Favre?

posted on Mon, 07/19/2010 - 11:16am
mdr's picture
mdr says:

In the picture it looks like Odin only has one eye. I only point this out so I can move ahead on the leaderboard.

posted on Mon, 07/19/2010 - 11:34am
Thor's picture
Thor says:

Odin indeed has only one eye....all due to a freak skateboarding accident in Valhalla.

posted on Mon, 07/19/2010 - 12:00pm
DO's picture
DO says:

AKA the chief Norse god.

posted on Fri, 07/16/2010 - 4:02pm
KelsiDayle's picture
KelsiDayle says:

Have you checked out the point leaderboard lately? Several contributors have jumped up by hundreds and even thousands of points. Can that be explained by the 365 day record theory?

Buzz point leaderboard 9.28.10: Some contributors have made superhuman leaps up the Buzz point leaderboard.  What is going on?
Buzz point leaderboard 9.28.10: Some contributors have made superhuman leaps up the Buzz point leaderboard. What is going on?Courtesy Science Buzz

posted on Tue, 09/28/2010 - 5:04pm
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

I think the point leaderboard reverted back to lifetime total, rather than most recent 365 days. I was making a stealth sprint for the lead and was within 20 points when the system glitched (or was hacked). Overcoming Gene's 3000 point spread is going to take awhile.

posted on Tue, 09/28/2010 - 9:54pm
mdr's picture
mdr says:

All this just further verifies my delusional and paranoid suspicions that I'm the hapless victim of a sinister point-fixing conspiracy.

posted on Tue, 09/28/2010 - 6:55pm
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

If anyone aspires to match JGordon in points, I will tell you how. First, get a dead pig. Then, take lots of pictures. Upload those picture for several weeks and you can accumulate mega-points.

posted on Thu, 09/30/2010 - 8:19am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Sounds like someone is just jealous of my huge pile of points.

If you need to borrow any, just ask. I have plenty to spare.

posted on Thu, 09/30/2010 - 9:18am
Shana's picture
Shana says:

13, baby! My lucky number!!

posted on Wed, 09/29/2010 - 9:33am

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