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Problem: How would I estimate a user's rank among active users? How can I compare users' progress in reputation when they have different seniority? Why is user reputation the same when filtered either by month, quarter or year on January?

I noticed today that the reputation league counts reputation from the beginning of the calendar month/quarter/year. All of which have started only 6 days ago, so they count only a small number of reputation points, and therefore are completely useless for me now for comparing users. This is also relevant for the /users page.

For a significant comparison of users's reputation ones has to consider a long enough time-frame, and choosing the "all time" time-frame is biased towards veteran users, some of which are not active.

Suggestion: On the league and users page, show rep counts for time-frames of 7-days / 30-days / 3-months / 12-months / all time (i.e., a fixed-size sliding window, and not one that gets reset frequently).

Clarification: Only ongoing counts will be sliding. Past month/quarter/year league counts will still start on the first calendar day of the period. To avoid confusion between period definitions, the names will be different (e.g. '30 days', instead of 'month').

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So you want these to be on a sliding window? –  Oded Jan 6 '12 at 13:00
    
@Oded, yes. I updated. –  cyborg Jan 6 '12 at 14:48
    
Because this way it's possible to be ahead of Jon Skeet for a short time at the start of every week/month/year. –  hammar Jan 6 '12 at 15:56
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To expand: even if it's not exactly 7 days it's fine anyway; for example, you can calculate the league rep every day so the interval is between 7 days and 7 days and 23 hours, depending on when you check the page. This is a preventive strike against the people who will say it's a performance problem. –  Andreas Bonini Jan 6 '12 at 16:23
    
@hammar, good point, however you will still have the shorter time-frames (e.g., 7-days) to try outdoing Jon Skeet. –  cyborg Jan 8 '12 at 10:27
    
I can't think of a "league" that's rolling like this, do you have an example? Every competition I know of resets on some interval just as we do, every "season" is a fresh start and you can hit the ground running hoping to lead the week, month, etc. –  Nick Craver Jan 9 '12 at 11:23
    
@cyborg - I'm not following...you can't leave the last year as-is and have a sliding window that matches it in any way, the previous year would have to be the sliding window before that, or there's a gap, or they're not related at all. If you go with a model you want to compare history to, you have to change both for it to make any sense...am I missing something there? –  Nick Craver Jan 9 '12 at 12:01
    
@Nick, I don't think we should change the league method for past periods. I only suggest showing a sliding window count instead/in addition to showing the most recent fresh-start count for ongoing periods. So we leave previous years' counts as is. –  cyborg Jan 9 '12 at 12:03
    
@cyborg - To me that's even more confusing, how would you explain that reasonably to a user finding the leagues for the first time? "Are they sliding?" "Yes! well, kinda, see they're sliding now, but they didn't used to be...so if you're looking at before XXX XX, 2012, they're not sliding, and reset on the period, but they're sliding now!" And, you couldn't compare these to anything past since the previous periods are based on different intervals...can you see how this dichotomy would cause quite a bit of confusion? –  Nick Craver Jan 9 '12 at 12:07
    
@cyborg - From the history of meta questions already asked about the leagues, I have to disagree - any scenario like this where the system changes, especially in fundamental ways such as "what is a week?", lead to a ton of questions and complaints. –  Nick Craver Jan 9 '12 at 12:16
    
@Nick, you can say it creates an inconsistency between ongoing counts and past periods counts, but I don't think it's a real problem. For example, people easily understand that some stock quote rose 5% in the last 12 months, while it rose only 1% in 2011, which is an overlapping period. Both statistics are very interesting. –  cyborg Jan 9 '12 at 12:17
    
@Nick, regarding the ambiguity of 'week', notice that I suggest calling this period '7-days' instead. Similarly for 'year' (!= '12-months') and quarter (!= '3-months'). –  cyborg Jan 9 '12 at 12:23
    
@cyborg - It's the "instead of" part of your proposal that makes that untenable, current periods wouldn't match past periods, etc. Everything you're talking about is in a "in addition to" context, which is at least viable...though I can't personally see this happening, since the leagues aren't the only time tables based on this. For example: /users matches the league time intervals (by-design, and performance wise that cannot be a sliding window, not in the near future). –  Nick Craver Jan 9 '12 at 12:27
    
@Nick, performance-wise, what's the difference between a time interval whose end slides to a time interval whose both start and end slide? –  cyborg Jan 9 '12 at 13:10
    
@cyborg - For example right now when you get +5 rep, we change your Reputation column which by trigger increases your week, month, quarter and year columns...we simply reset all users to 0 on the appropriate columns when an interval changes. Doing so on a sliding interval is insanely more expensive than current, especially given how much raw data there is. –  Nick Craver Jan 9 '12 at 14:20
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2 Answers

I can hear what you're saying, but it's worth noting that if this change was done, then it wouldn't be a league. Leagues do not work like that. When only two games have been played in the season, you don't add matches from the previous season to obtain the team's score.

Some people may find some fun in checking their score in these leagues. I only use them from time to time to compare my activity in a recent period relative to the group.

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I found that the league has a "previous week"/"previous month"/"previous quarter"/"previous year" link, which conveniently solves most of the problem. It makes it possible to choose a suitable period in the past and compare users.

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