Forum:Suggestion to Replace the Darwin Rule

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Forums: Index > Village Dump > Suggestion to Replace the Darwin Rule (talk)
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I recently got out of a discussion at User talk:Ljlego, where I originally described the method below. I had submitted an article of my own creation to Pee Review, where it scored 47/50, and then to VFH, where it failed with a score of eight for and zero against (see nom log here) because of the Darwin Rule, the cardinal law of VFH. I concluded this was unfair, went back to Ljlego, talked with him and some other people on his talk page for awhile, and then, at his suggestion, came here. The following is the method I proposed to replace the Darwin Rule, as well as a brief history of its origins and use. I believe it to be superior in every respect.

This process originated through gene-swapping between Wikipedia's COTW and AID, the two user-run projects that were designed to build great new articles and refurbish old ones, respectively. After a lot of botched selection methods and a merger between the two groups that formed a new group, the ACID, the voting system in place had stabilized into something everyone was happy with. Or, at least, during my time on the management team nobody complained. The key principle behind this voting process never had a name, but I'll call it the Cutoff Rule. It works like this ("today" is January 1st):

Article A

Article A has 3 votes. It needs 4 votes by January 2

  • User 1
  • User 2
  • User 3

Article B

Article B has 27 votes. It needs 28 votes by January 23

  • User 4
  • User 2
  • User 5
  • [...]
  • User 27

Article C

Article C has 1 vote. It needs four votes by January 2

  • User 12
Now here's how this works - I know that the time frame for the Cutoff Rule's actual use on VFH would have to be sped up dramatically, but I'll get to that in a minute:

Articles are nominated using a process that is basically the same as the one at VFH. However, once nominated they automatically receive a week's stay on the ACID, but in that time they have to garner enough votes to by another week, and another week after that, etc. ACID doesn't have a "negative voting" option, but that doesn't actually effect the way the rule works, and this option could easily be integrated to use with the Cutoff Rule. Article A was nominated six days ago, and stands a fighting chance of gaining that crucial fourth vote that will push it over the top and by it another week's time. let's say it does - then it's vote counter will read Article A has 4 votes. It needs 8 votes by January 9. Article B is doing much better - it ha vaulted several week's worth of hurdles in advance, and even if it doesn't get any more votes it will stay on the ACID until January 23. Each week, however, one article is chosen to be worked upon, and this article is the article with the highest number of votes. If Article B is the article with the highest number of votes, then it will declared that week's winner. Article C is basically doomed. In the first six days of its nomination, no-one other than its nominator has given it support. It will probably be removed the following day.

How this process could be implemented at the VFH

  • The beauty of the Cutoff Rule is that, unlike the Darwin rule, it's adjustable. The key is the number of votes an article needs to buy itself a pre-measured amount of time. It's like watering a garden: too much, and the garden drowns. Too little, it withers up. If you make the number of votes required too high, then the number of articles will shrink too much - if you set it too low, then the dreaded stagnation will set it. When the ACID was still the AID, we actually dealt with this problem in just this manner. For a time the number of votes required to buy an article an additional week of time was 3, but the backlog was seventy-something. So we changed it to 4, grandfathered it in gradually, and the list was shored up nicely.
  • As with the Darwin rule, the Cutoff Rule system would have the winner be the article with the most number of votes when the time of choosing comes.
  • In the case of the VFH, where, as I understand it, one new article is selected daily, the amount of time a set number of votes would purchase would probably be one day (obviously, one week is much too long for your use). I figure that the Cutoff Rule, implemented at a take up rate of 3 votes buys 1 day, would yield something close to the 20-name waiting list that is your benchmark. All this would be possible with the much simpler, equally effective, far more adjustable and totally unbiased voting system that I have detailed here.

-Tritefantastic 01:16, 21 August 2007 (UTC)


Although Ljlego and most of the visitors to his talk page treated me with sympathy, none of them backed the method above - Ljlego himself expressed dismay with the system, fearing that "...three votes buys one day seems very unfair. That means, if there's a slow day on VFH, and an article doesn't get three votes, it gets sacked?"

He suggested I come here - which is why I did - and I remain convinced that the Cutoff Rule, if not perfect, is still much better than the Darwin Rule. If you agree, I'd love your support, and if you disagree, I'd like to know what I could be doing better. -Tritefantastic 01:16, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Seems unnecessarily complex to me. Why not just remove the nomination with the fewest average votes per day? --Algorithm 02:18, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Why fix what isn't really broken?-Sir Ljlego, GUN VFH FIYC WotM SG WHotM PWotM AotM EGAEDM ANotM + (Talk) 02:25, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
It may not be broken, but it is flawed. If a solid feature-worthy article has the bad luck to get stuck between two cacophonously outstanding entries, it could get removed, even if it's the third-best article on the list. By using a global standard rather than comparing a nom only to its neighbors, this situation could never occur. --Algorithm 02:35, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
It is flawed, certainly, but what system is not? I feel like this discussion has been had before.-Sir Ljlego, GUN VFH FIYC WotM SG WHotM PWotM AotM EGAEDM ANotM + (Talk) 02:40, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Algorithm on this one, but I can't think of an adequate standard to replace the system we have currently. --Littleboyonly TKFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK Oldmanonly 02:43, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
As stated above: Take the score of each nom and divide it by its age in days. The nom with the lowest result gets removed. --Algorithm 02:52, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Algorithm, I like that idea. The only problem is that removing one article per day probably isn't enough. However, what we probably should do is leave the number of articles that get removed up to the discretion of the admin who is doing the removal, which I think is fair enough. Icons-flag-au Sir Cs1987 UOTM. t. c 04:30, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
How about this: We limit the amount of articles which can be on VFH at any given time - 20 sounds reasonable. Then admins in charge of VFH can remove nominations at their own descretion that seem self-evident to fail or succeed (there will be no defined number, but the fail number will be assumed negative and the success number will be assmed a positive number over 8). This way articles will always be given a chance to be featured while allowing new articles to come through, albeit at a slower pace, probably requiring users to create feature queues in their userspace. This isn't very refined - I'm not making something like UN:CONTAIN. ~ Tophatsig <p class="nounderlinelink" style="display:inline; font-variant: small-caps; font-family: serif;">Jacques Pirat, Esq. Converse : Benefactions : U.w.p.

21/08/2007 @ 02:52
That sounds workable, a longer feature queue never hurt anybody. The only problem is the whole "admin discretion" bit, that doesn't seem like a problem to me but it's bound to go over poorly with others. We'd still need to keep the Older Clause, too, in case we get another John Cage and an overflowing queue to boot. --Littleboyonly TKFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK Oldmanonly 02:55, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Okay, let's boil this down to an equation. What I think you're saying would look something like
Q = S/A

S (Score) = Votes for - Votes Against
A = Age in Days
So if Q (Quality) falls below 8 (this seems high, but we could tinker),
then the article could be removed. The admins would enforce this rule as
needed in order to keep the list at around 20 entries.
How does that sound? -Tritefantastic 04:15, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
You've sort of got the idea, except that there definitely should not be any fixed value for Q in your equation. The admins should simply remove a number of articles that have the lowest value of S/A, and the number that they remove will be their decision, just enough to keep the total number of articles at around 20. I think this is a simple and fair system. Icons-flag-au Sir Cs1987 UOTM. t. c 04:34, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Agreed very much, as per Cs. No fixed value, just drop pages until it goes back to twenty. P.M., WotM, & GUN, Sir Led Balloon Baloon(Tick Tock) (Contribs) 04:51, Aug 21, 2007
Someone should probably check that this produces meaningful results with, say, the articles currently on VFH. Like we've got a few entries there at the moment with around 14 votes and three weeks on the clock, which gives a Q of 2/3 - less than a new article with one vote. I'm too lazy to work out what happens if you square the points value first - try that if you like. --Strange (but) Untrue  Whhhy?Whut?How? *Back from the dead* 09:07, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Damn, that is a very good point. I don't think squaring the points value would work particularly well either - that would mean a 3 day old nom with 3 votes would get voted off before a three week old nom with 8 votes, which doesn't seem fair to me, since the former hasn't had enough time to gather many votes.
My next suggestion would be to use Q = S/(A + 7) instead of S/A in Tritefantastic's formula, but add the exception that articles that are less than three days old and have a positive score cannot be voted off (or the equivalent rule that is currently used). Using Sbu's example and my system, a three week old article with 14 votes would have Q=0.54, which would be better than a three day old article with 5 votes, which under most circumstances would be good enough to stay on VFH. I think this would allow the long term nominations to stay for a good amount of time. Also, the number 7 can be changed if it seems too high or low. As Sbu said, we should test how this works with the current nominations. Icons-flag-au Sir Cs1987 UOTM. t. c 11:29, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Okay, let's wargame. I've selected a few specimens from VFH (scores rounded to third decimal place):
  • Jewish Holidays (22 days old/14 score) .482
  • Why?:Collapse Space-Time (19 A / 14 S) .583
  • Blue Screen of Death (10 A / 16 S) .941
  • Fire Hydrant 2: Rehydrated (7 A / 11 S) .786
  • Burger Index (5 A / 2 S) .143
This looks like a workable system to me (I do maintain, as per Cs1987 above, that noms less than three days old not be voted on). How do you guys feel about the, um, batting average system? -Tritefantastic 13:31, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
I personally feel it's more work than it's worth, but if we really want to do it that we we should at least have the dignity of using #expr rather than calculating it everyday. --~ Tophatsig 21/08/2007 @ 13:32 13:33, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
This all looks good to me, and would prefer this or something like it to the darwin system. When the equation is finalised, I'll add it in to the VFH system if you'd like. Spang talk 02:04, 21 Aug 2007
I think the equation looks fine (any other suggestions should be voiced about now) but I don't think it's fair to just "drop" this in place of the Darwin system. The Darwin Rule has its supporters, and I think the VFH should be alerted somehow and its users given a chance to voice their concerns. -Tritefantastic 16:18, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Okay, here's a poll. ~ Tophatsig 21/08/2007 @ 16:23


Because we have to.

  • Hold up - which is which? -Tritefantastic 16:27, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
    • Darwin rule is obvious. Cutoff rule is your rule you proposed and refined. Jacques rule is my rule which I proposed when I said "How about this:", and Cs1987's rule was proposed and refined by him. In his two or so posts in this thread. ~ Tophatsig 21/08/2007 @ 16:30
  • We never specified a duration period for this vote. Does one week sound fair? - 18:31, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Very well! Pick your poison! -Tritefantastic 18:49, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Keep the Darwin Rule

Basic Principle: An article is judged in comparison to the two articles it is stuck between, with noms under one day having immunity and the whole list being kept as close to 20 nominations as possible. The article with the lowest number of votes in comparison to the articles it's between looses (though older articles with lower scores are removed first).

Score: +4 Scientists
  1. Math is hard. I am, however, willing to reconsider if the Q thingy can be automated (so that the cool and sexy admins don't have to think too hard). Sir Modusoperandi Boinc! 17:43, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
    Yes....admins...Sir Ljlego, GUN VFH FIYC WotM SG WHotM PWotM AotM EGAEDM ANotM + (Talk) 17:44, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
    Yes, you've filled a critical gap. Would you like a medal? I've got one right here. I got it at an eating contest. The guy that won it took a nap in his truck after the contest, so I snagged it. Also, I got a truck. And a fat guy. Sir Modusoperandi Boinc! 17:49, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
    Yo, dude! Sweet! I want the fat guy! Also...
  2. I don't think this system is broked.-Sir Ljlego, GUN VFH FIYC WotM SG WHotM PWotM AotM EGAEDM ANotM + (Talk) 17:51, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
  3. I have no idea what this is all about, and frankly, I wish I'd clicked Chatroom like I intended. But since I'm here, I say: leave VFH alone math nerds! I'm a writer, not a...math nerd!! --THINKER 06:17, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
    VFH math nerds made you writers what you are! MADE YOU!! Spang talk 09:57, 24 Aug 2007
    It's okay, Spang. We still love you...although that Gandalf costume you're wearing, as a mishmash of the Grey and the White, is clearly not canon. And that Geordi La Forge visor is right out to lunch. Sir Modusoperandi Boinc! 10:19, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
  4. Current VFH rules seem to work just fine. No matter what the system, there's always going to be flaws, because the situation is subjective. This is the simplest of the many flawed methods. Show me a perfect method, and it will get my vote. Until then, long live Darwin! -RAHB 03:53, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
    Ah, but the new health thing isn't subjective. All subjectivity has been removed. So all articles are on an equal playing field, no matter when they're nominated. Spang talk 01:15, 25 Aug 2007
    This new system proves the fact that Spang is an earthly manifestation of God. -RAHB 10:08, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Use Cutoff Rule

Basic Principle: Described in stages above, under "Overview"

Score: +0 Jeans

Use Jacques' Rule

Basic Principle: "We limit the amount of articles which can be on VFH at any given time - 20 sounds reasonable. Then admins in charge of VFH can remove nominations at their own descretion that seem self-evident to fail or succeed (there will be no defined number, but the fail number will be assumed negative and the success number will be assmed a positive number over 8). This way articles will always be given a chance to be featured while allowing new articles to come through, albeit at a slower pace, probably requiring users to create feature queues in their userspace."

Score: +1 Totalitarianists
  1. I like to keep it simple. ~ Tophatsig 21/08/2007 @ 18:52

Use Cs1987's Rule

Basic Principle: Modified form of Jacques' Rule (above). With the same variables, Q = S/(A + 7), with no benchmark and the lowest-scoring entries being pared away until the list is about twenty. Nominations under three days of age have immunity.

Score: +12 Hybrids
  1. Support - Tritefantastic 16:33, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
  2. For P.M., WotM, & GUN, Sir Led Balloon Baloon(Tick Tock) (Contribs) 16:59, Aug 21, 2007
  3. Strong For --Littleboyonly TKFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK Oldmanonly 17:00, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
  4. For but only with Maths automation or it's not gonna work. I also reserve the right to start drawing graphs soon to work out whether 7 is the right number to put in the equation. --Strange (but) Untrue  Whhhy?Whut?How? *Back from the dead* 19:22, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
    I love graphs! Break out the scented markers! -Tritefantastic 22:52, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
  5. For - well, it's kind of obvious that I would vote for my own system. I don't imagine it would be too hard to automate. I'll help with working out if 7 is the right number, if I find the time. Icons-flag-au Sir Cs1987 UOTM. t. c 00:58, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
  6. For. Be the best you can be. Although if a nom's under 3 days old and has -3 or less, I'd still remove it. Spang talk 09:35, 22 Aug 2007
    I would too. The three day rule only applies for articles with a score of zero or higher. Icons-flag-au Sir Cs1987 UOTM. t. c 02:00, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
    I've gone ahead and added this in for now, but changed the 0.123 format to a percentage and called it "health". It can be seen on VFH summary. Now you can see what it looks like with the current votes situation. Oh, and it isn't possible to add it so the recently featured or failed lists, before you ask. Spang talk 01:50, 22 Aug 2007
    For joy! You've given us yet another way to be all neurotic about VFH. Hurrah! /me chews fingernails. Sir Modusoperandi Boinc! 19:07, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
    I'd suggest making that only visible to people with the their css. That way, as MO has said, people aren't crazy about VFH. The purpose of this is to make VFH less uncomfortable, not more so.-Sir Ljlego, GUN VFH FIYC WotM SG WHotM PWotM AotM EGAEDM ANotM + (Talk) 19:49, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
    I disagree. If this is the way we're going, transparency is better than opacity (plus CSS thingys seem to be hit or miss with IE). Sir Modusoperandi Boinc! 20:02, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
    You make a valid point. Which is to say, I agree after all.-Sir Ljlego, GUN VFH FIYC WotM SG WHotM PWotM AotM EGAEDM ANotM + (Talk) 20:17, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
    MY SAY! Alright, hi all. I have no problem with Cs' rule nor the Darwin Rule. Whichever we choose, I'm cool with it. As long as the admin who removes stuff from VFH doesn't mind, that is.-Sir Ljlego, GUN VFH FIYC WotM SG WHotM PWotM AotM EGAEDM ANotM + (Talk) 17:30, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
    Agreed. May the best method win! -Tritefantastic 18:47, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
  7. For. This is brilliant. Cs should be rewarded. Necropaxx (T) {~} 23:41, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
    They make a variety of JPEGs for that. And when you dole them out, make sure to get everyone: Cs' Rule is a modification of a proposal by Jacques, which was an extrapolation of an idea by Algorithm, who looked at my idea and cried Rube Goldberg. -Tritefantastic 02:26, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
  8. For. for clarification, highest score still determines which articles graduate & get featured, right? while "health" is just used for removing them? also, this is my second choice, behind my own idea of letting the articles with the lowest scores have a gladiator-like battle to the death, but i was told that this idea wasn't 'feasible'. bastards. --SirGerrycheeversGunTalk 13:01, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
    Comment I know exactly what you mean! When I suggested my "Battle Royale" idea, nobody liked it. Well, I'm off to Japan to see if they appreciate my genius. P.M., WotM, & GUN, Sir Led Balloon Baloon(Tick Tock) (Contribs) 15:41, Aug 23, 2007
  9. For--Sir Manforman CUN 23:22, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
  10. For I think this will turn out fairer. Sir Roger 07:27, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
  11. For Not that it matters to me, never had an harticle on VFH anyway. And the numbered list was broken by Spang. I'd fix it myself, only it seems impolite to alter someone else's post -- di Mario 09:16, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
    I moved it. Spang's a rebel, you see. He doesn't play by the rules.Sir Modusoperandi Boinc! 09:30, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
  12. For --YeOldeLuke 01:05, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Spang breaks the number thingy above. Pbbt! VFH Nerd.

  • Just so we know, the maths is now at {{vfh health}}, if it ever needs adjusting or checking or whatever. Spang talk 04:19, 24 Aug 2007
So are we officially using the new rule now, or are we still on "Darwin Time"? P.M., WotM, & GUN, Sir Led Balloon Baloon(Tick Tock) (Contribs) 04:29, Aug 24, 2007
It can be a trial, and if it works out to be better, good, if it turns out bad, we can just go back to the drawing board. Spang talk 02:24, 24 Aug 2007
"VFH health system: it is accused that you did wilfully and with malice aforethought murder the Darwin rule, hence improving the accuracy of article-featuring. If found guilty, you will be hanged from the top of the VFH summary table, to serve as an example to those who would try to improve things." --Strange (but) Untrue  Whhhy?Whut?How? *Back from the dead* 18:38, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
  • And just to clarify, this new system is only to decide which articles are removed from VFH. Articles will always be featured by their scores alone (and age of nomination in a tie). Spang talk 01:19, 25 Aug 2007
  • Yeah, it will always be like that. That happens to be both the fairest and simplest method of deciding which articles get featured. Icons-flag-au Sir Cs1987 UOTM. t. c 13:44, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
  • NO! We must make it unnecessarily complicated! Hmm, let's see, perhaps we could do the score of the article divided by the amount of against votes minus the nom age plus 576.37743 and see which has the highest score then. For all you uninitiated, the formula is S-AV-NA+576.37743 and it's a good idea! Seriously!-Sir Ljlego, GUN VFH FIYC WotM SG WHotM PWotM AotM EGAEDM ANotM + (Talk) 14:52, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Not nearly complex enough, Ljlego. Seriously, 576.37743? First of all, there are way more complex and irrational numbers out there that you could and should be using instead. Maybe...I dunno, S-AV11-NA3+376,221.1235813+π would get the job done. Go formulas! P.M., WotM, & GUN, Sir Led Balloon Baloon(Tick Tock) (Contribs) 16:55, Aug 25, 2007
  • Yeah? Well, X equals negative B plus or minus the square route of B2 minus 4ac, all divided by 2a!! This is quadratic equation territory, fool! Best get out while you still can! P.M., WotM, & GUN, Sir Led Balloon Baloon(Tick Tock) (Contribs) 18:33, Aug 25, 2007
Don't make me come in there and do a Kaluza-Klein reduction on yo' asses. --Strange (but) Untrue  Whhhy?Whut?How? *Back from the dead* 19:38, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
We could just as easily make it a quintic. Niels Henrik Abel told me that there is no closed form expression for solving a quintic, but quite frankly, he's a stupid poopyhead. He always used to steal my lunch. Bastard. He's just another bloody Martin Van Buren. Icons-flag-au Sir Cs1987 UOTM. t. c 03:33, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
IIRC, this is the same kind of talk that descended the father from "Proof" into madness. Of course, this doesn't take into account the fact that "Proof" was an awful movie, but I'm rambling.-Sir Ljlego, GUN VFH FIYC WotM SG WHotM PWotM AotM EGAEDM ANotM + (Talk) 19:43, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
Ah, rambling. Really takes me back to that time I went to the Park when I was six. Not the fourth time I went, but the fifth. I just sat back and listened to my father ramble all about his childhood...really takes me back to my father's childhood, when he had a job at the local YMCA, and got to listen to his boss ramble on about his first job, which apparently was something in the automobile business. Ah, the automobile business.... P.M., WotM, & GUN, Sir Led Balloon Baloon(Tick Tock) (Contribs) 20:03, Aug 25, 2007

You see what I'm talking about Spang? YOU SEE?!?! --THINKER 18:08, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

On the plus side, if a fight breaks out, no one will get hurt. Sir Modusoperandi Boinc! 19:28, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
Oh, I don't know about that. My last math fight, the other guy ended up with some nasty papercuts. Then I stabbed him in the eye with my pencil when I lost. Sportsmanship is for the weak! P.M., WotM, & GUN, Sir Led Balloon Baloon(Tick Tock) (Contribs) 20:05, Aug 25, 2007
So, I should call you a sportsman, then? Oh no, he's taking off his anorak! Run! Sir Modusoperandi Boinc! 20:28, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
Calling weak people a sportsman, then watching them take off their anorak and running is for the weak! P.M., WotM, & GUN, Sir Led Balloon Baloon(Tick Tock) (Contribs) 20:46, Aug 25, 2007
Okay, okay. Let's not get crazy. Put down the asthma inhaler. Sir Modusoperandi Boinc! 20:51, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
I will do no such thing!! /me brandishes inhaler widly, sprays MO in the eyes. DIE, DIE!! P.M., WotM, & GUN, Sir Led Balloon Baloon(Tick Tock) (Contribs) 20:56, Aug 25, 2007
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