Oldbiehood -- Analysis

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AuthorTopic: Oldbiehood -- Analysis
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
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Here, the promised analysis of the oldbiehood poll. This analysis was done as of 44 poll votes. 16/44 voters considered themselves oldbies.

Poll results
Although absolute recognition of oldbiehood, according to its traditional definition, is far from universal, the results nonetheless demonstrate a striking adherence to that definition. Although extraneous but visible factors clearly influenced the results, the number of votes a member got varied pretty closely with the degree to which he meets the definition of oldbie.

Let's look at the unquestioned oldbies first:

43 -- Drakefyre
40 -- Alorael
35 -- Alec
32 -- Scorpius
30 -- Zeviz
28 -- Djur

These guys all got more votes than anyone else. Helpfully, they suggest several secondary factors influencing perception of oldbiehood:

+ High post count (Alorael)
+ Activity (Alorael)
- Inactivity (Djur)
- PDN changing on a less than daily basis (Alec)

+ Prestige role in Dikiyoba's stories (Drakefyre)
+ Low member number (Scorpius)
+ Tendency to be discussed by other members (Djur)
- Lack of attention-seeking behavior (Zeviz)

There were several answers that were legitimately confusing or borderline:

26 -- Aran
21 -- Kelandon
18 -- Lt. Sullust
14 -- Zxquez

As Aran observed, he and Kelandon both fit with the oldbies in many ways, in terms of social characteristics and community services, and they outdate most newer members by two or more years. But neither is covered by the traditional definition of oldbie.

I'm not sure myself whether Sullust and Zxquez would fit the traditional definition, though I think they would. Their lower numbers were expected, given their inactivity and lack of flashy behavior. That said, Sullust still posts on rare occasions, and Zxquez was discussed in a recent thread with specific reference to the era he posted in. I imagine the numbers would have been lower without those influences. These guys suggest some factors in the oldbiehood equation:

+ Degree of enmeshment in oldbie social network
+ Degree of celebrity within community (often based on community services)

On to the clear non-oldbies:

18 -- Delicious Vlish
17 -- Slartucker
17 -- Salmon
14 -- Ephesos
12 -- Tyranicus
9 -- Dikiyoba
9 -- Randomizer
7 -- Nioca
3 -- Ed
0 -- Upon Mars

The results here show a spectrum of confusion, but most of it can be easily explained.

Vlish and I were expected to have inflated results. We both have low member numbers (and we both did post five or so years ago, though very little and not in Misc. or General). We both have custom titles. Vlish is a moderator, and I got a disproportionate amount of screen time in Dikiyoba's first two episodes. Ephesos shares that last characteristic with me, and along with his contributions to BoA, that may explain his inflated number.

Salmon somehow gets inserted into every thread, and as a result is frequently commented on. Tyranicus has his new satellite and is very active socially. All five of us have been active long enough that "teenagers" like Nioca probably can't tell the difference.

I was surprised to see Dikiyoba and Randomizer tie, given the celebrity that Dikiyoba receives for his creative works, and the fact that Dikiyoba has been around longer. I suspect the equalizer is the fact that Dikiyoba is not attention-seeking (compare to Zeviz in the first group) while Randomizer tends to join Vlish and myself in making comments about video games from two decades ago.

Nioca's votes presumably stem from his high activity level, plus the fact that at several months he outdates very new members. Upon Mars was pretty much a control variable. He speaks well for the poll's integrity. As for Ed, his votes were to be expected; without an "I don't know" option some voters were bound to assume people they'd never heard of were retired oldbies.

A look at oldbie generations
A number of respondents brought up the idea of oldbie generations (or circles, or subgroups, or staggered degrees). I think this is a relevant idea which in fact explains why the cutoff for oldbie is where it is.

Let's start by looking at the last two generations. I'm going to suggest that the previous one was centered around last spring, and extended out with waning intensity both before and after. Why last spring? There were a number of community events with a high level of individual involvement that made spidweb a place of heightened social interchange. I'm talking about the twice weekly chats with regular attendance of 15 or more; the Ash controversy; Ed and Arghhhhhhhhh; the Synergy-Kelandon flamewar and the numerous spinoff topics about personality and whatnot; Slarty vs. Desk and Dikiyoba's original script; the reincarnated World of Avernum RP; and maybe even the incessant arguing about A4. Community projects tended to build specifically on the current composition of the community; besides Episode 1, there was the Periodic Table, the family tree and matchmaking list, Spidweb ChronoCross, several alternate custom title lists, a country topic, personality groupings, and so on.

The community has not quite had the critical mass to give birth to another full-fledged generation since then. I may be biased due to skipping out for four months in the summer, but I think it had already mostly petered out before I left. Part of the reason is that several key catalysts, who tended to stir up others (rather than cause scandals or embark on community-oriented projects themselves) disappeared. Marlenny, Dareva and TM would go in this category, and doubtless others I've forgotten. Their presence combined with the energy sinks like Ed and the storytellers like Dikiyoba resulted in an atmosphere particular to that generation.

Now, what makes that generation significant at the moment (and probably not forever) is that a decent chunk of currently active members joined (or in several cases, became significantly more active) during that time or in the months leading up to it. Dikiyoba, Vlish, myself, Tyranicus, Fatman, Dintiradan, Salmon, Lenar, the list goes on.

It's harder to come up with as many active members who joined two years ago, or three years ago, or four years ago -- and who are still around. Aran, Kel, Ephesos, Nikki, and so on, they are there, but there aren't so many remaining from any one period. This is because they drifted off, and it will happen to the last generation eventually too. We still hear memories from those periods -- think Nephils vs. Sliths, or Rosycat -- we just don't have that generation's children.

The oldbie generation has those same kinds of strong community memories -- the Arena, Misc., BoE community lore, News at 11, Inn of Blades, and so on. Unlike the generations from 2 or 3 years ago, however, there are still many oldbies around. Drakey, *i, Alorael, TM, MM, Saunders, Ash (mitoted or not), Scorpius of all people... you get the idea. So the people still around preserve the old conception of the community composition, which generates this idea of oldbiehood. It's parallel to the relative "I'm older than you" definition some respondents suggested, but because it comes from the community itself, and its memories, rather than an individual, it appears numinous in a way that mere seniority does not.

In conclusion, the arbitrary oldbie cutoff is legit.

Pseudo-oldbies and a continuum
But what about the pseudo-oldbies like Aran and Kel?

Nikki, I'm going to pick on you here. You and Aran have been around for similar lengths of time, I gather, but Aran is widely assumed to be an oldbie and you aren't. I don't think this is just because of the Ermarian Networks. Rather it's because Aran has become enmeshed -- incompletely, but noticeably -- in the social network of the remaining oldbies. This fact has more power than other extrachronological influences because that social net is tied so closely to the power and numinosity of oldbiehood.

Anyway, wow, I've written way too much about this. The basic idea is that oldbiehood is binary and, at this point, static -- you are or you aren't -- but there is a continuum of pseudo-oldbiehood that explains that status of Arancaytar and Kelandon, and the sometimes confusion over members like Marlenny, Tyranicus, or myself.

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Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
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I slightly object to my placement, as I feel I've earned at least pseudo-oldbie status, but meh. I don't really object enough to do anything about it. :P

Personally, I feel like my BoA background inflates my opinions of the community history. I remember anxiously awaiting the release thereof, and I remember pretty much every scenario's release. And I honestly feel like at the very least, a new generation of designers is slowly emerging, thank god... (finally, we have a chance to shake off the BoE/BoA comparisons).

But even outside of that, I can think of a few more old milestones, like MoS (aka: the only real memories I have of WM and Lt. Sullust) and the slow but steady rise of Geneforge. I mean, I wasn't around for the really classic stuff like the old RPs or the one v. all flamewars (I guess our current parallel would be Synergy), but meh.

I guess what I'm getting at is that when I got here, General just looked frightening. I only started getting involved around the time that the fallout from the mod elections was starting to settle (back before mods were 'democratically' chosen), and when BoE was settling into its now-familiar dormant state. And after that, it felt like a lull, just a slew of annoying newbs and a web of oldbie in-jokes so thick that you actually couldn't tell when Alec (or anyone else for that matter) was kidding... but we helped rebuild the community, IMHO.

Anyway, just my two cents on the issue. I've probably talked too much, and I'm not sure it made much sense, since I'm complaining a lot more than I'd thought I would. But then again, I honestly feel like a part of this community, so it kind of feels important-ish. (Still not sure if anyone would notice if I just disappeared, but that's teh internets for you)

quote:
Originally written by Slartanalycyst:

Salmon somehow gets inserted into every thread,
This should be sigged. :D

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I'm still wondering who voted for me (besides Tullegolar). Though I suppose my post count gives a false sense of oldbie-ness, since +1500 posts doesn't exactly scream 5 months old.

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Needless to say, I failed.
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Shaper
Member # 6292
Profile #3
quote:
I was surprised to see Dikiyoba and Randomizer tie, given the celebrity that Dikiyoba receives for his creative works, and the fact that Dikiyoba has been around longer.
Evidently not long enough for it to be commonly recognized that Dikiyoba is female.

-S-

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Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
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D'oh. And I definitely knew that, too. Sorry D.

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quote:
Originally written by Nioca:

I'm still wondering who voted for me (besides Tullegolar). Though I suppose my post count gives a false sense of oldbie-ness, since +1500 posts doesn't exactly scream 5 months old.
I'm fairly certain that nothing about you gives any sense of oldbisity. Your join date is at the bottom of every post, and the content explains the post count.

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quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

Well, I'm at least pretty sure that Salmon is losing.


Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
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Originally by Slartucker:

quote:
I was surprised to see Dikiyoba and Randomizer tie, given the celebrity that Dikiyoba receives for his creative works, and the fact that Dikiyoba has been around longer.
I haven't been around too much longer than Randomizer, though, and while it took him a while to be active in General, he has had about the same level of activity as me for many months now. Anyone who votes for me as an oldbie is probably new enough to vote for Randomizer as an oldbie as well.

And given that you are using my stories as an explanation for the numbers, I'm kind of disappointed you didn't include someone like The Lurker, who doesn't post much at all but gets a fairly large part in the story.

Originally by Ephesos:

quote:
But then again, I honestly feel like a part of this community, so it kind of feels important-ish. (Still not sure if anyone would notice if I just disappeared, but that's teh internets for you)
You don't have to be an oldbie to be part of the community (assuming you meant "Spiderweb" by "this community"). All you have to do is be active and non-annoying. :P

Dikiyoba.
Posts: 4346 | Registered: Friday, December 23 2005 08:00
Law Bringer
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I don't think I accept the distinction between oldbie and pseudo-oldbie. If you meet the oldbie criteria well enough then everyone will think you're an oldbie, if you don't meet them at all then you're not, and if you meet some of them to some extent then you are somewhat oldbish (good word, no?) in some eyes.

On the other hand, if "the arbitrary oldbie cutoff is legit" because it's a plateau on a graph, I'll accept it. I'm just not convinced that the sample size and noise make it very meaningful. In the end, I think statistical analysis of Spiderweb is entertaining but not terribly significant anyway.

—Alorael, who finds it questionable that he's the only oldbie who wasn't a very active and prominent Ikonboard member. Sullust, who was, is given questionable oldbie status. Unless oldbiness can be lost, which makes no sense with a legit cutoff, oldbiness is really still just a kind of combination of popularity and duration of tenure contest. This would be even more interesting, and completely unworkable, if every Spiderweb member were rated.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
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Creating that poll would, however, be an interesting way to crash UBB.

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The Establishment
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I guess I'm one of those that are so old, I'm in a class by myself. :P

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Slarty's analysis can be summarized quite simply: You are an oldbie if and only if you can casually drop obscure iconboard references. :P

Or, more precisely, to be considered an oldbie a member has to have been active around the time the boards started. To be recognized as an oldbie a member has to be at least moderately active or frequently talked about. (All members in Slarty's "oldbie" category have been active here in late 2001 - early 2002.)

Aran is the most clear example of this cutoff: he is a moderator of General, an admin of 2 out of 3 currently active satellite boards, owner of an archive/rankings site, a frequent poster, and is generally a well-respected member who has been active longer than most of currently active members. So by all objective measures his oldbie rating should be similar to Alorael's and only slightly lower than Drakeys. The only thing keeping him in the low 60s rather than high 80s is that his member number is 2984, instead of 298.

[ Friday, February 16, 2007 11:39: Message edited by: Zeviz ]

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However well placed word, unlike a well placed sword,
Can also have the power to heal.
Posts: 2649 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Law Bringer
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quote:
Originally written by Zeviz:

Slarty's analysis can be summarized quite simply: You are an oldbie if and only if you can casually drop obscure iconboard references. :P
And can remember that it was spelled Ikonboard. :P

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Brilliant as always, Slarty.
Now, to grab a cup of tea and figure out what you're actually saying...

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quote:
Originally written by Zeviz:


Or, more precisely, to be considered an oldbie a member has to have been active around the time the boards started. To be recognized as an oldbie a member has to be at least moderately active or frequently talked about.

Guess that rules me out.
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I'm moderately active, but not frequently talked about.

At least in the General, Geneforge 1-3 and Geneforge 4 forums, where I usually reside.

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I hardly understand why I would be considered a catalyst. Explain.
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Off With Their Heads
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The best explanation I've heard of the oldbie/newbie distinction as it applies to Spidweb went something like this:

The SW community has seen about four generations of members. The first generation, represented by Alec, Drakefyre, Stareye, Thuryl, and others, is the group of people who have been around since long before there was a SW company board, people who were on the mailing list or Aceron's boards or the Lyceum or something pre-Spidweb. These people remember the early days of BoE and things that aren't even on the web anywhere anymore because they were so long ago.

The second generation, represented by Alo, TM, and such, is the group of people who joined shortly before or shortly after the UBB got going. These people remember the Ikonboard or were around just after the switch from it, and they remember the "glory" days of Misc.

The third generation, represented by Aran, me, and the like, is the group of people who joined a few years after the UBB got going. We've been around since the earliest stuff in the PPPs (more or less), but we can't speak too much about Misc or Aceron or people and things that vanished quite some time ago.

The fourth generation, represented by Nioca and others who joined around the same time as he did, is the group of people who have joined within the past year or so. This crowd has seen very little of TM on these boards and nothing of Misc, and they know the major designers for BoA better than the major designers for BoE.

Why place dividing markers where I did? Because they seem to work. This system recognizes that Djur was newer than Alec, that Aran is newer than TM, that Dikiyoba is newer than I am, but doesn't distinguish unduly between, say, Drew and SoT.

[ Friday, February 16, 2007 22:02: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

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Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
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I'm no oldbie. I'm probably not an newbie anymore too. Conclusion: I'm a nothingbie.

I'm a scenario designer, but somehow I doubt that my scenarios will be thought of as one the good ones and will always be remembered. But then again, what exactly do I make the scenarios for, for my enjoyment, or the community? Mainly the first one, less the latter one. Though it would feel good :P On the other hand, they could also be remembered like Exodus and Bahssikava, though I don't know for sure if I want my scenario to be remembered like that, as from what I have heard, people weren't very enthusiastic.

So yeah, I'm not completely unknown, and I'm talked about whenever Salmon decides to quote me, it seems.

EDIT: By the way, why is any word that ends with "bie" not pronounced as "pie," rather as "bi?" I would expect "bee."

[ Friday, February 16, 2007 23:07: Message edited by: Thralni ]

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Posts: 3029 | Registered: Saturday, June 18 2005 07:00
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Originally by Kelandon:

quote:
The fourth generation, represented by Nioca and others who joined around the same time as he did, is the group of people who have joined within the past year or so. This crowd has seen very little of TM on these boards and nothing of Misc, and they know the major designers for BoA better than the major designers for BoE.
While I realize that I am most certainly not in your generation, I must object. I know exactly who TM is and I was able to see him in action (fortunately or unfortunately). :P

Originally by Thralni:

quote:
I'm no oldbie. I'm probably not an newbie anymore too. Conclusion: I'm a nothingbie.
No, you're not quite old enough yet to be a semi-oldbie, so you're a midbie.

Dikiyoba.

Edit: Typo.

[ Friday, February 16, 2007 23:26: Message edited by: The Dikiyora ]
Posts: 4346 | Registered: Friday, December 23 2005 08:00
? Man, ? Amazing
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quote:
Originally written by Thralni:

By the way, why is any word that ends with "bie" not pronounced as "pie," rather as "bi?" I would expect "bee."
Because Americans pronounce B and P differently.

But seriously, I pronounce it nu-bee. As in "Drakefyre is a nu-bee."

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quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

Well, I'm at least pretty sure that Salmon is losing.


Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
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Uh, Kel? I'm pretty sure TM is one of the oldbies of oldbies as well as being the king of kings. He was definitely around on day one of the Ikonboard, and I'm reasonably certain he was around for the pre-Spiderweb boards.

Again, I think you can make any terms you'd like for any division that is conceivably useful. Generations are good. Trying to have very general catch-all like oldbie isn't useful because it isn't meaningful unless you define it. Rather than a dozen conflicting definitions, we can just use different terms.

—Alorael, who doesn't really think it's something that needs to come up in most daily Spiderweb conversations.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
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quote:
Originally written by The Dikiyora:

Originally by Thralni:
quote:
I'm no oldbie. I'm probably not an newbie anymore too. Conclusion: I'm a nothingbie.
No, you're not quite old enough yet to be a semi-oldbie, so you're a midbie.

Dikiyoba.

I chose nothingbie because I found it a bit more original.

Salmon: "bi" was not actually what I meant, as I was thinking in Dutch terms, were "i" is pronounced as in "bee," rather than as in "pie." You understood what I meant anyhow (I assume), though.

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I rather enjoyed the analysis, but one question remains,

what is an analyCyst?

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quote:
Originally written by The Dikiyora:

While I realize that I am most certainly not in your generation, I must object. I know exactly who TM is and I was able to see him in action (fortunately or unfortunately).
I didn't say "nothing." I said "very little."

quote:
Originally written by Nuclear Socks:

Uh, Kel? I'm pretty sure TM is one of the oldbies of oldbies as well as being the king of kings. He was definitely around on day one of the Ikonboard, and I'm reasonably certain he was around for the pre-Spiderweb boards.
TM arrived between the Third Contest and the Fourth Contest, which puts him squarely in the very end of 2000 or somewhere in 2001. That's close enough to the dawn of the Ikonboard that I count him in the second generation.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

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Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
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Okay, according to Kel's definitions, what the hell am *I*? You mention only Alo, and by time and member numbers, his is well below 500, whilst mine is under 2000. I was here much after them, but much before Aran and the rest. Do I just happen to fall out from between?

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