The B/R Writer Rankings: A Necessary Evil or an Agent of Chaos?

Sulayman H.Senior Writer IMay 5, 2009

Before I begin, let me state for the record that this article was not meant to take advantage of the current ruckus the entire community is a part of. I have no intention to bring a derailed train back on track to its final destination, but merely wish to state my opinions concerning the matter.

Where do we begin?

In the beginning, there was a vision shared by the founders of a site, a site that would allow both young and old from across the globe to coalesce into a larger community that would then be divided into smaller ones.

Each would prosper and have its fair share of success.

Then along came a catalyst: The writer rankings.

For those who do not know what catalysis is, here is a little piece of information to help you understand the term:

Catalysis is the process in which the rate of a chemical reaction is either increased or decreased by means of a chemical substance known as a catalyst. Unlike other reagents that participate in the chemical reaction, a catalyst is not consumed by the reaction itself. The catalyst may participate in multiple chemical transformations.

The chemical reactions can be likened to the articles present on B/R, creating a world of possibilities for a few. This includes giving top writers more exposure, thus awarding them the coveted top spots in their respective communities.

As a result, it gives them a position in the site's top writer rankings.

While many have benefited from the publicity and perks that come with being among the elite, the few who are equally talented—or, moreover, who spend the better part of their time engaging their readers in an argument both logically sound and enticing to participate in—tend to go unnoticed by "the system."

The rankings here reward both quantity and quality, yet the former seems to be the  dominant factor with regard to giving a writer a position on the rankings list.

And out of the discontent of the unequally balanced set of scales comes a compelling argument about how the system is truly flawed and needs to be changed.

And out of said argument comes a rebuttal, the likes of which B/R has never seen, the product of which produces a wide array of emotions, resulting in a full-fledged war between some writers with ample tenure and even more ample egos.

While some complain about how a writer winning AOTD for his first article is blasphemous, and one writer tells another to come talk to him after winning a certain number of AOTDs, I sit back and have a good laugh.

Those who strive to improve themselves as writers and look for a positive outlet for their passions are now quibbling over the system, but at the same time are pleading to the gods of change to discard all the tools required to craft a revolution.

What stems from these conflicts of interest is a theory, that if explained will better help a writer be it a newcomer or an old hag understand how the system works.

The collision theory, proposed by Max Trautz and William Lewis in 1916 and 1918, qualitatively explains how chemical reactions occur and why reaction rates differ for different reactions. This theory is based on the idea that reactant particles must collide for a reaction to occur, but only a certain fraction of the total collisions have the energy to connect effectively and cause the reactants to transform into products.

Our articles and comments are written are different rates and, as such, can be thought of as collisions. When you have a large number of collisions, the probability of transforming reactants to products increases, thus elevating a writer's status in his or her community.

You see, it does not matter if the reaction (article) is cost-effective or environmentally friendly (thought-provoking and an interesting read)—the only thing that matters is the reaction take place successfully.

The rankings here are not only flawed; they are obsolete.

Wait a minute, Mr. Science.

Weren't you the one who said competition breeds creativity?

So I did—when it is healthy competition rather than an explosion of plagiarism, crude remarks and a rather hostile environment that it might result in.

An article written by our resident wild card which addressed the issues of the people gave a voice to a once lost cause, and has now become a fire-breathing dragon unwilling to be slain by a few knights in shining armor.

Our resident wild card, however, spent an entire month riding the coat tails of one ex-top writer, claiming that he was the present and future of B/R.

Then all of a sudden, an amusing turn of events prompted this writer to become the voice of reason and post an article acknowledging the problems of the common man—or to put it in better terms, the common B/R writer.

But that is a discussion for another time.

Catalysis is the process in which the rate of a chemical reaction is either increased or decreased by means of a chemical substance known as a catalyst.

The rate of chemical reaction can be decreased as well, meaning this leads some writers to walk away from an environment they feel is unfitting for them while others merely refuse to have a number affect their writing, for which I applaud them sincerely.

But then again, you raise your hands to make another point.

The rankings establish within oneself an opportunity, a strong determination to excel greatly amongst our peers and become part of a higher echelon, but at what cost?

To have your creativity killed and an art form assassinated for the satisfaction of a few is a crime worthy of either a high-stakes player or a writer with no regard or respect towards what he or she is writing.

I don't have to tell you which class some of the writers here belong in.

In the end, it's looked at as both a necessary evil and an unworthy abomination.

The writer rankings: A necessary evil or an agent of chaos?

You decide.