PM Point System

PM Point System

PlanetMath Point System - Draft Version

February 9, 2018

1 Introduction

This portion contains the various rules on how points are awarded to or deducted from users. (mostly adapted from


PlanetMath/Noosphere Scoring

The PlanetMath Point System is developed to motivate the PlanetMath users to actively participate in the PlanetMath community in a positive and productive manner.

A user starts with 0 points in his/her account when he/she first signs up with PlanetMath. Each time a user earns points due to a given activity, the points are added to his/her account.

The way the point system works is by having a basic set of “base points” awarded to basic activities (defined below) done on PlanetMath. In additionPlanetmathPlanetmath, more complicated awarding schemes are used with more complex activities.

Certain activities can result in points being forfeited. When such a case occurs, negative points are awarded.

2 Base Points

The following table describes the basic activities and the corresponding base points awarded.

basic activity base point
addition of a publishable encyclopedia entry 100
addition of a publishable non-encyclopedia entry 20
addition of a non-publishable entry 10
addition of a book 100
addition of a paper 50
addition of an exposition 75
addition of a forum post 1
voting in a poll 1

For example, if a user writes three entries, one is publishable encyclopedic, one is publishable non-encyclopedic, and one is not publishable, the total number of points earned by the user based on the addition of these three entries is 120.

3 Additives

A user may earn additional points based on additional activities that are done to past activities. For example, if a user revises an existing PM entry, certain points may be earned as a result of this activity. The past activity, in this case, is the addition of the original entry. The user does not have to be responsible for both activities to earn the points (please see examples below). Currently, PlanetMath only has provisions for a point system for past activities that are related to entry contribution.

Below is a table that shows the activities and the corresponding additional points that can be earned by a user.

additional activity point
correction accepted (erratum) 30
correction accepted (addendum) 20
correction accepted (meta or minor) 10
revision of a publishable encyclopedic entry 5
revision of a entry that is neither publishable nor encyclopedic 0
minor administrative edits (??) 5

Below are some examples illustrating how the additives work:

  • A user revises two of his own entries, one publishable encyclopedic, one not publishable: total points earned =5.

  • A user revises two publishable entries, one encyclopedic, one non-encyclopedic, neither of which he owns: total points earned =5.

  • A user files two correction notices, one of which is minor and is accepted, the other is major (erratum) and is rejected: total points earned =10.

4 Points associated with an entry

The evaluation of points can be based on a specific object. In most cases, this object is a PlanetMath entry. For example, if publishable encyclopedic entry is added, and two revisions are made to it, then the points associated with that entry is 100+5+5=110.

Below, we will see some more complicated examples of evaluation of points associated with an entry.

5 Reclassification of an Entry

If an entry is reclassified, the points associated with the entry will be scaled to correspond to its new classification. Define the state of an entry by the pair (a,b) where a denotes whether it is encyclopedic or not, and b denotes whether it is publishable or not. Any entry can be in any one of four states at any time of its lifetime.

Given a state of an entry, we associate it with a number, called a scaling factor. The following table shows the matrix of scaling factors:

classification encyclopedic non-encyclopedic
publishable 10 2
non-publishable 1 1

The way to find the scaling factor of an entry given its classification is evident from the above matrix. For example, if an entry is publishable and non-encyclopedic, its scaling factor is 2.

In order to calculate the points gained (or lost) as the result of a reclassification, do the following:

  1. 1.

    Let p be the points associated with the entry prior to reclassification

  2. 2.

    Let si be the scaling factor of the entry prior to reclassification

  3. 3.

    Let sf be the scaling factor of the entry after reclassification

  4. 4.

    The points gained is


For example, an entry, currently classified as non-publishable non-encyclopedic, and is worth 5 points. Its user changes it to publishable encyclopedic. The points awarded is 5101-5=45. It is easy to come up with examples where a user would lose points due to reclassification.

6 Transfer of an Entry

When an entry is transferred from one user to another, some points are transferred from one to another correspondingly. More precisely, the person losing the entry loses “some” of the points associated with the entry, while the person gaining the entry earns the points lost by the other.

Transfers can occur in three ways:

  1. 1.

    A user voluntarily transfers his/her entry to another user

  2. 2.

    A user orphans or abandons his/her entry, and the entry is picked up or adopted by another user later

  3. 3.

    An administrative confiscation (takeover) of an entry from a user.

The exact way “some” is calculated is as follows: find the base points associated with the entry to be transferred in its current “state” (defined in the previous section). Let this number be p. Then the person losing the entry will lose


points, while the person getting the entry will receive 0.5p points.

Below are a series of examples illustrating how transfer works:

  1. 1.

    For example, if an entry is transferred from X to Y. At time of transfer, it is worth 60 points. However, its state is publishable non-encyclopedic. As a result, only 0.520=10 points will be transferred. In other words, X will lose 10 points, while Y will gain just 10 points.

  2. 2.

    Continuing from the example above, if Y changes the entry from publishable non-encyclopedic to publishable encyclopedic and transfers it to Z, then Y loses 0.5100=50 points and Z gains 50 points in the process.

  3. 3.

    Z orphans the entry. Just prior to orphaning it, the entry is publishable encyclopedic. Therefore, Z will lose 50 points. The 50 points remains with the entry, until X picks up or adopts the entry later. He will then receive the 50 points.

7 Entry Deletion

If an entry is deleted, most of the points associated with the entries are deleted. The “most” portion is calculated as follows: find the base points of the entry at its current state prior to deletion, let this number be p. The points to be deleted are


where f is determined by the following schedule

entry originally added by f
self 1.0
another user 0.5

Below are two examples illustrating how this works:

  • User X deletes one of his entries, written by himself. When it was first written, it was non-publishable and non-encyclopedic. Just prior to deletion, its state is publishable encyclopedic. He will thus lose 1001=100 points.

  • As in the previous example, if the entry was adopted or transferred to X from user Y who first added the entry. X will lose 1000.5=50 points instead.

  • Again, as previously, if the entry was transferred back to X, who wrote the entry originally, then X will lose 1001=100 points.

8 Points associated with an entry - Revisited

With the additional situations (reclassification, transfer, deletion), it can be a bit tricky to calculate the number of points a user has associated with a given entry. We give one long example to illustrate how the points associated with an entry are calculated.

An entry is created by user X, initially set as non-publishable encyclopedic. After two revisions, the entry becomes encyclopedic. Subsequently, three additional revisions take place, one as a result of self edit, two as a result of correction notices received by others. The entry is subsequently transferred to user Y, who makes a single revision.

  • How many points associated with the entry does each user have?

    Solution. X earns 10 points for initially adding the entry as non-publishable encyclopedic. Two revisions later, the entry is still worth 10 points. When the entry becomes publishable, however, the entry is worth 100 points. Three additional edits result in 15 points added to the entry. Before the entry is transferred to Y, it is worth 115 points. After the transfer, X loses 50 points and Y gains 50 points. When Y makes an edit on the entry, 5 point is awarded to him. So, in the end, X has 115-50=65 points and Y has 50+5=55 points.

  • If Y transfers the entry back to user X, how many points associated with the entry does each user have?

    Solution. When Y transfers the entry back to X, he loses 50 points since at time of transfer the entry was publishable encyclopedic. After the transfer, X has 65+50=115 points and Y has 55-50=5 points.

  • If Y deletes the entry instead, how many points associated with the entry does each user have?

    Solution. Again, since the entry was publishable encyclopedic prior to deletion, Y loses 1000.5=50 points, since he did not add the entry in the first place. In the end, X still has 65 points, and Y only has 5 points left.

    Interestingly, if Y transfers the entry back to X and X deletes it, then X only has 15 points left and Y still just has 5 points.

9 Cash Cow

Administrators: the last example in the previous section leads to an interesting cash cow (loophole) in the PM system, and it seems like this loophole also exists in the current PM system. Please correct me if I am wrong, as I am going to exhibit some examples.

Users X and Y are good friends. Neither one of them really want to work very hard. They figure out a way to earn PM points without contributing to entries. X writes an entry worth 100 points. He transfers it to Y and asks Y to delete it for him. In the end X ends up with 50 points. Later Y asks X to do the same thing for him too, so Y also ends up with 50 points. Neither of them own any entries, and they both end up 50 points more.

Possible fix 1: When a transfer of entry occurs, do not apply the 0.5 factor to p, but use all of p instead (refer to section 6 on detail on transfers). Furthermore, when deleting an entry, again do not use f=0.5, but use f=1 in all cases (refer to section 7 for detail on deletion).

However, the possible fix 1 does not really fix the problem. We have users X and Y again. User X writes a bogus entry initially worth 100 points. He makes 10 empty edits himself and transfers it to Y. He loses 100 points as the result of Possible fix 1. But he retains 105=50 points from the edits. Y deletes the entry for him, so X is left with 50 points. Y does the same later and he receives 50 points. Again, neither of them have any entries left but they are 50 points richer.

Possible fix 2: In addition to Possible fix 1, a transfer of entry should also transfer all points associated with the entry at time of transfer.

In other words, the PM system has to be able to figure out exactly how many points are associated with every entry now. I am not sure the PM system has that ability now. If not, it will be a desirable thing to have, because I think Possible fix 2 will solve the Cash Cow problem.


  1. 1.

    Moved Point System from the PM Community Guidelines (6-16-2007) –[[Cwoo]]

Title PM Point System
Canonical name PMPointSystem1
Date of creation 2013-03-11 19:33:08
Last modified on 2013-03-11 19:33:08
Owner CWoo (3771)
Last modified by (0)
Numerical id 1
Author CWoo (0)
Entry type Definition