I was interested in taking a look of how each person's merit history is projected in the map of merit network space. The motivation was originally from curiosity, and now another motivation is to answer questions raised by theymos in the previous thread

[1] from the network analysis point of view:

These are very useful analyses, great job!

I am particularly interested in identifying people who should be made merit sources, or existing merit sources who should be given a higher monthly limit. When I originally created the system, I thought it'd be fairly easy to look through the stats and figure out who would make good sources, but it's been more difficult than I expected. Is there any additional data I can provide that would be useful?

Let us take a look of several people from the list of "Most generous merit senders". The following figures use the same setting as in

[1] but only show merit transactions sent by each person at the center.

QuestionAuthority

suchmoon

TMAN

EFS

Vod

dbshck

They are all different but we notice that EFS and dbshck are particularly different from others as they have been meriting posts in Turkish and Indonesian communities, respectively. It is important to have various kind of merit senders to cover the entire forum as much as possible.

Further examples of such senders who cover different communities are:

JayJuanGee (Economy)

xandry (Russian local board)

They act like eigenvectors or basis vectors in the merit network space. Here I am a little bit abusing the terminology in mathematics but the point is that they are independent and spanning the merit network space in some sense. From admin point of view, the next step is to choose a set of such vectors which can cover the entire forum in an efficient way. This is parallel to find out a good basis, e.g. orthonormal basis for some vector space in mathematics. In mathematics this problem is well-defined but it is not trivial for the merit network space. At least, the network analysis allows us an intuitive approach. To demonstrate it, if I choose a set of merit senders as

QuestionAuthority

suchmoon

TMAN

EFS

Vod

dbshck

Foxpup

paxmao

DarkStar_

xandry

OgNasty

achow101

qwk

JayJuanGee

soniclord

the subnetwork they span covers the merit network space as follows:

It visualizes each person's role for coverage of the merit networks and gives the skeleton of the entire merit network shown in the first figure in

[1].

In conclusion, the merit network analysis have the following advantages on this issue.

1) It visualizes each person's transactions and relative position in the entire merit network space.

2) It provides us qualitative understanding about how various communities they have merited to (or been merited from, see bonus below).

3) It clarifies the role of each person in the local communities.

4) These intuitive understandings would help admins to make a decision on how to adjust the monthly limit for each merit source, and to simulate a merit source candidate's coverage in the entire forum.

There are several remarks on this analysis, which can be supplemented by other type of analysis, or are left for a future work.

a) It focuses on Merit sent already, and hence highlights people who already have had and sent sufficient number of sMerits. It does not highlight people who do not have sufficient sMerit but deserve to be assigned as merit sources.

b) It provides intuitive and qualitative understanding but does not quantify each sender's contributions by numbers, which should be supplemented by traditional data analysis.

c) It counts the number of sMerit but does not tell what kind of posts they are actually meriting. It requires manual check, which however is also not straightforward. For example xandry's network is important to cover Russian community, but somehow most of his/her merited posts are "(Deleted/Off-limits/Ignored)" posts

[2], which I cannot check. It is also difficult for any algorithm and data analysis to consider the balance between the number of high quality posts and distributed merit in each local community. More generally, since we do not have a quantitative definition of high quality posts, the issues related to the quality requires manual check, for which we can make use of the satellites in the merit network

[1] and the table of large amount merit transactions

[3].

Bonus: We can do the same game for the "Top-merited users". The following figures are merits sent to the top 3 merited people.

theymos

satoshi

nullius

Finally, several people asked me what kind of tools I am using for these network analyses, and I presume there are more potential interests, so let me answer here. I am using igraph on python and Gephi, which are tools designed for social network analysis (SNA). There are many softwares and programming tools for SNA, see e.g. the list in Wikipedia

[4], among which you may find your favorite ones.

Referemces:

[1] sncc, "Merit network analysis: merit rank distribution and satellites", Bitcointalk, 3759121, May 12, (2018)

[2] sncc, "Global structure of merit networks", Bitcointalk, 3650124, May 08, (2018)

[3] sncc, "Merit stat & all transactions more than 40 Merits", Bitcointalk, 3046077, March 01 (2018)

[4] Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_network_analysis_software#Types_of_Software