This also had me LOL.
Because a group of players takes the IFPA Rankings as gospel for who the "Most skilled players are", it's the IFPA's responsibility to change their system to be a SKILL BASED SYSTEM . . . or the other option is to kill the system altogether?
The other option, like most other sports ranking systems is to live with the consequences of what your ranking metrics are, knowing that there's always a group of people that won't be accurately reflected in the system.
I'm all for the TrueRank style analysis that Wayne brought up. I wouldn't have created a spreadsheet of my own years ago that coincidentally matches the same kind of investigating that Wayne is pursuing. I think head-to-head records against just that top tier of player could be a valuable metric on it's own. What that doesn't do however is accurately rank EVERYONE in the system. This metric may dial in the top 250 better, but if you stretch this concept to the top 10,000, it falls apart.
I can see a path where the IFPA releases the "POWER 100", based on the winning percentage of the top 250 WPPR players against eachother, but outside of that ego boost for whoever would jump up into the "POWER" ranking, I can't see shifting our overall system that captures ALL PLAYERS into this kind of model.
The promotional tool of the WPPR system is the biggest part of what keeps people interested. The biggest satisfaction that I've seen is the movement a player sees when they start playing. Every time they play, they move up, full stop. The fact it's a POSITIVE ONLY SYSTEM is BY DESIGN. It's meant to pull the player in, motivate them to play more, and get them hooked with their first 20 events pushing them up the charts. It becomes almost Pavlovian. Typically you won't see a new player plateau for years as they continue to push out their lowest value event and replace it with a higher scoring event.
These players are the backbone of what makes WPPR successful. This gives WPPR's the importance in the world. These players don't care whether they are actually ranked 4028th in the world. They just know that 19 months ago they just started, and they saw this path from 30,000th to 22,640th to 17,267th to 13,426th and up and up they go. That's the joyride they get out of the system.
The negative impact on that same player enjoying the ride up the rankings when put into a skill based system means someone like my mom starts playing, gets thrown in at some 'initial level'. As she plays she moves down the rankings, then down some more, then down some more, until the idea of the ranking system doesn't just not add value to her playing experience, it's a DETRIMENT to her playing experience.
On the higher end player scale, I enjoy "casually competing" in events where I stand to gain zero WPPR value out of it. Maybe I'll have a beer . ..or two . . . or three when playing, because that particular event means nothing to me. A system that isn't positive only takes away the opportunity to casually compete. I'm left with either NOT entering events, maybe I don't throw in that random PAPA Classics entry because I don't feel like finishing 40th. Maybe I stop going to my monthly local bar event because I don't feel like taking it "seriously". To me that's a big negative side effect of switching to a non positive-only system.
There's far more at play here than creating accurate rankings . . .