I don't know the answer to that . . . but I also don't know at what ranking number does something become "meaningless".
There's 707 players in the UK system, of which 17 are ranked in the top 1000 (2.4%).
There's 18,360 players current ranked in the US, of which 575 are ranked in the top 1000 (3.1%).
There's 2561 players in Canada, of which 50 are ranked in the top 1000 (1.9%).
There's 1959 players in Australia, of which 45 are ranked in the top 1000 (2.3%).
I'm seeing that there's representation among the top 1000 that's pretty representative of the size of the competitive pinball community in those countries.
Should there be 100 players from the UK in the top 1000? Is it more about WHERE these players are in the top 1000? Is it only about the top 25? top 50? top 100? top 250?
I can tell you in the US/Canada, specifically with the SCS/PCS, we have more players QUALIFYING FOR FINALS than the UK has TOTAL PLAYERS. There's absolutely a level of true interest that take SCS qualifying as a tangible goal that they can reach. With 750 spots, I would guess there's easily a few thousand players that are seriously fighting for those spots.
As for my mom, her first event was October 2015. She's now played in 24 events. She's had ONE EVENT not replace her top 20 so far (her December 2015 result, even decayed, still makes her resume). She hasn't always seen her rank rise (this past month she dropped from 8035th to 8220th), but she still feels she has a sense of control of being able to improve her rank, and I think she'll feel that way for a long time to come.
I totally understand there's a group of people that reach the point where they feel like the no longer have that control of being able to move up the WPPR charts, but I think it's a very small group by comparison to those that still have plenty of room to not have hit their WPPR plateau.
The question is at what rank do we have to worry about that particular player hitting their max WPPR threshold, and the IFPA should be concerned about THAT PLAYER. It goes back to my question #3:
3) If a player won't play outside of 100 miles of their location, should a ranking system accommodate that level of non-travel? What if a player doesn't want to travel 50 miles outside of their home? Should a system accommodate that level? What if I NEVER want to leave my house, but I'm still Zach Sharpe and I'm actually awesome? Should a pinball ranking system somehow still kowtow to my skills because I actually am awesome? Where's that line of travel/commitment that should be EXPECTED for someone to be ranked the top 50 in the world? Clearly requiring international travel is 'over the line', and not leaving your house is 'below the line' . . . where's the line?
If a player maxes out at a ranking of 5000, because they've won every local bar tournament over the past 3 years, and refuse to travel outside of that one location . . . at what point is it the system's responsibility to kowtow to that particular player, and give them some sort of "official respect" out of the system?