I, princepawn, merlyn, and everyone else started with zero XP- even though merlyn wrote a book about Perl
Not to nitpick an excellent discussion, but your example is actually not a good one - merlyn began with 1,000,000 XP. However, he thereafter requested the 1,000,000 be removed, and earned the rest of his points (excluding the voting bonuses while an instant saint) the hard way - namely, by providing good answers to questions and getting voted up for it.
Vroom still has his million XP bonus, but I'm catching up: only 997,328 more points to go! :)