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XP and level balancing

by bprew (Monk)
on Oct 25, 2002 at 05:57 UTC ( #207918=monkdiscuss: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

I was thinking about XP and levels earlier today and wondering... have XP and levels changed to relative to the increase in users? I mean, I'm all for leveling and would like to reach a higher level sooner, but by having more users on the site, doesn't that "bloat" my XP in comparison to the XP required to go up levels?

With a smaller user base it would have been harder to reach the higher levels, and would have taken more writeups... No offense, but I wrote 4 articles and reached level 4... of 10. I would like to reach Saint as soon as possible, and I'm sure there are many others out there who feel the same way. But at the same time, I would like this accomplishment to mean something. If we have so many users that those posting can quickly become saints... what's the use of being a saint?

Also, the breakdown of users by level shows a majority of the users at level 1, with bubbles at 5 and 10. I find it somewhat interesting that there are more level 10 users then level 9 users.

Has this been considered on PM before? By adjusting up the XP required to get to the next levels, it would make level 10 be something that only a few people obtain. Or, since the Catholic church requires a saint to perform a miracle, how about only making users who meet the XP requirement and have some sort of "miracle" or contribution to PM be a saint. Possible ideas I have are: a node with a rep over X (implying that this node has had great impact on a large number of people), some sort of site changes (re-org-ing the FAQ, writing some script to do X, etc..) or perhaps an ordination from the gods?

Lastly, how about a -1 level for those with neg XP? Or would that be uncalled for?
--
Ben
"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart."

Comment on XP and level balancing
Re: XP and level balancing
by Tanalis (Curate) on Oct 25, 2002 at 07:14 UTC
    I think I can agree with what you say. Node reps (just lately) seem to be quite high in proportion to "Normal" - maybe I'm getting better at writing stuff (I'd like to think so) or maybe it's simply a case of there being more people with votes.

    Having said that, though - while it's nice to log in of a morning and get a whole bunch of XP (not that THAT happens much .. *g*) - it's not the primary reason I come here. I have to write Perl at work, and I'm relatively new to the language (I joined here in August - I'd never touched the language before that), and I find the site invaluable as both a reference source, somewhere to bounce ideas off and just to ask the little niggling (Perl) questions that I can't find the answer to anywhere else.

    Whether the XP system existed or not, whether it was more "challenging" to get to higher levels or not, I think it's very important to remember that XP is not the be-all-and-end-all of the PerlMonks site.

    On the other hand (perhaps a little OT), node reps are, to me at least, very useful in judging explanations, the usefulness of code examples given and such like. Whether this rep system would work as well without the XP system, or with a modified XP system, would be a small concern to me should any changes be made.

    Just my quick thoughts ..
    -- Foxcub

      I totally agree. I think that XP is such a minor factor as to why we all are here. We are really one big family together because of Perl not because we crave XP at sites on the web. Not because we want to vote each other and judge each other. Because we all love Perl and we want to help each other.

      -@rocks

Re: XP and level balancing
by graff (Chancellor) on Oct 25, 2002 at 08:12 UTC
    Relax. It's okay for people to get to level 4 quickly when they actually post decent stuff, because that sort of positive reinforcement encourages decency (very effectively, I think). The jump from 5 to 6 (from XP200 to XP500) would, on average, take at least as long as the whole progression from newbie to level 5, and so it's not surprising to see a clump of folks who hit a "plateau" there.

    As for the gradual but inevitable growth of the saint caste, if PM were a for-profit corporation and our saints were managers and chief officers, this sort of growth would be bad. But since PM is an all-volunteer, all-pro-bono, altruistic mob, having more people at the highest level just makes things better for everybody at all levels (even for those levels less populated than the saint class) -- it means more experts to share the SOPW load, more diversity of expertise, better jokes in the CB, you name it.

    If/when I reach that level, it'll be meaningful for me, no matter how many others are there by that time, no matter how many more come in afterwards.

    update: Having thought a bit more (and looking at some other replies), I wanted to stress this one point about XP and levels: it should not be about climbing into ever more rarified and exclusive upper ranks. It's about accumulating a common wealth of experience, such that people are accountable (get credit) for the experience they contribute. A lot of effort is invested to make sure the wealth can be shared as openly and effectively as possible. When there are more saints, the whole community is richer, and I don't see a problem with that.

      Amen to that graff. It's not about XP folks. It's about learning Perl and gaining knowledge. It means a lot to me when I gain a level but it is not why I am here. I would almost dare to say no one here thinks XP is the all powerful force at PM. PM is about collecting information about Perl and sharing it, not XP. I think we could work on it but it is such an inferior issue I think that we are fine like we are, one big community of people who use Perl some way or another.

      -@rocks

Re: XP and level balancing
by blm (Hermit) on Oct 25, 2002 at 08:18 UTC

    I would check the trend in the avg reputation per post before saying that posts are getting more votes and more people equates to faster transition up the XP ladder. AFAIK though I haven't been here that long the $NORM hasn't changed much from a value of about 11.(1)(2) At least as far as I can tell in the last few weeks a smaller percentage of posts are getting the votes. Also more perlmonks users will not necessarily translate to a higher average reputation per node or faster ride up the "level ladder" to Sainthood unless more people are voting. It is my impression that a significant proportion of uses may not be using their votes. It takes effort to go through read posts and vote on them.

    I don't find it suprising that there are more level 10 monks then level 9. Sainthood seems to represent an end of the line as far as levels are concerned so you would expect there to be a net accumulation of users in level 10. With levels 2 to 9 there is a flow through the level to a higher level. It seems that a lot of users create a logon at level one but move on soon after possibly after finding an answer their question(s).

    Anyway, at the end of the day, I think one should take the XP/level system with a grain of salt.


    (1) You can check the value of $norm here near the bottom. I look it up here every so often.

    (2) You can see a plot of $NORM here for the last 30 days thanks to jcwren (I believe). It would be interesting to find out whether there is still data back further then 30days

    --blm--
Re: XP and level balancing
by rdfield (Priest) on Oct 25, 2002 at 08:55 UTC
    I agree with your sentiments, bprew. Perhaps the jump from level 9 to 10 should be based on a vote of the current saints based on the prospect's contribution to the Monestary. Or perhaps some kind of relative scale:
    • Top 0.5% XP Saint (approx 100 given the 20000 or so registered monks)
    • Next 2.5% XP Pontiff
    • Next 4% XP Bishop
    • Next 8% Abbot
    • Next 10% Friar
    • Next 10% Monk
    • Next 10% Scribe
    • Next 10% Acolyte
    • Next 15% Novice
    • Last 30% Initiate
    Something else related that was mentioned a while back (I'll fill in the link later...) was the once some people had reached Saint, their contributions tailed off quite dramatically - so perhaps some -ve XP per day (or week or whatever) not logged in would be an incentive to them keeping up their contributions.

    However, looking at the Perl Monks stats main page (here) it would appear that over half of the 20000 registered users have only ever logged in once, and about half of the rest have never logged in at all. Meaning that of the 20000 registered users, only about 25% (28.86% to be pedantic) are actually contributing to the site.

    So where's all this going? I don't know, but I do know that having 'Saint'hood being doled out to anyone who writes a couple of hundred mildly interesting nodes, as well as, say, Tye, merlyn or Abigail-II (or tilly, Erudil or Ovid, or ...insert your favourite contributor here...) who make (or made, in tilly's case) a massive and worthwhile contribution is a bit unfair to say the least. Perhaps the various non-XP related groups (or whatever you want to call them) that can only be bestowed upon Monks rather than automatically given out should be given more publicity on the Voting/Experience System node.

    As an example of what I mean - given enough time, and provided they log in and use their votes and keep their views to themselves for a while, the likes of Alex the Serb and Olecram could be Saints alongside those worthy of the title.

    rdfield

      I do know that having 'Saint'hood being doled out to anyone who writes a couple of hundred mildly interesting nodes, as well as, say, Tye, merlyn or Abigail-II (or tilly, Erudil or Ovid, or ...insert your favourite contributor here...) who make (or made, in tilly's case) a massive and worthwhile contribution is a bit unfair to say the least.

      I challenge you to point out one monk (other than me ;-) who rose to sainthood by nothing more than writing "a couple hundred mildly interesting nodes."

      -sauoq
      "My two cents aren't worth a dime.";
      
        Aristotle raises hand ;-)

        Makeshifts last the longest.

Re: XP and level balancing
by RMGir (Prior) on Oct 25, 2002 at 12:52 UTC
    Don't worry, even saints have something to work towards. I have 1,001,700 XP left to level vroom :)

    I don't think the number of saints is a big drawback. Most of them contribute well to the site, I'd think...

    Besides, there's levels beyond saint to strive for, like editors or gods... :)
    --
    Mike

    Edit: Oops, underestimated my points to reach level vroom by 0.02% :)

Dead saints and reputation at work
by blssu (Pilgrim) on Oct 25, 2002 at 13:39 UTC

    When I first visited here, I thought Sainthood was something above and beyond the normal level system. After all, only dead people become Saints. ;)

    The whole XP/level system is fun, but it's only a means to an end, i.e. a device to help the community resist destruction from the hands of newbies. It works amazingly well.

    OT: Has anybody tried to bring anonymous voting into the work place? I'm responsible for my division's engineering data management system. We have serious problems with quality metrics and I've been thinking of using document reputations to help filter queries.

Re: XP and level balancing
by sauoq (Abbot) on Oct 25, 2002 at 15:52 UTC
    have XP and levels changed to relative to the increase in users?

    More people to vote. More people to vote for. I think it probably stays pretty stable. There seems to have been quite a lot of discussion, early on, about whether the voting system would scale. It did.

    No offense, but I wrote 4 articles and reached level 4... of 10.

    No offense taken. The first several levels are easy to breeze through. I think it is good that they are because it immediately gets newcomers used to (and maybe even a little excited about) the leveling system. It is highly unlikely that your 1 to 1 post to level ratio will continue for much longer. ;-)

    I find it somewhat interesting that there are more level 10 users then level 9 users.

    That doesn't surprise me. Relatively speaking, there are not a lot of people that put in the time to reach level nine. Once they have, sainthood seems finally in reach and there is some motivation to try to sprint through that last 700 XP.

    -sauoq
    "My two cents aren't worth a dime.";
    
      That doesn't surprise me. Relatively speaking, there are not a lot of people that put in the time to reach level nine. Once they have, sainthood seems finally in reach and there is some motivation to try to sprint through that last 700 XP.

      Actually, I think this is an unnecessary level of psychoanalysis. At the present moment, there are 184 monks with 2300 or more XP. Leaving aside vroom for the moment (for obvious reasons) their XP totals range from 2311 to 29341. Even assuming a strongly left-skewed distribution (which is a reasonable assumption) it isn't really to be expected that a majority of that population will be in the left-most 700 XP of that 27030-XP range.

      (Generation of a statistical comparison of this population to the overall Perlmonks population is left as an exercise to the reader, assuming the reader has some time on his hands.)



      If God had meant us to fly, he would *never* have given us the railroads.
          --Michael Flanders

        On first inspection that analysis seems sufficient but it falls apart when you take a slightly wider view.

        There are 351 monks with 1600 or more XP and well over half are in the left-most 1400 XP of that approx. 27730 range.

        Only 38.7 percent of monks that have reached level eight have gone on to sainthood but a whopping 73.9 percent of monks that have made it to level nine have become saints.

        That's the phenomenon that I was attempting to explain with my "psychoanalysis." Of course, I have no idea of its accuracy. I've always had an insatiable need to speculate about why things happen though, and I don't think these observations are entirely due to the system's structure.

        For what it's worth, I think there is a similar threshold at level six.

        -sauoq
        "My two cents aren't worth a dime.";
        
      It is highly unlikely that your 1 to 1 post to level ratio will continue for much longer

      Unless you're Erudil's alter ego :)

      cLive ;-)

      --

Re: XP and level balancing
by shadox (Priest) on Oct 25, 2002 at 17:12 UTC
    XP this, XP that....
    Level 10 , Level 1, who cares?
    Perlmonks is about perl, learn perl, share what you know and read opinions from people, help and get help.
    My opinion is that if all of you who cares about XP would take that time to read about perl, maybe you will be on of these users who will give good answers when someone needs help, and make that people problem a learning experience.
    Thats just my opinion, i don't care about XP i care about learn.
    ___________________________________________
    Optimus magister, bonus liber
      For reals, Who cares? Level 1 is just as good as 10 in my opinion. I really have no interest in taking this subject much farther. Who wants stupid XP arguements to split the site? Not me. I just want to learn. Learn Perl. Like shadox said, "to help and get help". Now that may sound funny to some of you who like to think it means something else but he's right, we are all hear to boost each other and to boost our own knowledge; not to make 3 accounts to boost our XP on one account. That is very annoying BTW when people do that.

      -@rocks

Re: XP and level balancing
by strider corinth (Friar) on Oct 25, 2002 at 17:16 UTC
    I'm seems to me that you may have been looking at the first set of data on the page, which is for registered monks who logged in within the last 24 hours. That breakdown is as follows, and displays pretty visible bubbles at levels 5 and 10, and significantly more users at level 10 than 9:
    Level 1:  161
    Level 2:   59
    Level 3:   59
    Level 4:   70
    Level 5:  133
    Level 6:  127
    Level 7:   78
    Level 8:   52
    Level 9:   29
    Level 10:  92

    The overall breakdown on registered monks looks like this. There aren't such bubbles at levels 5 and 10 as in the top graph, nor is level 10 as significantly higher than level 9:
    Level 1: 14357
    Level 2:   868
    Level 3:   513
    Level 4:   370
    Level 5:   517
    Level 6:   127
    Level 7:   342
    Level 8:   167
    Level 9:    48
    Level 10:  136

    I like the idea of having to perform a miracle to attain to sainthood, though. For what it's worth, I think the exponential difficulty in attaining new levels offsets the new users.
    --

    Love justice; desire mercy.
Re: XP and level balancing
by Aristotle (Chancellor) on Oct 26, 2002 at 03:25 UTC
    sauoq++ has already made the point, but I wanted to reinforce the point about this:
    by having more users on the site, doesn't that "bloat" my XP in comparison to the XP required to go up levels?

    When there are fewer people, it also means votes are concentrated on fewer people.

    The key issue here is the votes/day limit. More active users who vote means also roughly as many more new posts/day that the ratio remains close to equal.

    Makeshifts last the longest.

      blm++, sauoq++ and Aristotle++ did bring up something I hadn't thought of; more users = more posts. That and the $NORM value should be a good indicator of whether or not XP values are on the rise, as long as I understand $NORM... (the average node rep, correct?).

      Also, I didn't mean to imply that PM was only about earning XP, I've learned more Perl here then I ever thought possible and continue to learn everyday, but this is the "Perlmonks Discussion" forum, which I thought related to discussion about PM.org, not just Perl.

      Another idea that was sort-of started with this node (and should probably be a new node) is, the number of users at level 1. Do we have a problem that a vast majority only log in once, or simply ask one question? I would think as a community we would want as many people as possible to get involved. Have we talked about how to teach new Perl users as well as retain new, experienced users? I don't mean to try and force users to stay here and that each person can certainly do their own thing, but I feel that a community prospers best when you can get as many people as possible to contribute. That and I would hate to lose possible new Perl programmers because they felt they couldn't find information or didn't know how to proceed.
      --
      Ben
      "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart."

        I think for a lot of people, there simply isn't much need. A lot of folks just want to tweak something minor in a script or two they downloaded for example, and have no aspirations to become Perl gurus at any point. Assuming most saints, if they're not experts, at least have picked up a lot of stuff just by participating on PerlMonks if not in any other way, we have several hundred active members at the site who are at least moderately equipped to contribute meaningfully.

        That's quite a good ratio, if you ask me. Indeed, PerlMonks is really the only webbased forum I have come across with such a concentration of expertise.

        Makeshifts last the longest.

Re: XP and level balancing
by cecil36 (Monk) on Oct 28, 2002 at 01:52 UTC
    Sometimes I gain boatloads of XP by just making silly comments in response to the poll questions. My highest rep node was in response to Your favorite Muppet:. (my comment Re: Your favorite Muppet:). Anyone reading my list of writeups will also see that I have asked questions and made an effort to contribute to the PM community. Overall, I agree with the users saying that the XP system shouldn't be taken too seriously.
      You know what I am here because you have always gotten me the answers I have needed quickly and with usually multiple people answering. I can't answer most of the questions that others post yet but when I can I do and will. I have been trying to learn c/c++ to round out my resume and it does not have anything like this site. So I care less about XP and more about saying thank you to all of you who have answered my questions.
Re: XP and level balancing
by Acolyte (Hermit) on Nov 13, 2002 at 23:44 UTC

    Hopefully I'm not rehashing here, but the issue that is most personal to me is not progressing in levels, but it is being able to vote, and using that vote wisely. To me, earning that right means that I have at least made a modest contribution to this community, and that someone has found my input useful, or at least entertaining. It also means that I gain a voice in the community beyond writeups, and that I can throw my support where I think it will benefit the community the most. The step from initate to novice is huge. Everything beyond that is gravy.

    Of course for us RPG junkies leveling can be something of an an obsession. I admit that achieving Sainthood is a tantalizing goal. One could make Saint by being a court jester and posting entertaining writeups and poetry. One could also make Saint by providing useful code and/or assistance to fellow monks. I'd venture to guess that the second approach results in a quicker rise than the first, which is only appropriate. Either way, whether it's art or science, quickly progressing or making a slow steady rise, a monk can give back to this most generous of communities and be recognized for that contribution. It is up to those with the power to vote to determine the worth of that contribution and reward the contributor accordingly.

    Acolyte
    "The point of the journey is not to arrive." - Neal Peart

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