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Two Observations About Voting/Experience

by George_Sherston (Vicar)
on Oct 09, 2001 at 12:50 UTC ( #117668=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Observation 1
I just had a look at my high-rep nodes to confirm a suspicion... and I'm right. A node stands a much greater chance of getting more than 50 votes if it gets on the Monastery Gates. Even if it's a few steps down a Monastery Gates thread, it's going to get more votes.

For example this was a moderately intelligent response to a slightly whimsical question, but from a technical standpoint quite lame (unnecessarily elaborate regex use, as a follow-up post showed), but it featured in best nodes of the day at one point and ended up at 70 - because the thread was on the front page.

On the other hand this obfu, of which I confess I'm quite proud, and which I think was a newish take on an old problem, and which certainly took a good deal more effort, has hardly more rep than the $NORM.

Well so what? I mean, I'm here for the XP, obviously, that's my only motivation, but in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter. But I think it does matter for two reasons:
(1) if a node is getting voted up simply because of where it appears, then the monastery is not accurately encouraging the kind of posts that really contribute to its life
(2) if monks are only voting for nodes on the front page, then they are missing a lot of good stuff

To my mind, (1) is the more important. I reckon the value of voting is that it promotes a convergence and consensus around what is a useful contribution to the life of the monastery. So it's important to vote on content. Everyone agrees that personality voting is a bad thing (especially personality downvoting) for just this reason. I think visibility voting is just as bad, albeit not personally hurtful.

My new year resolutions about voting, therefore are:
(1) only vote up a node I understand and which either (A) told me something I needed to know (B) probably told another monk something s/he needed to know (C) was delightfully clever or funny (D) was very polite - thus encouraging the kind of behaviour I would like to see more of;
(2) not vote for something on the front page if I wouldn't have found it under newest nodes
(3) return to every thread I vote on after a day or two has passed to see if there are any valuable contributions that didn't get voted up in the first rush of enthusiasm

Observation 2
I calculate that if I built a votebot and left it running and posted nothing, then I'd end up as a saint in about eight months time. But frankly I shouldn't be a saint, if it's to mean anything. Now, of course, those who actually are saints now are cool enough as it is, and probably aren't bothered about grade inflation. But for those of us in the foothills of Olympus it might be nice to extend the system a bit, to give us a sense of geography further up the mountain.

If I were doing this, and if it were easy to implement, I'd make anyone with more than 6000 XP an angel. And then maybe next year we'd need arcangels too.

I'm aware as I write this that obsession with XP is a bit juvenile. On the other hand we do have this system, and we have it for a good reason. So maybe it's worth talking about how to make it work to its capacity. What do you think?

George Sherston

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
(kudra) Re: Two Observations About Voting/Experience
by kudra (Vicar) on Oct 09, 2001 at 13:55 UTC
    Your concern about nodes getting more reputation than they 'deserve' based upon location strikes me as inconsistent.

    Consider: it is not only a well-known fact that front-paging affects a node's reputation (to the point that I could find no other nodes discussing it, only nodes assuming it to be the case), it is also equally known that root-level nodes usually generate more interest--and xp--than replies. Discussion nodes have also been pegged as xp-generators.

    You may find it interesting to read one of the many previous discussions on adding new levels.

    The problem with your resolutions is that you cannot be another person's conscience. I expect that most will continue to vote according to their convictions, something I also hope you were doing before you made these resolutions.

    If you really want others to treat your posts according to your views, then you should eschew anything that might get you 'unearned' xp, such as front paging, root-level nodes, links to your previous posts, and mentioning your posts in the chatterbox.

    Some people feel strongly that certain forms of xp--such as xp gained from discussion and meditation--are somehow unsuitable. At least one person has taken steps to ensure that her xp gains don't come in conflict with her convictions. I don't agree, but I admire the attitude.

    An alternative is to embrace this little game we call xp, and take the bonuses when you get them, and the knocks as well. One day you'll be on the front page; the next you might be on worst nodes at the bottom of a dogpile. Or just ignore the whole thing.

    I've read so many ideas on how to 'fix' voting, but is it broken? This does not mean that some people might not use it in a way I consider 'broken'--such as spending all votes to get xp--only that I believe the system itself works as intended, which means that each person votes according to her or his feelings.

Re: Two Observations About Voting/Experience
by blakem (Monsignor) on Oct 09, 2001 at 13:28 UTC
    Sidestepping most of the points you raised.... (sorry)

    What I take from this is that the traffic on The Monastery Gates is disproportionate to the surfing patterns of higher-level monks. Personally, I'm lucky to visit the front page once a week, but hit Newest Nodes many times a day. I don't think I'm unusual in this regard (after all, your XP is severly hampered if you haven't found Newest Nodes yet).

    So, those of us responsible for tending to the front page never actually visit it.... Its no wonder that the content tends to get a bit stale, but it is unfortunate. Especially, since lively discussion can always be found at the side door. Given the phenomenom that you've observed, lots of visitors are being handed stale content, when fresh content is readilly available.

    I've been trying to pay more attention to the front page lately, but have still noticed long periods where no new content is added. Perhaps the best approach would solve both issues at once.... Namely, pay more attention to the content on the front page -- push the old stuff out before it gets stale and before it accumulates too many "im-on-the-front-page" votes.

    p.s. I was already thinking about this last week when a discussion node of mine sat on the front page for nearly 5 days!!!


      Good point. I'm always rather hesitant about marking nodes for putting on the front page, but in future I shall be less so. That'll mean new arrivals, as you say, get fresher content, and also the visibility-voting effect gets diluted.

      George Sherston
Re: Two Observations About Voting/Experience
by davorg (Chancellor) on Oct 09, 2001 at 13:42 UTC

    Interesting points. I guess I'd never really noticed this as I never visit The Monastery Gates. I always access nodes via Newest Nodes instead.

    So, what you're saying it that for maximum XP we should give a good reply to a node that we've seen in Newest Nodes and then immediately front page it :)

    /me wanders off to front page some nodes!


    "The first rule of Perl club is you don't talk about Perl club."

      Or even better, post a flashy node on a topic lots of people have views on (say, the voting / experience system), probably post it under something like Perl Monks Discussion, and then check the 'Monastery Gates' button. Hey, wait a minute... if I were a really dedicated XP whore...

      George Sherston
Re: Two Observations About Voting/Experience
by jeroenes (Priest) on Oct 09, 2001 at 14:42 UTC
    The fun part is that these kind of discussions pop up once in a while. The key issue is to realize that XP is not a matter of quality, but just... err.... a matter of perlmonks experience. Is correlates a bit with quality, or with coding abilities, but mostly with the amount of time spent on the monastry. Many exceptions to be found, most noteworthly Erudil, who hardly nodes, but gains depressing amount of XP with (nearly) each node he creates. We also have Petruchio among us, who hardly leaves the CB and can be found there for more than 48 hours on row. He surely contributes to the community, helping people all along (eg me as a novice). As he nodes very little, he gains little XP.

    Myself, I have reached that level 10, but that doesn't tell you much. Most perl skills I have aquired have been taught to me by the monks. I am most grateful for all the help and tips you people gave me. At the same time I try to return a little bit of that knowledge to those that can use it by answering questions. Sometimes my help is appreciated and I've got myself some more XP. I am certainly not a perl guru or something. I am not even eloquent (in English, that is).

    XP is also dependent on the number of people that can vote. As the community grows, the votes per post increase and so does the speed novice monks climb the stair of saintdom.

    XP is more a community property than a quality assessment. However, if you take your ordinar thread, you will see that the best answer/node is on top. So actually, the XP system works quite well, thank you.

    Just do not try to relate personal XP to quality, you'd better see it as Yet Another Filter to grand permissions only to those who contribute to the community.



(ichimunki) Re: Two Observations About Voting/Experience
by ichimunki (Priest) on Oct 09, 2001 at 16:55 UTC
    The system is not broken. We could add levels, but nothing would change-- once you make friar the levels are all the same. We could add writeup requirements so that no matter how many XP you get you cannot be a saint without $some_number of write-ups. But what would that change? Unless exceptions were built-in it would negatively affect some monks (although I bet most of those affected wouldn't care one way or the other). The biggest problems we have are trolls-- and they could easily operate without even logging in-- and personality clashes.

    The trolls are not a big problem-- it is much harder to deal with seemingly sincere newbies in a way that both corrects their behavior and encourages them to keep trying. The personality clashes are a problem inherent in any community-- and they will result in things like snide downvoting, grand announcements of departure, flame wars-- and unfortunately the only good way to solve personality clashes is to make the personalities sit in different corners for a while. Which is likely to alienate one or both of them and could prove to be a greater loss to the community than the friction itself.

    That said, I applaud the idea of voting more on technical nodes and less on discussion and meditation nodes. And even if you can't or don't want to test code samples, if it looks right, is formatted well, shows intelligent variable names, and is the kind of code you'd like to inherit, vote it up!
Re: Two Observations About Voting/Experience
by CubicSpline (Friar) on Oct 09, 2001 at 17:21 UTC
    <meditation type="serene">

    Remember that the path to sainthood is a spiritual journey. XP points are the mileage markers of that road. Each mile travelled represents a lesson learned or a lesson shared. XP is not simply a reflection of the communities view of you, but also your interaction with the community. XP comes from voting, taking polls, and visiting the community every day as well as from your fellow monks' approval. Seek that each point of XP becomes cherished to you, that each point was earned because you gave something to the community. Remember the quality of work that went into each point and judge not thy own position your relation to others, but rather by the pride you take in what you have given.


Re: Two Observations About Voting/Experience
by blakem (Monsignor) on Oct 10, 2001 at 01:32 UTC
      I mean, I'm here for the XP, obviously, that's my only motivation...

    Is that a typo or is that how you really feel? If you're solely here for the XP, I'd recommend reconsidering your priorities in life.... Dedicating large chunks of time to incrementing a counter on some virtual machine thats totally removed from reality seems a bit daft to me.

    Unless you get more out of your time here than just XP, why even bother?

    Update: Apparently my sarcasm detectors need some repairs, cause I totally missed the tone of the original comment... Disregard my node at your discretion. (wow, two semi-retractions in two days... guess I should cool it down a bit)


      Whoop! Whoop!

      This irony is reversing. This irony is reversing.

      I once had a friend that said about the same thing to an EverQuest player. Shortly afterwards he was unfortunately bludgeoned to death by a level 9 barbarian. =(
Re: Two Observations About Voting/Experience
by Beatnik (Parson) on Oct 10, 2001 at 14:47 UTC
    On the Votebot issue... it has been done and I'm not proud of it :) Check Vote bot and threads.

    ... Quidquid perl dictum sit, altum viditur.
Re: Two Observations About Voting/Experience
by Chrisf (Friar) on Oct 12, 2001 at 17:55 UTC
    This may sound trivial and may have been mentioned before (I couldn't find anything about it), but one thing I've wondered for a bit is why the ++ and -- buttons are at the top of the posts?

    I'm sure Everyone reads the entire post first before they vote (right? right? ;-) so why would we want to make them scroll all the way back up to the top of the post?

    If this took more than a few minutes work (I'm guessing it would) it probably wouldn't be worth it but in theory this would be a better layout would it not?

    p.s. If you're reading this you may now vote on this node :)

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