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A Proposal for Additional Levels

by Petruchio (Vicar)
on Oct 25, 2004 at 18:49 UTC ( #402288=monkdiscuss: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

Greetings, brethren and sistren. I come to you with a scary proposal; one which you'll doubtless wish to downvote just as quickly as your mousing skills will allow. Once you've completed that urgent task, however, I'm hoping you'll find a bit of time to read over the idea, and see what you think. ;-)

Quite some time ago, vroom was kind enough to install our voting system. It was a pretty darned good idea: good posts would be voted up, and bad posts would be voted down. And to make a game of writing good nodes, users would gain experience and levels for casting and receiving votes. And with those levels would come new powers... which, at the time, simply meant more votes.

The system wasn't (and isn't, and won't be, and probably can't be) perfect. Myriad discussions were held, and many changes were made, but even from the beginning the system was effective in aiding the growth of a unique community. One thing which hasn't changed, though, is the level system; and because it hasn't changed, it's really very different now.

You see, back when I was your age, we had respect for our elders! Err... sorry; that slipped out. I meant to say: back when I was an Initiate, this was a much smaller community. There were very few saints, and the relatively small number of voters didn't have that many votes. So when a really good post came along, it might earn a reputation of 20 or so. Even with a much lower $NORM, and a big XP bonus for using all of your votes on a given day, it was far harder then to become a saint.

Today, of course, things are rather different. We have, at the moment, 322 Saints in our Book; and with the top node of the week weighing in at a rep of 101, hitting that 3000XP mark for Saint just isn't all that challenging. Gaining levels is a silly game, of course; it's not really why we help each other out. But we're programmers; we're famous for enjoying silly games long past the age where sensible people have had enough. And for more and more of us, the game is over.

The question is whether we'd like it not to be over... and, just as you were wondering whether I had one, that brings me around to my point. I think it'd be cool to change the level system. But since a chart is worth a thousand words (depending on the size of a word on your system), let me show you what I'm thinking. Just keep in mind that it's a proposal, and that the details can change.

Perlmonks Level Summary
Level XP # Of Votes Title
0 0 0 Initiate
1 20 2 Novice
2 45 4 Acolyte
3 75 6 Sexton
4 110 8 Beadle
5 150 10 Scribe
6 200 12 Monk
7 260 14 Friar
8 340 16 Hermit
9 440 18 Deacon
10 560 20 Curate
11 715 22 Vicar
12 920 24 Parson
13 1200 26 Prior
14 1560 28 Abbot
15 2050 30 Chancellor
16 2725 32 Bishop
17 3700 34 Arch-Bishop
18 5050 36 Cardinal
19 7050 38 Grand Inquisitor
20 10,000 40 Saint
21 Highest 100 Pope

The basic idea, here, was to raise the highest normal level to the point where it presented a more appropriate challenge, to double the number of levels, in order to maintain that steady sense of progress which is so motivational for many at the lower levels, and to have the whole thing be a bit more logical than the current system.

There would be several implications for most users. First, the good news: your level would probably go up! Hooray!

Okay, now the "beautiful day for my auto-da-fe" news: while a few folks would have more votes, many would have fewer. There would probably be some adjustments to the level powers, the details of which I've not worked out. And the number of people who hold the title of 'Saint' would drop to (at the moment) 49. I, for instance, would drop to 'Arch-Bishop'. But hey, how can you resist the glamor of becoming a Grand Inquisitor?

Now, if you can get past all that, it's downhill from there. You might find the XP requirements odd, but they are sensible: each level requires a bit more than the last one did, in a fairly smooth curve from 0 to 10,000. I actually cooked up an algorithm for this, and then rounded off the numbers a bit. I'd have to dig around to find the algorithm, but rest assured, it was breathtakingly elegant. I didn't bury it to keep from looking like a mathematical clodhopper. Trust me.

The level titles, and their order, I devised after a truly ridiculous amount of time spent reading online reference works like the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, with a fair bit of assistance from the equally misguided zdog. They are not wholly accurate, of course; for one thing, there just isn't a straightforward hierarchy like this to use as a model. The real organizations from which offices and roles have been borrowed show a few thousand years of cruft; there are sub-hierarchies, differing roughly-parallel orders of authority, and so on. I nixed 'Pontiff' in favor of a single 'Pope', since they're roughly synonyms. I threw in 'Monsignor', despite that it's actually an honorific for anyone who has risen to at least 'Prior', just because it sounds cool. And, as some will have guessed, I just nabbed 'Grand Inquisitor' straight from Dostoevsky. Anyway, you just can't have too many people going, "No one expects the Perlmonks Inquisition!" in the CB, right?

Since I know it's going to come up, I'd might as well address it now: yes, we borrow language from a religious tradition. Since I've already written it, quite some time ago, I'll just link to my opinion on the topic... which contains some suspiciously familiar elements. Short version: this is as much of an endorsement of Christianity as dressing up as Father Guido Sarducci for Halloween.

It's also been noted that this system could be made adaptive, so that the level requirements changed in order to assure that a certain proportion of the people were at any given level. I don't favor such a scheme, as I think people like more static goals, and as this would make the system more directly competitive. If, four years hence, the system needs to be changed again, I'm okay with that.

So, anyway, there's the idea. I'm hoping that a lot of people receive it in the same spirit of fun in which it is proposed, and that there is a minimum of panic. Implementation is not imminent; this really is a proposal, at this point. While I would like to see this happen, I do not think it's worth a major upheaval; the peace of our community is more important than 'improvements' to the system which exists to serve the community. Your replies will, therefore, be taken quite seriously in an effort to determine a consenus.

Comment on A Proposal for Additional Levels
Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by pg (Canon) on Oct 25, 2004 at 19:32 UTC

    NO, NO, NO and NO!

    Let's just keep the game as it is. Thanks, but don't make it too much, and that's not the focus of the site any way ;-)

      I'm curious. If that's not the focus of the site, then what difference does it make? I don't know for sure, of course, but it seems that this would be a pretty simple change behind the curtains. The only difference would be potential change in your title and number of votes. And in your case, pg, it doesn't appear that there would be any change at all.

      I can see disagreement if this is a major coding issue that would take away from time spent fixing/improving/whatever the whole site. And honestly that is the only argument "against" that I can think of.

      But it seems that you're very much against the idea, and I'm really not sure why. Could you please elaborate?

Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by Joost (Canon) on Oct 25, 2004 at 20:25 UTC
      Why you think its a good idea to have a fixed number of "lop-level" (sic) monks? I'm not convinced.
      Can't have more than one pope at a time...;)


      Feel the white light, the light within
      Be your own disciple, fan the sparks of will
      For all of us waiting, your kingdom will come

        Can't have more than one pope at a time...;)

        Actually, over a longish period there have been 2 (or even 3?) popes around (in Avignon, southern France and in different places in Italy -- why should a pope have to live in Rome anyway?). Having only one pope is just so peaceful economic modern times...

        A question there: Why is some pope higher than a saint? Because the pope appoints them? Well, then maybe whoever is a pope should do so.

        Consider that real saints have a strong, certain, definite tendency towards having been dead for a longish period of time. If you take that into account, maybe saints should be allowed to become Angels, Cherubs, Archangels, Seraphs, you name them.

        I also feel the XP curve should be a bit steeper.

        Cheers, Sören


        Assuming that Vroom would be pope and assuming that there is only one pope ( not highlander ) does that mean he'd have to become senile or be pushing up dasies before someone else wouuld become pope? ;)

        Useless trivia: In the 2004 Las Vegas phone book there are approximately 28 pages of ads for massage, but almost 200 for lawyers.
        Can't have more than one pope at a time...;)

        That would require a papal cage deathmatch ... which would really rawk!!!

        tbone1, YAPS (Yet Another Perl Schlub)
        And remember, if he succeeds, so what.
        - Chick McGee

Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by ysth (Canon) on Oct 25, 2004 at 20:37 UTC
    If, four years hence, the system needs to be changed again, I'm okay with that.
    If we need 40 level names four years from now, we'd better start thinking of them now; did you come up with any that you decided not to use?
      Or you could just readjust the associated XP, leaving the granularity the same.

      I'm not belgian but I play one on TV.

Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by Elian (Parson) on Oct 25, 2004 at 20:41 UTC
    Looks interesting. I'd make a few changes:
    1. Bell-curve the votes. I'm hard-pressed to use a half-dozen votes when I log in, and I think that's not uncommon. 10 votes seems a more reasonable point for the pope than 100
    2. Voting should be worth less the higher up you go. I'd ramp it to zero chance of XP about 2/3 of the way up the level chart. If you want to be pope, it ought to be by other people's judgement of your actions.
    3. Might as well spread out the level powers some
    4. Allow people to opt out of the system and stop collecting XP
    5. Age the XP. Bits rot, why not XP?
    Or, since it really is mostly meaningless, hand out xp at random and give a 4% chance per day of getting the Bozo The Clown background and image set...

      1. Bell-curve the votes. I'm hard-pressed to use a half-dozen votes when I log in, and I think that's not uncommon. 10 votes seems a more reasonable point for the pope than 100

      Well I had 40 votes today and you just got my last one.. I use them up at least 2-3 times a week.

      2. Voting should be worth less the higher up you go. I'd ramp it to zero chance of XP about 2/3 of the way up the level chart. If you want to be pope, it ought to be by other people's judgement of your actions.

      I'm never going to have the quality of posts that the Gods put out. Voting is my action.

      Generally speaking I like the idea.. Makes the ladder longer

        You think all our posts are good? Think again. Most of my posts are horrible, this one included.

Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by talexb (Canon) on Oct 25, 2004 at 21:07 UTC

    Cool -- I get to be a Grand Inquisitor. *And* I get to look forward to becoming a Saint again. Awesome.

    I also like the idea of the model being adaptive .. that would keep things interesting, but might drive osme people crazy.

    I like it! Let's do it!

    Alex / talexb / Toronto

    "Groklaw is the open-source mentality applied to legal research" ~ Linus Torvalds

Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by jacques (Priest) on Oct 25, 2004 at 21:10 UTC
    Yes, I also like the ladder being longer, as long as everyone is grandfathered in. The changes you are proposing, however, seem like major ones and would probably require some time and effort to implement.

    I always thought it would be nice if the developers kept a public to-do list, so the community had a better idea of what was on deck.

Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by erix (Priest) on Oct 25, 2004 at 21:13 UTC

    Excellent plan. It would fix the one disadvantage in the present hierarchy: not enough levels in the more exalted XP spheres.

    As to this proposal, I say apply the motto of general MacArthur:

    Have a plan
    Execute it violently
    Do it today
Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by grinder (Bishop) on Oct 25, 2004 at 21:27 UTC

    I wish to register a complaint!

    I think this is a great idea and a Good Thing. My only regret is that even with the new scale I won't enjoy the fun of gaining a level. What about sliding the scale out to 50K so that everyone bar vroom gets the chance to rise at least one level again? Checking SioB right now says there are 49 other accounts that are over the 10K cut-off, of which only 6 could be considered inactive.

    I'd also be happy to settle for being able to name your own level at a certain amount of XP. Sure, you'd still be a saint ever after and tallied as so, but at some further amount, e.g. 'saint' * 2, you'd have the privilege of being about to edit the "level" string on your home node. So rather than being a saint, you could change it to shōgun or whatever. Clever minds will put it to good use.

    Anyway, ++ for the proposal, I hope it goes through in some shape or form. But I won't lose any sleep over it, mmkay?

    - another intruder with the mooring of the heat of the Perl

      On reflection im going to second your complaint for the same reasons. As I say elsewhere this change should affect us all (except for maybe vroom just to respect ancient tradition). Thus we need a level suitably above merlyns to start from and then go down in XP. That way even the lofty ones get at least a level above to work for. If we adopted a geometric progression for the higher levels and started at say 128k, and reduced by half each time for the about 5 levels or so all the user base would be affected. The lower levels could be ordered a little more naturally. (I should say however that IMO the top levels should all be considered to be saints. So merlyn would become some sort of uber saint, with tilly close on his heels, you and I would barely clock in as serving-deputy-assistant-under-saint's or something like that :-)


        First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
        -- Gandhi


        Here is an alternate proposal that leaves no one at the top level right now so the ladder will be reasonable for a while to come. It shoots for about 40% more XP gain required at each step (the second-to-last column).

        XP %Gain Gain %Diff Diff 25 +25 60 +140.00% +35 +40.00% +10 110 +83.33% +50 +42.86% +15 180 +63.64% +70 +40.00% +20 275 +52.78% +95 +35.71% +25 400 +45.45% +125 +31.58% +30 580 +45.00% +180 +44.00% +55 840 +44.83% +260 +44.44% +80 1200 +42.86% +360 +38.46% +140 1700 +41.67% +500 +35.14% +130 2400 +41.18% +700 +40.00% +200 3400 +41.67% +1000 +42.86% +300 4800 +41.18% +1400 +40.00% +400 6700 +39.58% +1900 +35.71% +500 9300 +38.81% +2600 +36.84% +700 13000 +39.78% +3700 +42.31% +1100 18200 +40.00% +5200 +40.54% +1500 25500 +40.11% +7300 +40.38% +2100 35700 +40.00% +10200 +39.73% +2900 50000 +40.06% +14300 +40.20% +4100

        I'd set the votes at 2 per level, 0..42. 2 extra votes per level is plenty little reward. I think going lower than that is more likely to end up with people being so conservative about casting a vote that you'll get lots of nodes with no votes. That will mean no reward for simple, run-of-the-mill contributions.

        "Inflation" of the rep of good nodes will not be reduced by reducing the number of votes. So reducing the number of votes will mean that the top-rep nodes will keep inflating as the number of users increase and the ordinary nodes will get less, widening the gap and increasing the motivation for XP whoring.

        Update: This may have the wrong number of levels. The problem with listing the borders between items in the same line with the items is that it isn't clear if you are listing the upper border or lower border. I didn't think Petruchio was proposing "level vroom" be renamed (yes, I only skimmed the text). We could name "level vroom" as "gods" which would solve the problem of the hard-coded 11s in the code and make for a fun message for top-level members.

        - tye        

Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by atcroft (Monsignor) on Oct 25, 2004 at 21:29 UTC

    An interesting suggestion to contemplate.

    Just for reference, using data from the Perlmonks Stats page, here is how the numbers at each level would differ, if compared at this moment:

    Has anyone plugged this information in the simulation script that someone posted to compare how long it would take a user to advance through the system with how long it would take through the current system?

    Edit by tye, add READMORE

      Somehow "pope" seems simpleton to me.

      I vote for

      Pontifex Maximus!

      The first dog barks... all other dogs bark at the first dog.

        Wasn't he one of the Autobots . . .

Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by bradcathey (Prior) on Oct 25, 2004 at 21:30 UTC

    I can see the point, however I propose not more levels, but two categories. One that would get points for good community, and the other for technical experience.

    I am a saint because I asked lots of questions and hung out here a lot. But I'm no saintly technical expert. So, I propose points for asking questions and points for answering them.

    However, many replies are just asides and really shouldn't count towards technical expertise, and many questions actually offer technical solutions.

    So, maybe we have a *pair* of voting buttons for both the question and the reply. One set for community participation, and one for technical. On our home nodes we'd have a total, and title, for each of the two.

    Complicated? Yes, but changing it to anything other than what it is would be. My .02

    "Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up." G. K. Chesterton
Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by belg4mit (Prior) on Oct 25, 2004 at 22:05 UTC
    I'm all for recentering (a la peanut-butter^W SATs) and even some of the new titles ("Heh heh, he said 'Beadle'") but I kinda liked the geometric curve of the current system.

    Titles I could see loosing to help accomplish geometric are Hermit and Sexton.

    I'm not belgian but I play one on TV.

Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by LanceDeeply (Chaplain) on Oct 25, 2004 at 22:09 UTC
    We need to categorize negative XP

      The site has been enjoying relative calm recently; why did you have to dredge up this issue again? To paraphrase the Cabal, you appear to not realise that the first rule of the Wassercrats club is that we do not talk about Wassercrats.

      This sort of childish ad hominem attack does not belong at the Monastery.

      I downvoted your node.

      - another intruder with the mooring of the heat of the Perl

      Please, please, please don't start this again. We have reached detante, and I really don't want another outbreak of hostilities. I've been tracking our friend, and he logs in periodically to see if the fight has started anew. Don't provoke him, and we can continue to have a peaceful monastary.

      Message to future Monks: Yes, I'm being vague in a Twelve Monkeys kind of way. The answers to all your questions are here if you wish to find them, but they will bring you no benefit. No great prize awaits you, nothing of value is hidden. There is only an episode that we'd all rather forget. Kinda like the Dreams episode of M*A*S*H.

      "What do I want? I'm an American. I want more."

Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by demerphq (Chancellor) on Oct 25, 2004 at 23:27 UTC

    I personally think we should do this, but I also think we should drop the amounts of votes with 20 as the top amount for saints. I have implementation thoughts, but ill take that up in the scriptorium. :-)


      First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
      -- Gandhi


      I agree with petruchio's plan, and even agree with the proposed number of votes per level. I don't think that saints should be dropped to 20 votes though, and here's why. If the objective for lowering the max number of votes is to reduce reputation inflation, you're already accomplishing this by reducing the number of saints. Most of us don't even use all our votes in a given day anyway, but overall, reputation inflation will be kept in check by virtue of the fact that there are more levels between initiate and saint.

      As for the proposal to add new levels, I'm convinced this is a good idea. I'd love to be able to level up once more, though the proposed structure wouldn't afford me that dangling carrot. Nevertheless, it seems like it would be fun for people to have additional "just for fun" goals past 3000xp.

      I also want to voice disapproval of any negative-XP levels. Leveling up is a reward, and presumably to a troll, leveling down would be seen as such too. Let's not encourage them. I do support a proposal that got kicked around awhile back to remove something more than just voting privs. from negative XP individuals, of sufficient negativocity (new word). At -40, remove the ability to edit ones existing posts, and remove the ability to talk in CB (reading is fine). At -100, remove ability to read the CB too (but reading and writing nodes is still possible). At -200, remove posting any node. ...others may disagree, and I'm not 100% convinced, but it's just a thought.


        The reason I think the maximum should be lower is that I think votes are valuable things. Giving people more than they can possibly donate to the really quality nodes here just leads to inflation. For instance in this world of 40 votes im going to ++ you because I think your reply is articulate and well said. If I only had 10 or 20 votes then no-offense but I wouldn't. Thats the kind of thinking I personally would pursue.


          First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
          -- Gandhi


      I don't want to lose my 40 votes because that reduces their usefullness as read/unread markers. Sometimes my votes are no more meaningful than "I've seen this node."

        Frankly i think thats one of the worse excuses for having 40 votes that ive ever heard.

        You're in PMDev, figure out a smarter way to do that.


          First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
          -- Gandhi


        Browser history.

        I'm not belgian but I play one on TV.

Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by Anonymous Monk on Oct 25, 2004 at 23:46 UTC
    Something else that may be fun would be the ability to spend your points. Have nifty little icons in your home node for all of your religious paraphernalia you’ve collected. Say 100 points for a robe, 500 points for bible, 10,000 points for a halo, 50,000 for a little pope hat, that kind of thing.

    That way, the saints can knock down their experience level if they want to and have fun climbing back up again.

      That way, the saints can knock down their experience level if they want to and have fun climbing back up again.
      That's already something available. See this node for an example.
        Yes, but this way you get stuff for it. I think it would be neat to have a spot on my homenode with all of the little commemorative icons I bought for 50-100 XP. Like an "nth Anniversary of Perl" one, or a "The Day I Made Saint And Then - Oops - Spent 100 XP On An Icon So I Got Knocked Back Down A Level" icon. That idea would probably take some effort to implement, but I REALLY like it. It sort of shifts the "game" from getting XP to collecting stuff, and I love collecting stuff. Anonymous Monk, you have hit my weak spot.

        Give us thingies that we can buy with XP!

        Also, for what it's worth, I'm voting in favor of the OP's idea. It gives all of us (except vroom) something to look forward to.

      I must admit, this is the suggestion I've liked the most. It's kinda tangential to the main discussion, but I like the idea of being able to get "virtual stuff" for XP.

      I can already hear bad jokes about "The Cathedral Monastery and the Bazaar".

        I can already hear bad jokes about "The Cathedral Monastery and the Bazaar".

        No thanks, the Monastery is already bizarre enough.

        (was that pun bad enough for you? =P )
Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by cLive ;-) (Parson) on Oct 25, 2004 at 23:55 UTC

    I like the idea that a certain percentage of users are allocated to each level. That way, those that continue to enrich the site, will gradually rise, whilst those that have left will slowly decay in their level. Rather than a strict bell curve, I think a partly exponential drop off would work better:

    % Ranking Level
    0-2 Initiate
    2-7 Novice
    7-15 Acolyte
    15-25 Scribe
    26-39 Monk
    39-71 Friar
    71-87 Abbot
    87-95 Bishop
    95-98 Pontiff
    98-100 Saint

    It would also be a good idea to ignore all accounts not accessed in the last year, and those that have never posted when working out these levels.


    cLive ;-)

    Edit by theorbtwo: Reparented from At Last, a Useful Definition of "Scripting Language" per consideration by the author. (And removed request to do so from the body of the node.)

      I for one don't see any reason for making a change to the system without it being driven by some form of elitist 'sensablility'. The old timers want to stay on top and be extra special like they used to be. That might be human nature, but it doesn't make it the right decision.

      I think this suggestion simply underlines that.

      Many certainly deserve it. But changing the fundamentals of the system is also a bad idea, IMHO. I've heard some suggestions about branching based on community vs. expertise for example. This is something that's not reflected in the current system and many see it as a Good Thing.

      I'm usually one who votes for change. In this case I don't see a compelling argument to alter a system that clearly works in building this community. It Ain't Broke... Leave it alone.

      Wait! This isn't a Parachute, this is a Backpack!
Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by Tii (Monk) on Oct 26, 2004 at 01:07 UTC

    Although, I would become a very unglamourous-sounding Hermit, I like Petruchio's idea. Even though XP is just a "game", I think it would make things a bit more fun. It would "freshen it up" a little, if you will.

    I also agree with the opinions that the number of votes you can ultimately get is probably higher than would be practical to cast in a given day.

    Just my 2¢

    Maybe a Poll is in order?

Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by TheEnigma (Pilgrim) on Oct 26, 2004 at 02:43 UTC
    I wouldn't mind if it was implemented. I think it's good to keep the upper levels from being disproportionately populated. It makes the concept more realistic. Thanks to data in an earlier post (++atcroft), I could graph the population of each level. With the current system, the populations drop quite rapidly as the levels increase, except for the overpopulated level 10, and higher than expected populations at levels 5 and 6. With the new proposal, the populations drop rapidly again, but level off fairly quickly around level 5, and then slowly drop as levels increase (except for a little higher than expected populations at levels 6,7,8 and 10). All in all, though, a better distribution, I think.

    ysth made a comment about needing 40 levels in the future. Hopefully he was just joking. I'm thinking that it wouldn't be a good idea to keep adding levels; not that many anyway. But I can see the eventual need for some adjustments. Basically, I can see three ways of doing this.

    • Keep the proposed number of levels. After a time, they will likely start to get top heavy again. Increase the threshhold for all levels by the same percentage. There might be a problem in that the threshhold to becoming a novice, acolyte, sexton, etc, would all increase also. Maybe not a lot, but it would then take longer to get started up the ladder. Maybe that would be seen as a problem, maybe not. Personally I don't see it as a problem; I moved up the first few levels in a matter of a few days. Stretching that out a bit shouldn't be a problem.

    • If that was indeed a problem, it might be solved be keeping the same number of levels, the novice threshhold could remain 20, and the rest could be increased by an exponentially increasing percentage.

    • Perhaps a better way would be to every so often add a new level to accomodate the ever higher reaching monks. Hopefully "every so often" could be measured in years. Maybe it would be best to start with less than 22 levels now, to make it easier to add more later. Although I think an even better way would be to go to different levels of saints, as Happy-the-monk suggested. They could be added one at a time, as needed.

    Additionally, I agree with Elian's idea to make votes worth less potential XP the higher up you go. I think the value of a saint or other high rank should be based more on technical merit than showing up and voting every day. But, voting is important, and this would allow the higher level monks to continue to leave their mark by voting on quality posts. If you just reduced the number of votes at the higher levels, they couldn't do that.

    I don't agree with Elian's idea to allow XP to rot. Once you've "earned" it, it should be your's. His point might be equivalent to "What have you done for us lately?". But if you stop participating, you will be passed up eventually. And if you "earned" your XP with high quality posts, why should you lose your reputation?

    I also think grinder's idea to allow you to pick your own title at some level of XP is interesting.

    If a poll is eventually run on this, as Tii suggests, I was wondering: Can the polling system ignore AM's? It might even be good to allow the vote only to higher levels, say above ... let's XP=599...level=friar...oh, Friar maybe? Yeah, Friar, that sounds good ;) Seriously, though, for as major of a change as this, more weight should somehow be given to those who have invested more time in the Monestary.

    All in all, a very interesting proposal, one that should be seriously and thoughfully considered.


      Bah, rotting is deflation. That's perfectly natural. The problem with is implementing it. You'd need to know when each XP was awarded, it appears to currently only keep a running total. (think of it as maintaining a web site counter with an entry for every hit so that you can say: visitors within the last XX days)

      I'm not belgian but I play one on TV.

        Not if you rely on randomization: give every XP point a 0.1% chance per day of expiring. Older XP will then get a higher probability of dying off than younger (an XP is dead with probability 1-0.999age). You don't need to recompute everyone's totals every day, either, although to be completely accurate you would have to recompute on any day that a user's XP total changed.

        I'm not too crazy about the XP rot idea, though.

        I think the XP ramp should be closer to quadratic. Tune it so that the top two or three levels are empty (give everyone something to reach for). Or better yet, make the upper levels require more than just XP -- make people earn a certain number of "quest" points. Quests could be proposed by anyone (including monks eligible for advancement); when a monk claims to have accomplished a quest, other monks vote on how much credit should be given. Your vote would be weighted by the logarithm of your own XP or something (or just by your level, if XP requirements are exponential!). If some minimum number of monks have voted and the average value has stabilized for a few days, award the points.

        The sorts of quests I'm thinking of are things like writing a review, releasing a CPAN module, writing a test suite for someone else's module, implementing a feature for the perlmonks site, etc. Hmmm... or in some cases, deleting a CPAN module (by merging its functionality with another).

        Just a thought.

        Why not have points begin to erode at a very small percentage of the members total after a certain period of time since last vote was cast.

        This would encourage voting on a relatively regular basis.

        I also like the idea of 20 votes.
        They should be used as a powerful tool to be applied only after some thought, not as a bookmark or as an attaboy (er attagirl, umm attamonk?). A positive comment in a reply is a good reward from another esteemed monk. That comment plus a vote (+ or -) puts a much higher value on those votes, not only for the writer of the nodes but for others who want to see the truly popular/interesting nodes.

        My take on the game of climbing the ladder – I am generally not a game player, but it is interesting to watch my meandering climb up the ratings, with the occasional gain in power, it does add to the experience of being a member of the Monastery. If the scale is to become sliding because too many people have beat the game and now find it no fun, why not create another game that only people in the top ranks have access to?

        An additional game at the upper levels would prompt those who need to beat a game or a system have something to look forward to, while leaving those of us who plod along lending a hand where we can, and gaining knowledge in the many ways the Monastery offers are able to keep track of where we are in the scheme of things.

        One other point, any time you put someone on a scale, they will pay attention to it. I believe many people (myself included) will take offense to being randomly bumped downward just to make more room at the top of the scale. Personally if this is the route taken, I would like the ability to opt out of the XP scale.

        What could the additional game be? Perhaps as suggested elsewhere in this post, XP beyond an upper limit in the highest rank can be used to buy additional powers. Things like signature options, particular home node modifications, option to put a picture in the front-page rotation, be able to buy various icons (also suggested elsewhere) or with enough points, the ability to post an icon others can buy for their home nodes.

        Obviously I have no idea what effort implementation would take, but these are my 2 cents worth.

      ysth made a comment about needing 40 levels in the future. Hopefully he was just joking.
      No, I wasn't hopefully joking; I was joking in earnest.
        lol :)

        Even though I know one should tend to avoid the word "hopefully", since it's usually used in the wrong way, sometimes it slips through.

        No need to question your humor this time! (Hopefully not next time, either ;)


Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by CountZero (Chancellor) on Oct 26, 2004 at 05:59 UTC
    I don't like the idea. There will be too many levels and I do not see what is wrong with having more saints.

    If you really need a challenge to keep going on, set yourself a goal, e.g. "become one of the top 100 Saints" or so.

    Once you have become a saint you should be beyond such worldly aspirations though!


    "If you have four groups working on a compiler, you'll get a 4-pass compiler." - Conway's Law

Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by giulienk (Curate) on Oct 26, 2004 at 07:00 UTC

    What should I say? I have 77 XP to become a Saint and you want to raise the bar now??? Come on, wait at least another month or so! :)

    Beside that, I don't think it's worth changing the level system. It wouldn't help to have better code and suggestions on the website, but sure it will wake up those XP whores who quieted down after reaching Saint status.

    NB: the links under "XP whores" are just for reference for those who don't know what XP whoring is.


Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by TedPride (Priest) on Oct 26, 2004 at 07:55 UTC
    I'm in favor of additional ranks, but instead of adding another 10 levels after saint, make it so saints now have subranks. The martial arts use this system to distinguish between black belts, and I think it would fit in real well with the whole monks theme.

    EDIT: I do NOT think increasing the number of votes each person has is a good idea. If anything, the reverse should be considered - fewer votes means better usage of votes.

Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by PodMaster (Abbot) on Oct 26, 2004 at 08:29 UTC
    I haven't decided yet whether I'm for or against this idea, but I have decided that if this type of change occurs, it must be documented. A new nodetype should be introduced (userbeforepetruchio) to reflect a users stance in the monastery before petruchio. All users with posts/points should get one.

    MJD says "you can't just make shit up and expect the computer to know what you mean, retardo!"
    I run a Win32 PPM repository for perl 5.6.x and 5.8.x -- I take requests (README).
    ** The third rule of perl club is a statement of fact: pod is sexy.

Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by DrHyde (Prior) on Oct 26, 2004 at 09:26 UTC
    Your biggest problem is that the title of Grand Inquisitor rocks so hard that once I've attained it, I'll want to stay there, instead of getting a "promotion" to Saint. Which will mean I'll have to flame and troll to lose points occasionally.
      Bring on the Inquisition!


      That's life. I personally enjoyed being able to "pontificate" at will, but that didn't stop me from being promoted beyond that.
Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by TedPride (Priest) on Oct 26, 2004 at 13:54 UTC
    How about you put up a poll and let people vote?

    a) No change
    b) Increase xp requirements for each rank
    c) Add more ranks
    d) Add subranks for Saint (Saint level 1, 2, 3, etc)
    e) Age the xp (remove 0.2%? xp every day)

      Current polling system is mutually exclusive options, wheras many of the options are not.

      I'm not belgian but I play one on TV.

Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by antirice (Priest) on Oct 26, 2004 at 15:35 UTC
    ...bu..bu...but then I'd have to remove "Saint on PerlMonks" from my CV. :'(

    The first rule of Perl club is - use Perl
    ith rule of Perl club is - follow rule i - 1 for i > 1

Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by jZed (Prior) on Oct 26, 2004 at 16:03 UTC
    The major problem with the XP Level system: people spend too much time talking about it.

    The major advantage of the XP Level system: one can tell at a glance the approximate level of previous contribution of a given user.

    The proposal to increase the number of levels exacerbates the problem and weakens the advantage.

      I agree it will exacerbate the problem; there will be more posting on this subject from now until a final decision is made, and likely for a time beyond that.

      But I don't see how it weakens the advantage you mention. Relative ranking will stay the same


        Re talking about XP: There is already a lot of CB (and even SOPW) chatter about what the levels mean, what powers they have, etc. If there are 20 levels, the docs on levels and powers will generate even more confusion and generate more discussion on it into the forseeable future, not just while this proposal is being discussed. (and I don't mean to say that the docs need improvement, people get confused about them even though they're fairly straight-forward now)

        Re relative ranking: Ten things are easier to compare to each other than 20 things are. Perhaps other monks are more familiar with the spiritual hierarchy, than I am, but I wouldn't have any immediate idea what the releative position of a beadle, a deacon, and a parson is without looking it up each time. I like being able to click on a person's name in the CB and being able to see an immediatly understandable word to describe their level.

        Re another reason I dislike this proposal but forgot to mention the first time: If this is meant to encourage participation, it will fail for lower orders of monks because currently the goal of reaching the highest level is actually obtainable within a reasonable period of time. If newcomers see that it will take them years to reach a high level, there's really not much incentive for them to try. The only group this actually adds incentive for is the 322 saints out of the about 10k users with writeups and about 30k registered users.

Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by eric256 (Parson) on Oct 26, 2004 at 16:54 UTC

    An idea to go with this would be to only recieve votes on the days you login, and then let votes accumulate. So if i login everyday but don't spend them everyday they carry over. Then lower the number I get everyday. It encourages me to come everyday, and to save up my votes instead of wasting them. You could also cap the number of votes a user could store based on their level.

    Eric Hodges
      You mean, it encourages everyone to put a one line WWW::Mechanize script in their crontab?

        As apposed to now? When they can have a similar vote bot? I mean realy, that reply contributed nothing.

        If votes were doled out and hit a max, say at my level you get 3 votes a day, and can store a max of 30 votes. That pretty much limits the utility of your crontab script. Any way the current system encourages people to spend votes for no reason (like as read markers) where if I only had 3 a day I would not use them in that manner.

        Eric Hodges
Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by jryan (Vicar) on Oct 26, 2004 at 18:31 UTC

    I kinda like this idea... how about we put it to a vote? Use the Voting Booth for something useful? :)

How about footpads old proposal?
by nefertari (Chaplain) on Oct 26, 2004 at 19:46 UTC
Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by hardburn (Abbot) on Oct 26, 2004 at 20:05 UTC

    Something I've thought about on and off for a while is to have your level based around the average XP for all users. For instance, being around the average is a Monk, and the average +1 standard deviation is a Friar, etc.

    "There is no shame in being self-taught, only in not trying to learn in the first place." -- Atrus, Myst: The Book of D'ni.

Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by Diakoneo (Beadle) on Oct 26, 2004 at 20:45 UTC
    I wonder if Gary Gigax was scrutenized like this when he proposed v 2.0 of the D&D rules?
    {Goes back to tapping his stone bowls}
Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by bobf (Monsignor) on Oct 26, 2004 at 21:08 UTC

    I like the idea of giving everyone the opportunity to work towards another level increase (or two!), so I support adding levels past 3000 XP. I think changing the requirement for "Saint" to 10,000 could make it appear all but unattainable to those at the lower echelons, however, so I support davido's, demerphq's, and TedPride's suggestion to consider levels after 3000 to be some variation of "Saint". I think TheEnigma proposed a viable solution:

    Perhaps a better way would be to every so often add a new level to accomodate the ever higher reaching monks... Although I think an even better way would be to go to different levels of saints, as Happy-the-monk suggested. They could be added one at a time, as needed.
    This method has the flexibility to grow with the monastery without requiring periodic and drastic recalibrations of the leveling system. It accomodates changes to the top of the scale without shaking up the rest of the monastery.

    I agree with Elian's idea to reduce the chance of gaining XP with each successive level, rather than reducing the number of votes given to the upper levels. The increase in the number of votes by gaining a level could be balanced by a corresponding decrease in the chance to gain XP, thereby keeping the average XP gain from casting all votes to some constant (5 XP per day, for example). This means a monk that has 20 votes and a 25% chance of gaining 1 XP for each vote cast has the same average XP gain (5) as a monk that has 40 votes but only a 12.5% chance of gaining XP for each vote. I like this idea for two reasons. First, it eliminates the XP incentive to vote indiscriminately at higher levels. Second, it doesn't further exaggerate the proportion of the votes cast on a given node to the middle and lower levels (if the most votes are given to the intermediate levels, then all other things being equal, node rep will be disproportionately influenced by intermediate-level monks). In fact, it does just the opposite:

    Current System: Votes/ Total Level # Monks Level Votes 10 322 40 12880 9 82 35 2870 8 174 30 5220 7 283 25 7075 6 541 20 10820 5 748 16 11968 4 606 12 7272 3 895 8 7160 2 1493 5 7465 1 25761 0 0 72730 votes available One of the Proposed Systems: Votes/ Total Level # Monks Level Votes 21 1 100 100 20 48 40 1920 19 36 38 1368 18 50 36 1800 17 87 34 2958 16 125 32 4000 15 100 30 3000 14 144 28 4032 13 146 26 3796 12 164 24 3936 11 167 22 3674 10 222 20 4440 9 169 18 3042 8 214 16 3424 7 246 14 3444 6 231 12 2772 5 221 10 2210 4 302 8 2416 3 393 6 2358 2 719 4 2876 1 1359 2 2718 0 25761 0 0 60284 votes available

    (The data was taken from Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels (thanks, atcroft!). The distribution will change according to level definition, of course, and I would prefer to see the breakdown based on tye's proposal.)

    The votes are distributed much more evenly across the levels under this particular proposed system (although the simple increase in the number of levels also has an effect, of course). More to the point discussed by davido and demerphq regarding inflation, though, is the fact that the number of available votes actually decreases when the levels are more spread out and the maximum number of votes (40) stays the same.

    Finally, I love the idea of cashing in XP for icons to put on your home node! Maybe monks could also buy icons of books that correspond to their areas of expertise/interest. I'd love to have a copy of the Camel to put on a bookshelf on my home node! :)

Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by Anonymous Monk on Oct 27, 2004 at 13:56 UTC
    Here's a different proposal. It doesn't only measure XP, but also the quality of the posts. Starting from level 10, it not only requires a minimum amount of XP, but also a minimum amount of nodes whose node-XP is at least $NORM. It means that people who don't do anything but contemplate, can't raise above the level of "Monk".
    LevelTitleXP$NORMXP diff
    -1Heritic < 0 
    0Believer 00
    1Choir boy 2020
    2Initiate 5030
    3Novice 10050
    4Acolyte 15050
    5Adept 22575
    6Sexton 325100
    7Beadle 450125
    8Scribe 600150
    9Monk 850250
    10Pilgrim 1,150 5300
    11Friar 1,500 10350
    12Hermit 1,900 15400
    13Evangelist 2,400 25500
    14Deacon 3,000 40600
    15Curate 3,750 65750
    16Priest 4,750 1001,000
    17Vicar 6,000 1501,250
    18Parson 7,500 2001,500
    19Abbot 10,000 2502,500
    20Canon 13,000 3503,000
    21Chancellor 18,000 4505,000
    22Bishop 23,000 5755,000
    23Arch-Bischop 30,000 7007,000
    24Cardinal 40,000 85010,000
    25Grand Inquisitor 55,000 1,00015,000
    26Prophet 75,000 1,50020,000
    27Patriarch 100,000 2,50025,000
    28Apostel 150,000 4,00050,000
    29Saint 250,000 6,000100,000
    30Angel 500,00010,000250,000
    32 levels, because I like powers of 2.

      First off I doubt God would work as a last level because it would be confused with gods. Second it shouldn't matter how many post it takes to get to a level, as long as you earn the xp required. I like to answer questions alot causing me to have about an average of +3-7, which would make me a Pilgrim though I have enough xp for a Friar and almost a Hermit (at the time of this writting based on your chart), if my average node rep determined my level I'd proably stop answer SOPW questions, if there are others who would do the same this could ruin the best part (or at least most used part) of PerlMonks. While some people might be able to write a couple of xp getting Meditations, I only have time for that during the summer (when school + work don't take up all my time) and I'm not the best at thinking up good meditations either ;).

      "Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum - I think that I think, therefore I think that I am." Ambrose Bierce

        I really don't think that "God" as a level will be a problem. I doubt anyone will ever be able to get 2,000,000 XP in a lifetime. Also note that the $NORM column says the *number* of posts that exceed $NORM - it doesn't say anything about an average. So, for Hermit, you'd need at least 15 posts with a node XP that's higher than $NORM. That's 15 posts of all the posts you've ever made.

        If your worried about people confusing level God with gods, how about changing level 32 to Deity. Means about the same thing :-)


Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by xorl (Deacon) on Oct 27, 2004 at 15:13 UTC

    Change is needed in the current system, but the proposal discussed is not really a change. All it does is increase the number of levels and amount of XP needed.

    If anything it will exacerbate the problem we currently have -- lack of accountability. Until we know who is voting and how they are voting the system is too full of irresponsible people who just down vote posts for the fun of it. I am tired of seeing simple thank you posts or even very informative posts at -1 or lower.

    On the other hand the proposal would make people think more about the system, want XP more, and maybe realize these downvoters must be dealt with.

Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by kurt_kober (Chaplain) on Oct 28, 2004 at 12:47 UTC
    Perhaps instead of changing the current system of levels we could just add additional ranking methods on top of what exists. If the new system(s) made more sense, they would be adopted over time. A user could configure his main page to display monks in order by a particular ranking method, i.e. Classic XP, Extra Granular, XP+Posts, or # Posts Only or something like that.
Wildly off-topic re "Brethren and Sistren": Is 'Sistren' a proper word?
by andye (Curate) on Nov 10, 2004 at 17:33 UTC
    Good suggestion Petruchio.

    Personally though, I was completely distracted by your opening words (my fault not yours) which prompted me to investigate 'Sistren' a little.

    I present here the results of my research (OK, I Googled for it), for the benefit of those brethren with philological interests...

    There is a word sistren, though it has a somewhat different history from its male parallel. Both words were used in Middle English (12th to 15th centuries) simply as the plural forms of brother and sister. From about 1600, brothers began to take over from brethren (Shakespeare used both), except in referring to fellow members of a religious community, or a society or profession. Even this use is now rather archaic (though groups such as the Plymouth Brethren keep it in use). Sistren, meanwhile, had fallen completely out of use by the middle of the 16th century, but has been revived (and used almost exclusively) by feminist writers.

    From (part of the Oxford English Dictionary), which - I've discovered - also has many other interesting articles. For example, the collective noun for a group of cats is a 'clowder'.

    With best wishes,

      If you go further than AskOxford you'll find that it's used in Jamaican Patois as well and from there there by Rastas & in reggae lyrics too.
Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by bronto (Priest) on Nov 18, 2004 at 15:50 UTC

    New levels? Yes, that discussion comes here from time to time; a long ago I started one myself, just for fun.

    Now, for what concerns myself, it took one year and a half to become a Saint, and it seems a reasonable time to me. And those that made it faster look like they deserved it, so I don't see the need to add more levels.

    But if there is something that I would change in the system, is the opportunity to gain points without having contributed even a node to the monastery. If it is important to encourage people to vote so that good nodes get a good reputation, isn't it as much important (as least) to encourage people to write good nodes?

    So why don't make the probability of gaining XP points by voting other's nodes proportional (someway) to the number of nodes posted? Something like:

    p = P * f(N,XP)

    where P is our current probability function of gaining XP points when voting a node, and f is a function of the number of nodes posted N and the experience gained, so that f(0,XP) = 0

    My few cents...


    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.
Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by Mago (Parson) on Dec 29, 2004 at 15:41 UTC
    Pope isn't high level !

    I vote for Enlightenment!


Re: A Proposal for Additional Levels
by qq (Hermit) on Dec 31, 2004 at 00:01 UTC

    I'd consider giving high level monks more powers. Perhaps their votes could be weighted, and each vote by a Saint could equal 10 votes by an initiate. This would basically be noting that their opinion counts for more.

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