At various times I've drilled down into prior discussions about the merits of the vote/XP system. Read lots of opinions about what it should be, could be, and what it probably really is.
Ultimately, I think I've ended up with these thoughts:
- Someone's XP's are really only a very slight indicator of the person's worth ala Perl and/or PerlMonks. They're probably more indicative of their PerlMonks activities. Nevertheless, they do somehow increase that person's visibility or reputation, whatever that's worth
- I have felt rewarded for upvotes on my posts, regardless of whether I thought I, or the post, deserved the votes. So, that feeling helped bond me more to PM, however false that feeling may have been.
- I do try to use all my votes daily. Mostly because it's impressive how many people safely post for help here, and how many interesting answers they get - quickly. If one of the only things I can do is vote based on my view of the post's merits, then I can at least do that.
- When reading someone's post or reply, I'll often view the homenode, and pull up their posts to see what they're like, what their other PM work looks like, etc. I do this because the XP's don't work to validate knowledge, but they are a flag that this person might be worth paying attention to.
- I still have so much Perl and programming knowledge to gain that I can't even pretend that my XP's matter, even to myself...
- Huge serendipity moments have happened for me while trying to answer or research an answer on someone's question. Occasionally, I'll race to find the answer prior to someone posting it. Reading Works. Sometimes my votes are "Thank You's"...
One thing certainly seems true to me about XP's, reputation and levels;
They are such mushy concepts, such lively strange attractors, can be applied with so many different explanations (TMTOWTDI), that they are one of components of PM that fascinate us, and promote our involvement. Perl itself is a mushy, involving thing too.
Altering them may contain the seemingly innocuous risk of altering our involvment and the PM community. (Some might see this or this as oblique references for this, but hey... )
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