|No such thing as a small change|
Since I will likely carry on for a bit, let me just say upfront that I support all the proposed changes. Feel free to continue reading or not. I only have one concern and I will put it in bold for those skim reading.
There is a distinct difference between XP and a node's reputation.
A node's reputation is, for the most part, a reflection of how your peers view what you have written. In a single quantitative number, there is no way to convey exactly why you voted for a node:
The number also doesn't distinguish "popularity" voting (both of the monk and the node itself), front page advantage, or the monk who is randomly casting votes in hopes of gaining XP. We would hope that the upvotes and downvotes for these things would cancel each other out, but I am not sure that is the case.
A Monk's XP is a different story. For a lot of monks, it is a badge of honor or a status symbol. I found the whole idea of gaining rank very exciting when I first joined. As you gain levels, you also gain abilities. For this reason alone, I argue that XP is not meaningless. While it is a reflection of how the community views you, it is also a reflection of how much you contribute back to the community. Unfortunately, it does not distinguish between being the first one to reply to a node (right or wrong), casting your votes without thought in order to gain XP, monks who vote on your nodes because of popularity, etc. Afterall, it is a single quantitative number - not a discriminating qualitative review.
A lot of monks take pride in their work and are disheartened when their nodes are downvoted - especially without explanation. Others use downvoting as a means of retalliation for something said in the CB. I have often heard a monk mention in the CB that they just received a half a dozen downvotes. Still others use their writeups as a guage as to how well they are doing in their progress with the language. They have Faith in the system that it works ideally and they are truly dumbfounded when a node is downvoted that they can't find anything wrong with. My only concern with the proposed changes is that the monks who casts their votes strictly to gain XP will no longer use them to downvote. This will disrupt the assumed balance of voting for reasons other than the nodes content. On the other hand, it may deter the would-be retalliations?
If I were to add anything to the proposal, it would be to re-examine the number of votes given at each level. I feel that if far fewer votes were given out that much more thought would be given before spending them so freely.
In closing, I want to again extend my thanks to the Perl community at large and especially to PerlMonks. No one makes any money off of this site and a lot of volunteers spend large portions of their personal time and effort to make it enjoyable for everyone else. It frustrates me to hear all the suggestions being made to change the site when I take a look at the sparse number of people who contribute to the Offering Plate. The Node Reputation/XP system isn't perfect and probably never will be, but I think the proposed changes are a step in the right direction.
Cheers - L~R