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Level Proposal

by footpad (Monsignor)
on Feb 23, 2001 at 01:56 UTC ( #60351=monkdiscuss: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

For those of you that missed it, this morning saw an interesting discussion in CB regarding the possibility of adding new levels.

Normally, I would have let it pass without comment; however, since it involved many of the senior monks, I paid attention.

As you might expect, many alternatives were suggested (Angel, Archangel, etc.). However, certain misgivings were expressed about adding levels with titles based too heavily on Western Religions.

Having similar misgivings and wanting to avoid offending members of our order with different belief systems, I came up with an idea that should appeal to most of us.

Instead of borrowing too heavily from a given mythology or belief system. Why not borrow a concept common to many philosophies/cultures: totemic incarnations.

What follows is a proposal that uses this idea, mixes in a few concepts/titles from other philosophies, and borrows heavily from a source that, as a former Calculus prof. used to say, "should be casual to the most obvious observer." (I've also taken the liberty of suggesting XP requirements and so on.):

Level  Title XP Required Votes
11  Demigod 3900 45
12  Spirit of the Gecko 5000 50
13  Servant of the Llama6400 50
14  Messenger of the Rat 8000 50
15  Speaker of the Cheetah10000 50
16  Mystic of the Ram 13000 50
17  Sage of the Wolf 18000 50
18  Avatar of the Panther25000 50
19  Incarnation of the Camel 35000 50
20  Master 50000 50

Miscellaneous Notes and Comments:

  • You'll note that I've capped the votes at 50, which I can't imagine anyone actually spending on a regular basis.

  • At level 10, you lose the "login bonus"

  • At Level 15, you lose bonus for voting.

  • At Level 20, you have all the recognition you need (I hope).

  • Should it become necessary to add additional levels, it *would* be possible to add additional totems (Ostrich, Titi, Eagle, Prairie Dog, etc.) though I really hope we're not quite that hard up for lives. *broad grin*

  • Comments? Feedback?

    --f

    Comment on Level Proposal
    Re: Level Proposal
    by merlyn (Sage) on Feb 23, 2001 at 02:04 UTC
      I'll repeat what I said last time. I don't see the point for me personally. I'm not here for the XP. I'm here to get and give advice and be part of a community.

      -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker

        But lets face it - with the current levels, there will be a major surplus of Saints in the future. This way keeps the fun in gaining new levels. I like it.

        Jeff

        R-R-R--R-R-R--R-R-R--R-R-R--R-R-R--
        L-L--L-L--L-L--L-L--L-L--L-L--L-L--
        
          i agree, jeffa...

          the "lower" levels make it interesting, help establish crediblily and, if you will, help Monks get establised within the Monestary community... once you've been around enough to reach the higher levels, and posted for that umpteenth time, it's obvious your not here for that extra five votes...

          i think your idea is a good one footpad... besides half the fun will be in sheding the ol' one word titles for the more exotic formations of Perl Guru-ism...

          magnus
          There are 10 levels. Ten seems like a good number because that's how many fingers people usually have, and fingers are excellent!

          arturo's hints of dimensions and honorifics caught my attention. How about leaving these ten XP based levels, and adding another dimension to them, one somehow based on reputation?

          This could use a degree scale of 1 to 10 (what else :-) calculated dynamically by looking at the average reputation of all users above level 1. If the worst avg rep was 3 and the best 33 the scale would look like this:

          1 - - - - - - - - 10 (degree) 3 - - - - - - - - 33 (average rep)
          Now imagine an extreme example of a friar with avg rep of 33 and a saint with avg rep of 3 illustrated by ranking them as a 10th degree Friar and 1st degree Saint. This would tell you something useful. Since both the degree scale and each user's avg rep vary, they could change in interesting ways.

          Update: MeowChow suggested in cb that avg rep might not be the best measure. Maybe total reputation would be more accurate? I don't know. I'm just suggesting another dimension somehow based on reputation. The rest is details.
        You don't have to "be here for the XP" to feel gratified whent he community recognizes you with an award. Be it for your wonderful contributions, 1500th post, etc.

        I don't think that any of our active saints are here solely to get karma, that seems to miss the point. I think the point is just to keep things interesting. After all, XP doesn't actually *mean* anything. You'd still have our respect, merlyn, even if the whole voting system didn't exist. If it's just for fun, and for some it add more fun, why not do it?

        (Anyway, then we can all stop seeing new "lets add more levels" nodes every few weeks. 8)

        =Blue
        ...you might be eaten by a grue...

    Re: Level Proposal
    by arturo (Vicar) on Feb 23, 2001 at 02:11 UTC

      This is going to sound cranky, but it's not intended to. I'd like to hear more about the *why* rather than the what.

      I want to ask "What's this in aid of?" ... what needs are not being served by the current system?

      Why so many levels? Do we need to differentiate past "Saint" ? If we really must differentiate, shouldn't we be differentiating along different dimensions? (if we really must, why don't we just add honorifics, maybe?)

      Philosophy can be made out of anything. Or less -- Jerry A. Fodor

        Actually, maybe this is the best idea yet. Forget defined level past Saint. But as certain milestones past what is needed for Saint the monk gets to add a honorific of their own choosing on to their title. Fun play, no actual power effects (more votes, etc).

        Thoughts?

        =Blue
        ...you might be eaten by a grue...

        Why ?

          Beccause it's fun (at least some people(I'm among them) find it fun).

          Beccause it's natural to see higly skilled people to be in (always) higher level.

          Beccause soon some levels will become overcrowded.

          But my favourite reason is why not ?

        As someone said on the CB (Jeffa?)it won't take anything to our beloved saints on the contrary those new level are mainly for them to enable them to stay 'on the top'...
        In fact, IMHO, I don't see any drawback to this new system.
        (Except, may be, for changing things, which isn't so bad for me).

        UPDATE : I didn't make it clear in this post (but see my other post below) but the honorific titles are ok, for me.
        new levels or new honorific title or whatever the form the idea is good !

          Well, maybe I am cranky then, 'cos I don't see the fun.

          What I'm seeing is the claim that there's "saint inflation." That's worth considering. But there are other ways to differentiate; once you hit monk or so, you know that among those with a lot of XP are folks here who really know what they're talking about (I shan't name names, because, well, you're in the group of people who know the difference!), and others who got there simply by being around a lot (I'll give you one name for that category).

          Maybe I'm taking the "Monk" motif too seriously here. But the point is, you reach the stage of enlightenment, and you're not supposed to care any more. The Joneses become invisible, rather than something up with which to keep.

          Update it's in the same thread, so you're probably looking at it, but let me say turnstep is saying clearly the things I've been fumbling.

          Call me cranky, 'cos I'd like to promote that attitude.

          Philosophy can be made out of anything. Or less -- Jerry A. Fodor

    Re: Level Proposal
    by chromatic (Archbishop) on Feb 23, 2001 at 02:14 UTC
      I'd kinda just like to retire from Saints in Our Book. I don't check it anymore. It's like the end of the game of LENT (er, LIFE), where you choose to sell it all and become a philosopher.

      Or they can just retire my user number and print up fake PM jerseys for all the new noders to come....

      Anyway, these new levels are clever, and if Saint Inflation gets bad, I'll back the idea.

    Re: Level Proposal
    by TStanley (Canon) on Feb 23, 2001 at 02:22 UTC
      Personally, I think this is a very cool idea, as I have noticed that the number of Saints
      has doubled in size since I have been here. I believe that it will give the current Saints
      something to work towards, as well as the rest of the community as a whole.

      TStanley
      In the end, there can be only one!
    Re: Level Proposal
    by turnstep (Parson) on Feb 23, 2001 at 02:35 UTC

      As a current "higher level" monk, I am against the idea. The current levels are good enough. However, there is the (slightly) related problem of the fact that gaining levels get easier and easier as more people join the monastery: there are more potential votes to shower on each node. Heck, I remember when getting a node with a rep of 10 was a big deal. :) I realize that a Saint like me suggesting that the path to sainthood be made harder is akin to the US Congress voting itself a pay raise, but when even crappy nodes (IMHO) are getting a rep of 20+...

      P.S. This issue has come up many times before, and I have yet to recall a single Saint who wants these higher levels. Not that it's a bad idea per se, but not needed.

    Re: Level Proposal
    by mkmcconn (Chaplain) on Feb 23, 2001 at 03:55 UTC

      I thought that "Experience Points" had to do with certain kinds of participation in this site, by being here, by voting, by making contributions to the site. Any notion of equivalence to "Perl Expertise", takes the fun out of it for me.

      I'd request that point accumulation could be turned off, electively, in the latter case. I intend to hang around here a lot. I have no interest in being judged on that account, as though I had pretenses of being an Expert.

      For the other point, (if I can give an opinion without sounding overly serious about it) I don't like the idea of changing the amusing metaphor of the Monastery. I don't know how many (for example) Buddhists, or East or West Catholics there are here - but, I doubt that a single one of them thinks of the "monastery" theme as a coup for their religion. (And, a monastery is about as Presbyterian as the Mass, lest someone should think this Presbyterian is motivated by religion to discourage the introduction of non-monastic levels.)

      The metaphor is strained as it is, but in my opinion it isn't lame, right now.

      mkmcconn

        As I see it, this continues the metaphor of the Monestary. Didn't you notice? Each of those animals are the cover art on O'Reilly books commonly discussed here.

        I think it also neatly sidesteps the issue of Christian overtones to the existing metaphor.

        Sure, experience points are a wash. But, if people enjoy them, why not?

        Also, people respond to goals. I'll bet even merlyn does better when he has a deadline or a target to hit.

        Besides, I think it's funny that most of those animals grace the covers of books he's had a hand in. It's a reference back to the the language, the community, and the people who've helped it succeed.

    (ichimunki) re: Level Proposal
    by ichimunki (Priest) on Feb 23, 2001 at 05:01 UTC
      The only suggestion I've seen along these lines that I like the sound of is the one that suggests that Monks who had acheived some uber-saint status be allowed to choose an honorific. Perhaps they should be able to replace Saint with a title of their own.

      Other than that, I can't think of anything that would motivate me more than learning and sharing Perl and programming knowledge (I'm still doing a lot more learning than sharing).

      On certain issues, no Monk really knows more than any other Monk, so level is not indicative. On other issues, even Initiates may know as much or more than some Saints (for instance, if Larry Wall signed on-- assuming he hasn't-- he'd be a Novice or whatever, right?), so again, level is not indicative.

      I think the fact that the Monastery is fun, works well as built, and has a lot of great information is motivation enough. XP seems to be a great way to get newbies hooked on participating, but it's nothing compared to the rewards of participating without thought for XP.
    Re: Level Proposal
    by Adam (Vicar) on Feb 23, 2001 at 07:52 UTC
      I thought about this awhile back, and kind of compared it to a martial arts ranking. Eventually you get a black belt, and it stops there. But we all know that some people are black belts, and some people are _black belts_.

      In other words, I don't see a need to break up the saints into various levels, but if you want, you could imagine that we are at different degrees of saint, i.e. I'm a lowly saint, but Ovid and merlyn are first degree saints. vroom would be an eighth degree saint. The degree doesn't really matter, but if you want something to aspire to, there it is.
      ( The formula, btw, is min XP = 3000 * 2 ** $degree )

        Depending on the martial art that you're studying, no, you don't get a black belt and it stops there. Just like the pre-black belts, there are rankings. Usually you start at 10th Kyu (kyu being beginner or amateur) and work down to 1st Kyu. Then you hit 1st Dan (dan being master), which is the beginning of black belts. Then you work your way back up towards 10th Dan (not many of those anywhere in any discipline). There is no stopping.

        The idea of different degrees of Saints is a pretty good parallel, though.

        (I'm not a black belt, but both my parents are.)

    Re: Level Proposal
    by Petruchio (Vicar) on Feb 23, 2001 at 08:55 UTC
      Just my $0.02, to take or leave.

      While some of our levels, like Monk and Initiate, do not of necessity suggest specific cultural roots, others, like Friar and Bishop, are, as far as I know, unique to the older Christian traditions (Catholicism in particular). For my part, I find it rather difficult to fathom someone finding this offensive. The metaphors I've seen employed here have virtually nothing to do with religion, but rather with reflection, study, and social hierarchy.

      In fact, our present level titles have less religious significance that those footpad suggests. After all, titles such as Friar or Bishop have no metaphysical implications... I don't believe I've met anyone here who didn't believe that Friars or Bishops exist (Saints are a different matter). Totems, on the other hand, are emblems of spirits, not titles for people. If we're actually to worry about such things... and I suggest we don't... it would be a safer thing to have Imams, Shamans, Samani, Muezzins, Rabbis, Brahmins, Ayatollahs, Medicine Men, Muftis, Lamas (Dalai, Grand, Panchen and Plain Vanilla), et cetera.

      In any case, if someone does find the current state of affairs or proposals for future changes offensive, they ought to post their views. The Chatterbox is no place for serious debate on site policy. I have never heard such a sentiment uttered even in the Chatterbox, however, so from my perspective none of this seems to be a real problem.

      Aesthetically, I think it much more pleasing to keep to the established motif, rather than vary. Saint, to me, sounds like a excellent final level still, unless we'd like to append "Pope" at, say, 1,000,000 XP. Anyway, if we're going to bother adding new levels, I'd sooner raise the number of XPs required for Saint, and add lower levels. Of the many titles which would not break with the present theme my favorites are:

      • Arch-Bishop
      • Cardinal (tilly might want Ordinal, too)
      • Curate
      • Predicant
      • Hermit (because some of us *are* that hard up for lives)
      • Vicar
      • Prior
      • Beadle (alakaboo loves The Beadles)
      • Deacon

      Of course, this would mean a lot of de-cannonized Saints, and perhaps some other shuffling besides. However there seems to be little difference between suddenly finding you're no longer a Saint, and suddenly finding you haven't achieved the highest possible level. Perhaps demoted Saints could be given a special title until they regain their former station... like Bodhisattva. Granted this doesn't quite fit the scheme, but the metaphor is nice: those who reached enlightenment and came back again. Whatever the case, one would hope that people would take it in stride, set their sights higher, and continue to learn, teach, and have fun as before.

      Incidentally, I also like arturo's notion of honorifics... perhaps this whole thing shouldn't be quite so linear.

        Oooh, Ooooh! I wanna be a Vicar! (Well, technically, I'd be a Vicaress, but still...)

        In all honesty, this sounds just fine to me... the whole totem expansion just doesn't really match the theme. It's a strained metaphor1. And as for the "people might be offended by christian themes," uhm, guys, they're already offended and left when they saw the whole monastery theme.

        Update: Uncle! Uncle! Yes, I do know that it was tilly who was complaining about overly christian themes in the suggestions for new levels.
        For reference, I am a significantly non-christian person. However, I still think that we are already on a christian theme, so why are people getting pissy now?
        On the other hand, someone else in this thread suggested some religious titles from some other religions. I'd personally be just as happy if we used some of those, if the community decided that we really do need to add more levels.

        1 Yes, it's already strained, but this is a totally orthagonal strain.
    Re: Level Proposal
    by Maclir (Curate) on Feb 23, 2001 at 10:15 UTC
      Well, I am joing this one rather late, and have had the "advantage" of seeing other monk's comments. My feelings are:
      1. ++ to Footpad for putting forward the suggestion.
      2. For those people who claim not to be interested in all this XP whoring rubbish, well, just ignore it as I am sure you already ignore the existing levels and any XP gains you may make.
      3. For the rest of us, it is just another fun element in participating in this community. I for one would still be just as involved if there was no such thing as XP and levels, but it does add to the enjoyment.
      4. However, I am sure vroom is fully occupied on other things, so I don't expect to see too many "Incarnations of the Camel" within the next few days.

      Ken (I am NOT an XP whore) Maclir.

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