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A request from level 21

by grinder (Bishop)
on Jul 10, 2008 at 16:31 UTC ( #696746=monkdiscuss: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

I see that "Monsignor foo" labels in the node authoring header were added in response to the potential for trolling. As an atheist, I've always intensely disliked the religious overtones of the different levels and this just makes it worse.

I do appreciate the time and effort that some volunteer spent on coding it up. Contributing in my own way as I do to Perl gives me some measure of what it takes.

Be that as it may, I would like some way to opt out of the labels altogether, or at a minimum just show the numeric level, because I could not figure out the ranks of a sexton and curate if my life depended on it (nor am I sure that the ability to do so provides any useful metric). I had a look at User Settings, but didn't see anything. If it's planned, then that's grand.

• another intruder with the mooring in the heart of the Perl

Comment on A request from level 21
Re: A request from level 21
by moritz (Cardinal) on Jul 10, 2008 at 16:48 UTC
    There's something completely different that I don't like about the labels: I wrote this node not as a Monsignor, but as an initiate. Putting that out of context feels like changing history.

    It's a bit like watching a video of kids playing, and a voice in the background says "on the left hand side you see the pope", just because one of them happened to become pope 60 years later (I tried hard to find an example that fits to our level names here ;-). But it wasn't the pope at that time. It was just a kid.

      I thought the same thing. I went back to the first thing I ever put here, and it has my current title on it, and I thought, "that wasn't written by 'Monsignor Kyle', it was written by 'Newbie Kyle'!"

      I realize that from a technical point of view, it's probably not possible to have a historically accurate title, but that would be fun.

      Update, just to be clear, I like the change. I'd probably add an "acronym" tag around the title, though, like so:

      <ACRONYM TITLE="level 18">Monsignor</ACRONYM>

      This way someone can hover over the title and find out the (more comprehensible) number associated with the name, but it stays out of the way of anyone who's not interested or already knows.

        I realize that from a technical point of view, it's probably not possible to have a historically accurate title, but that would be fun.

        It's not only possible, but it could be done with the addition of a new column in the nodes table and a script run in the background. I couldn't code it up, but from what I know of the guts of Perlmonks, that's all it would take.

        Remember - jcwren's graphing thing does history, so the information is there.


        My criteria for good software:
        1. Does it work?
        2. Can someone else come in, make a change, and be reasonably certain no bugs were introduced?
      "...60 years later..."?
      Not even 60 months. Initiate to Monsignor in less than 14 months in fact.

      Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a meteor!

      And I'm not just complaining because I've joined the serried ranks of those who have been unceremoniously barged out of the way and trampled in the dust. Really.

      :-)

        "...60 years later..."?
        Not even 60 months. Initiate to Monsignor in less than 14 months in fact.

        The pope, not me ;-)

        And I see it didn't took you 60 months either to become a Monsignor ;-)

        :-)

Re: A request from level 21
by Tanktalus (Canon) on Jul 10, 2008 at 16:57 UTC

    Update your CSS such that anything with a class of "attribution-title" is set to "display: none". Poof, gone.

    Update:

    .attribution-title { display: none }
    works here - though I like it, so I've now got:
    .attribution-title { color: red; }
    :-)

Re: A request from level 21
by Argel (Prior) on Jul 10, 2008 at 19:41 UTC
    I have to agree that showing the names pushes the religious motif a bit too far. And I think moritz makes a great point regarding current level vs. the level someone was at while posting in Re: A request from level 21. And I know there is a way to turn it off, but I think displaying the level name (or number) should be opt-in, not opt-out.

    Besides, someone's post should be voted on based on the merits, not what level they are at. And what does someone's level really mean? At best its an indicator of how long they have been here. For example, I'm a Priest but so is TheDamian -- and Dominus is just one level higher. Yet in terms of skills and knowledge I might as well be in a different universe compared to them.

    Quite frankly I just do not see how shoving someone's level in everyone's face contributes anything positive to this site. A song about swallowing a spider to catch a fly comes to mind.... Maybe what we should do instead is just indicate if someone is new (i.e. joined within the past X number of days).

      The site is partially driven by xp hunger. If a fancy title encourages this thing to keep going, so be it. The religious motif is unfortunate, but I take it as just meant to be a fun theme.
        Well, I wouldn't expect a lowly Friar to fully grasp the nuances of The Monastery. Certainly not as much as a Saint would.

        I am of course being facetious. But I will call point, set, and match. Showing levels is a bad idea because it promotes elitism. I think the XP system was just fine the way it was -- no additional encouragement was needed and it struck a nice balance between encouraging participation without encouraging too much elitism or someone "pulling rank". Having the title displayed in posts breaks that balance.

        Besides, as grinder pointed out this change was made to (in theory) help deal with trolls. Does it accomplish that goal? And are the unintended consequences worth it? I am (not surprisingly) inclined to say "no" to both.

        I have to say that I am pretty disappointed right now. It's sad when a simple suggestion like mine in 694443 that would make Super Search easier to use goes unimplemented while ones that can have a significant negative impact on the social workings of The Monastery are implemented without even a modicum of meaningful discussion. Not cool!

        Regarding the religious motif, yes, it is meant to be fun. But that can be taken too far. The obvious example of this is the Grand Inquisitor title that was renamed to Sage (see this thread for more). I'm inclined to say showing the titles is pushing things a little too far.

        The site is partially driven by xp hunger.
        Actually, now that I think about I'm not sure if that is really true. XP does encourage participation, but do some of our most vocal and helpful Monks such as ikegami and BrowserUK really care about XP that much? I think for several of us the XP system is more like icing on the cake or a pat on the back.

        Well, being an agnostic (not an atheist), I see the whole stuff pretty relaxed. Maybe the only sad thing is that I can't ever become god - I would enjoy seeing people pray to me ;-)

        Joking aside, I had expected arguments against our religious levels coming rather from fundamental christs than from those fellow monks who are not so extremely inclined to Christianity (which comprises everyone from three-quarter--hearted Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, up to Agnostics and Atheists). I think the labels are entertaining, and it is just one of the things which makes the site so entertaining to use. So I vote for leaving things as they are...

        -- 
        Ronald Fischer <ynnor@mm.st>
Re: A request from level 21
by Anonymous Monk on Jul 11, 2008 at 03:42 UTC
Re: A request from level 21
by Anonymous Monk on Jul 11, 2008 at 03:44 UTC
    Level information is always a click away; I don't want no scarlet letters.
Re: A request from level 21
by DrHyde (Prior) on Jul 11, 2008 at 10:27 UTC
    "As an atheist" I'm quite happy to visit a website called perl MONKS. When I visit a place whose name is obviously mocking organised religion, I would be disappointed if there was no more mockery than just the name.
      I don't see the mockery. I see a theme. In any event, let's do a rollback as it a) offends argel and others probably b)doesn't identify trolls, only highlights xp
        Don't take my number of posts as any indication. If you look at my nodes you will see that PM Discussion is one of my favorite places to post. Though with that said I do find the word association being so prominently displayed to be offensive.

        Though I suppose if I was a "Vicar" then the association would be with British murder mysteries, which might be cool! ;-)

Re: A request from level 21
by apl (Monsignor) on Jul 11, 2008 at 14:27 UTC
    As an atheist, I've always intensely disliked the religious overtones of the different levels and this just makes it worse.

    There was a poll (about a year back) about how you toasted. L'Chayim was one choice, and enough people had chosen it that I was prompted to comment "We have a minyon of Monks!" (That is, enough Jewish Monks (a contradiction in terms) are around so we can hold Jewish services).

    I understand the titles are offensive to you, but they're only meant in good fun. They're not meant to be hurtful. (They prompted me to Google "Beadle", among other terms.)

      I have always thought of The Monastery in more of an Eastern light. Regardless, good intentions do not guarantee good (as in "vs. evil") results.
        I have always thought of this Monastery as a meeting of the Friars Club. You've got a few people at the top of their chosen profession, a number of people who are trying to hone their craft, and still more people just starting out.
Re: A request from level 21
by toolic (Chancellor) on Jul 11, 2008 at 17:12 UTC
    Since the one who implemented this feature is soliciting opinions, here is mine. I like it. Since it is already in place, there is no need to remove it. I agree with others that there should be a simple, documented mechanism for enabling and disabling the titles. It is a good compromise to keep it, but have it disabled by default.

    I like it because it provides a convenient way for me to know something about the poster. During my first year as a PerlMonk, I have frequently clicked on the poster's user name link to find out the user's level. I have used this information as a guide when preparing to post a response. For example, if a Seeker of Perl Wisdom posts a question, and I want to propose a solution involving the split built-in, the level of detail I provide may vary depending on my perceived experience level of the poster: for a veteran monk, I might decide just a link to the "split" documentation is sufficient, whereas for a new monk, I might decide to describe how to search for the documentation and then show a few simple code examples.

    In theory, the level of the poster should not determine the detail of the response. But, I have found this to work well for me in practice.

    This added convenience may be appealing to other newer monks as well. In time, I'll probably decide it no longer has any value to me. When that happens, I'll disable it.

Re: A request from level 21
by Anonymous Monk on Jul 11, 2008 at 18:21 UTC

    How very sad.

    I've personally come to distinguish between atheists and what I call "Devout Atheists". You're level of heebee-jeebees over the titles assigned to the various levels betrays you as one of the later.

    Do you remember *way* back when you used to have fun & play make-believe? Perhaps it's high time to reconnect with your inner-child, assuming you haven't had him shot.

Re: A request from level 21
by tilly (Archbishop) on Jul 11, 2008 at 18:44 UTC
    Why am I not surprised? I wander back to the site after a lengthy absence and find that one of the most pressing issues facing the site is..discussion of the XP system. Again.

    As an atheist I also don't like the religious aspect of the titles, but I don't make a big deal out of it. In fact I see it as equal opportunity offensiveness - I'd think it more offensive for a religious person to see an atheist like me being called by a religious title. :-)

    I also agree with those who say that the people who do the best in the XP system are also people who don't care about it. Like me. Which means that whatever decisions are made should be thought of as being fairly irrelevant.

Re: A request from level 21
by igelkott (Curate) on Jul 11, 2008 at 21:16 UTC

    How about turning this matter into a Poll?

    Not to make this sound like a democracy but opinions have been requested and the polls could be used for something other than jokes and trivialities (though I really like those too).

    The obvious problems with this approach is that people may complain if the most popular solutions are not followed and some may wish to change their vote after being persuaded by the arguments of others. Still, it would be a quick and easy way to handle an RFC.

      The obvious problems with this approach is that people may complain if the most popular solutions are not followed and some may wish to change their vote after being persuaded by the arguments of others.

      However popular an idea might be, what if its unconstitutional? If it goes against the spirit and tradition of the monastery? We've always held that XP is a game, and part of the game was that levels aren't flaunted. Now its NAME and RANK because there might be trolls afoot. Because one guy in power had to fight the evil doers, so he made everyone wear a patch on their coat.

      Who does Number Two work for? Cowboy: Yeah, that's right buddy! You show that turd who's boss.

        Whoa, this is way too harsh. Though I agree with you, comparing ysth with Hitler is not the way to discuss. I also second igelkott. Make it a poll.


        holli, /regexed monk/
        unconstitutional

        Taking a poll on an unconstitutional or inappropriate question would be silly, if the question clearly falls into one of these categories. Otherwise, since no lives are at stake, a popular vote doesn't really seem all that dangerous.

        NAME and RANK

        No one could possibly be suggesting that the XP system is some kind of direct measure of the value of a post (or poster). XP should have some connection to the time and/or effort spent here but that obviously can't translate to "worthiness" in any sense. Obviously, any "newbie" might actually be an experienced Perl programmer or expert in some other field. XP can only provide a hint to the background of an op and providing it up front can either be seen as a convenience or as a distraction -- not some sort of human right's issue.

Re: A request from level 21
by planetscape (Canon) on Jul 14, 2008 at 06:29 UTC

    I agree with moritz and kyle that seeing one's current title on posts made when one was an initiate is very misleading.

    I would much prefer that all my posts by judged solely on their own merits (if any), rather than being seen through the lens of a title I achieved in large measure just by showing up and voting. I realize that there are still ways to obtain that information even if titles don't appear on each post, but at least those require some minimal effort on the part of the one who desires to know. I further realize that at least some people some of the time vote on nodes for reasons that have nothing to do with their worth - friendship, enmity, bad mood, heightened exuberance, dislike for someone's nick... or simply a desire to use all the votes up, and nothing pmdevils can implement will change this.

    I personally hope these patches will be reverted, or at least be made "opt-in", but I don't necessarily expect that to happen. I am grateful to Tanktalus for showing me how to turn the display off for myself.

    I also completely agree with Argel who says:

    Showing levels is a bad idea because it promotes elitism. I think the XP system was just fine the way it was -- no additional encouragement was needed and it struck a nice balance between encouraging participation without encouraging too much elitism or someone "pulling rank". Having the title displayed in posts breaks that balance.

    As a non-Christian I try not to get too exercised about the titles themselves, preferring to relegate them to just another part of the Monastery motif. But I do think too much 'in your face' stretches the 'friendly' part of the friendly competition that is the XP game.

    FWLIMBW,

    planetscape
Re: A request from level 21
by Jenda (Abbot) on Jul 14, 2008 at 13:53 UTC

    I don't really mind the religious overtones ... if any. I mean "sexton"? What's that? Something related to sex? Or the number six? "prior"? That's a superstore! "curate"? Aaaah, finaly something ... well ... religious? It reminds me of feldkurat Katz from The good Slodier Svejk ... not a very religious person. Monsignor? Wasn't that the bad guy from Dumas's Three musketeers?

    I guess the native speakers have less problem with the level names, but I bet even for most of those most of the names are pretty meaningless "something related with religion I think" words. So displaying them like this doesn't really mean much in either direction.

Re: A request from level 21
by Jeffrey Kegler (Friar) on Jul 14, 2008 at 17:31 UTC
    I would like to see the level numbers emphasized more, in preference to the monastic titles.

    The monastic titles have IMHO a much bigger problem than their religious overtones -- they reinforce the sense (and the statistic) that the Perl community is a mens club.

    The level numbers are easier to interpret and remember, and don't carry as much ideological baggage.

Re: A request from level 21
by Joost (Canon) on Jul 14, 2008 at 22:31 UTC
    As an atheist, I've always intensely disliked the religious overtones of the different levels

    As an atheist, I don't mind a bit. In fact, I'm looking forward to the day when I'll be pope. :-)

    Don't take this stuff too seriously. Nobody here is trying to force their religion on you, except for the faction that's claiming that perl is the only language that matters, but they're just delusional :-).

Re: A request from level 21
by leocharre (Priest) on Jul 16, 2008 at 20:44 UTC
    I'm a... (What's it called when you believe nobody's wrong no matter what they believe?)- and I say yah! Keep the religious overtones! It's funny as all heck, I smile every time I see it perlMONKS. Teeheehee.
Re: A request from level 21
by SilasTheMonk (Chaplain) on Oct 24, 2008 at 08:58 UTC
    I am surprised noone has mentioned the reason why I really like the monastical theme on perlmonks. My primary hobby interest is in AD&D and my interest in perl primarily professional. For hobby purposes I am Silas The Monk on various web-sites. I also ended up setting up my own web-site. Of course the AD&D Monk is more inspired by Asian traditions than Christian ones, but these nuamces are not fully understood by the young novices who illustrate my web-site.

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