|laziness, impatience, and hubris|
Re: Abstain option?by Ovid (Cardinal)
|on Sep 10, 2002 at 04:27 UTC||Need Help??|
The only issue I have with this idea is that it really doesn't solve any particular problem. If a node is front-paged, it will get a disproportionately high reputation. Some people suffer personality downvotes and, as a result, have nodes with a lower rep than should be the case. I get personality upvotes and some of my nodes have a higher reputation than is reasonable. In fact, I've seen some well-regarded monks give completely incorrect information and get upvoted and less well-regarded monks give great answers but not get votes (in fact, there are a few times that I have seen fantastic nodes with a negative rep).
For whatever reason, the maintainers of this site have decided not to make XP visible unless you vote. I think that's fine. Node reputation is often a function of node quality, but it's also often a popularity contest. Of course, that's easy for me to say, given where I am in terms of XP, but it's true. merlyn, as the classic example, if judged solely by node content, should have a much higher XP than myself given the number of nodes that he has authored. However, people like what I have to say and how I say it, so I can offer a less than perspicacious node and gain a higher rep than some others. I feel awkward about that, but that seems to be the way this works here. Reputation at Perlmonks is a function of the community, not of raw knowledge. Once people start to understand that, they can start learning who is interesting to read (me, sometimes) and who is providing great information (I had a list of monks here, but there were far too many :).
As with any endeavour, we must learn our craft well enough to be able to judge the quality of an idea on its own merits. For that, there is no quick and easy solution. For example, Abigail-II posted an incredible OO technique that I was able to consider and vote on. As of this writing, it only has a reputation of 13, but it deserves a much higher reputation because it's brilliant. It would be sad to see people "abstain" and not consider it because its reputation doesn't meet their standards.
Update: Another thought occurred to me. You also have to consider the context in which a reply is given, and perhaps to whom the reply is being offered. Imagine that I post a node saying that I have the following Perl snippet and want to know why it only works on occasion:
Right off the bat, one might guess that the reason it sometimes works is that the file I am opening has a newline at the beginning, thus completing the headers. Now someone might come along and say "Always use CGI.pm!". Frankly, there's not much need to load 6,000+ lines of code for one header. Typically, that advice would be good, but in this context, it's overkill to load several thousand lines of code for a missed newline.
Further, what if in my post I had explained that I didn't use CGI.pm to print a header because this script was so frequently requested that I was having performance problems? In that case, seemingly good advice is actually bad advice. Once again, the node must be judged on its merit, but it might pick up some ++ votes from people with an automatic reaction to seeing someone mention CGI.pm. Thus, we once again fall back to the need for people to be good enough at their craft to be able to judge things themselves, rather than rely on the judgment of others.
Of course, I must confess that I'm very curious to see the reputation this node earns, given its contents :)
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