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Proposed XP System Changes

by vroom (Pope)
on Aug 03, 2000 at 18:23 UTC ( #25975=monkdiscuss: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

A new system has been devised and proposed to me by a group of users. Here it is:

The changes are (in the order they'll be implemented)

  1. Reduction/Elimination of vote-out bonus:
    Until the user reaches Level 5 (Monk) they receive a bonus for using all of their votes equal to 1/6 of the total number of votes they received. After reaching Level 5, this bonus is removed, and the user receives no special bonus for using all of their votes.
  2. Delay of Posting Bonus:
    Instead of receiving a 1 XP bonus for posting a node, the user receives no special bonus until some other user votes ++ on the node.
  3. Weighted XP Reward for High Node Reputation:
    Average Node reputation is calculated on a seven-day average. This value is referred to as the variable NORM; REP represents the current actual value of any given node's reputation.

    As new votes are cast on a node, a 1 XP bonus or penalty is assigned according to the following odds, ODDS++ being a reward and ODDS-- being a penalty
    if ($REP < $NORM) { $ODDS++ == 1/3; $ODDS-- == 1/3; } elsif ($NORM <= $REP < (2 * $NORM)) { $ODDS++ == 1/2; $ODDS-- == 1/3; } elsif ((2 * $NORM) <= $REP < (3 * $NORM)) { $ODDS++ == 2/3; $ODDS-- == 1/3; } elsif ((3 * $NORM) <= $REP < (4 * $NORM)) { $ODDS++ == 3/4; $ODDS-- == 1/4; } else { $ODDS++ = 1; $ODDS-- = 0; }

The odds for the XP bonus to the voter remains flat, regardless, but is lowered from 1/3 to 1/4.

Lemme know what you think, personally I think it will help to make levels a better indication of site contributions. The reduction/elimination of the voting bonus will prevent users from gaining XP by only voting. Also this change will also hopefully make votes more meaningful because people won't feel compelled to use them up but will use them to in effect say "good job!" or "this is unhelpful, or incorrect." This will make votes more meaningful because people will only vote on posts they think deserve a push in either direction.

Update:
Since all of you seem to be happy with the proposed change (mostly) I will begin to implement it.
Done:#1, #2 and #3.

vroom | Tim Vroom | vroom@cs.hope.edu

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RE: Proposed XP System Changes
by Macphisto (Hermit) on Aug 03, 2000 at 18:42 UTC
    vroom,
    Are you supporting this or are you simply stating what others have requested/suggested?

    I like the ideas, and hope they get implented. I'm curious if it will cause much backlash, or it will cause some confusion among most of the monks.

    I know a lot of people have expressed their growing concern over getting voted down without explination( I'm one of them, considering my level jumped from scribe, to monk, back to scribe four times in one day ). Many of the chatterbox folk have suggested adding a requirement that a response be given on a -- vote. This would obviously be difficult to implement since many could just enter garbage or demeaning words as their reasons. It would be nice, however to have to have some requirement that a -- be accompanied with the reason why the person thinks you should be voted down. I know this revokes some basic rights we have a perlmonks.org, not the least of which tends to be anonymity, and I'm not sure exactly how you would go about doing keeping fairness and efficiency in hand. I simply wanted to breach the subject.

    Good luck with the other changes,
    Cardinal Ximinez

    Nobody expects the The Spanish Inquisition
      I think it works to solve a lot of the current problems. A lot of users in #perlmonks saw room for improvement in the current XP system. I wasn't completely pleased with how XP currently works either and asked them for a proposal to fix it. This is what they came up with.

      Personally, I think it does a good job of addressing the current problems.

      As for giving reasons to users for votes given on nodes one issue is user-interface. I don't want to see drop down menus everywhere or additional text boxes. I think the best thing might be to allow mini-notes to be added to a node that could only be viewed by the author. It would also be interesting to gain other stats on users posts such as accuracy, helpfulness etc... and maybe some in the opposite direction as well. I think the best we can do on this sort of feedback is make it optional.

      vroom | Tim Vroom | vroom@cs.hope.edu

        Very true. And a well thought out response. I don't want to see PM get cluttered as hell either but honestly when I post a question that I'm dying for an answer to, and all I get is a couple of --'s without even one explination it doesn't help me learn anything. I've got no problem losing XP, it's not important to me whatsoever, what is important is peoples input. A lot of times I do get really good input from initiates all the way up to the saints, and I love that, it works great. But I'd rather be told what is wrong with my code/post than save XP. Guess you can't have them all, can you? And I certainly don't want to clutter up the site, with excess garbage.


        Nobody expects the The Spanish Inquisition
        I think it's imperative that such a note system (for explaining votes) be just as anonymous as the voting itself. If not... then the people we're annoy'd with won't post any reasons anyway.
RE: Proposed XP System Changes
by young perlhopper (Scribe) on Aug 03, 2000 at 18:57 UTC
    I'm not sure I like the idea of needing a ++ vote to get any XP for a post. Many times if I post a reply 2 or more levels removed from a root node, it is overlooked and never voted for. Part of this may be because it is useful only to the person who I was replying to, and they may be out of votes or simply choose not to vote for me.

    I think one of the goals of any change in the voting system should be to prevent the 'karma whoring' phenomenon seen on slashdot. People who post a hasty reply right below the root node are more likely to get votes simply because they are the first reply people see when they look at the node, and as long as they are somewhat useful and polite, they will get votes. This is not to say that people who write in depth replies that appear much further down the page don't get votes, they often do. But I think we should strive to continue rewarding the latter behavior and possibly even discouraging the former.

    Just my .02,
    Mark

      That's a valid point. I think what we are trying to discourage or at least not encourage is people posting a bunch of ("Me too!","Thank you!","or good point!") responses just to gain XP. Responses like this may be friendly but people shouldn't be able to level up based on the number of posts like this that they make.

      vroom | Tim Vroom | vroom@cs.hope.edu
      Also, a lot people come into the converstation late (like me). Most of the readers may have moved on by that point, and thus the chance of being voted one way or another is decreased.

      On the other hand, this would prevent 'idle converstation' posts from giving the poster XP.

      hmmm...would it be possible to have an option for the poster to say whether or not this post should be considered for XP? An honor system way of seperating 'idle converstation' from posts that are supposed to be true contributions?

      /\/\averick

        Random thoughts:

        This "most of the readers have moved on" problem is probably because they use the individual sections rather than the newest nodes page (just an observation).

        Perhaps if we pointed out to new people how useful it is and more people used it, the inital posts wouldn't get such a boost from being early.

        I know that if I had to trawl through converstaions I'd already read looking for new bits, I would miss an awful lot of good stuff.

        Nuance

RE: Proposed XP System Changes
by nuance (Hermit) on Aug 03, 2000 at 19:13 UTC
    This sounds really good, I am still wondering about some things though
    • You say "delay of posting bonus" but I see no mention of whether the automatic +1 XP will be assigned when someone votes ++ or whether it is being scrapped altogether in favour of the new voting system.
    • Will the current value of NORM be available (easily)
    • Are current XP levels going to be adjusted, it would be quite hard to implement something that reflects the dynamically variable nature of the new ++ (I'm in favour of some sort of regrading if it can be shown to be fair & equitable)

    Nuance

      • The +1 voting bonus will be awarded when a node gets its first ++ vote.
      • The current Value of NORM could be available on the Voting/Experience System page.
      • Current XP Levels will probably stay the same unless we notice a problem.
      • One other thought we had was to have writeup or moderate reputation total requirements for advancing to a level. These wouldn't be hard to attain but might toss some people back a level or two if they'd only gained their XP through voting or the login bonus.


      vroom | Tim Vroom | vroom@cs.hope.edu
RE: Proposed XP System Changes
by davorg (Chancellor) on Aug 03, 2000 at 19:25 UTC
      It looks like if computed as planned it would be 5.62 for the last week.

      vroom | Tim Vroom | vroom@cs.hope.edu
RE: Proposed XP System Changes
by mt2k (Hermit) on Aug 03, 2000 at 20:21 UTC
    One other point I think might help also.
    I notice myself doing it every once in a while, so I'm sure that there are others that do it too.
    Casting a vote on a top-level node (the node that everyone replies to) should have only maybe half the chance of receiving that +1 XP.
    Why do I propose this? Because any user that simply votes on the main nodes doesn't really need to do any work to receive XP.
    So, voting on a top-level node should have half the odds of receiving +1 XP, while votes used on replies have the same odds they have now.
    This way, users will be motivated to look *into* the nodes at the replies, and maybe even learn something along the way :)
      No, voting's already been cut way down as a source of XP. The idea is that you receive XP from OTHER PEOPLE voting on your writeups, not from voting yourself.

      If you make no writeups, but simply vote out every day under the new system, you will eventually reach Monk. It won't be fast, but you'll eventually make Monk. And there you will sit. Statistically, yes, you'll continue to gain XP from voting and logging in; but it would take months to reach Friar.

      The idea of this is not to encourage what someone called "good voting behavior". It's to encourage contributions to PerlMonks. You can't gain XP unless other people vote for your writeups on a consistent basis. The better your average reputation, the faster your growth. So although it's absolutely crucial that people continue to vote, it won't directly do much for their XP levels.

      We want you to vote for root-level nodes. And for replies. And we want you to vote on the deep, far reaches of the threads. But we want you to vote based on what you think of the node, not on what reward you will get. We don't want to reward good voting behavior. We want to make voting essential to good community behavior.

      - email Ozymandias
        OK, is this system yet implemented?
        Because just today, I made 10 XP for voting (16 votes).
        Seems to me that's a pretty chunk of XP for having voted.
        I still stand where I'm at with my last reply, simply because more people will be driven to enter nodes and read the replies.
        I might stand down if the new XP system isn't yet implemented.
RE: Proposed XP System Changes
by Nitsuj (Hermit) on Aug 03, 2000 at 22:03 UTC
    No offense, but: 1) This system makes posting too much like karma. All we need is a site full of karma whores (sarchasm).

    2) A person might post a very astute and intelligent answer to a question burried deep in the system. Nobody might see it/care about it except for the person asking the question. They wouldn't get XP for it.

    3) I view XP as a measure of site-participation. Voting/Posting/So Forth are part of site participation.

    4) A lot of things are voted way up that aren't really adding that much to the site, but deserve to be voted up. Someone posting something minor that is cute or funny would get mad XP just for posting something cute or funny. I've made comments that got high reputations because they were cute or funny that I don't deserve mad XP for, but they deserved to be said because they were cute or funny. On the opposite side of the coin. I've had a few good writeups, that explain things in direct terms, like as if I was teaching a damned class on the subject. These didn't tend to get terribly great reps, but they very clearly explain the problem/solution. I deserve more XP for writing an astute reply than I do for saying something cute. Then again, they deserve higher reps than the cute comments do.



    Just Another Perl Hacker
      The problems you raise are the things that these new solutions are trying to resolve. Let's take your points one at a time:

      1) This system makes posting too much like karma. All we need is a site full of karma whores (sarchasm).

      Agreed. What we have right now are people reaching high rank without ever contributing anything useful to the site. The fastest way to gain XP is to simply use all your votes every day, and people do that regardless of the quality of the nodes they are voting for. This makes it impossible to gain large amounts of XP unless other monks think you deserve it.

      2) A person might post a very astute and intelligent answer to a question burried deep in the system. Nobody might see it/care about it except for the person asking the question. They wouldn't get XP for it.

      Yes, that's possible. It happens all the time now. There is no real way to fix that, except to say that I and some other monks that I know of make it a point to search out these posts and vote for them. I think more people will do that, if they don't get a particularly large reward just for voting.

      3) I view XP as a measure of site-participation. Voting/Posting/So Forth are part of site participation.

      XP should be a measure of site participation, but it really isn't. The best measure right now - the means by which I measure my respect for other monks - is not their XP, but the number and quality of their posts. I respect people who answer questions throughly and frequently. I respect people who make intelligent contributions to discussions of new features or events. I respect people who make insightful and interesting points in Meditations, or those poems that make me stop and think for a minute.

      I don't respect, and see no reason to respect, people who simply gather XP by voting out every day. Where is the contribution that they've made?

      4) A lot of things are voted way up that aren't really adding that much to the site, but deserve to be voted up. Someone posting something minor that is cute or funny would get mad XP just for posting something cute or funny.

      Exactly. If something gets voted up because it's cute or funny - so what? That's part of the community, not just Perl code. But if things are getting massive amounts of Rep, even when they don't deserve that... why is that? Simple. Everyone wants to vote out and get that XP. This system removes the incentive to do that. That, in fact, is the main point behind it.

      We can't fix the fact that funny replies get more rep than some really well-written answers. That's a "society" problem. The only way to fix it would be to appoint a committee to rate and evaluate every post for quality - and we are NOT going to do that.

      - email Ozymandias

      Update: Following ybiC's response I decided to reread and take a look at this. I hadn't meant it to be condescending, but I suppose I can see where others might think it is.

      All I meant by it is that any cure for the problem that we can possibly implement would be worse than the disease. We spent a lot of time discussing this problem when we were designing the system, and in the end decided there was no fair way to fix it. All we can do is ask people to remember the point when casting their votes.

          Good monk Ozymandias,
        I agree with most all your points and was about to ++, but the last paragraph in particular comes across as condescending (true as it likely is  8^).   Mind you not worth --, but the tone detracts from the reasoned thoughts presented.
            cheers,
            ybiC
        I agree that XP should be a measure of site participation, but I still think we should get XP from voting rather than just from posting. The site is designed for people of all skill levels, not just for Perl gods who can answer all the questions that come up, and thus you have to think of people just starting out when you make these policies. A lof of people are just nervous to post (some monks are not as diplomatic as others when a post is bad).

        The XP that come from voting encourage not only better post (because you come to know what you like/dislike about certain posts, but also what others in the community like/dislike), but they also encourage new monks to read all kinds of posts, not just the "easy sounding ones".

        --Ivory

        If votes don't affect XP, why not give everyone unlimitted voting priveledges? I suppose that the obvious answer to this would be that people with higher XP deserve to have more of an effect on the site. (Just thought that deserved to be out in the open)

        Also, how is one to gain enough XP to really effect the site if voting and such doesn't help it? I think that voting gives you too much XP. I think that cutting it down to 1/6 is a good idea, and perhaps giving you 1/10th of the votes you user per day. I mean, I think that I was accepted into the community pretty quickly, I've been reading and lurking for a long time, but only recently have I begun to post and such, but I really don't vote on people that I don't know... because I never KNOW to read their nodes. I think that a lot of people don't read my nodes because they don't know me. How many people have read my string evaluation node? It may be impractical in perl code, but it is good computer science. (not to seem fat headed, I could say that of almost any node I wanted to). I think that part of the problem with eliminating the use of votes entirely is that it doesn't provide a way IN to the site without chatting a lot. You might not be able to shut me up, but a lot of the more shy individuals may feel intimidated by participation in the chatterbox. Whereas a person like me who never shuts up might easily gain XP through a system focused on rep, a person shy person will be overlooked entirely, it could be Larry Wall incognito, and we'd miss him entirely.

        I do think that it's too easy to attain high rank though. I think that rep should be more important. I think that you should require more XP too. I think that a lot of my posts haven't earned me a lot of XP, but I deserve more XP for that than for voting. I do like how the ranks are set up though. It should take a long time to be considered a saint here, but merely being interested and taking part should make you a monk. I mean, it's called perlMONKS, not perl initiates ;-)

        Just Another Perl Hacker
RE: Proposed XP System Changes (timely coincidence)
by ybiC (Prior) on Aug 03, 2000 at 22:17 UTC
    Wow, what a timely coincidence.

    Since recently making Friar(6) by being a reasonably well-behaved monk for a long time I began to hold back at least 1 vote each day, so I wouldn't receive the vote-out bonus.   Not sure that since May==long time, but you get my point.

    I did this because it just felt weird for me, a router and switch dude, to have more XP than other participating Monks who are clearly better with Perl than I'll ever be.
        cheers,
        ybiC

RE: Proposed XP System Changes
by ivory (Pilgrim) on Aug 03, 2000 at 23:38 UTC
    Hmmm...so this is already done then? It just seems so strange to do an XP overhaul like this within a couple of hours of the proposal. If you look at the replies in this thread, only about three of them actually say that they support the changes.

    Honestly this seems like a major shift in the tone of perlmonks. This new XP system seems to cater to the "old school" monks who regularly post and vote for eachother's posts, while disregarding the newer people. The reason I use this site is to learn...I was really happy to come across a community like this that is devoted to learning, teaching and sharing about perl. But this doesn't seem right. Why is it so important that less experianced monks remain at lower levels? The levels aren't really for anything other than bragging rights anyway. But it is fun to watch your level increase as you use the site more and more, and become familiar with the people here, read and vote on the posts, etc. I thought perlmonks was at least partly about community and supporting others, but lately it seems like it is more about egos, politics and posturing.

    It just seems to me that these changes make the site a less fun for the newer user, and that the changes were implemented so quickly that it doesn't feel as much like a community :(

    --Ivory

      Well, changes to the XP system have been discussed for a long time. In this case, it was rapidly reaching the point where something HAD to be done, and quickly. The proposal was worked out "by a group of users", including myself - and I'm not really old school, despite my rank of Friar. That group itself wasn't all that large, but we all talked to several other people as we made the changes, including people as low in rank as Initiates. In fact, counting vroom, I think we hit at least one or two people from each level looking for ideas. Other people showed up in the middle of the discussion (#perlmonks is an open channel, after all) and were consulted as well. So when we say that a group of users created this system, we really mean a larger group of people than were actually present.

      Second, when this was put up this morning, a lot of people saw it, and although there were only a few posts made, quite a few people made it clear in the chatterbox and privately that they approved. A few people had concerns, like yours, but most of them agreed that they were pretty minor, or resulted from inclear descriptions in the node (our fault, by the way, not vroom's.) So we all agreed, vroom concurring, that since there didn't seem to be any major objection, that it made sense to go ahead.

      Regarding your specific points, it's not that we want less experienced monks to stay at the lower levels; it's that we want rank to be determined by the community of monks, rather than by how quickly you can burn through your votes every morning. We wants the new users to become monks and friars and saints as quickly as they're able; by learning, by contributing, and by sharing.

      Finally, let's talk about the concerns you list here, or if someone has a point we haven't considered, let's talk them out and see where we can improve. This system is very much a work in progress; the changes are meant not as a fix-all but as a starting point, something to provoke discussion and see where everyone wants to go with it. Or, come visit #perlmonks on irc.slashnet.org. Let's talk about it there, too. We already are, and we don't want to block anybody out from that conversation.

      - email Ozymandias
        It just seems sudden to me. I realize that people have been talking about chaning the XP system, but I kind of hoped things would go a bit more slowly. Sometimes there is a great deal of lag time between proposals and action (like, whatever happened to the proposals for quests?).

        Regardless, I have a suggestion: why not make the first couple of levels a bit more spread out? I mean it doesn't take much to get to monk level and if we really want levels to reflect that someone is knowledgable about perl and perticipates in the site, then make the first few ranks harder to attain.

        Two other things I really wanted to add:

        1. I definately don't think that anyone should lose rank or XP except in cases of serious negative voting (like -10).

        2. Current levels/XP shouldn't be downgraded due to the XP system change...it's just unfair to have retroactive rule changes.

        Ivory

      It is a major change. There is no denying that. It is hoped to be a change for the better. There has actually been a fair amount of prior discussion in the Monastery about vote bloat and what to do about it ( cf. here, an early concern about XP whores here, a long thread ). I am not trying to claim the proposed solution was specifically mentioned, but there has been a long running thread of concern with respect to the XP system.

      I do not think this caters to the "old school" monks ( of which I am likely one ). It takes a few good articles in any portion of the Monastery to get the initial votes and anybody can attain monk level. This new method is trying to encourage greater participation by rewarding those who actively ask and answer questions, interact with the community, etc.

      Is it just numbers? I don't know. I can tell you I have been incredibly frustrated at times by the fact that I try very hard to contribute ( I will let others gauge my success ) and I am outranked by somebody who has never written a single article simply because I refuse to use my votes for the sake of the vote-out bonus. This method is an attempt to even that imbalance out.

      Given that the goals are to reward interaction, keep the signal/noise ratio as high as possible and make the levels indicative not of skill at perl but interest in the community, what would you propose instead? Everybody has a voice here. vroom has shown himself to be a rational Overlord and listens to good ideas. How would you change it to make it more fair?

      mikfire

      As one of the people on #perlmonks at the time the XP subject came up, I tend to agree with you ivory. I would have liked to see the proposal put before the community in general, I missed a good deal of the discussion on specific numbers, etc.

      While I feel that I made my feelings known about XP, I was very surprised to come in today and find the changes already taken place. (Of course, vroom can do whatever the hell he wants to. That's fine by me. And the system can always be changed if no one likes it.) The specific points that I'd like to take up with you are:

      1. Why is it important that less experienced monks remain at lower levels?
        I don't think it is! I do believe that when you create something like XP, people give it value, even if it is completely useless. What is important is that XP count for something. Why have XP if everyone's a bishop or a saint by November of this year because of the vote-out bonus? Sure it makes a person feel good, but what kind of person would fool themselves (and the rest of the community) into thinking they were members just because they used their votes randomly every day to get the vote-out bonus?? I think the point of XP is to really measure something.
        Honestly, I don't think that anyone should be rewarded for voting. You don't get paid to vote in the real world. Maybe that's why only the people that care enough to vote actually do so.
      2. Old School Monks
        I guess I'm an old school monk, but I don't know much about perl. I use this site to learn about perl, and to participate in the community. I hardly ever know the answers to SOPW questions, but I always am willing to share my opinion on the site and the community. I am pretty strict about voting, in that I vote for the posts that I feel are truly worthwhile, and I never use up my votes (except on days where there is an abundance of good posts). I guess what I am saying is that I don't consider myself to be "aligned" with the other "old school monks" on this or necessarily any other issue. Had I been revamping XP, I would have done it differently. But I guess I'll let it run on the new system for a while, because it's probably better than before, and it's good to try something new. I expect you, ivory, to thoroughly bitch out vroom if you think the system doesn't work. You have a voice, and I am glad to see you using it. You should come visit #perlmonks on irc.slashnet.org -- everyone who reads this should.
      3. Ego, Politics, and Posturing
        I'd like to see less of the ego thing. I call people on it when I can. I think it is bad for the community. On this issue, I think many of the so-called old school monks felt that we didn't deserve all the XP (pseudo-ego) we had from voting. In fact, I don't care whether people consider my posts good -- I care about saying things that need to be said. Thus this post.
        Politics and Posturing: people will measure themselves against others, and find themselves lacking. They will try to make up for it. Politics is inevitable. The best you can do is (a) participate in what currently passes for a system, or (b) paint it on the walls. For example:

        Talks that are effectively secret because hardly anyone knows about #perlmonks can not be considered sufficiently discussed within the community. Damn it.

      e-mail neshura

        Hmmm...well this is kind of why I didn't think it was fair to just change all this so suddenly. I can't IRC from work...it's bad enough that I am posting :P

        I can only really speak for myself, and for me, the XP were a way to challenge myself to not slack off from learning perl and to come to the site and read the posts regularly. A lot of times people have already answered questions by the time I get there, and sometimes I am just so tired or hurried that I don't have time to post...but I still tried to get here each day and try to keep up.

        You're right, we don't get paid to vote in the real world, but those votes have an impact on what happens. If we were electing leaders, or voting on policies I would understand the analogy...but here we vote for posts (and sometimes people vote for or against the writer of the posts).

        Ivory

        I would hardly say that you are incoherent. *smile*
        To be honest, I am not certain how well the new system would work. I am at a more of a "wait and see" mode at the moment. Your comment that vroom can do whatever he wants is very very true. However, (at least as far as I can see) he has always been responsive to the needs of us that use this site. That being said, I also agree that a little more discussion here (not in #perlmonks) would have been a little better. Not that I am against that channel at all: I do go there when I can. Not enough people either can go there or know about it in the first place. Can't quite call it a voting quorum (sp?). But hey, let's kick back and see how it flies. It can always change if it proves to be unsatisfactory.

        Roy Alan

        I stand guilty as charged in the bold part. I was heavily involved in the conversation at that time. I can only say I acted in what I thought was the best long-term interest of the community.

        mea maxima culpa
        mikfire

      I'll admit I may have jumped the gun on this one. I'm a coder and today that meant I wanted to implement this when preliminary results showed that people thought it was a good idea rather than waiting for 100% of the vote.

      Best decision? Probably not. The good news is it's by no means final if it doesn't work we can move just as quickly in another direction. Anyone who has a level now keeps that level because the XP required for a level hasn't changed you just might have to work differently to earn XP in the future. If you've got a concern that you don't want to get lost in the shuffle /msg me or e-mail me. The days have passed when I can read everything on the site and still add features.

      I'll take most good ideas to heart and do something about them, Perl Monks wouldn't be what is today without a lot of your good ideas.

      vroom | Tim Vroom | vroom@cs.hope.edu

        Well...I guess I am adopting a "wait and see" attitude as well. Something strange, though: my XP seems to be increasing faster than it did before the overhaul. Odd...

        Ivory

RE: Proposed XP System Changes
by jlp (Friar) on Aug 04, 2000 at 08:22 UTC
    Okay, I've been mostly a lurker here on PM, with a writeup here and there. In the space of a month and a half of visiting the site regularly, I've advanced to Monk on just 10 writeups, none of them with particularly high reps. I've been advancing and gaining privileges without giving anything back. If this system forces me to participate more to gain XP, that will be nothing but good for me, and (hopefully) PM. I think rewarding people who post (and post well) more than lurkers and voters-only is in the absolute best interest of PM. It's obvious that someone who posts a great, insightful node has made a greater contribution to the site than someone who votes on a random node from 2 months ago to get the XP bonus. Giving the active, thoughtful posters greater rewards will give them more incentive to stick around. And that, I contend, is a Good Thing.
RE: Proposed XP System Changes (Our intentions/philosophy)
by Russ (Deacon) on Aug 04, 2000 at 11:13 UTC
    The changes:
    • Reduction/Elimination of vote-out bonus
    • Delay of Posting Bonus
    • Weighted XP Reward for High Node Reputation

    I'd like to explain at least my motivations for encouraging the XP changes, and hopefully shed some light on the thought processes involved.

    I've read at least one post where the author felt that the changes will reduce the fun for newbies, or make it harder for them to advance. This is the direct opposite of our intention. Though XP may be gained more slowly by all, there was unanimous insistence that we continue to give lower-level users a bonus for voting out. We want to continue to make Perl Monks a fun place to hang out, and a good place to contribute and advance in recognition. Except for the reduced XP-per-vote odds, lower-level users will see no difference in the XP-for-voting bonus. It works the same way as it always did, at a somewhat reduced speed.

    Philosophically, any group should encourage/enforce a potential member to learn about the community before allowing him/her into its ranks. Usenet and mailing lists almost universally ask that new people lurk a while before posting. PM does not. It does, however, provide an alternative method of "initiating" new users.

    We give the initiate an average of <nobr>1 XP</nobr> per day (25% chance of +4 per day) just for lurking. If a user never posts anything, he/she will reach novice in a few weeks at the longest, just for showing up. When a user reaches novice, we deem him/her "worthy" (because of lurking time) to vote on others' posts. For the next three levels, newer users are encouraged to learn quality in posting, as they judge others' posts and see how their opinions compare to other users'.

    This is a Good Thing.

    Now, once a user has reached the status of Monk, why do we need to still strongly encourage him/her to learn about the quality standards of our community? We don't. That is why the vote-out bonus stops at Level 5. When you have reached Monk, you are now an experienced, trusted, valued member of the PM community, and no longer need the extra encouragement to participate in PM. You've learned how to be a part of Perl Monks, and you've arrived. Point one (reduce the vote-out bonus), effects this. New users are more strongly encouraged to learn about the site until they are sufficiently experienced.

    There is a way to "short-circuit" all of this initiation process: good posts. Here is Point two. With the previous system, a user could join and, by making a bunch of "me-too" or useless posts, "earn" the right to earn voting bonuses and judge other posts without ever learning who this group really is. It was possible to join this community and affect its "persona" without even knowing what the group is trying to be. Perl Monks, as a community, is saying, "We value quality contributions."

    "Me-too" and "Thank You" posts are not discouraged. They will not be encouraged as much as before, however. Light-hearted, humorous fun-loving posts will not be penalized, but neither will you get an automatic +1 XP just for typing a sentence or two. We value quality posts, and as a corollary, we will not automatically value a post until it is considered "quality."

    The standard for quality is still pretty easy to attain. Someone must vote "++" on your post. That's it. "The +1 voting bonus will be awarded when a node gets its first ++ vote." We are trying to stem the tide of ("Me too!", "Thank you!", or "good point!") responses just to gain XP.

    Since we value quality, we want to more richly reward the authors of the highest quality posts (Point three). There was an ever-growing concern about "rep inflation." As more and more users join, and were so strongly encouraged to "vote early, vote often," reputation was beginning to mean less and less. There are a lot of really fantastic older posts, with reps less than many average (at best) newer posts. This is expected. There were few people around to vote on those older posts, so the reps will obviously be lower.

    Normalized XP bonuses seek to help evaluate the reputation. If you write a post good enough to receive 4 times the average, you deserve to get mega-XP from that post. You worked hard to write it; the community should reward your effort. Normalizing the bonuses helps the community's opinion have the effect it should. When one user considers your post good enough for ++, you get a chance at XP. When most of the community appreciates your work, you deserve more than just a chance at XP.

    By next year, a rep in the 50's may be only above average, where right now, it is worth a place in Best Nodes. We may have to evaluate rep inflation again by that point, but normalized bonuses help ensure that when a node is worthy of Best Nodes, it will be rewarded more highly.

    Let me point out the other main motivation for Point one (eliminate the vote-out bonus after Monk status). Having achieved the rank of Monk and higher, it became more "profitable" to vote out than to contribute. An Abbot (with 25 votes per day), could expect an average of 6 XP from the 1/4 odds, and could depend on 12 XP for the vote-out bonus. 18 XP per day, just for voting! What if there weren't really 25 vote-able posts? That +12 all-at-once bonus was pretty darn enticing...
    Just for reference, 18 XP is the equivalent of a post which gets 54 reputation. We were rewarding every abbot as if he had made a Best Nodes-worthy post every day, just for voting out!

    This had a double-negative effect.

    • Higher-level users were gaining XP more and more quickly, from less and less effort.
    • Reputation inflation was getting worse and worse, fueled by the first problem.
    More votes resulted in more XP given out, which created more high-level users, who voted-out their increased number of votes for the vote-out XP bonus, which gave out even more XP...

    We encouraged Point one to protect newbies from ourselves, not the other way around.

    Anyway, I hope this helps explain some of the motivations. I truly believe this is a necessary and positive change to Perl Monks. Though it may have seemed a bit sudden, this change has been discussed, argued, fought and wrangled-over many times. Other posts in this thread provide some links to the many times this issue was raised right here in Perl Monks Discussion. This was and is all about preserving a meaningful community atmosphere at Perl Monks. I, for one, feel at home here. I hope you do, too.

    Abbot Russ

      1. Russ ++ for insightful explanation of reason, logic, and intent behind recent XP changes.
      2. ++ to <insert here names of all monks who helped develop XP changes> for their efforts and the anticipated benefits.   Including vroom, our most esteemed Monk of Monks.   Fwiw, it makes a lot of sense to me.
      3. I fully believe that all Monks involved had nothing but the very best intentions.

      My concern is with having PM policy discussions take place outside Monastery walls.   I'm not "bent outta shape" over this, don't get me wrong (grin).   It's just that #perlmonks puts IRC(?) impaired Monks like myself at significant disadvantage for staying abreast of developments.   Missing out-of-band PM-related discussions may have led me to some distinctly incorrect assumptions in heated discussions a month or two ago.

      At the risk of repeating myself, the XP change results appear to benefit PM's meaningful community atmosphere, but the process appears to have detracted from same.   What do fellow Monks think?

      As always - my opinions, worth exactly what you paid for them...
          cheers,
          ybiC

RE: Proposed XP System Changes
by Kevman (Pilgrim) on Aug 04, 2000 at 14:08 UTC
    You could have waited one day vroom. I'm now stuck on 199 points!!!!! Oh well, theres always tomorrow :-)
    Update:- Wow so many people voting against me. Nice to feel wanted
      Poor boy! IŽll vote you up so you can make it to monk today. ;-)

      Andreas

      UPDATE: It seems that it didnŽt work right. After my ++vote his node had a rep of 1 (which suggests that it was the first ++vote), but his XP count stuck at 199.
      UPDATE 2: See vroom's node for an explanation.

        I've looked at the voting record for this node and there were 3 negative votes, then a positive one, then your positive one. So he received the plus 1 rep from the previous ++ vote. The postbonus flag for the node is also checked so everything should be in order.

        vroom | Tim Vroom | vroom@cs.hope.edu

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