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I've been a user at PM for a long time, as websites go. Since Apr 26, 2000 at 12:43 EDT, to be exact. I've seen a lot of users come and go, and I've seen a lot of users stay the course and become valuable assets to the Monastery. I've seen the likes of DiscoStu, merlyn haters anonymou, and bravismore, and the troll wars. I've had words with some people, and I've had the incredibly good fortune of talking to some really talented people. I've seen some of our younger members turn from annoying teenagers into real humans. I've seen a few of our monasterial members become parents (misty).

I've also finally gotten fed up with the decline of PM civilization. As a few people know, I've always been a big proponent that a users vote belongs to that user, and should be used as that person felt fit. Hopefully, it's used in a reasonably responsible manner, and not purely arbitrary. See (jcwren) Re: Posting "Other Users" on potential personality voters, if you're interested. I've posted nodes in the past that I fully felt deserved to get hammered, and didn't. I've also posted nodes that I hoped would do well, and didn't. I don't really care about my final XP, but I like the reputation of my nodes to do well. I believe that a nodes content reflects who and what you are, and how you're perceived.

But it ends with whatever asshole is running a fleet of votebots. Oh, you're cute and coy, and I'm sure you think your code is a stellar work of art. The reality is you suck. Fiercely. I personally don't care if a single individual has a 'bot that votes that users own votes. They're yours. You should use them as you see fit. Having a number of bots, and a co-ordinated voting strategy doesn't cut it. I'll admit to having written a voting script in the old days. It hunted down a few people and consistently voted up any unvoted nodes. And in one or two cases of the people that it was socially accepted to downvote, it did that. DiscoStu was probably the single best example of that. Some people may be appalled, others disappointed. Probably no one really cares. That script hasn't been run since the voting checks were installed. Mostly it was written to prove it could be done. And I accept that code sometimes need to be written because it can be. But running it consistently for the reasons whomever is just isn't cool.

So what's this got to do with Extract numbers in multiple bases? Mostly a final straw. I posted what I considered a reasonable question. Anyone with half a brain should be pretty much able to guess it's not homework. I don't expect many people to know who I am (or care), but it should be pretty self-evident that I don't casually post questions. People are voting too arbitrarily, and I don't like that (a feeling I've had for a long time). But it's your vote, and your right to use your vote as you see fit. So rather than claiming the voting system needs fixing, I'm fixing it from my end. There simply won't be any nodes of mine to vote on, that don't already exist.

Originally the code fragment I was looking for was part of an RPN calculator that was a loadable module component in a larger system called RoboMonk. Robo is a fairly complete PM to IRC bridge. It interfaces to the chatterbox, monitors rep and XP changes, handles /msgs, lets you know if someone in your watch list logs on to PM, lists new nodes and users as they occur, and a fair number of other functions, all primarily XML based. I wrote 90% of it over a year ago, lost interest after a couple of months, and in the last few weeks was cleaning it up and getting ready to post it to the Code Catacombs. Childish as it may sound, I haven't decided what to do with it now.

As I'm writing this, I see Ovid says in the chatterbox that the contents of Extract numbers in multiple bases contradicts the contents of (jcwren) Re: Posting "Other Users" on potential personality voters. And tye wondering why a saint is complaining about a downvote (get real, tye). I can see where contradictions might be perceived. But as I said, it's a culmination of factors, and that was the final straw. Of course, I have to wonder why a person mentions leaving the monastery causes a node to get upvoted. In the last 20 minutes, it's gone from +4 to +15. That doesn't seem right, that seems wierd.

My personal feeling is that the quality of the chatterbox has also been in a serious decline. Oh sure, I don't expect (nor want) to see only Perl discussed. I look at it as a coffee house or meeting room. But the last few weeks, the level of idiocy has been at an all time high. To the extent that the background scroll of it that I normally keep running has caused me to kill that process. Truly, a level of inaneness has been reached, perhaps exceeded only by government officials.

Then there's the CheeseLord and premchai21 "hacking" of the WDF. There's always some twit who has to push the limits, and see if they can create a number so large or so small, or some other idiotic action. Oh, and that was *so* original, guys. Like NO ONE had ever tried *that* before. Sheesh, grow up.

Am I alone in my perceptions of how the monastery has changed? No. Are there others who feel a general decline has taken place? Yes. I will not name them, but I talk to them on a regular basis. Yes, PM hasn't turned in SlashDot yet. The keyword being 'yet'.

Understand that I have nothing but a feeling of amazement at how vroom has run this site. His level of tolerance is amazing. And the way he's handled the trolls and others is far more graceful than what I would have done. And on top of that, he's got a real job, and still manages to find time and interest to keep this site going. Kudos to Tim for keeping his sanity.

I'm sure my actions will generate criticism, and will be attributed all to having had a node down voted. Get real. Instead, tell it to who ever is running the fleet of votebots. Last night, I had a single obscure node get voted up, then down, then up, then down again. This has happened on a number of occasions, and this phenomena has been well documented by tilly and a few others. And regardless whether you consider my leaving the monastery a good or bad point, it is negatively affecting the monastery. Me, if I knew who you were, I'd post your name and email address in a classic merlyn +7 FONT post. And your phone number, if I could find it.

I don't feel like I express myself really well, in writing. There are people who are far more erudite than I, and a number of nodes that I wish I had written, since they say things far better than I can. While this node generally explains how I feel, I'm not very satisfied with it, because I don't think it adequately addresses the full impact of how I feel. It's not because I had a node voted down that I'm pissed off. It's not solely because of votebots. It's not solely because of the general decline. Rather, it's the summation of all these things, and some more. A dissatisfaction with the direction the monastery is heading, in spite of vrooms management, and factors beyond his control.

Yes, I may be whining, and yes, my feelings are hurt. I'm also in touch with my inner child, and he's doing most of the typing. Oh, and if it appears I'm not logically consistent, well, that's real life for you.


e-mail jcwren

P.S. As many of you know, I've contributed a fair amount of code to the monastery. Some in the form of utilities, some in the form of the stats pages, and services in the form of hosting. Neither the stats pages nor the hosting will be affected.

In reply to Ruminations of an ex-PM monk by jcwren

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