It's one of the thing that perlmonks got right, I would say, is that everything is always open for further discussion (and XP votes, for that matter). Compare to slashdot where there's an incredible amount of time-pressure: speak now, or no one will ever read it; try to have an extended discussion, if you like, but slashdot will lower the boom on it in a few days anyway.
Well, it seems that it's like that here too. But of course it depends on the particular discussion: some are supposed to be "everlasting". Others to quickly end. Granted, one can still reply to a years old node. Once I did it, by mistake. In fact in that context what I wrote evaluated to pure crap. To my surprise, it got one or even two upvotes!
Generally, if you reply to a very old node, and your comment is appropriate, it may get a very small number of upvotes. But commonly, judging from the XP point of view, it gets mostly ignored. However, perhaps in this respect the many "indices" and "tocs" available at the Monastery can give some visibility to posts that would otherwise go unnoticed at all.
I'm not familiar with Slashdot, but I'm on use Perl; which sports the same engine as the former and is even supposed to be some sort of testbed for it: however up until now I've only used it for my own journal there, in which BTW I've not been writing anything for quite about some time now, although I do have the compelling desire to post at least an entry, that is important for me. (Well, I guess I will do so ASAP, maybe during the weekend.)
I wouldn't say that I care a lot, but I would venture to guess that anyone that claims they don't care at all is, shall we say, exaggerating for effect.
Yep, you're right. As is oft repeated: it's nothing but a game. That is not to say that we shouldn't care how we score. But it should matter more how we play.
For example, I noticed the other day that a friend of mine who signed on a few years later than I did is already up a couple of levels above me. Feel free to calmly assert that you are above such petty concerns, but myself, that makes me feel like I need to quit slacking, and go to work on my planned series of articles about Conway's "Best Practices".
Well, if your planned series of articles will come to light and spawn interesting and fruitful discussions (BTW: there have already been others, be sure to Super Search first) then the XP system will have shown to work just fine, at least in your case.
And as for the notion that we're not supposed to care about the XP system... well then, what good is it? Why do we have it?
Well, I suppose you should care about it, as if you didn't care about it. Or some sort of zen (?) thing like that.
To compare this to slashdot again: it annoyed me quite a bit when those guys adopted a party-line that went something like "oh, hey, why are you guys getting so bent out of shape about karma? It's just funny money. Lighten up, who cares?"
(BTW: I now understand why you changed the subject altogether, since, with reference to use Perl; again, people -including me- do that all the time there. But here it's generally discouraged. In fact I'm surprised no one complained: it is commonly recommended that if you do so, you also keep some track of the previous subject in the new one. This is especially intended for searching purposes.)
You know, I've heard about karma and noticed the buzzword here and there, but as I said, I really only use the journal, so I don't even really know what it is. To be more precise I've not really understood the dynamics of social relationships there - you know, those icon thingies. I must admit I've not investigated the thing accurately yet.
They had an army of geeks at their disposal, willing to jump through hoops to get something from them that doesn't cost them anything, and they essentially flinched, and shrugged off the problem of becoming an actual reputation server.
I think this has to do with karma's propagation rules, which as hinted above I completely ignore. So I'm not sure if I understand. No, I'm sure I don't understand, but possibly in a very general and superficial way.