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Re: Abstain option?

by Ovid (Cardinal)
on Sep 10, 2002 at 04:27 UTC ( #196542=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Abstain option?

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:

open FILE, '<', $file or die "Cannot open $file for reading: $!"; print "Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1\n"; print <FILE>; close FILE;

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!". 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 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 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 :)

Join the Perlmonks Setiathome Group or just click on the the link and check out our stats.

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Re: Re: Abstain option?
by sauoq (Abbot) on Sep 10, 2002 at 12:06 UTC

    What follows is my rather lengthy reply to Ovid. I know that this isn't a new debate. Many thanks to grinder for all of the reference material. I read it and found some of my own. I was especially amused to see that this exact idea was discussed at least minimally as early as May of 2000 in a response to Votes & Reputation.

    I think this is well thought out and fairly well written but I didn't feel it was fair to make you scroll half a mile to the next node below if you wanted to ignore it.

    If you would like to, then please. . .

    "My two cents aren't worth a dime.";
      This means that the system is suboptimal in that its total value cannot equal its potential value because monks are limited to only benefitting from the knowledge of the reputation of a relatively small percentage of the total nodes.

      I think you're working from the assumption that node reputation was designed to be an absolute quantifier of the value of a post. I disagree -- at best, it's only relative, considering the number of people who read a post, the time at which it was posted, the context of the discussion, and the available votes. To say that one node "deserves" more votes than another is a step towards madness.

      I've always seen voting as a way for the community as a whole to promote things it values and to discourage things it dislikes.

      It sounds like your expectations of the system are completely orthogonal to the system itself. The best I can offer you is to enable the user setting that orders replies by descending reputation. That will give you the relative ordering of nodes beneath a parent. It may not be what you want, but it's how the system works.

        I think you're working from the assumption that node reputation was designed to be an absolute quantifier of the value of a post.

        Not at all! If I haven't been clear on that, I apologize and I'll try again.

        I strongly agree that node reputation does not absolutely indicate the value of the post.

        I don't think that many people here are actually clueless enough to believe otherwise. The idea that many do believe otherwise is the "bad meme" I mentioned in my reply to Ovid. In particular, I'm somewhat dismayed that you think I would think such. Do my posts indicate that I would lack a rudimentary understanding of what amounts to a fundamentally concept?1

        I do believe a node's reputation itself has value. The current system discounts that value by treating node reputation as second class information and by unnecessarily restricting access to it.

        1You might look at someone's experience before you make such an assumption. Certainly, someone completely new to the site with an experience of, say, ten might not understand the system yet. But by the time someone has reached level four or so they probably have a pretty good idea how the VRE system works. Of course there will always be exceptions but it might not be a bad rule of thumb. This is an example of how data that some would describe as "meaningless" can serve a useful purpose.

        "My two cents aren't worth a dime.";

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