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Re: Re: Abstain option?

by sauoq (Abbot)
on Sep 10, 2002 at 12:06 UTC ( #196634=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re: Abstain option?
in thread Abstain option?

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. . .

Ovid said

Reputation at Perlmonks is a function of the community, not of raw knowledge.

Absolutely! That's part of what makes it work! In a recent node, I saw that merlyn had written something about bad memes that won't die. I think you are perpetuating one. By so strongly stating the fact that node reputation is not a measure of its raw informative quality you inadvertantly reinforce the assumption that it should be. No, it is not a measure of informative quality. Neither is it worthless! I've said it before: node reputation is a valuable concept and it is one thing that definitely sets perlmonks apart from other sites.

We don't need to be constantly reminded of what reputation isn't. Once in a while will do. It would be better to recognize its value for what it is.

Ovid said

Node reputation is often a function of node quality, but it's also often a popularity contest.

Also true. So what? The prom queen is picked because she is popular. That's how the world works. Ovid, maybe your nodes have a higher average reputation than merlyn's because people prefer how you answer them.

Correctness or completeness is less important in answers to people than in the programs you write. People are fuzzy machines and communication with them doesn't have to be so strict. A doctor's bedside manner can be a huge factor in determining the success of his private practice.

Maybe, and this is just speculation, merlyn isn't always as polite, patient, or tolerant as you are. I can give one concrete example: I never vote on any of merlyn's canned "I have an article..." responses. I reason that if he's expert enough to write an article on it then it shouldn't be too hard to give a short personal response that addresses the monk's specific questions and points to the article. So, how you answer might be represented by personality voting. That's fine. It is still valuable metadata.

Before we go on, I'd like to agree to proceed only if we have faith that the reputation system has some value. It needn't have the same value for me as it does for you but we must agree that it does have value. I don't think this should be too difficult. Most of us spend at least some of our votes. If we take the time to vote, we must think that the votes themselves have value. If all the votes do is change a node's reputation, it follows that reputation has some value. There. If you need a rationalization, feel free to use that one. :-)

Now that we agree that reputation has some undefined value. . . we should also agree that in order to turn that reputation's value into a personal benefit one must know the reputation.

Ovid said

The only issue I have with this idea is that it really doesn't solve any particular problem.

It would solve a very particular problem. Namely, that of not being able to see the reputation of nodes that you'd rather not vote on anyway.

I understand if you think that isn't a problem. I have some reason to believe it is one.

Ten new monks in a day would be a slow day here. What would be slow in the number of new nodes? One hundred? Two hundred? Let's say it's only ninety. With 30 votes (at my current level) I can only ever see the reputation of one third of the nodes posted on a slow day. With the many thousands of nodes that were posted here long before I ever started exploring the monastery, it is quite hopeless that I will ever be able to know the reputation of the vast majority of those nodes.

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.

Go ahead. Read it again if you want. It was hard to write... :-)

In The Good Ol' Days, Ovid wrote

What's going to happen a year or two from now if|when this site gets really huge? I can see several thousand monks voting every day and posts getting scores of +/- 300 points.
That was over two years ago. Do you feel your concerns were realized or has the system held up better than you expected?

In that very same node you mentioned Shift, Pop, Unshift and Push with Impunity!. You were speaking of the future and you lamented thusly:

A few Monks who were around during the "Good Ol' Days" may remember lhoward's article, but it may only have a measly reputation of 51 (as of this writing) compared to poorer quality posts in the future who may get a rep of 150 just for saying thanks!

Well, this is the future and that "measly reputation of 51" has grown into a true classic with a reputation of 225 after my upvote. What you didn't factor in is that more monks means more nodes to vote on! Given the number of monks there are, the number of new nodes daily, and the number of votes we get, as it stands now we'll never be able to see the reputation of most of them. Because I believe reputation has value, I believe that is worth changing.

I have one more thought on old threads. The older nodes might get less attention but they do get some. The better they are, the more they get. In the long run, I suspect reputation ages very well. I know that when I look at old threads, I'm especially careful to only upvote the nodes I feel are the very best. The rest of them I'd rather abstain from, see what their rep is, and move on. As it stands right now, I can't do that. Bummer.

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

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Re: Re: Abstain option?
by chromatic (Archbishop) on Sep 10, 2002 at 17:24 UTC
    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.

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

        My point is that the factors behind a node's reputation are so numerous and so varied as to make the number value nearly useless. For example, here are the current reputations of my ten most recent nodes. I welcome any explanations as to what they mean: 1, 5, 5, 17, 27, 10, 8, 2, 18, 5.

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