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Impressions and Suggestions

by orbital (Scribe)
on Mar 20, 2001 at 07:25 UTC ( #65620=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

In the short time that I have been involved with the Monastery, I have started to get a glimps at how the Everything Engine operates. I have buried myself in the bowels of it jumping from one node to the next, until sudden I realize that I have lost all recollection of my orginal intent:)


  • Some of the most talented people frequently dwell here, and I feel privileged to gain from their experinces.
  • Its an RPG not a message board, the message board is the side effect. Competition is what is at the heart of this system. Don't get me wrong I love the system, but I see a few areas of weakness:
    • Its a race to reply! People want those rep. points, yes the questions do get answered but it doesn't always seem to be as complete as they should.
    • Some people seem to time there post for maximum points
    • With the frenzy of questions and responses it seems that the Review and tutorial sections get largely ignored. I would have thought with this user base those sections would be much bigger. Then I realized that its much more effort to write one good post as oppose to a few quick ok ones.


  • Put more focus on the reviews and tutorial sections, these core sections are easy to navigate and don't get lost in new postings
    • I feel that we should make each vote in these sections count as 2 reputation points as this would encourage people to contribute to our information library. At the same time focuses atention on accuracy and detail, by allowing the same vote to also count as -2, I would be willing to bet that we would get more detailed and higher quality reviews, and more of them.
  • Encourage competition in a good way, not in the fight for the fastest click
    • We should try and establish monthly or weekly game competitions, similar to ones done by TPJ. If a user submits a running program to the contest give them 5XP. Have multiple divisions(monks vs monks) and award XP for the winners. This would give us the "True" direct competition that most of us desire.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Impressions and Suggestions
by footpad (Abbot) on Mar 20, 2001 at 09:23 UTC

    Interesting observations, but I respectfully disagree. The Monastery is *not* an RPG, a MUD, or online game.

    It's a gathering place to share, learn, and expand the Perl Way. It's a port of call--home away from home--for diplomats, entrepreneurs, hustlers, and wanders. Oh, wait..sorry. Wrong intro.

    Seriously, I think you've misunderstood things. Some may take the XP seriously, but others don't. Regardless, the point--the real point--is that we're all here to better our knowledge of Perl, to become better programmers, and to learn from each other's experience, knowledge, and wisdom.

    XP's don't count. You can't buy anything with them and there's no free T-Shirt for "winning."

    Instead, you win when you increase your understanding of Perl, its modules, and its effective use. That "ah-hah" moment of clarity. That's your prize. The exultation when it finally works or you finally *get* it.

    It's one thing to read books and to tinker around, but this is a place where you can get honest feedback from professionals who use this language every single day. You can learn from their mistakes, you can get esoteric specifics about situations you never dreamed existed. In short, these people can help you write better Perl programs and to become a better programmer. *Use* that and learn from your peers' experience.

    This is not a game and very few are playing games in these halls. Yes, we cut up from time to time and enjoy ourselves. Yes, we have our share of trolls and XP addicts. However, by and large, we're here to learn, to help, and to give to the Perl community.

    It's *not* a race; you don't get HP or skill points for gaining levels. However, if you take the time to check around, to pay attention, and to listen to the advice offered to you and to the advice offered to other petitioners, you will gain *skills*. Mind you, you must be paying attention (for some lessons are subtle) and you must have an open mind (for you will frequently be mistaken or uninformed), but if you participate and you listen, you will learn what to do and what not to do--something you will not be able to do if your primary objective is XP. (This ain't Everquest, bunky.)

    In short, I appreciate your suggestions and acknowledge that they're considered, but I argue against major tinkering with the voting system as it stands.

    I will agree that we need more tutorials and reviews. Your contest idea is interesting, but I'd rather give out a T-Shirt, instead of XP. Oh, wait...that was tried recently, wasn't it?

    Nevertheless, adding quality reviews and tutorials is a laudable goal and a fair challenge. I'm working on one of each. Do you care to write one?


    P.S. Yes, I'm a B5 fan. Why do you ask?

      sorry footpad but lately there's been a lot of talk on 'XP whoring' in the CB.. Fundamentally you're stating how PM should be and how it's intended to be but admit, for some this is just an XP contest. It's a basic drive of people to move up the ladder and do whatever it takes to get there :))
      'XP whoring' is not that bad after all, if someone thinks hard and long just to come up with some original code or question about Perl, just so he could gain some XP than i'ld say his motivation might have been wrong but the effect on PM will be correct ie innovation and meditation within the Monastery.

        I respectfully disagree on the harm.

        By answering easy questions fast we create an environment where people become scared to try answering questions. I think it is important to give people who have only a partial understanding room to try answer the questions that they can get.


        Well here is a list of reasons:

        1. People get intimidated.
        2. Trying to answer questions is an instructive process.
        3. Corrections to answers gets at more subtle misconceptions than the initial question/answer. Therefore it gives an opportunity for discussions that take people to the next level.
        4. Answering questions is a satisfying thing to do. Increasing how many get to experience that satisfaction broadens participation in the site.
        5. It frees experienced people to spend time on more advanced discussions.
        One thing that I like about this site is that there is a range of discussion levels. There isn't a rigid division between gurus here and novices there. Rather there is a spectrum of discussion and opinions that underscores the fact that novices can become gurus, and can become gurus in less time than they probably expect.

        I think that it hurts that when experienced people "clean up" on the easy questions. Leave them for someone who needs the practice...

        I think Perl Monks is used by some folk to have XP competitions, perhaps amongst friends, and perhaps the quality of their response is lessened by their eagerness to reply.

        I don't think 'XP Whores' exist but at times XP may be important to folk. Perhaps there is a plateau where this doesn't happen anymore, perhaps it is entirely dependant on the person and their values

        I think a lot of what happens is that people see a question they can answer and want to reply, more often than not, for alturistic reasons, wanting to help and not make a corroborative reply they rush in.

        The end results are the same and the intention which is always hidden, sometimes even from the person posting. Even in posting we're part of a learning experience, where we can gain insight, by XP Whoring we rob ourselves of this insight by merely casting a cursory glance over 'competitors' responses.

        Brother Frankus.
Re: Impressions and Suggestions
by orbital (Scribe) on Mar 20, 2001 at 10:36 UTC
    Thank you footpad for you welcomed feedback, I can't agree with you more, does have a lot to offer to our community.

    My point however was coming from my brief time here, you deep personal response reaffirms why I come to this site on a daily basis:

    • To learn techniques and styles I didn't know existed
    • to shave off an extra 20 bytes on that one-liner
    • Gain understanding from other peoples fortunes or misfortunes

    There are countless reasons why this site is so valuable, I think however the biggest part about this site is being a part of something. Its like a living organism, with every post and reply we are helping perl to mature into the butterfly the whole world will see.

    I apologize if I wasn't clear in my initial post in regards to the power and benifit of this site, it wasn't my intention to "bring it down" to a gaming level. I am merely pointing out observations as a fresh perspective.

    I still firmly stand by my post that we do indeed need to do something to try and encourage more activity in some of the core sections of this site. I believe it is in the best interest of everyone. Not all the review or tutorials have to be aimed at the novice, we can have highly specialized instructional information. The point is I really don't care how it happens, I am just trying to promote some thought towards this goal.

    I think having the code game contest is still a fantastic idea for this site. By writing code that has a common goal we will be able to study as scholars which methods and designs work best. We will be able to investigate issues more closely. Not only this but we will start to understand how each other views the world and how we tackle problems differently. This I believe is the true utopia of this site, to be enlightened.

    I'll take your challenge and will try and find a spot where I can give back to this community that has already given me so much.

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