Sorry for replying so late, but you did too, in the first place!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, my point of view is that you shouldn't care anyway. At some point I did care, like most involved people here.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.
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".
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?
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?"
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.