I think the following idea could add a little 'je ne sais quoi' to the site, if it were implemented.

In common with many monks on the site, I like to see the XP rolling in, and certainly like it less when points are deducted. I think that's pretty normal.

Now a lot of guys are going to go up through the levels of PM pretty rapidly and because of heavy programming backgrounds are going to look and feel the part in the giddy levels they are likely to attain. However I'm surely not alone of all the monks that I don't have a programming background - I discovered Perl through web related issues - and from a confused and frightened start I am now able to look at a number scripts and understand what is going on (though I still see many that are pretty scary!!). So I would dub myself as a perl hobbyist rather than professional.

The idea...
So my idea is to have an area of self-assessment on the site where we could go and look at the kind of knowledge of perl that the various levels of XP would indicate. This knowledge could be posted by the monks themselves and could be either trawled from the archives and new material posted with a view to demonstrating the sort of question a novice might be expected to know right up through the ranks to exalted sainthood. You simply go into the self-assessment area, click on the link for the XP level and the information is waiting. If information is deemed to have been included at the wrong level, monks can comment on it until the right level is found. It can thus over time be pretty representative of the feelings that the monks themselves have about the knowledge level that a certain XP represents.

The other part of the idea is that in our user settings, for example, we have the opportunity if we wish to select a level for ourselves that we wish to maintain. This would be completely voluntary and would only allow those with adequate XP points to override the system to keep their level down, not for those to choose a higher level without earning the XP points. So in my case I could go into the self-assessment area armed with my 900 odd XP points, and decide that my knowledge level is that of a friar (well, okay, monk), go to my user settings and select monk. I would continue to earn XP in the usual way but my user setting would overide that XP and I would remain at level 'monk' until I chose to change it, or use the default setting which is the current status quo.

I humbly share this idea with my fellow monks in the knowledge that I would find it useful and worthwhile were it implemented, and hope that all who read this shall look kindly upon it!

And in the meantime please look kindly upon my responses in PM, for my currently knowledge currently trails my XP by several degrees!! :)

  • Comment on Possiblity of determining one's own 'level'

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Possiblity of determining one's own 'level'
by phydeauxarff (Priest) on May 12, 2003 at 14:15 UTC
    First let me say "nice idea"...however, I think there is a fundamental flaw in that you are equating XP with "knowledge" when it actually has no real relation.

    Monks can obtain XP by doing nothing other than showing up and/or voting. Clearly this would give no real indication of their overall knowledge of anything other than how to login and use their votes. ;-)

    The other issue is that some monks get more XP just because of who they are....does a point by merlyn or tye hold more value than one by any other monk? Well, perhaps....but I often have observed spikes in reputation just because of who posted it, not because of what was said.
    I have also seen well said posts take a dump because of a counter post as well so clearly, reputation is usually but not always a good measure of quality either

    The other flaw I see is your assumption that Monks will be altruistic enough to say "hey, I really don't know enough to advance"....I think the realities of status and greed will keep this from ever working.

    The last point that should be made is the most significant...while getting XP can be fun, it doesn't mean anything. As has been previously said here before...XP has no real value.

    Still, I gave you a ++ for the original thought, even if I don't see if being very practical.

Re: Possiblity of determining one's own 'level'
by smitz (Chaplain) on May 12, 2003 at 14:12 UTC
    It has been done, sort of:
    The Seven stages of a perl programmer
    You could add your own conversion table, based on XP, I guess.

    By the way, I didn't upvote your post, just to spite you, XP whore! Mwuhahaha etc...
(jeffa) Re: Possiblity of determining one's own 'level'
by jeffa (Bishop) on May 12, 2003 at 14:55 UTC
    Indeed, nice idea ... but what is the goal?

    If the goal is to provide some kind of accurate indication of who really knows what, well ... that's redundant. You ask a question. Folks answer. The most popular (not necessarily best) answers rise to the top. The wrong answers get flamed. It's up to the questioner to decide which solution they want. It's up to us to make sure that wrong/dangerous answers are labeled so.

    If the goal is for you to become a better Perl programmer, just do what i did (well, short of getting a CompSci degree):

    1. join Perlmonks (i see you have that accomplished) ;)
    2. start answering questions (this is the scarey part)
    3. repeat step #2 until your answers are deemed popular by the rest of us
    4. contribute material (code, tutorials, etc.)
    5. join a group (pmdev, editors, gods ...)
    6. keep answering questions / contributing material

    The problem with your suggestion is simply that someone has to mine the real requirements from it and then implement them. And that someone is not going to get paid or probably even widely recognized for their effort. This is why i recommend that everyone resist the temptation of 'suggesting improvements' until they can join the pmdev group. Then, you realize that the only problem with this site is that it tends to be a bit slow during high traffic hours.


    (the triplet paradiddle with high-hat)
Re: Possiblity of determining one's own 'level'
by Abigail-II (Bishop) on May 12, 2003 at 14:50 UTC
    Please repeat after me:
    XP does not mean anything. XP does not mean anything. XP does not mean anything. XP does not mean anything. XP does not mean anything. XP does not mean anything. XP does not mean anything. XP does not mean anything. XP does not mean anything. XP does not mean anything. XP does not mean anything. XP does not mean anything. XP does not mean anything. XP does not mean anything. XP does not mean anything. XP does not mean anything. XP does not mean anything. XP does not mean anything. XP does not mean anything.

    There is absolutely no relationship between XP and Perl knowledge. There are people with lots of XP that regulary write bullshit. There are people with a lot of Perl knowledge that hardly have XP. There are saints who have never written a post that got 15 more ++ votes than -- votes.


      okay, here goes:
      XP does not mean anything.
      XP does not mean anything.
      XP does not mean anything.
      XP does not mean anything.
      XP does not mean anything.
      XP does not mean anything.
      XP does not mean anything.
      XP does not mean anything.
      XP does not mean anything.
      XP does not mean anything.
      XP does not mean anything.
      XP does not mean anything.
      XP does not mean anything.
      XP does not mean anything.
      XP does not mean anything.
      XP does not mean anything.
      XP does not mean anything.
      XP does not mean anything.
      XP does not mean anything.
      XP does not mean anything.
      However that's not really the point of what I wrote:
      It probably would not be helpful to those with great expertise in perl, but for the beginners and those starting to make some headway in the language it would, I think, be useful to have somewhere to go where the information is obtained not by subject area but on the likely ability of the reader to understand it. Just another learning tool, I suppose, but I thought it a good idea.

      Linking it to XP I thought might introduce a fun element and might even replace the adage 'XP does not mean anything.' with something like 'XP is in the eye of the beholder. Get it out with Optrex.'

        Linking it to XP

        Linking what to XP? XP doesn't mean anything, and the amount XP acquired will grow over time, as long as you are active. Witness the various XP related threads where lots of people write they regulary spend all their votes, even giving people votes for no other reason than making the effort to post - regardless of the content.


      Hey, I believe I have a script for that:

      perl -e 'print "XP does not mean anything.\n" while 1'


      Heh...there seems to be a recurring theme here ;-)
Re: Possiblity of determining one's own 'level'
by Molt (Chaplain) on May 12, 2003 at 14:39 UTC
    I don't equate XP and Perl programming knowledge at all here, it's not a "People rise to their level of competence" thing.

    It's more reflective of how much they've put into the Perlmonk community, and even then it's exceptionally vague and of questionable use.

    If you're contributing by stimulating discussion with interesting and well-written questions, giving your views to the less technical discussion, or just voting thoughtfully then you're doing good things for the Perlmonks site and deserve the rank. You may not have the technical skills that some of the people here do, but then few of us do.

    I apologise if it's moving you toward ranks you don't feel you 'deserve', but ++ to you for this one.

Re: Possiblity of determining one's own 'level'
by benn (Vicar) on May 12, 2003 at 15:32 UTC
    Again, ++ for effort, but I think you're confusing levels with something that actually *means* something :)

    This idea of "perl knowledge" is extremely variable - someone could be a 'Perl Expert', but a poor programmer, and vice versa - but that's not all the monastery is about. Generally, my more useful contributions here have been to do with broader matters of application design, UI, or even 'attitude'. Where 'problems' are concerned, I'm *nowhere near* writing the book, but I'm fairly good at putting myself in the position of a newbie and understanding what they're trying to achieve, and that's what I think my XP reflects.

    The sheer fact that (I hope {g} ) your XP will rise due to this Discussion reflects your input into the community - as an idea, it may be rejected, but as a means of provoking discussion, it's great :)


      Thanks for your comments benn, and tone in particular. An oasis in a desert of scorn, perhaps?

      In actual fact it doesn't matter whether the XP means anything or not. They are definitely an inbuilt convenient set of levels which could be used to demarcate certain levels of knowledge. At that point monks could start to contribute links to their preferred nodes, or new illustrations, which could help situate the general level which one might think ought to be the goal of a monk before they ascribe to the next level. The main point is that the result would be a disparate area of knowledge which could be browsed by the user knowing that all the information would be either within his range or at least attainable with a little more study.

      I just happen to think that would be useful, that's all. And if all this ended in an evolution of the concept of XP so they did develop some sort of meaning, so what? The general concensus of the great and the good on the site seems to be that XP do not, cannot and will not ever mean anything. Like a mantra really. A bit of evolution never hurt (tell that to the neanderthals) - and what perl version are we on now? :)

Re: Possiblity of determining one's own 'level'
by artist (Parson) on May 12, 2003 at 16:05 UTC
    I like to mention few other points to help jonnyfolk with his/her intentions.

    • Keep an eye on your goal: If XP really mean something to you, and you want to be encouraged by that, then forget the 'level' part for your purpose. Just set the sight on XP.
    • Knowledge based level:Understand that perl lives and rules by motto of TIMTOWTDI (There Is More Than One Way To Do It) and thousands of modules at CPAN. So the progress is not linear in sense of perl. That makes perl society worth its value compared to FAQ and Guides. Point here is that you cannot have level/XP decided upon knowledge, level here is decided by 'participation' and that's the best practice for the society.
    • Self assessment from perspective of society: Self-assessment is a good idea to learn something. In that case, you can pickup any book/faq/guide/module and decide points for yourself and give points when you finish it. The real value of self-assessment is realized when you answer practical problems of the monks and try to understand how you can provide better solution that may worth something. Knowledge just for the sake of it does not carry high value from the perspective of society. Knowledge definitely can lead providing better value to the society in terms of finding more interesting tools only when comes in contact with the problem which again leads toward contribution to the perl society. The way PerlMonks has been built is like swarm technology
    • XP System Changes: Often I have seen suggestion in change in XP system. These are often proposed by monks who want to measure their knowledge in terms of XP, which is a wrong concept to begin with. We should have said somewhere in big bold letters: XP = Participation at Perlmonks. Which holds true for many society we live in real world. ( Of course, the act and parameters of participation changes according to society and time)

    • A NEW idea for Self Assessment: We can build a huge checklist of things to learn about perl collectively by monks here and have an access to individual in such a way that they can measure their progress by checking the items. It may give realistic view what could be achieved. We can simplify the system in such a way that whoever proposes the checklist item should be good in the same. An tem could be 'displaying database records in XML' for example.


Re: Possiblity of determining one's own 'level'
by Mr. Muskrat (Canon) on May 12, 2003 at 14:56 UTC
Re: Possiblity of determining one's own 'level'
by Theo (Priest) on May 21, 2003 at 18:51 UTC
    After reading all of the previous nodes, I have to take issue with:
    XP does not mean anything.
    XP does not mean anything.
    XP does not mean anything.
    It seem to me that, rather than being a measure of perl
    eXPerience, it is a very good measure of Monastery
    eXPerience and of value added to the to the community.