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RE: Proposed XP System Changes

by ivory (Pilgrim)
on Aug 03, 2000 at 23:38 UTC ( #26072=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Proposed XP System Changes this is already done then? It just seems so strange to do an XP overhaul like this within a couple of hours of the proposal. If you look at the replies in this thread, only about three of them actually say that they support the changes.

Honestly this seems like a major shift in the tone of perlmonks. This new XP system seems to cater to the "old school" monks who regularly post and vote for eachother's posts, while disregarding the newer people. The reason I use this site is to learn...I was really happy to come across a community like this that is devoted to learning, teaching and sharing about perl. But this doesn't seem right. Why is it so important that less experianced monks remain at lower levels? The levels aren't really for anything other than bragging rights anyway. But it is fun to watch your level increase as you use the site more and more, and become familiar with the people here, read and vote on the posts, etc. I thought perlmonks was at least partly about community and supporting others, but lately it seems like it is more about egos, politics and posturing.

It just seems to me that these changes make the site a less fun for the newer user, and that the changes were implemented so quickly that it doesn't feel as much like a community :(


Replies are listed 'Best First'.
RE: RE: Proposed XP System Changes (neshura rambles incoherently)
by neshura (Chaplain) on Aug 04, 2000 at 00:59 UTC
    As one of the people on #perlmonks at the time the XP subject came up, I tend to agree with you ivory. I would have liked to see the proposal put before the community in general, I missed a good deal of the discussion on specific numbers, etc.

    While I feel that I made my feelings known about XP, I was very surprised to come in today and find the changes already taken place. (Of course, vroom can do whatever the hell he wants to. That's fine by me. And the system can always be changed if no one likes it.) The specific points that I'd like to take up with you are:

    1. Why is it important that less experienced monks remain at lower levels?
      I don't think it is! I do believe that when you create something like XP, people give it value, even if it is completely useless. What is important is that XP count for something. Why have XP if everyone's a bishop or a saint by November of this year because of the vote-out bonus? Sure it makes a person feel good, but what kind of person would fool themselves (and the rest of the community) into thinking they were members just because they used their votes randomly every day to get the vote-out bonus?? I think the point of XP is to really measure something.
      Honestly, I don't think that anyone should be rewarded for voting. You don't get paid to vote in the real world. Maybe that's why only the people that care enough to vote actually do so.
    2. Old School Monks
      I guess I'm an old school monk, but I don't know much about perl. I use this site to learn about perl, and to participate in the community. I hardly ever know the answers to SOPW questions, but I always am willing to share my opinion on the site and the community. I am pretty strict about voting, in that I vote for the posts that I feel are truly worthwhile, and I never use up my votes (except on days where there is an abundance of good posts). I guess what I am saying is that I don't consider myself to be "aligned" with the other "old school monks" on this or necessarily any other issue. Had I been revamping XP, I would have done it differently. But I guess I'll let it run on the new system for a while, because it's probably better than before, and it's good to try something new. I expect you, ivory, to thoroughly bitch out vroom if you think the system doesn't work. You have a voice, and I am glad to see you using it. You should come visit #perlmonks on -- everyone who reads this should.
    3. Ego, Politics, and Posturing
      I'd like to see less of the ego thing. I call people on it when I can. I think it is bad for the community. On this issue, I think many of the so-called old school monks felt that we didn't deserve all the XP (pseudo-ego) we had from voting. In fact, I don't care whether people consider my posts good -- I care about saying things that need to be said. Thus this post.
      Politics and Posturing: people will measure themselves against others, and find themselves lacking. They will try to make up for it. Politics is inevitable. The best you can do is (a) participate in what currently passes for a system, or (b) paint it on the walls. For example:

      Talks that are effectively secret because hardly anyone knows about #perlmonks can not be considered sufficiently discussed within the community. Damn it.

    e-mail neshura

      Hmmm...well this is kind of why I didn't think it was fair to just change all this so suddenly. I can't IRC from's bad enough that I am posting :P

      I can only really speak for myself, and for me, the XP were a way to challenge myself to not slack off from learning perl and to come to the site and read the posts regularly. A lot of times people have already answered questions by the time I get there, and sometimes I am just so tired or hurried that I don't have time to post...but I still tried to get here each day and try to keep up.

      You're right, we don't get paid to vote in the real world, but those votes have an impact on what happens. If we were electing leaders, or voting on policies I would understand the analogy...but here we vote for posts (and sometimes people vote for or against the writer of the posts).


        You may not be able to answer questions in time (I know I never can) but I try to occasionally write an informed post about something. (Occasionally.) I'm always tired too. I try to pick my battles, so to speak, as they come up and as they seem important: help out newbies in the chatterbox with site problems, or write vroom about things I think are not working. I post too sometimes. I don't much like receiving XP, it makes me feel guilty. :)

        Of course, I believe that if you want to earn XP, you more than deserve it. Your posts are excellent, I've voted up many of them! I didn't know you personally, but you've got both explicit reputation (well-rated posts) and implicit (eg I know that you make good posts, your nick is familiar that way).

        This is a community of people, not of database entries. When I think of reputation, I don't think of a number, I think of a person who has posted good ideas or thoughtful replies. I think what we are trying to get to is an XP system that works more transparently, more in the background, and still encourages the kinds of posts and personal conduct that the community as a whole values.

        e-mail neshura

      I would hardly say that you are incoherent. *smile*
      To be honest, I am not certain how well the new system would work. I am at a more of a "wait and see" mode at the moment. Your comment that vroom can do whatever he wants is very very true. However, (at least as far as I can see) he has always been responsive to the needs of us that use this site. That being said, I also agree that a little more discussion here (not in #perlmonks) would have been a little better. Not that I am against that channel at all: I do go there when I can. Not enough people either can go there or know about it in the first place. Can't quite call it a voting quorum (sp?). But hey, let's kick back and see how it flies. It can always change if it proves to be unsatisfactory.

      Roy Alan

      I stand guilty as charged in the bold part. I was heavily involved in the conversation at that time. I can only say I acted in what I thought was the best long-term interest of the community.

      mea maxima culpa

        ROFLOL ok mikfire, don't be silly (you sound so tragic in your post) -- I was there too!! I just thought it would go to wider discussion at that point. I'm as guilty as you are.

        e-mail neshura

RE: RE: Proposed XP System Changes
by mikfire (Deacon) on Aug 04, 2000 at 00:21 UTC
    It is a major change. There is no denying that. It is hoped to be a change for the better. There has actually been a fair amount of prior discussion in the Monastery about vote bloat and what to do about it ( cf. here, an early concern about XP whores here, a long thread ). I am not trying to claim the proposed solution was specifically mentioned, but there has been a long running thread of concern with respect to the XP system.

    I do not think this caters to the "old school" monks ( of which I am likely one ). It takes a few good articles in any portion of the Monastery to get the initial votes and anybody can attain monk level. This new method is trying to encourage greater participation by rewarding those who actively ask and answer questions, interact with the community, etc.

    Is it just numbers? I don't know. I can tell you I have been incredibly frustrated at times by the fact that I try very hard to contribute ( I will let others gauge my success ) and I am outranked by somebody who has never written a single article simply because I refuse to use my votes for the sake of the vote-out bonus. This method is an attempt to even that imbalance out.

    Given that the goals are to reward interaction, keep the signal/noise ratio as high as possible and make the levels indicative not of skill at perl but interest in the community, what would you propose instead? Everybody has a voice here. vroom has shown himself to be a rational Overlord and listens to good ideas. How would you change it to make it more fair?


RE: RE: Proposed XP System Changes
by vroom (Pope) on Aug 04, 2000 at 01:18 UTC
    I'll admit I may have jumped the gun on this one. I'm a coder and today that meant I wanted to implement this when preliminary results showed that people thought it was a good idea rather than waiting for 100% of the vote.

    Best decision? Probably not. The good news is it's by no means final if it doesn't work we can move just as quickly in another direction. Anyone who has a level now keeps that level because the XP required for a level hasn't changed you just might have to work differently to earn XP in the future. If you've got a concern that you don't want to get lost in the shuffle /msg me or e-mail me. The days have passed when I can read everything on the site and still add features.

    I'll take most good ideas to heart and do something about them, Perl Monks wouldn't be what is today without a lot of your good ideas.

    vroom | Tim Vroom |

      Well...I guess I am adopting a "wait and see" attitude as well. Something strange, though: my XP seems to be increasing faster than it did before the overhaul. Odd...


        Well, you've made a lengthy series of excellent posts here. I know I've been voting up your comments. I would assume, though I haven't checked, that others have as well. And you're being rewarded for it, under the rules of the new system.

        Congratulations. I like what I see of your comments, I'm glad your XP is increasing as a result.

        - email Ozymandias
(Ozymandias) RE: RE: Proposed XP System Changes
by Ozymandias (Hermit) on Aug 04, 2000 at 00:04 UTC
    Well, changes to the XP system have been discussed for a long time. In this case, it was rapidly reaching the point where something HAD to be done, and quickly. The proposal was worked out "by a group of users", including myself - and I'm not really old school, despite my rank of Friar. That group itself wasn't all that large, but we all talked to several other people as we made the changes, including people as low in rank as Initiates. In fact, counting vroom, I think we hit at least one or two people from each level looking for ideas. Other people showed up in the middle of the discussion (#perlmonks is an open channel, after all) and were consulted as well. So when we say that a group of users created this system, we really mean a larger group of people than were actually present.

    Second, when this was put up this morning, a lot of people saw it, and although there were only a few posts made, quite a few people made it clear in the chatterbox and privately that they approved. A few people had concerns, like yours, but most of them agreed that they were pretty minor, or resulted from inclear descriptions in the node (our fault, by the way, not vroom's.) So we all agreed, vroom concurring, that since there didn't seem to be any major objection, that it made sense to go ahead.

    Regarding your specific points, it's not that we want less experienced monks to stay at the lower levels; it's that we want rank to be determined by the community of monks, rather than by how quickly you can burn through your votes every morning. We wants the new users to become monks and friars and saints as quickly as they're able; by learning, by contributing, and by sharing.

    Finally, let's talk about the concerns you list here, or if someone has a point we haven't considered, let's talk them out and see where we can improve. This system is very much a work in progress; the changes are meant not as a fix-all but as a starting point, something to provoke discussion and see where everyone wants to go with it. Or, come visit #perlmonks on Let's talk about it there, too. We already are, and we don't want to block anybody out from that conversation.

    - email Ozymandias
      It just seems sudden to me. I realize that people have been talking about chaning the XP system, but I kind of hoped things would go a bit more slowly. Sometimes there is a great deal of lag time between proposals and action (like, whatever happened to the proposals for quests?).

      Regardless, I have a suggestion: why not make the first couple of levels a bit more spread out? I mean it doesn't take much to get to monk level and if we really want levels to reflect that someone is knowledgable about perl and perticipates in the site, then make the first few ranks harder to attain.

      Two other things I really wanted to add:

      1. I definately don't think that anyone should lose rank or XP except in cases of serious negative voting (like -10).

      2. Current levels/XP shouldn't be downgraded due to the XP system's just unfair to have retroactive rule changes.


        To be honest, I'd have preferred a little more time for discussion, myself. But... it's vroom's site. He liked the idea, he implemented it. That doesn't mean we can't make changes to the proposal, even now.

        1. We made the system work somewhat like that, and I think your idea does have merit. What level would be a good one, do you think? It's better, generally speaking, to work in terms of percentages or fractions of NORM, because hard-coded values will be out of date quickly.

        2. That's not happening, so far as I know. At any rate, it's not in the proposal we gave vroom, and he didn't say anything about doing that.

        As for spreading out the earlier levels... that might be a good idea. Especially Scribe; it always felt too narrow to me. People make scribe and it seems like the next day they're a monk.

        On the other hand, I think it might be a good idea to wait on that one, in particular, until we see how things go under the new system. Maybe the low vote bonus and so on will spread it out enough on it's own. Maybe not. What do you think?

        - email Ozymandias
        I don't think that making the early levels harder to attain is going to help new people feel like they belong at all. I still remember being a new user and enjoying watching my XP grow. Spread those levels out and you're going to make it worse for new people (IMO). I would also be in favour of some kind of "downsizing" of the current levels, but only if we can think of a good way of doing that that will seem fair to the people who are downgraded. Can you suggest a suitable scheme? (that's not intended to be snide or condescending, please don't read it that way.)


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