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Re: Zen and the art of ignoring XP

by tlm (Prior)
on May 12, 2005 at 05:29 UTC ( #456245=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Zen and the art of ignoring XP

XP is paradoxical; everyone agrees that it is a pretty meaningless number,and yet (I am convinced of this) it is the key to the success of PM as a web-based community.

For the thermodynamically inclined, I offer this analogy: XP is not a state variable like energy or entropy; it is more like heat or work, in that only the "local" changes in it are meaningful (in the way they affect behavior); the net global sum of these local changes, by itself, is meaningless.

Or a more familiar analogy: XP fluctuations are the equivalent of the many smiles and frowns we get from people around us throughout the day; these gestures have an impact (often unconscious) on how we behave minute-to-minute and day-to-day, and in this respect they matter a great deal, but it would be foolish (or so I think anyway) to attach importance to some cumulative net number of smiles minus frowns that one has garnered through life, even if they were at all quantifiable.

the lowliest monk

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Re^2: Zen and the art of ignoring XP
by ambrus (Abbot) on May 12, 2005 at 09:15 UTC

    Are you sure about that? Don't you think that the Monastery would work the same if we didn't have XP, only node reputation? (However, we need XP so that the Vote Fairy can work.)

    I always thought that the key of the success of PM is the Chatterbox, but I've never thought about what part the votes takes in it.

      Don't you think that the Monastery would work the same if we didn't have XP, only node reputation?

      I can only guess. I think that the Monastery would be as great as it is now, if not better, if we had only node reps without individual XPs. That's consistent with my impression that the immediate effect of voting has a far greater impact on the quality of the whole "PM experience" than does its cumulative longitudinal effect on individual XPs. But if one got rid of node reps, even with a rockin' CB, I think that PM would not be that much better a Perl community than, say, comp.lang.perl.misc. (IMO, as an "internet community" PM blows clpm out of the water, no question; this is no comment on the intelligence, talent, and depth of knowledge one can find in clpm, which can be every bit as impressive as any found here, but rather on the ethos and mores of that community compared to PMs.)

      the lowliest monk

        It's all conjecture and theory, coloured by our own views of the situation. As I said elsewhere in the thread, I created a game out of the XP that mere reputation alone could not have fulfilled. Of course, now that there are no more levels to attain, I'm hooked. Which is part of what XP can do.

        One of the most basic needs a human being has is the need to feel accepted. Voting allows members of this community to accept others, while XP shows an individual member that their contributions are valued. In fact, I think this was exactly what they had in mind when deciding what activities got XP: 1) just showing up can give you 2XP a day (25% chance). Just showing up (and presumably reading something when you got here) was considered valuable, and you get points for it. 2) Voting. Showing others how valued they are is valuable. You get XP for it (25% chance). 3) Posting something. Just merely by posting something and having it, even temporarily, end up with a positive rating can give you XP (100% chance). 4) The more people find it valuable, the more XP you get.

        This is the positive feedback that some people need in order to feel accepted and valued in this community.

        And the converse - some people end up with huge negative XP's. Usually this is because they're being disruptive, although smaller negatives are often just because the newbie isn't fully aware of the traditions and customs (aka "culture") of this community. Eventually, those that don't or won't conform to this culture will get disgusted by the continual disapproval they are getting, and generally leave.

        Eventually, generally by a "sainthood"-ish timeframe (usually earlier), an individual has shown him/herself as such a valued part of the community that they no longer need that feedback to feel accepted. The symbiosis is complete - the community has found a new member who is a huge plus to the community while the individual has found a social circle which fulfills his/her needs to feel accepted and valued. XP is just a measure of that until the individual feels it on their own.

Re^2: Zen and the art of ignoring XP
by DaWolf (Curate) on May 12, 2005 at 14:21 UTC
    tlm++!

    Couldn't agree more with you. Your analogies are perfect!

    I agree that XP is a very appealing feature of PM, but it's not the only key to the success of it (at least for me). Two of the things that I really enjoy here is the level of knowledge I often get and the number of questions that I haven't asked that are extremely useful for me (someone once noticed this too, a long time ago).

    Best regards,

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