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XP, page ranking, sponsored links and the fortune of PM

by johnnywang (Priest)
on Sep 10, 2004 at 17:52 UTC ( #390145=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Just noticed this will be my 100th writeup, so I'll just make something up.

I've been here only for about three months, but XP has become the most important thing in my life, more than perl, programming, career, family, and life (the order is the result of perl sort using the Schwartzian Transform). I can't help to notice that as soon as a post of mine gets front-paged, I'll be awarded lots of XP. Of course some nodes get exactly the opposite effect (e.g., Perl::Improved Volume 0, Number 0, or may be this one, oh, please, please!) So the game is how to get to the front page. Incidentally this is what the search optimization engineers do for their clients in such battle grounds like google and yahoo. Given that google is a 30B company and it made its fortune by deciding who they want front-paged, I think it only fitting that the fortune of PM lies in allowing sponsored posts for people like me whose lives go up and down with their XP. The posts should indicate how much they paid for and how much XP they desire, the monks are required to contribute their XPs. So the Monastery Gates can become the gate to prosperity rather than monks' begging bowl.

On a more serious note, the XP is similar to Page Ranking used by the likes of google, shouldn't the results of search/super search be ordered according to XP?

Thus ends my 100th writeup. Thanks for putting up with all the junk in my first 99 posts.

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Re: XP, page ranking, sponsored links and the fortune of PM
by kvale (Monsignor) on Sep 10, 2004 at 18:58 UTC
    Ah, the XP system is a powerful thing, isn't it? You do something nice, you get positive feedback. The more nice things you do, the more positive feedback you get. That positive feedback gives you a little buzz, makes you feel good. So you do it more...

    Some might call this operant conditioning, but I prefer to think of it as falling in love with PM.

    There are all the signs of a fine romance. At first, you don't know much about PM, so you are a little cautious. Then you start to learn what PM wants, you get a little positive response, and you are intriuged.

    Some more time passes, and you really begin to know PM's likes and dislikes; you're putting serious effort into making PM happy, and she becomes affectionate, giving all sorts of XP which gets you high on the wonderfullness of it all. Yep, you are in th throes of infatuation. There is little others can do to dissuade you at this point.

    Then, tragically, that bubble of euphoria is burst. A perfectly fine node is downvoted. Code you slave over for hours gains 3 points, while some throwaway remark by a saint garners 30. PM is no longer the perfect lover. It's fickle and at times seems capricious. You are angry and frustrated at the XP system and want to change it now, to recover the love you knew.

    This frustration passes, however, and you make it through to a more honest, deeper form of love. You recognize that PM is not perfect, but is still darn wonderful. Wisdom begins. You see XP not as an end, but only as a tool that helps you communicate with and encourage the PM community.

    Finally, enlightenment happens. Experience points are only a detail, an epiphenomenon. Your true love is the PM community itself. The community is the universal element that forms the foundation for PM, that allows XP to even exist. From that point on, XP is no longer important; it just is. Living a good life means helping people, not accumulating XP. Some saints, knowing enlightenment, have been known to eschew XP altogether. Others are sanguine about the XP system, knowing that it got them this far, so it must be OK. Don't mistake quiet satisfaction for inertia or narrow-minded conservatism.

    The path to enlightenment is long. You will read my words, but not really believe it in your heart until much later. But congratulations on your 100th post. You are on your way.


      Heh, amen, bra. See the rankings of several of my posts for perfect examples (although the ones with actual code do tend toward higher reps.

      Anyway, I upvoted every post in this thread (so far), just to prove Mark's point. :-) Enjoy the XP.


      I feel this node is one of the most inspired and insightful I've seen about the voting system and the way members respond to it. And as such ive linked to it from the voting/experience system, assuming other SDC'er agree with this linking I expect we'll convert it over to a sitefaqlet, again assuming you are amenable to us doing so.



        First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
        -- Gandhi


Re: XP, page ranking, sponsored links and the fortune of PM
by antirice (Priest) on Sep 10, 2004 at 18:12 UTC
    I've been here only for about three months, but XP has become the most important thing in my life, more than perl, programming, career, family, and life.

    I pray that isn't true.

    I can't help to notice that as soon as a post of mine gets front-paged, I'll be awarded lots of XP.

    This is due to a lot of people who come to PM every couple of days, click ++ on each of the nodes on the frontpage and leave. Sometimes it's because they want the XP but don't want to spend all the time earning it beyond what is available by just voting on all the nodes on the frontpage. Perhaps we shouldn't allow voting on the frontpage?

    So the game is how to get to the front page.

    Make friends with a friar or higher and tell him you'll frontpage all his posts if he frontpages all of yours? Create a second account? Write something noteworthy that actually deserves to get frontpaged? All sound like viable options to me.

    The posts should indicate how much they paid for and how much XP they desire, the monks are required to contribute their XPs.

    What a great idea. This is why everyone loves ads.


    The first rule of Perl club is - use Perl
    ith rule of Perl club is - follow rule i - 1 for i > 1

Re: XP, page ranking, sponsored links and the fortune of PM
by ysth (Canon) on Sep 10, 2004 at 18:06 UTC
Re: XP, page ranking, sponsored links and the fortune of PM
by exussum0 (Vicar) on Sep 10, 2004 at 22:33 UTC
    XP is just a contributed value given onto content. That's all it is. Sometimes, the value can be translated into something... either a node is good, or bad. Sometimes, it may actually be unfair. Look at it like this..

    We have 3 major news papers in nyc. More actually, but 3 that i'll use for an example. NY Daily News, The Post and NY Times. Now go to all three,, and You'll see they are each of various reading levels and what not. But you know what sets them apart? What you get out of them. I know many people who read the post and ignore the times as the post is more folkish while the times is less down to earth. Well.. those are my opinions.

    What I get out of it is, if a lot of points are awarded to a post, it's either a. really good, or b. popular concensus. Now I bet dollars to donuts, this post qualifies for the latter. The one you linked to, is by a person who, imho, has an ego bigger than their worth. No no, not merlyn, but wassercrats. nice enough guy he seems, but the general concencus will all sway one way because wassercrats is not one of our monks we agree with all the time. Heck, most say he's flat out wrong. But all in all, he acts in a way that most people don't like and that's the way it is.

    So you live for XP. Do you have something to prove by being right? Are you trying to live by the general concencous? Or are you just going to be the best monk you can be and ignore the points? 'cause believe-you-me, you will get --'s no matter how great you are, and ++'s when you are just ... well.. something. :)

    Then B.I. said, "Hov' remind yourself nobody built like you, you designed yourself"

    A reply falls below the community's threshold of quality. You may see it by logging in.
Re: XP, page ranking, sponsored links and the fortune of PM
by bradcathey (Prior) on Sep 11, 2004 at 13:27 UTC

    Love the sarcasm, but understand the truth that XP is a very motivating force around here, whether you have 200 points or 40,000 points.

    When I first stumbled across the threshold of the monastery, I never thought about XP because I felt like such a dolt in the midst of all the genius and I figured I'd never get any. But then I discovered you could score XP by still being a dolt and asking good questions. I enjoyed seeing my ranking go up. XP was fun.

    However, by the time I became a saint, I had stopped thinking about XP because I had learned enough to almost be embarrassed by my ranking. You know, the old learned-enough-to-know-how-much-I-still-have-to-learn scenario. So, at times, I still feel like a dolt in the midst of all the genius—but I can now look at my XP and feel a little better about it.

    "Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up." G. K. Chesterton
      I know exactly how you feel about being embarrassed by your ranking. When I reach Saint (in about 2021 at this rate), I still won't feel like I'm qualified to write a book.

      On the other hand, I remember your name because of the number of times I've upvoted you. Not because "hey, it's bradcathey, I need to ++ him", but because you've either had a good simple solution to a problem or you gave an insightful answer to someone's question. Or maybe you just asked a question that started a really interesting conversation.

      My point here is that, like everything else Perl-related, there is more than one way to reach Sainthood. You can have three posts rated 1,000 each, or 5,000 posts that each got one courtesy vote. And none of it matters as soon as you log out of PM. My boss doesn't care whether I'm an Initiate or a Bishop; what impresses him is that my servers stay up with few or no problems. I don't respect you because you're a Saint. I upvoted you (and indirectly helped make you a Saint) because you have contributed in a positive way to my overall Perl experience.

        Thank you for your kind words. And as I neared sainthood, I was lamenting my lack of worthiness, and Aristotle made some comforting points.

        It's a community, as crazy as it sometimes seems, and I guess if you contribute at all to the "good of the order," that's worth something. And I must admit, I have learned a lot from simply reading good questions (and their answers).

        Looks like you need to spend more time in the pool been42. I'd love to see more questions from you. Jump in. Thanks again.

        "Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up." G. K. Chesterton
Re: XP, page ranking, sponsored links and the fortune of PM
by kutsu (Priest) on Sep 10, 2004 at 18:26 UTC

    hmm...someone's been studying ;). Here's to 100 more post and improving along the way.

    "Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum - I think that I think, therefore I think that I am." Ambrose Bierce

The Theory of Power
by Yendor (Pilgrim) on Sep 14, 2004 at 16:36 UTC

    The Theory of Power

    So. There you sit at level 1. Just an Initiate, but you're better than all those Anonymous Monks. You've just gone from the most powerful of people (by hiding behind your anonymity) to...well...a newbie. You look up all of the Saints in Our Book and see the towering figures of vroom, merlyn, Ovid, tilly, Abigail-II, and all the others, and can't wait until you reach that level of authority where you can smite the very existence of all that oppose you MUAHAHAHAHA!


    Levels no longer have the same meaning they had when you were anonymous. In fact, except for levels 1 to 4, which show...well...just about nothing... the name of the game isn't about levels anymore. It's about access.

    You'll figure this out quick enough. You'll want to add a picture to your home node, or you'll run out of votes 5 minutes after you log in, and you'll find yourself wanting more. What the hell, you'll ask yourself?! What do you MEAN I can't downvote that ignoramus? I don't WANT to wait until tomorrow!

    Nope. As an Initiate you are a completely untested and unknown quantity. You've done nothing for PM and, therefore, you have no access of any significant sort. However, the first few posts you make will likely get you some XP, and you'll become at least a Novice and suddenly gain... votes! Woo! POWER!

    But what about all those other things that people here do? You're a professional Perl coder! You know what you're doing! Why can't people just trust that you know what you're doing and let you at the source code?

    Well, if making a few posts made you a Novice, then perhaps with a few more, you can become an Acolyte or even a Scribe! Maybe if you keep voting every day, you'll gather a few more XP. But it's hard work. Hanging out in the chatterbox will at least get you some name recognition, and people who read your posts might be more inclined to ++ your posts (or --, depending on how you act in the CB.)

    Now you're a full-fledged Monk! You can FINALLY put that picture on your home node. (Nothing lewd, please!) And if you're really good, you might get the privilege to edit site documents!


    Suddenly you are a massive colossus strutting across the stage of PM (e.g., a Friar as you single-handedly (well, with the consent of the other Moderators) re-configure the entire Front Page of PerlMonks! You can moderate others' posts. You can consider posts for fixing or even move them between different sections! You now have REAL POWER!

    But wait!

    You are now officially the whipping-boy of the Saints as you are trained in the art of "considering" what all those other Monks are pumping out.

    But wait, dammit, that means you're a newbie again. Huh? Well, real life is a learning experience and PM is no different. Every step you take puts you in a position where you are learning new things as you step into new worlds of responsibility and duty. This is (one of) the most important thing you will learn before you are deemed worthy enough to take the next step, and become a full-blown Saint of PerlMonks!


    You relax. Finally, you can do just about everything there is to do on PM! You bask in your "power" and you relax. You kick back to enjoy your power. You tell Novices to post more. You -- an obnoxious poster looking for help with his homework. You do a lot of chatting in the CB about the good ol' days. And a year later you suddenly wake up and say "Gosh! Why am I still a level 7?! And another thing, where's more of my POWER!" Someone else is remolding the Seekers of Perl Wisdom section because you kind of let the whole thing slide and another eager beaver cadre are remolding Cool Uses for Perl. Your Perl Monks Discussion project has been picked up and done by someone else and you suddenly exclaim Shit! What's happening?!

    What's happening is that you have become the victim of a false theory of power. Power isn't about levels. And power isn't even about access. Power is about doing. Those who do get access because they do. They don't do because they get access. Is this too zen for you? Think back to the above case. A young go-getter Monk constantly pushes the bounds of his or her access. The higher Monks happily watch as the young one gathers greater and greater access as he takes more and more responsibility and posts more often. That responsibility translates into REAL power and to that "power" comes more access and more power.

    So our chastened and now older and wiser Abbot awakes. The Abbot begins to get involved again. Offers to get more involved in consideration. Picks up a new Tutorials project, and while the newest Saints (who weren't even Initiates when you started) has his doubts, he says go for it because ...well...good help is hard to find. The Abbot then does a massive and huge revamping of the entire Tutorials section, adding dozens of great FAQs, soliloquizes on regexes, shows newbie monks how to write OO Perl properly, and writes a tutorial for every CPAN Module in existence. Even the ones that start with "Acme::".

    The light is dawning for sure by now...

    You begin to curse the day you accepted the Tutorial Overseer spot. Sure, more POWER but the work load. DA-YAMN!

    As a devil you discover the secret of power, and no matter how many times you explain it, no one (except ex-devils) believe you. Power, you insist, is about taking responsibility. Take the job, get it done well, offer to continue to oversee your work, ask for another job, add its responsibilities, and suddenly the vroom can't live without you. He depends on you because, well, because you *DO* things. And so he fills you with power.

    Ahh, you say. But that isn't REAL POWER! I can't make a new policy, right? Wrong. As you study the PM, you find a serious discrepancy. The VOTING POLICY is obsolete. It just doesn't make sense. You take the problem to Perl Monks Discussion. "See what I mean?" you say. The other monks are balancing a dozen other policies, not to mention their RL work load, trying to find a way to do all that work. A devil perks up! Here's someone who wants to work on fixing policies! "Go for it", he tells you. Shuddering with awe, you take the sacred VOTING POLICY and hack it to shreds. You study the various ++ and -- options, $NORM as a function of time, how often people really log in, and finally you present your proposal to the vroom. He then pores over it, checks a thing or two and thinks...YOWZA, this is spot-on! All is cool, it then becomes the new policy and is installed. And the vroom turns to you with an evil eye and asks you if you aren't ready to turn over your Tutorial Overseer duties and maybe become a devil yourself!

    And on it goes. Power comes to the person who exercise it. You can ask anyone who has found themselves moving up the hierarchy. Sit around and bitch about not having power and you will never have it. Go out and gather the power and more and more will come to you, naturally.

    The above extracted, modified, and generally plagiarized from an unknown original source. Not all of the positions mentioned above actually exist on PerlMonks. require "std/"

      Great article, I have experienced things like, "I want more power" but later only realized it takes both effort and time. And with it like everywhere else in world(sane) you always have the power. For me the XP system is like an illustration to that aspect of life.
Re: XP, page ranking, sponsored links and the fortune of PM
by EdwardG (Vicar) on Sep 11, 2004 at 07:53 UTC

    ...sponsored posts for people like me whose lives go up and down with their XP...

    Can't buy me love, ev'rybody tells me so,
    Can't buy me love, no, no, no, no....

    -- Paul McCartney


Re: XP, page ranking, sponsored links and the fortune of PM
by dfaure (Chaplain) on Sep 11, 2004 at 16:14 UTC
    I can't help to notice that as soon as a post of mine gets front-paged, I'll be awarded lots of XP.

    ...and thanks to ysth, this one gets too!

    but IMO, XP is nothing until you really try to contribute to the Monastery, from distillating your wisdom and perl knowledge to seekers to more heartly thing like enroling one of the Order of Monks.

    HTH, Dominique
    My two favorites:
    If the only tool you have is a hammer, you will see every problem as a nail. --Abraham Maslow
    Bien faire, et le faire savoir...

Re: XP, page ranking, sponsored links and the fortune of PM
by Anonymous Monk on Sep 12, 2004 at 00:22 UTC
    Well, you are level 7, so it's easy to gain lots of XP with minimal effort. Keep refreshing the newest nodes page. As soon as a new question is posted, post a follow up. It doesn't matter whether you actually answer the question, or whether your answer is correct. As long as it looks good. It helps if you put in catch phrases like 'use strict' or 'use warnings', even if that wouldn't solve the problem at all. Throw in some other remarks like "I love Perl", "I love open source", "I hate meetings". Now frontpage the the original question. It doesn't matter whether it's off-topic or whether it's been asked a billion times before - early replies on frontpaged questions gets lot of XP. And remember, there's no moderation of the frontpaging itself. Once it's on the frontpage (getting it on the frontpage takes just one "in favour" vote - your vote) it can't be voted off.

    2000 XP/month should be easy using this technique.

      While the guidelines don't allow for such a thing that I've seen, a node could be considered for removal from the frontpage.

        There is definately precedence for this. I'm not sure if it requires godlyor just janitorial intervention but it certainly has happened in the past and will happen again in the future. Probably the relevent docs should be enhanced to state this explicitly.

        Having said that I'm wondering if maybe a rule like "nodes in a thread that has been frontpaged that are by the frontpager may not be voted on" would be a good idea. I know the FP system can be gamed as it is, and even such measures aren't immune, but perhaps it would at least emphasize that doing so is outright ethically wrong, and would increase the perception that the system tries to be fair.

        Again there is precedence here, as at one point you could FP or approve your own nodes. We stopped that after it became obvious that it was being used to inflate XP.

        Also, if we ever get to a point where we seriously start looking at changing the system my first priority would be to vastly reduce the number of votes in the system. This will probably be perceived as unfair by newer monks who will probably take a lot longer to get to the higher levels, but IMO this will reduce a lot of the XP/Rep related issues. With the way the votes are doled out and the number of saints we have now (who are consistantly the most prevalent visitors) the number of votes available to be cast on any given day has grown vastly out of proportion to the number of nodes being posted (IMO relatively static). This means that nodes that when I started probably wouldnt garner more than a few rep often get 10 or 20 times that. If votes were more expensive then IMO we would see an improvement in the "quality" of voting.


          First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
          -- Gandhi


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