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Counter-Rant: EXP, Levels and All That Put in a Rant by jgsampso

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avatar Terzaerian
Level 60 : High Grandmaster Necromancer
jgsampo's recent blog entry, "EXP, Levels and All That" has gained a lot of traction recently. While she raises some cogent points, the overall thrust (and the lurking implication, that XP should be done away with) are not the right way forward for this site. I write this blog to address the points raised in that rant, as the site's administration has historically shown over-eagerness to bow to community pressure, as seen in the dismantling of the downvote, and as we can see in progress with the new skin viewer thread.

They [experience points] have corrupted the website we know as Planet Minecraft. People have grown hungry for these points, and for popularity.

The same could be said of (eyeroll) diamonds, or favorites. Unsurprisingly, people love being able to quantify their success with numbers. Taking that away is as effective as a scoreless soccer game - people will find a way to continue keeping score.

It has lead to stealing of popular submissions, spamming of submissions, low quality work, and just plain begging for diamonds. There are also some good things that have come from these points, but most of the outcomes have been bad.

Theft happens regardless of diamonds, as does spam. Look at the old Skindex: both of these practices were rampant and it lacked stats for everything but number of downloads.

People have gotten this thought in their heads that EXP is all that matters. They just want to be popular and be a high level.

Again, there are people who are just fundamentally that way. Nothing you say or the site administration can do will change that.

Some make multiple accounts, so they can diamond, view, comment and favorite their own submissions. Multi-accounting is against the rules, of course. So, thato s a rule broken already. They also beg for diamonds on their submissions, or run around the forums and chat asking people to give them diamonds. There is also another o techniqueo people use to get diamonds and subs. They ask people o diamond 4 diamond?o or o sub 4 sub?o . Now that is just stupid. Not only is it against the rules, it also makes you look desperate. Now, we cano t stop these things from happening, but the mods can ban the multi-accounters and also warn the o x 4 x?o people. I just dono t understand why people do this.
Every time I look around the skins section, I see low quality work. Actually, I dono t go in the skins section anymore, because the amount of low quality skins is astounding.

This I want to frame and hang on a wall somewhere. This is exactly what I said was going to happen when likes and dislikes were turned into the insipid diamond rating. Diamonds were not going to really cure any of the site's ills, they were just going to make sure that the egos of more sensitive and successful artists remained gratified while everyone else continued to wallow in congested and anonymous conditions. And lo, everything has come to pass as I have foreseen, and worse.

People need to be creative with their skins and not make something that has been done twenty times. o Derivative work is basically taking a pre-existing idea or work and basing your work on it. For example: you take a character from a popular anime series and make a skin from it, basing its likeness and features to match the character as close as possible. The work itself is done from scratch, so originality applies. Legally it's still considered derived work.o (o Quoted from Dr Thresho s blog on originality) This shows exactly my point. You are being creative, but you are still making something that has been done twenty times.

I disagree to an extent. Good work is good work, regardless of how derivative it is. It may never see the popularity reel, but as you yourself seem to believe, that's not the point. That said, endlessly rehashing whatever is trendy is INCREDIBLY tiresome. If I never seen another Hunger Games server or Halo texture pack it will be too soon.

But there are also unoriginal skins like, o Block Mano . Just a skin with two colors, or o Cute Girlo , a girl skin that isno t special at all. If we created original characters, the skin section would also be more exciting.

This is a perfect world appeal. Yes, it would be nice if things were that way, but realistically they cannot and will not ever be that way, short of draconian enforcement measures.

There is also shading too, but I wono t go into depth with that. Skins look nice with shading, and youo d get more views from it. Some of you who visit the chat regularly have probably seen me complaining about all the o How to skino blogs. That is just me being me, but they are actually very helpful, and show different shading techniques. Now we are getting a little off topic, but you get the idea, right? People upload low quality skins to get EXP easily.

So you complain about things that you know are useful and helpful towards the end you want to achieve (lots of high quality skins?)? To each their own, I guess. As for spamming of low quality skins, I frankly do not understand. Skins strikes me as the absolute worst way to build XP possible, due to the extreme competition involved. The skins I've uploaded I did not do for their own sake; I largely did them to practice shading and skin-making for my texture pack, which has been infinitely more successful. Projects especially strike me as far easier for building reputation - basically getting XP for playing the game, yes?

Stealing has become a big o qualityo of the Planet Minecraft community. I cano t go five minutes without seeing something stolen. Whether ito s a skin, texturepack or mod. I always see the Honeydew skin, or LB Photo Realism, and even Too Many Items stolen every day. There is an easy way to get rid of them, that little red flag button under favorite on the submission. Of course, the mods wono t get it taken down right away, because they get about 800 reported submissions a day.o Being a Site Moderator is hard work, Sometimes we have to moderate submissions that can get up to nearly 800 a day in the reports.o (-Quoted from SoulStealero s blog on being a moderator). That just goes to show how much we break the rules and steal. That is just astounding, but again, you cano t prevent it. Only the mods can, if you flag submissions. People do stupid stuff for EXP.

We used to have some solace in being able to downvote a stolen submission, for the mean time between report and enforcement. Some people couldn't handle that, I guess. >_>

Then youo ve got the spammers. They spam the same submission over and over again, or they abuse the update log on their submissions. These people just want the easy EXP from the views and submissions. I dono t know why youo d want to be famous for posting one thing over and over again? But I guess some people are just weird like that. Io ve reported one person who uploaded the same texturepack eight times! Ito s just unbelievable to see what people will do just for pointless EXP. Io ve also reported people who have abused the update log. They abuse it by updating it when they didno t update their submission, so it go to the recently updated list, then they get more views. You should all know what more views means by now, it means more EXP! Of course, like all the other things Io ve mentioned so far, spamming and abusing the update log is against the rules. And yes, the mods can take care of that too. People brake rules for EXP. Insane much?

Without doubting that there are, in fact, people who are this terrible on Planet Minecraft, update "spam" strikes me as being a very eye-of-the-beholder kind of affair. One might look at my texture pack and assume that, having 33 updates to it, that I've been abusing the system, without acknowledging each update was substantive and that the updates were stretched over a nine-month period.

There is one more topic that Io m going to touch up on, because I think ito s completely necessary in a blog about levels. I have seen many people ranting about how the higher levels treat the lower levels like dirt. Just because they are lower levels means that you can push them around. They may be newer members, or may not be as skilled as you, but they are human beings too. Io ve never actually witnessed a higher level being mean to some lower leveled person, but Io ve heard from people. So treat them with respect please.

I follow the golden rule, myself - treat others how you want to be treated. If someone asks a silly question or makes an aggressive or trollish comment, I don't mince words, and if it's dumb enough, I just delete it. That said, if someone has a legitimate question or needs advice, I will bend over backwards to help them. Just the other day an aspiring texture pack artist asked me for some advice related to texture pack making, and I very gladly offered what knowledge I had from experience, and I was more than happy to do so. It's given me an idea for a blog or series of blogs, too.

EXP can be good, and bad. But ito s mainly bad. People break the rules just to get these virtual pointless points. But, there are good things too, like goals and such. Most people spend their time on trying to get easy EXP, when they could be making something amazing that gets them loads of EXP. But, EXP is pointless, and people need to get that thought in their heads.

People are going to break the rules irregardless of XP or the rules themselves. We knew this from sites like the Skindex for ages already. Ranting (with an implied motive of wanting to see the feature done away with) against a unique, outstanding feature of the site is never going to change that, and in fact the problems you have presented were exacerbated instead of alleviated by an earlier change to the site, the removal of downvotes. As long as we continue to attack the illnesses of our site by attacking the symptoms, we will never make any progress towards curing them.

10 replies

05/18/2012 10:37 pm
Level 16 : Journeyman Soldier
An interesting read. I tend to agree with you Terzarian. We have to be realistic because we don't live in a perfect world, much less a perfect internet. People will be people and diversity in humanity means we can't all be Da Vincis and we can't all be Einsteins.

We kinda just have to deal with the fact that there's crap on PMC regardless of EXP.
04/27/2012 11:21 pm
Level 39 : Artisan Miner
"short of draconian enforcement measures" Sorry for being immature, but I giggled at this. Though I don't quite understand, I'm pretty sure draconian means dragon, right? :D
04/27/2012 11:52 pm
Level 60 : High Grandmaster Necromancer
Literally, yes, but it also refers to anything considered overly harsh or punitive.
04/27/2012 9:31 pm
Level 34 : Artisan Dragon
I agree with you in many of these points, although I have some things to point out about the Skindex argument.
Skindex doesn't have XP or any of that stuff, but it does tell you how many downloads a submission has (I believe, I have never been there myself.) and that can be used in the place of XP.
Now, if we were to remove all of the digits that mark something, downloads and such and such, would it be different.
I believe this "behavior" will occur throughout time, I have gathered from the information you posted here that you believe the same, although I am not known for my abilities of reading a person's attitude and emotions on something.
Also, I assume you were being sarcastic, but I know a place where you can get a decent supply of Draconian forces.
04/27/2012 11:53 pm
Level 60 : High Grandmaster Necromancer
Skindex now only counts views instead of downloads. You can read more here:

04/28/2012 12:02 am
Level 34 : Artisan Dragon
I see, thank you.
04/23/2012 11:28 pm
Level 70 : Legendary Button Pusher
I agree with most of this, and it's very well said. The Skindex is a great example of how getting rid of XP won't change what people are seeing as 'problems' of PMC. In my view, most of these 'problems' are just symptoms caused by the growth and expansion of PMC, and how it's now attracting a much broader audience. As a smaller site it would have attracted the more committed modder/skinner/texturer/etc, because it wouldn't have been as well known to your average MC player. Now that it's gotten big, though, many more 'average' MC players have come here and started contributing. I want PMC to get popular and succeed, so I'm ok with putting up with the side effects.
04/24/2012 12:38 am
Level 60 : High Grandmaster Necromancer
Exactly. Success is a very costly business, but I'd rather have growth and its associated problems than stagnation and "peace."
04/24/2012 1:46 am
Level 70 : Legendary Button Pusher
I'm glad someone else agrees. Also, I've always been sort of confused when people argue that less competition will decrease bad-quality submissions here. Despite its flaws, the ranking system does a good job of reflecting the amount and quality of submissions put out by members. When I see people complaining about their lack of XP or inability to rank up, quite frankly most of the time it's because they've put out very few submissions or the quality of their submissions is lacking (or both, of course). Despite what some of the rants about XP/levels say, I've never actually seen a content thief/unoriginal submitter get very high up because, to do that, a lot of people would have to look at their submissions (and the more people who see the submissions, the more likely someone will recognize them as stolen/unoriginal). If nothing else, the ranking system here acts as a sort of natural 'check' on people's work.
(I hope this makes sense, it's pretty late at night as I'm writing)
04/24/2012 1:58 am
Level 60 : High Grandmaster Necromancer
We've all been on those late night writing binges. ;)

There is a threshold of competition that is healthy - friendly competition, naturally. The level on PMC is, however, a bit keen in my eyes, disengaged as I am from the skinner community here. People think that attacking the ranking system - dislikes, and now XP - will somehow relieve the intense competition for skin superstardom, but it's just not true. I've argued that we need to make major, even revolutionary upgrades to how we deal with skins - allowing for submission of skin packs, greater categorization by genres and themes - which haven't completely fallen on deaf ears but haven't exactly caught fire either. Upgrades to our infrastructure, as opposed to tearing apart the infrastructure we have simply because it's suffering under a load of users it was never meant to bear, is the way forward, the way to accommodate increased numbers of users and skins without turning away either. There are also some truths which our dedicated skinners simply must come to grips with, sooner or later. I hope to blog about it some tomorrow.

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