I'm re-posting the message I sent to my current game's mailing list during our debate on the awarding of bonus experience because I'm curious to hear how other GMs and players react to my theory on the three levels of play in an RPG.

I think one of our problems here in this discussion is the eccentricity of
my GMing style.

My games run on three levels: the metatextual, the textual and the
mechanical. Many GMs, including some authors of D&D 3.x attempt to collapse
these levels into a single level of play. Those who seek to collapse all
three levels into the textual are considered "role players"; those who seek
to collapse all three into the mechanical are sometimes pejoratively called
"roll players." (For the purposes of this discussion, I am deliberately not
using the term "metagaming" which is problematic and imprecise.)

Unlike most GMs, I am not interested in collapsing my games to a single
level; to offer an entertaining game to people with various styles of play,
I try, instead, to keep these levels all operating independently of one
another rather than organizing them into some kind of hierarchy of good
play. Therefore, I expect my players to turn up with all three selves when
they come to my games.

I encourage and appreciate those who as players try to decipher the big
world puzzle on a metatextual level. Everyone, regardless of their
character's intellectual faculties and culture should be able to participate
in those process unfettered by textual and mechanical concerns of the game.

I encourage and appreciate those who as players conduct their characters
in action in a credible way. Offering credible justifications for character
actions, however, is not the same as having characters act solely based on
knowledge in their possession. For instance, a shaman or cleric might rush
over to a character who is on the verge of death and heal her in the nick of
time because the character's player informed the caster's player that she
had only 1 hit point left; the fact that this action was decided-upon based
on a mechanical play of the game doesn't matter to me -- what matters is
that a textual justification is provided, ie. "he looked like he was about
to pass out from blood loss." Similarly, an illiterate character might
choose to search in a particular spot for an item the player knows is there
from a close study of manuscripts that the cannot read; I have no problem
with the fact that this action was decided-upon based on a metatextual play
of the game, provided that a post-facto justification is offered to explain
how the character decided to do this.

I encourage and appreciate those who as players make maximum use of their knowledge of the rules both on their own characters and on other players'
characters. Everyone, regardless of their knowledge of the rules, should be
able to take advantage of tactical insights gained by those studying them.

Now, to the question of experience as described in the DMG: this gets right
to the heart of why I am running a D&D game. I deliberately use the oldest,
most primitive D&D experience mechanic because I want to tell a particular
kind of story. Over the years, my players have become very cautious and fear
engaging in violent confrontations. Essentially, I have chosen to use D&D in
the past two years because I want to tell stories that contain violence.