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Think about Loose Coupling

/msg me the reason of --

by Jenda (Abbot)
on Dec 01, 2003 at 14:36 UTC ( #311248=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

We've all gotten some -- votes that we did not know why. A lot of people ask others to /msg them if they downvote their nodes, but I don't think it ever happens. I do not remember ever getting a "I downvoted your node Xxx because of this and this.".

And to tell the truth I never sent such a message myself either.

Don't know about others, but the reason why I did not do that is because I'm lazy. I know it's not hard to /msg someone, but still ... copying the author name, the ID of the node ...

So it might be nice to provide a small inputbox next to the vote buttons for this kind of messages. So that if you wanted to let the author of a node know that you did not like the node you'd click the --, type the reason into the inputbox and click vote!. And the node author would get a

  -- on "Node title" by UserName: This looks like a homework!
or in the oposite case
  ++ on "Node title" by UserName: Thanks, I had the some problem.

(Sorry if this has been proposed already.)

Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live.
   -- Rick Osborne

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: /msg me the reason of --
by Limbic~Region (Chancellor) on Dec 01, 2003 at 14:47 UTC
    We all know that the XP system shouldn't be taken seriously, but that doesn't prevent people from talking about it or spending endless hours devising ways to make it better. To say that XP is meaningless is a bit of a fib since gaining XP allows monks to have an impact on the site. They can approve nodes, consider nodes, and post that uber cool picture of themself.

    I have heard the argument from monks that they want to know which nodes they got the downvotes for as much as they want to know why they got the downvote. This is so they can make themselves a better monk. The problem with this is that we do not live in an ideal world. The reality is monks do not universally vote on nodes soley based on content.

    A counter suggestion would be just to /msg a monk with "node #### was downvoted at GMT" each time someone downvotes them. I think this is an insane idea. You would have to offer an "opt-out/in" policy since a lot of active monks do not care and would prefer to keep their inbox free of spam.

    So for me it boils down to "value added" weighed against effort. My opinion, and I well could be wrong, is that only a small number of monks would want or use this functionality, while a far number would want the ability to not be bothered.

    As a side note, if there was a way to get an "on-demand" report of a nodes reputation (not just delta) through time that didn't require a great deal of developer effort or strain on the server - I would be all for that.

    Cheers - L~R

      The automated "node ### was downvoted as GMT" would definitely be an insane idea. Getting a message for each downvote would be too much. What I propose is to give the readers an easier way to explain the vote should they feel like it. How often they will I have no idea. But I would not expect this to be used all that often.

      Besides ... a flood of "--: Homework!" would get the point across very quickly ;-)

      Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live.
         -- Rick Osborne

      Edit by castaway: Closed small tag in signature

        I check upcoming birthdays everyday and send a Happy Bday /msg to the monks provided they have logged in within the last few months. I have never received a "please do not do this" reply. Mostly, I hear nothing at all, a few thank you notes, and one or two "I forgot all about that". The last, in at least one case, was followed by removing the birthday tags from their homenode.

        Personally, I like the fact now that it takes effort to /msg someone to mention a upvote or a downvote. I have received a few personal thank you notes. I have also received a few "I believe you meant x on node ###". I was greatful for those - the effort made them that much nicer. On the other hand, if I were more prolific and there was an automated way to do this, I am betting I might begin to consider these notes spam. Furthermore, I would the ability to automatically delete them or not receive them at all. Then there is the "did you get my /msg about xyz?".

        Again, I might be wrong, but I believe the value added doesn't outweigh the effort.

        Cheers - L~R

Re: /msg me the reason of -- (frank)
by tye (Sage) on Dec 01, 2003 at 15:50 UTC

    If I have some criticism to offer on a node, then I offer it and I (usually) don't downvote it. That would be "adding injury to insult". I also don't downvote nodes just because they contain a mistake unless the mistake has already been pointed out and/or the node is listed higher (by rep) than a "better" node.

    Previous "/msg me when you downvote my node" suggestions usually made me wonder how many people would continue to want that if the /msg was frank. Are you really better off with a downvote and a "/msg Jenda Your node sucks" (or similar) than just a downvote? (:

    But I recall someone reporting that they tried the idea of "send a /msg with every downvote" and mostly got angry responses or retaliation downvoting. That really doesn't surprise me. If you tell me that I made a mistake, then I might thank you. If you tell me that I made a mistake and then "punch" me, then I'm going to have a much harder time taking the criticism well.

    But I think a "send /msg to author" link on nodes would be a nice convenience. I'm not sure I like a text field per node -- associating it with vote button makes it too easy (I don't really want to deal with a flood of "++ on '...': great node", though the occasional one when someone feels strongly enough to go to the extra effort is great) and takes up enough space that it prevents some hoped-for improvements in vote button placement. Putting it anywhere else doesn't work well since you can't really have nested forms (and all nodes are contained in a "vote" form).

    Brainstorming, I don't think a text field in the nodelets is a good idea because it would lead to a lot of response messages being mistakenly sent to the author of a parent node.

    The "/msg author" link could take you to message inbox with the author filled in (message inbox still needs a spot to fill in an arbitrary monk's name so you can send /msgs w/o fear of mistyping "/msg" etc.) and a link to the node pre-loaded into the message text box (and probably not listing any messages). We'd need to be smart about not sending a message when someone mistakenly submits that page w/o adding anything to the message text. Maybe don't reuse message inbox...

    I'd be less opposed to a text box per node if it only showed if the node author requested "receive easy feedback" in user settings. I'd probably require the reader to reqest "send easy feedback" too (in part to allow caveats to be displayed that the feature might go away)...

                    - tye
      But I think a "send /msg to author" link on nodes would be a nice convenience.

      I strongly agree. Especially with the "link to the node pre-loaded" feature.

      I've found that I reply directly to the author less these days because doing so is a pain. I'd usually prefer to point out a small bug or typo via a /msg rather than by replying, but it is much quicker and less error prone to just reply.

      "My two cents aren't worth a dime.";
      If you tell me that I made a mistake and then "punch" me, then I'm going to have a much harder time taking the criticism well.
      When I vote, I try to make the decision based on the node content and without regard to its author. But apparently, most people perceive a downvote as something done to them, not to their node, even if they themselves go by this voting principle - I know I am among them far too often, even though I frequently remind myself about this.

      Makeshifts last the longest.

        Your node sucks. Nothing personal. Really.

        How could my node suck other than by the fact that I made it suck? Perhaps the node_id sucks or you think the stupidity of the node was introduced due to solar flares interfering with the transmission of the bytes over the internet?

        I'm not talking about the mistake of thinking you suck as a person because you made something that sucks. That is an easy trap to fall into, at least a little bit.

        But downvoting my node likely takes XP away from me. And it almost certainly is a criticism of me. Unless we are going for something like "his node really sucks, but it isn't his fault -- he had a tough childhood...."?

                        - tye
      If it was me that you were talking about, then I may have given the wrong impression or you took it.

      Most of the time with most of my comments, people either don't respond or else they respond politely. Several times it has started very positive private discussion. Occasionally, however, people do react really badly.

      Two factors that people should bear in mind though. I only downvote when I have see a specific good reason, and generally I think that the author can see the merit of the complaint as well. Secondly a small number of upset people can make themselves more heard than a large number of not upset people.

Re: /msg me the reason of --
by tilly (Archbishop) on Dec 01, 2003 at 15:28 UTC
    If you do not remember getting a message of the form, Re some node: I voted -- because XXX then you have never been downvoted by me. :-)

    My experience is that doing this can be touchy because people never like being downvoted. I know that I've horribly offended some people doing this. I think that that alone is enough to keep most people from ever using such a feature. Conversely if you want to /msg people, it is easy enough to just do it.

    (I still think it worthwhile to explain downvotes. But I don't know whether anyone else routinely does so.)

      Actually, I'd be more interested in why people vote ++ for some articles (not just mine, but also others). When a node goes below 0, it's usually obvious what's itching the people reading the node. -- votes are not much of a surprise. But it always surprises me when I -- vote an incoherent article, asking how to do something based on a single example, whose answer probably is straight in the manual, the score is already 38 or so.

      Or when you spend 30 minutes answering an article, writing test programs, benchmarks, showing alternatives, and only getting a score of 3, while the article you write 5 minutes later, which is nothing more than a quick "I don't really know, but you could try hopping on one foot" gets a score of 45.

      It's those 45 ++ votes that I'm curious about.


        Having voted ++ on some of your "hopping on one foot" posts, my excuse is that the occasional well-placed sarcasm makes me laugh.

        Beyond that, ++ votes seem to depend heavily on what it is that voters see and understand. Buried conversations don't get voted on because nobody sees them. Answers that people can see the value of get voted for. If you talked to the 42 (or more) people who voted for the cheap node but not the one you worked on, I'd bet that most of them never saw the one you worked on, and most of the rest didn't read the long discussion.

        As for the +38 on the incoherent question, I would be interested in what the division is between different reasons. Many might vote because it is an easy way to use up votes (and hence gain XP). Others want to encourage people to ask questions. (Perhaps the topic or discussion was interesting despite the question?) Perhaps a few simply can't judge the quality of a question.

        Such usually doesn't surprise me much. You can only get one vote per node per voter, so +45 vs. +3 means 45 people got at least a little something out of the first node, not that even a single person found the first node better than the second.

        The shorter, faster, and simpler a node, the greater the number of potential voters who can appreciate it (slow nodes are seen by fewer, long nodes are often skimmed or skipped, complex nodes are often not fully understood). Perhaps even more significant is that long/complex nodes just take long enough to process that the impulse to vote gets lost (and are more likely to give the reader some minor point they don't like and so give them reservations about upvoting it).

        Or perhaps I just see patterns that make sense to me even when there are none. (:

        Luckily, intentionally attempting to take advantage of this quirk usually "rings false" and doesn't work very well for very long, while most authors tire of such XP whoring anyway, so the consequences aren't horrid.

                        - tye
        Abigail-II makes a good point, if not a very funny one (I'm sure those around me wondered why I laughed out loud at my computer screen). Frankly, I sometimes wonder why I'm getting ++ votes for just asking a question (I often think that XP points should be only allowed for answering questions and not asking them, or for good instructional nodes as in Q&A, etc.). But, on the other hand, if a question is well stated, touches some of the hotter Perl topics, and elicits some quality responses, then I think the question deserves some credit. To Abigail-II's point, it would be nice to know why, especially when one experiences the scenario she describes in her post.

        "A little yeast leavens the whole dough."

        Well, I know I've personally been capricious in voting for your nodes, Abigail-II, as well as for merlyn's and some other prolific saints.

        It basically comes to that if I've already upvoted your nodes three times in a day, I figure I'll save some votes and spread the wealth elsewhere. And this has resulted in some cases in which I've upvoted "stand on your foot" articles, and failed to upvote articles that clearly took much greater effort just because I saw the former sooner (or ran out of votes for the day.)

        If I had unlimited votes or could apply multiple votes to a single article, I'm sure my behavior would be different (and this shouldn't be mistaken as arguing for either of those things.)

        Clearly, I could take notes throughout a given day's reading of Perlmonks to figure out what are the 20 nodes whose reputation I feel most strongly about modifying, and then vote accordingly at the end of the day.

        But I don't... I vote as I read, which pretty much guarantees there's going to be a capricous element to it.

        I have voted ++ on some pretty dumb questions if they happened to be questions the answer to which I wanted to know. It helps if the question elicited a good answer from a real expert who has carefully crafted and tested that answer, which will probably get a ++ also. Or a good sharp-pointed sarcastic answer I haven't yet heard will sometimes work, too. Sometimes I don't vote ++ where something deserves a ++ if I don't understand it.
Re: /msg me the reason of --
by AcidHawk (Vicar) on Dec 01, 2003 at 14:51 UTC

    Would the /msg say it came from Jenda when you put your reason in there..

    What would stop some-one from revenge downvoting if they disagreed with the reasons you downvoted their post..

    I think too much emphasis is placed on the voting subject.. although I do like to see that people respond to my posts with ++.

    Update: I ++ this node as I like to see people thinking about how to improve/grow/enhance Perlmonks.

    Update1: I would also like to know when some-one has downvoted my node but only if it was because the content was wrong. If some-one doesnt like the way I answer questions or they don't like the pic on my homenode, I don't really want to know.

    Of all the things I've lost in my life, its my mind I miss the most.
      1. Yes. I don't care about the reasons for downvotes (or upvotes) from anonyms.
      2. Nothing. The point is ... the XPs themselves are not really important. The fact that the way I speak annoys people or that something I wrote is simply wrong is. I don't care about revenge downvotes.
      3. The reason is more important than the vote. To me at least :-)

      Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live.
         -- Rick Osborne

      Edit by castaway: Closed small tag in signature

        You say that the reason for the downvote is the most important thing, but you also say that you're not interested in the reason behind the downvote if the voter would rather remain anonymous. I don't understand... why wouldn't you be interested in the reason just because you don't know which monk it's coming from? (Obviously the vote is not from Anonymous Monk since he is not allowed to vote.)

        -- Mike

        XML::Simpler does not require XML::Parser or a SAX parser. It does require File::Slurp.
        -- grantm, perldoc XML::Simpler

Re: /msg me the reason of --
by b10m (Vicar) on Dec 01, 2003 at 15:11 UTC
    I for one like the XP system. Especially in the beginning, it's rather easy to bump up a level, which makes this whole Perl Monks deal some sort of adventure ;)

    Secondly, I like it, 'cause it shows what nodes of yours are considered "usefull" to other monks. I like to see a node with a lot of ++ votes, 'cause then I can think that I actually gave some decent reply (too bad I barely receive ++ votes ;)

    Donwvoting happens for numerous reasons. From plain "this reply does not make sense at all" to "oh well, sorry, I hit the wrong button", or even "I don't like this person". If someone is about to downvote you for dubious reasons, the chances are pretty slim (s)he is going to explain why (s)he downvoted the node. And honestly, I'd rather not get a /msg saying "I don't like you, so I downvoted #node" ;) If a node gets downvoted because of a valid reason, it's easy to spot, because someone will reply to it, or you can read other replies (indicating a different solution to the problem).

    ... just my 2 euro cents

Re: /msg me the reason of --
by zby (Vicar) on Dec 01, 2003 at 15:13 UTC
    This is very similar to /msg to [author] of the [node]. And here is why I generally support adding more private communication tools to PM: Public and private communication (or perhaps should I say personal, because I did not mean private in the sense of hiding something from the public, but rather in the sense of posting something that would be interesting only to particular users).

    Additionally I think this is very close to the thinking I presented in (OT) Collaboration in Context as well.

Re: /msg me the reason of --
by jacques (Priest) on Dec 02, 2003 at 04:59 UTC
    Your post reminds me of the famous scene with Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry:

    "I know what you're thinking, punk. You're thinking, did he use all 20 downvotes or only 19? Well to tell you the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being as this is a Logitech Wireless Optical Mouse, the most powerful mouse in the world and will blow your ranking away, you've got to ask yourself a question before you post: do I feel lucky? Well do ya, punk?"

Re: /msg me the reason of --
by bradcathey (Prior) on Dec 01, 2003 at 16:27 UTC
    It's funny, but after hanging around the monastery for any amount of time, and getting -- votes, I can usually tell why when I go back and re-read what I've said. There is a pattern: be it too chatty, casual, or OT. Often times I'll get --, but the ++ exceed for some reason.

    I'm not so worried about --XP as I am being a dolt. I guess the only reason I would want to know why I've gotten the downvote, is to learn how to write a better questions or replies in the future. And an occassional /msg makes the place a bit more human.

    "A little yeast leavens the whole dough."
Re: /msg me the reason of --
by Roy Johnson (Monsignor) on Dec 01, 2003 at 21:46 UTC
    My personal view is that -- means "this should not have been posted". It's a stronger statement than ++, in spite of its appearing to be exactly the opposite (and the fact that it is mathematically the opposite). 5 --s might get your node reaped. There's no analogue for that at 5 ++s.

    I agree with those who point out that a personal reply explaining the downvote might lead to retaliation. I would like to see an anonymous downvote explanation box, though, so that those who downvoted could explain why. If they don't have a reason better than "your node sucks", they're probably unjustified in downvoting. At least you'd know not to fret that you did something wrong. All the downvote explanations would be grouped together as if they're one reply, since each is only one line, and they're anonymous.

    Then, in this World of What I'd Like To See, maybe the downvotes themselves could be downvoted (at no cost to your personal vote hoard) by those who considered them spurious. The especially spurious ones would be removed (and the point restored to the original node). But that's a whole new can of worms, and extra programming effort for the site, besides.

    The PerlMonk tr/// Advocate
      My personal view is that -- means "this should not have been posted".
      But what about the "not to poster children" of bad ideas? Kinda like leaving the heads of your enemies on pikes out in front of your castle. AKA, "don't do that".

      Not that I really agree with that. I was merely looking for an excuse to refer to a 'not to poster child'.



Re: /msg me the reason of --
by vacant (Monk) on Dec 01, 2003 at 18:40 UTC
    Seems to me that if there is going to be -- voting, it has to be anonymous. Imagine the -- - voting wars that could erupt.

    Usually, when I see a node that has negative reputation, the reason is apparent (though not always). I think several -- votes reflect the accumulated wisdom of the monastery, whereas a /msg reflects the accumulated wisdom of one monk. The former is usually more useful, IMHO.

    This applies to nodes not written by me. I simply cannot fathom why I would ever get -- votes.

Re: /msg me the reason of --
by diotalevi (Canon) on Dec 01, 2003 at 17:58 UTC
    Oh heck, I use votes as 'read/unread' markers for threads I'm actively following. Its easy to see what the new responses are when you've voted for everything in a thread already. With that in mind I'm actually pretty capricious about whether I vote yay or nay.

      So you do that too do you? I don't do it very often, 30 votes in a day isn't enough to cover all the nodes I've read :). Most of my votes are just ++'s for doing the marking. Why should anyone who might take the xp system seriously have to suffer --'s just because I don't follow the "rules" :) Which makes me wonder how many people vote for reasons unrelated to the xp system.

Re: /msg me the reason of --
by xenchu (Friar) on Dec 02, 2003 at 13:56 UTC
    I have not yet downvoted anyone. Despite reading a few questions I considered lame, nothing has been that bad to me. I will upvote a question that gets a good response with informative answers or an individual answer I like.

    However I will often not vote for an obviously well-thoughtout answer because that answer is over my head. If I don't understand an answer I don't feel qualified to vote on it.

    By the way, what is the maximum number of votes an individual can have. Do Saints spend all day voting?


    Perl has one Great Advantage and one Great Disadvantage:

    It is very easy to write a complex and powerful program in three lines of code.


    The Needs of the World and my Talents run parallel to infinity.
      By the way, what is the maximum number of votes an individual can have.
      Do Saints spend all day voting?
      Maybe some saints, but I surely don't. I haven't voted once today sofar. Usually I spend only 2 or 3 votes a day. Sometimes more, sometimes less.
      I have not yet downvoted anyone.
      Maybe I should downvote you for not participating enough. ;-)


Re: /msg me the reason of --
by l3nz (Friar) on Dec 03, 2003 at 10:35 UTC
    One thing I like in Everything2 that's not in PerlMonks is the "Re:" box on top of each writeup. People often use it to tell you they like what you write (or they don't) but it's very practical so it's widely used - it's just a shortcut for a message from you starting with "Re: node -...".

    It helps knowing new people and making friends and connections. Of course, such a feature is not mandatary - you can use it indipendently from the down-up vote gadget - it's just a help for the lazy guys like me.

    By the way, in my experience during these weeks, it seems the private /msg feature is less used on PerlMonks than on Everything, but I don't want to over-generalize. What do you think about that?

Re: /msg me the reason of --
by Fefe on Dec 03, 2003 at 00:30 UTC
    Is it possible to raise a great vote rally about best modules on CPAN in categories !? ps.: Can't find the needle, drop trough the camel !
Re: /msg me the reason of --
by Courage (Parson) on Dec 05, 2003 at 08:55 UTC

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