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Re: discouraging vindictiveness

by cchampion (Curate)
on Oct 24, 2004 at 08:12 UTC ( #401985=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to discouraging vindictiveness

making the identities of downvoters publicly evident to everyone

It sounds to me like censoring. Imagine going to the polls and a bell rings when you cast a ballot against the government. Sort of an Orwellian situation.

It would surely discourage downvoting, but it would undermine the spirit of the voting system as well.

losing XP instead of gaining it for a vote cast to the negative

Why should I be punished for servicing the community? Either you don't understand the voting system or I have a peculiar view of it.

The voting system is a game that encourages you to post high quality contents. If you knew in advance that nobody would downvote your post, you would be tempted of posting the most shabby things that pop out of your head. As the system works now, most people try to post something decent because they fear the community reaction, which is expressed both by downvoting and by pointed answers.

Downvoting, like upvoting, is the feeling of the community. If you perceive these downvotes as being "given in spite", then I am afraid you don't have a clear view of the Monastery yet.

Let's say you got downvoted once. It means one person is telling you that there is something wrong in what you say, e.g. your code is poorly written, or you are suggesting something against the generally accepted rules.

If you get downvoted many times, it means that many people don't agree with you either because your code is wrong, or because you are shouting. If the mass downvoting happen in a thread with a deep level of nested answers (what some people call "a flame") it means that you are debating strongly against the beliefs of many people. It should not surprise you that, in such cases, many people downvote your nodes to express their feelings. That's part of the game as well, IMHO. It helps keeping this site quite more elevated than /.

BTW, I downvoted your proposal, to express my disagreement. Now, what should I do? Wear a "I --ed a node" T-shirt?

Take it easy, pal. It's a game. And very often when a node shows up in PM discussion asking to change the rules, it gets downvoted. The majority of people here like the rules as they are.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re^2: discouraging vindictiveness
by apotheon (Deacon) on Oct 24, 2004 at 08:22 UTC
    The problem is that voting is as easy to do in a "shabby" manner as the posting. There's no control on it — not even social — at present. Voting could as easily be done by roll of the dice as any other method. I think your impression of the voting motivation for people in general is probably needlessly, and unrealistically, optimistic.

    One of my major concerns with downvoting is the weight it lends toward getting nodes reaped. If you want to discuss "censorship" in the voting system, I suggest you start there.

    If, by the way, you think there aren't people downvoting out of spite, you probably "don't have a clear view of the (world) yet." Not only am I rather firmly convinced of spite as a (not the, but a) primary motivator of human beings, but there's experimental evidence to back up that supposition.

    Besides that, I don't particularly see any value in negatively voting anything simply because it runs counter to your assumptions. I, personally, like having my assumptions challenged, as long as it's done in a non-belligerent manner.

    As I mentioned before, I'm not worried about getting downvoted, anyway. I like thoughtful discussion. That motivator trumps any concerns about XP, for me.

    Thank you for expressing your opinions politely.

    - apotheon
    CopyWrite Chad Perrin
      I'm glad to know that you are not someone who minds being downvoted. I was compelled to "--" the node I'm replying to, for both of the reasons cited by ysth: I disagree with your position and I think you've made some inaccurate statements.

      Sure, it's "easy to vote in a 'shabby' manner" -- voting can even be mechanized. But ysth's reply concurs with my own experience, and frankly I don't mind admitting that I am somewhat more of an optimist that you seem to be about the "voting motivation for people in general" -- or at least, about their observable voting behavior.

      If you take the time to look over the Best Nodes and Worst Nodes, you should be able to recognize a fairly high degree of correlation between the vote ratings and the actual quality of nodes. You can also go through the nodes of any chosen monk in order of vote ranking (highest or lowest first) and you'll generally see the same correlation (though of course you need to factor in some "social effects", such as whether or not a given node appears in a thread that is "front-paged" to the Monastery Gates).

      Also, cchampion's reply cites what I believe are serious problems with the first and second ideas you proposed at the top of the thread, and your response to that really misses the mark: your pessimistic notions about "shabiness" and "spite" (and perhaps careless or random action) in voting behavior are not supported by evidence at PM; your misunderstandings about the reasons why people downvote and the relation between negative rep and reaping are, I'm guessing, a matter of not having been here very long.

      If people are given a simple and anonymous means for freely expressing approval or disapproval without inflicting physical or financial damage on the recipient, I believe they will in general apply those means honestly and with due deliberation. The whole vast economy of opinion polls and TV ratings is based on this point of view.

      But if the means of expression comes at personal cost ("I'll lose XP if I downvote this guy") or is not anonymous ("This guy might pay special attention to people who downvote him, in ways I'd rather not deal with"), then it obviously ceases to be free expression, and this will translate directly into less expression: people will keep quiet. ("If you can't say something nice, don't say anything.")

      So I'm supporting your first alternative: "Don't change a thing."

        Considering that I've spent a fair number of votes trying to mitigate the damage the small-minded have done in spitefully downvoting others when I see an honestly well-meaning, thoughtful node with negative reps, I'm inclined to disagree with much of what you've said. Clearly, we're seeing differing effects. Maybe it has something to do with our reading habits. Perhaps you fail to read some subjects, for some reason.

        Perhaps you consider nodes to be of low quality just because you disagree with them, too. I don't know. I've upvoted nodes that I disagree with in some manner almost as much as nodes that I agree with, because they were well-reasoned and provoked thought and discussion, even if ultimately inaccurate.

        - apotheon
        CopyWrite Chad Perrin
      Negative rep doesn't lead to nodes getting reaped, though it is a prerequisite.

      In my experience, how you should react to a downvoted node depends on the section. Here in perl monks discussion, people tend to downvote things they disagree with, whereas elsewhere they tend to downvote things for inaccuracy (if you see the distinction). And everywhere for social reasons, of course.

        Understood, and granted. Reputation being any factor in the reaping process does bring it up as a matter to consider, however. In any case, nothing I said previously should be construed as a direct contradiction of any facts you've presented here.

        - apotheon
        CopyWrite Chad Perrin
        . . . I'm beginning to get the impression nobody is actually understanding my points.

        - apotheon
        CopyWrite Chad Perrin

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