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Re: History now influences voting

by xdg (Monsignor)
on Nov 20, 2007 at 17:11 UTC ( #651969=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to History now influences voting

For each user, PerlMonks tracks a weighted average of the recent votes that they have cast. Each time you cast an up-vote, your weighted average, $vtavg, is set to 0.1 + 0.9*$vtavg. Each time you cast a down-vote, your weighted average is set to -0.1 + 0.9*$vtavg. So somebody who only ever up-votes will quickly have a $vtavg very close to +1 while somebody who only ever down-votes will quickly have a $vtavg very close to -1. If your $vtavg is positive, then each down-vote has $vtavg/4 chance of gaining you 1 XP... If your $vtavg is negative, then each down-vote has $vtavg/3 chance of losing you 1 XP.

Picking up on another post, I think this could be enhanced in two ways:

  1. Lower the weight of new votes from 10% to something more like 5%. At 10%, a $vtavg of 1 will go negative after only 7 downvotes. At 5%, it goes negative after 14 downvotes.

  2. Lower the threshold for risking losing XP for downvoting from $vtavg < 0 to something more like $vtavg < -0.25.

I don't know that you need to do both of these, either is probably fine. But someone who is very balanced, who frequently downvotes as well as upvotes could easily wind up negative after only a short series of downvotes, which could easily happen in a highly controversial thread, for example.

I think the original proposal stigmatizes downvoting too much. While we want to avoid abuse, we also don't want to stifle inclinations for genuine criticism.

-xdg

Code written by xdg and posted on PerlMonks is public domain. It is provided as is with no warranties, express or implied, of any kind. Posted code may not have been tested. Use of posted code is at your own risk.


Comment on Re: History now influences voting
Re^2: History now influences voting (criticism)
by tye (Cardinal) on Nov 20, 2007 at 19:24 UTC
    I think the original proposal stigmatizes downvoting too much.

    The intent is not to stigmatize down-voting. The intent is to encourage empathy, but not total empathy just because that would cause way too much complaining. The vast majority of monks can still cast a down-vote without any fear of losing even 1 XP for it.

    don't want to stifle inclinations for genuine criticism

    I guess you mean "genuine criticism" in the sense of the intro line from the old series The Critic: "It Stinks!". I think that intro line was meant to be ironic. Calling a down-vote "genuine criticism" sounds quite ironic to me as well. I think a much more accurate term is "anonymous sniping". Now, contrary to some who would resort to reductio ad absurdum, that doesn't mean that I think we should just get rid of down-voting. As anonymous sniping goes, down-voting is of a superior variety. On the internet, anonymous sniping is inevitable but most of it contains far too many words. It is hoped that down-voting as anonymous sniping provides a valuable outlet for negative feelings, one that most of us don't have to witness1. As an aside, note that down-voting works best when at least one of the critics at least occassionally finds the eloquence to cast the cricism in the form of words (and not as flames).

    1 But the sniping can still be satisfying because there is at least a chance that an impact will be noticed on the node's reputation and maybe even on the author's XP. And the sniping may even ultimately be constructive in causing a small doubt or concern to appear in the author's mind that eventually comes out as an improvement in some behavior (the connection is quite tenuous but the hope can still exist that the aggregate impact may be positive).

    Down-voting also has a small role to play in node reputation. But node reputation is all about the number of monks motivated to vote not how motivated nor how often motivated, so since there is no dis-incentive against individual down-votes, it will still serve that purpose quite well.

    Some are predicting the loss of the down-vote as "monk discouragement". Yes, I've certainly made it less useful for that particular purpose. But I don't think it worked very well for that purpose when used as one monk systematically downvoting all or most of the nodes of some other monk. So I don't mourn that particular loss. And I think it is still a powerful option if used as "a whole lot of monks take a dislike to many of the recent nodes of one monk and a lot of down-voting, in aggregate, results". So it can still be a powerful tool for "monk discouragement" but only when there is some small bit of concensus in the matter and the discouragement is based on recent postings not past sins. And I think both of those restrictions on its usefulness are good things, actually.

    The change is that casting a lot of down-votes will soon require a bit of "forced empathy".

    In most cases, "casting a lot of down-votes" has a whole lot more to do with the person casting the votes than with the nodes being voted on. So that type of "criticism" doesn't qualify as "genuine", IMHO. In rare cases, one may find a genuine urge to provide a lot of "criticism" without the motivation to actually form words. I completely understand that urge. And giving in to that urge is certainly better than resorting to flaming. And I bet that people will continue to give in to that urge more than rarely in the aggregate. I hope the main impact of this particular rule change will be that those people will more quickly get over the urge. That's part of the point of allowing down-voting: getting over the urge to continue sniping.

    The idea of your option (1) doesn't bother me. I'll certainly comtemplate/discuss that some more before throwing the big switch to finish enabling the feature. But I think having a less than a 1.5% chance of losing 1 XP after casting the 8th down-vote in-a-row is quite a small amount of empathy and it doesn't seem even close to "too much". It climbs to a mere 10% chance of losing 1 XP after the 10th consecutive down-vote. If that looms large to you, then I suspect that is more fear of the unknown magnifying the prospect and you'd find it not nearly as disturbing as you expected once you started living in that new world.

    I don't like your option (2). A little uncertainty near the zero point builds character.

    - tye        

      I am still curious what your thoughts are on the "How should Perlmonks deal with Plagiarism?" thread and the massive downvoting that occurred as a result of it. To me it is the perfect example of how "monk discouragement" can resolve a serious problem faced by the community. Do you disagree? Or do you consider this a classic example of the exception that proves the rule? Or are you saying you do not approve of the approach taken?

      If I understand the new voting/XP changes correctly you have seriously defanged this approach. Given comments like the ones you made in Re^4: How should Perlmonks deal with Plagiarism? (legalese) and other posts in that thread what do you think the community should do if a similar situation arises?

      I'm curious because in the OP you claim these are minor changes yet it seems like at least in the scenario above your changes are anything but minor.

        I guess I'll reply to all of your nodes here.

        Regarding "forced empathy", I wonder if some other system could be worked out instead such as not counting the vote if it would cause an XP loss [to the person doing the voting]? Perhaps this could even be configurable (so those who are fine with losing some XP can do so while those who do not like the idea can avoid it).

        If the prospect of losing 1 XP before one notices that they've cast a long string of down-votes is unacceptable to somebody, then they are a huge hypocrite for casting so many down-votes subtracting so much from the XP of other monk(s). So if losing XP is so abhorrent to somebody, then they need to stop imposing that terrible fate upon others. Period.

        Anyway, I'm just throwing some ideas out because I think sending negative feedback for positive actions will discourage the positive actions.

        Oh, I'm completely fine with discouraging long strings of down-voting. And long strings of down-voting are hardly ever a "positive action". Even when it isn't abuse or verging on abuse, it is most likely at the very best a "mixed blessing".

        I'm curious because in the OP you claim these are minor changes yet it seems like at least in the scenario above your changes are anything but minor.

        How many times has that (systematic plaigerism) happened? Yes, I consider that scenario to be an extremely minor part of voting/XP at PerlMonks.

        I assume you have read that node of mine that you keep linking to. I've re-read it and I don't see where I encouraged massive downvoting of all past nodes because the XP loss will solve the problem. The only sentence that I can see even pointing in that direction is "If you are concerned about copyrights, then contact the alleged owner and/or the alleged copier (the two parties that have both the power and responsibility to do something about it)". I don't consider "down-voting" to qualify as "contacting".

        And my node had very little to do with plagiarism (it was about copyright and also about how copyright likely didn't matter much in that plagiarism incident).

        I think it makes good sense to raise awareness of the repeated behavior. I think it makes good sense to mark many of the plagiarized nodes with indications of where they were copied from and even pointing to a node about the larger pattern of behavior (by replying to them and by asking the author to fess up in updates). I don't think it makes sense to consider the old nodes. I actually don't think that systematically downvoting the old nodes is required or even much of a "solution". Given the rules at the time, it was fairly inevitable and so the vigilanteism saved the gods from making a ruling about punishment, not directly for the plaigerism but to compensate for the ill-gotten XP from gaming the system via systematic plaigerism.

        So I guess your points all really just go back to this one incident. Which means still allowing (and not even discouraging) systematic vigilanteism in case something like this happens again. That would require allowing the current abusive downvoting of all old nodes of a single author which means just undoing the majority of the changes. But, no, I don't think we should list "vigilanteism" as "amongst our weaponry that includes such diverse elements as...".

        Had this incident come to light in the future, I suspect the gods will have been forced to get involved not because imposing an XP penalty would really solve much, but because not doing so would seem unfair to some who "played by the rules". (time travel makes for complex tenses)

        - tye        

      Regarding "forced empathy", I wonder if some other system could be worked out instead such as not counting the vote if it would cause an XP loss [to the person doing the voting]? Perhaps this could even be configurable (so those who are fine with losing some XP can do so while those who do not like the idea can avoid it). Or as I suggested in a previous post what about sending a message to the user's inbox letting them know they are close to exceeding the threshold (since it sounds like it takes some effort to hit the threshold)?

      Anyway, I'm just throwing some ideas out because I think sending negative feedback for positive actions will discourage the positive actions. Overall I like the changes -- I just wish this could be more of a win-win type situation.

Re^2: History now influences voting
by xdg (Monsignor) on Nov 21, 2007 at 13:18 UTC
    I guess you mean "genuine criticism" in the sense of the intro line from the old series The Critic: "It Stinks!". I think that intro line was meant to be ironic.

    I meant it more in the sense of "downvoting a crappy node" versus "exercising a vendetta against a poster". In my opinion, there are plenty of reasons for downvoting out of genuine criticism:

    • incorrect answer to a question
    • boring or otherwise uninsightful meditation
    • bad suggestions for changes to Perl Monks
    • inappropriate language (profanity, personal attacks)
    • trolls

    In many of those cases, it's not even worth the time for a written reply -- so I guess in that sense, a downvote does just mean "It Stinks!"

    N.B. I missed the $vtavg in the chance of losing XP in my first readthrough -- that does lessen the impact substantially and probably does away with the need for my suggestion #2.

    -xdg

    Code written by xdg and posted on PerlMonks is public domain. It is provided as is with no warranties, express or implied, of any kind. Posted code may not have been tested. Use of posted code is at your own risk.

      And in the case of trolls, replying to them could be considered "feeding the trolls". I suppose a "Stop feeding the trolls" message would be fine but I'm not sure how effective they are. That code to hide responses from our troll back in October seemed to be much more effective though.

      Yes, being relatively cavalier with dishing out chances for other people to lose XP soon may require one to be slightly cavalier with chances of losing one's own XP.

      - tye        

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