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Down-vote Bad, Up-vote Good

by lostjimmy (Chaplain)
on Jun 03, 2009 at 19:49 UTC ( #768133=monkdiscuss: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

I'm sad to say it, but as of late I am losing my faith in the voting system here in the Monastery. It could just be that I have a different viewpoint on what votes should be used for, and it could also be that this is something that has been ongoing for a long time and I've finally noticed it.

I think there is a general set of criteria that should be met before voting ++ on a node. Does the node:

  • Answer the question?
  • Add useful/interesting/relevant information to the thread?
  • Point to other relevant topics?
  • Make me laugh? (OK...maybe not this last one)

There are also guidelines I follow for down-voting. Is the node:

  • Hastily written in order to be the first post, in hopes of getting lots of XP?
  • Completely off-topic?
  • Answering a question that wasn't asked, therefore adding to the confusion of the OP?
  • Written as if the author didn't even read the question?
  • Eerily similar to an earlier answer, but hours later, just for the sake of some XP?

OK, so what's my problem? It looks like people generally follow a similar set of rules for up-voting good nodes, and that makes me happy. However, there seems to be a proliferation of up-voting just for the sake of up-voting. For instance, the first reply to many SoPW posts--no matter its quality--gets many positive votes. For recent examples, please see Object creation, How to disable buffering ?, and chomp it chomp it good (I know these are all from the same authors, and I apologize for that, but I didn't want to spend the time looking for others).

If you look at Re: chomp it chomp it good, you'll see a reply that in no way answers the question. The OP already knows that you don't need to pass a reference to chomp, but wants to know how it can magically alter the contents of the values passed to it. I think that this node deserves to be down-voted. I don't even think it should be in the thread at all. However, at this time it has a positive vote of 5, with 14 positives and 9 negatives. How is it that there are only 9 people that think that node really doesn't belong? And more importantly, who are this 14 people that thought the node was so spectacular?

And then there is Re: How to turn off buffering ?. Currently standing with a reputation of 30. How is it possible that 30 people (and probably more than 30, since I didn't vote on this node and only know the net) thought this node worthy of an up-vote? It doesn't answer the question and is really just confusing. It then goes on to point to the Suffering from Buffering node, which doesn't offer any insight on the OP's issue.

So what's going on with the voting system? Why are such poor and irrelevant nodes getting such a high reputation? It appears to be that down-voting is a taboo subject around here, but I really think that that mentality takes away from the true value of the voting system.

Ok I'm out.

</rant>

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Re: Down-vote Bad, Up-vote Good
by jettero (Monsignor) on Jun 03, 2009 at 19:55 UTC

    My understanding is that my votes are for what I want to do with them. I almost never use --, and I frequently ++ nodes just because I read them all the way to the bottom. Is that definitely wrong? If a node is incorrect in some way, then people will reply to it. In my mind, the ++ means it was worth reading, not necessarily that it's the right answer. Is that definitely wrong?

    Who are the subjective voting police? I think the reputation system indicates something other than correctness. I don't know what it is, but correctness isn't really what it's for. Further, some of my favorite nodes (actually threads) are offtopic arguments between knowledgeable Perl people with very different ideas.

    It doesn't make much sense to -- a node when I'm frantically clicking all the way down the thread to see what they say next.

    UPDATE: I fail to see why someone upvoting a cut and paste and/or link to docs is somehow invalid. It's their ++ to spend how they will and sometimes the correct answer really is in the documentation. I think some people also -- nodes that could have been solved with super search, something I definitely disagree with, but it's their --, they can spend it how they like. Isn't that the point?

    -Paul

      I think lostjimmy is objecting to the mindless upvoting of bad nodes. Your "offtopic arguments between knowledgeable Perl people" are potentially very good nodes, very worth reading; they will almost certainly contain interesting and original thoughts. They are light-years away from the kind of things we see in the examples lostjimmy linked: responses that not only don't answer the question, but often consist entirely of paraphrases of basic documentation, or -- worse still -- purely mechanical copy-and-paste jobs.

      It's hard to believe that all the people who upvoted those are saying that they felt them to be worth reading. It seems much more likely that the voters haven't read the responses any more carefully than the responders read the original question: it just seems to be a case of "node is something about foo, response also mentions foo, automatic ++".

Re: Down-vote Bad, Up-vote Good
by GrandFather (Cardinal) on Jun 03, 2009 at 20:02 UTC

    It is a well known and unsurprising effect that front paged nodes tend to attract votes. With that in mind it is interesting to note that the three nodes you mention specifically have all been FP'd and have another interesting property - see Way to un-frontpage nodes?.


    True laziness is hard work
      I was actually in the middle of writing this meditation when I saw that post. It's mere coincidence that we picked the same nodes.
Re: Down-vote Bad, Up-vote Good
by Roy Johnson (Monsignor) on Jun 03, 2009 at 20:14 UTC
Re: Down-vote Bad, Up-vote Good
by CountZero (Bishop) on Jun 03, 2009 at 20:17 UTC
    Voting is between you and your conscience. There are no other rules.

    CountZero

    A program should be light and agile, its subroutines connected like a string of pearls. The spirit and intent of the program should be retained throughout. There should be neither too little or too much, neither needless loops nor useless variables, neither lack of structure nor overwhelming rigidity." - The Tao of Programming, 4.1 - Geoffrey James

      Voting is between you and your conscience. There are no other rules.

      Except the rules :)

        Nope, they are not rules, they are guidelines.

        CountZero

        A program should be light and agile, its subroutines connected like a string of pearls. The spirit and intent of the program should be retained throughout. There should be neither too little or too much, neither needless loops nor useless variables, neither lack of structure nor overwhelming rigidity." - The Tao of Programming, 4.1 - Geoffrey James

Re: Down-vote Bad, Up-vote Good
by Anonymous Monk on Jun 03, 2009 at 21:04 UTC
    it could also be that this is something that has been ongoing for a long time and I've finally noticed it.

    It has been discussed so often, it has become taboo.

    Why are such poor and irrelevant nodes getting such a high reputation?
    Its easier to vote when the answer doesn't make you think.

Re: Down-vote Bad, Up-vote Good
by Porculus (Hermit) on Jun 03, 2009 at 21:10 UTC

    Down-voting is explicitly discouraged by the system; there are warnings and XP penalties if you do much of it. So it's no surprise that people get the message that -- is bad, and start preferring ++ instead.

    While I share your pain at the low quality of some contributions, I fear it's inevitable, regardless of the voting system. From what I've seen on other forums, people would probably jump in with poorly-thought-out, borderline-irrelevant replies even if they weren't going to get any XP out of it. Some people just go for "high scores" instinctively, and if they can't get XP, they'll go for high post counts or "first posts" instead -- and that's arguably even worse!

      That may matter for new users, but for monks like me who already have lots of XP, I don't care about that little penalty much. Plus, as I also have lots of votes, I can usually burn away the penalty by upvoting random nodes. Thus, I downvote lots of nodes I don't like.

Re: Down-vote Bad, Up-vote Good
by Old_Gray_Bear (Bishop) on Jun 03, 2009 at 21:46 UTC
    Strictly speaking, there are three possible votes: +1, -1, and abstain. I almost never down-vote a node, but I often don't up-vote a node that I just read. Disapproval by silence, if you will.

    I spend up-votes on nodes that surprise me, amuse me, or generate a healthy discussion. I front-page a node if it has an 'interesting' point to make; or talks about a technology that I am interested in.

    Otherwise, I read the Newest Nodes for a couple of hours daily (in dribs and drabs spread over a ten to twelve hour period) and I try to expend all of my votes before I am done. I have a couple of favorite authors that I read everything they write (as well as a couple or three folks that I ignore on principal); to that extent we are in collusion.

    Folks conspiring to up-vote on each other's nodes don't bother me that much. XP is merely an artifact of the Monastery - it's not like I can convert 1,000XP into fifteen Quatloo's or three Euro's or something. There will always be folks trying to 'game the system' for what ever reason. Over time, their efforts will wash out into the Noise, and they will go away once they get tired of their silly game. As an example of something that I don't think will droip into the noise-band, I give you Abigail-II; I am still reading through his/her corpus and learning new techniques and ways of looking at Perl.

    ----
    I Go Back to Sleep, Now.

    OGB

      I'm with you Old Gray Bear my sentiments exactly even down to reading Abigail-II and others who no longer frequent PM.

      I think "do not vote at this time" is a better fit than "abstain". If there really was a way to abstain then it should cost a vote and be be saved away so that we can see the reputation of the node. As it stands right now you can always go back and vote later on. Beyond that I agree with most of what you said.

      Elda Taluta; Sarks Sark; Ark Arks

        For me, it is not the case that "abstain" implies "refrain from voting forever" and not "refrain from voting for now". I kinda guess it comes down to how you internally model the concept of "election" with regard to PM. If you consider a node to be an election, then abstaining means deciding to never vote on that node (vs. just waiting to maybe cast your vote). If you consider each time you view a node as a potential new election, then just because you abstained in previous elections doesn't mean you will continue to abstain in future elections involving that same node. But I guess that not being able to vote in a future election just because you voted previously may present a problem for such an internal model.

        But perhaps it also comes from actively deciding to refrain vs. just not bothering to (yet). If one feels that "deciding to not decide (yet) is still a decision", then to "refrain" is probably more likely to imply "refrain for now".

        If we eventually offer an "I will never vote on this" option, then it will need to avoid XP benefits (including the "cast all votes" benefit). I lean toward it costing more than "one vote" as well... And do we add a feature to show how many people have opted out of voting on each node? (:

        But I don't think I can call such an option simply "abstain". Too bad my thesaurus does not list "recuse", as I find that it comes closer in some respects. But thesauring "abstain" brings up "abjure" which sounds promising (or the even less common "abnegate").

        ( )++ ( )-- (.)defer ( )abjure

        - tye        

Re: Down-vote Bad, Up-vote Good
by dreadpiratepeter (Priest) on Jun 04, 2009 at 00:44 UTC
    I save my down-votes for replies that are rude, nasty or condescending; especially those directed at a poster who is obviously new to Perl, Perl Monks or both.
    In particular, I find that there are a few monks who feel it is necessary to berate people and opinions they disagree with. I try to discourage this with down-votes, but I think the only effect of this is making me feel better.
    I'd like the monastery to be a bastion of tolerance and civility in an internet that is largely lacking in both.


    -pete
    "Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere."
      "I save my down-votes for replies that are rude, nasty or condescending..."

      I second that thought. Can't we all just get along? Seriously, some replies are just plain mean...

Re: Down-vote Bad, Up-vote Good
by lamprecht (Friar) on Jun 04, 2009 at 10:09 UTC
    Hi,

    being relatively new to the Monastery I might be asking something dumb here:

    at this time it has a positive vote of 5, with 14 positives and 9 negatives.

    Where do you get this information from? I see only totals.

    Cheers, Christoph

      Select the "Show reputation spread" option in User settings.

      --Lakshmanan G.

      The great pleasure in my life is doing what people say you cannot do.


Re: Down-vote Bad, Up-vote Good
by lakshmananindia (Chaplain) on Jun 04, 2009 at 12:46 UTC

    I just wanted to explain my intension's as I was in-directly or directly involved in it

    The OP already knows that you don't need to pass a reference to chomp

    It's because I understood the question wrongly. I also added the following line in my post Are you asking how chomp knows the $chomper's address to take the values from it?? because I haven't clear with the question

    point to the Suffering from Buffering node

    I pointed because I felt it has the answer in it and I read it already. In Suffering from Buffering, under the title Disabling Inappropriate Buffering you can see the statement In Perl, you can't turn the buffering of and I thought it would provide some thing to other and it is worth mentioning it here.

    Why are such poor and irrelevant nodes getting such a high reputation?

    Because you think it is poor, but not others

    Finally I just wanted to say that I'm here to learn and live in perl and to contribute to a society which provide me a lot of information. I too know that XP is just a number and I have internalized that.

    --Lakshmanan G.

    The great pleasure in my life is doing what people say you cannot do.


      I'm staring at your post in disbelief. You're not clear on the question:

      How does chomp change the contents of the string without the need to pass it in by reference?

      To me that's a perfectly simple and lucid question, with a good code example. To imply that it's unclear is simply disingenuous and somewhat demeaning. Maybe the concept wasn't clear to you, but I don't think that's the fault of the OP.

        To me that's a perfectly simple and lucid question, with a good code example.
        Don't take yourself to be the measure of all. It is the basis for misunderstandings and bad things have been caused by it. As Sun Tzu said: "If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, then the general is to blame."

        CountZero

        A program should be light and agile, its subroutines connected like a string of pearls. The spirit and intent of the program should be retained throughout. There should be neither too little or too much, neither needless loops nor useless variables, neither lack of structure nor overwhelming rigidity." - The Tao of Programming, 4.1 - Geoffrey James

Re: Down-vote Bad, Up-vote Good
by ikegami (Pope) on Jun 04, 2009 at 14:50 UTC

    It then goes on to point to the Suffering from Buffering node, which doesn't offer any insight on the OP's issue.

    I beg to differ on this point. Did you follow the link? It answers the OP's question thoroughly (under the header "Disabling Inappropriate Buffering").

    I must admit the rest of the node is subpar, though. The 1st and 2nd para are off topic, and the 3rd para gives unsubstantiated opinion as fact. Nothing damaging, though.

Re: Down-vote Bad, Up-vote Good
by SilasTheMonk (Chaplain) on Jun 04, 2009 at 17:35 UTC

    Confession time

    I am sure that I have attempted on previous occasions to be the first to reply to a post (possibly an crime of XP whoring). I don't feel particularly guilty about this. XP is a game put before me, so why should I not play it? However I do try my very best to be civil (in fact I have learnt a lot about civility on perlmonks), and I do try to be helpful. I almost never upvote anonymous monks. For them a upvote is implemented as silence, an abstain as a downvote. I also downvote anything that was rude or so blatant as to not even be playing the game. Other than that if I don't feel cheated for reading it, it gets an upvote.

    Update

    My post just gave me an idea. Perhaps we could have a special section of the monastery, called the "confessional", where monks own up to their XP misdemeanors.

      Votes aren't just to reward and punish, they're also to shake out the relative merit of nodes. So if an anonymous monk writes an excellent node, please do upvote it. It can help others find it later.

        How does it help others find it later? I'm not familiar with this feature.

        It also helps people who sort each thread by best node.

        I don't mind occasionally having to reinvent a wheel; I don't even mind using someone's reinvented wheel occasionally. But it helps a lot if it is symmetric, contains no fewer than ten sides, and has the axle centered. I do tire of trapezoidal wheels with offset axles. --Joseph Newcomer

      Then what, you'd be told to say n "Hail Larry"s as penance and receive a blessing . . .? :)

      The cake is a lie.
      The cake is a lie.
      The cake is a lie.

        Then what, you'd be told to say n "Hail Larry"s as penance and receive a blessing . . .? :)
        Yes, that's the idea. Using foreach loops to ease the saying of the Hail Larrys would of course NOT be allowed. There would also be extensive "use strict" and "use warnings" and serious offenders might have to be "tied".

      "Perhaps we could have a special section of the monastery, called the "confessional", where monks own up to their XP misdemeanors."

      It would need to be Very Big!

Re: Down-vote Bad, Up-vote Good
by nikosv (Hermit) on Jun 09, 2009 at 08:35 UTC

    I agree with lostjimmy and I think that the root of all evil is offloading votes to just get XP.

    This is bad for the author of a node or poster or someone who contributes his opinion and expertise since it does not reflect reality;the author is expecting up-votes for finding out if his answer was helpfull/correct/appreciated/as a reward and built on it by absorbing other people's comments on the issue at hand.

    Also,as things stand, anyone can get XP just by voting, without having contributed a single post to the community which creates a distorted reality and makes that person look the same as someone who spends personal time and contributes to the community.

    When you look at someone's XP you should be able to figure how experienced or helpfull he has been to the community,not if he votes or not.

    Summing up my suggestion is to disable XP for voters and give XP only to the people who get voted, hence eliminating offloading votes for XP. Of course that all applies to someone who sees XP as something serious and not as a game
      While I understand your position, I disagree with your suggestion for changing the system for earning XP for voting. Re-read Voting/Experience System. The key there is the word participate. The XP system is designed to encourage participation, especially for the newer members.

      In my first few months, I was duped into thinking that I was really accumulating experience because my XP was rising and I was climbing through the levels. I made sure I used up all my votes daily, thoughtfully and judiciously. Then it slowly dawned on me that this was just a psychological ploy to get me to read more postings and to make me feel like I was a productive member of this society. And it worked!

      As I have said before, XP is more a measure of participation (PPP) than of Perl experience. If monks started looking at XP this way, there would be less strife. I don't think the XP system is broken, I simply think it is inaccurately named.

      I am no longer compelled to spend every vote daily. My XP value vastly overstates my true experience as a Perl programmer. However, I know a lot more about Perl than I did 2 years ago, and that probably would not have happened had I not been lured into playing the XP game -- and it is a game.

        The key there is the word participate. The XP system is designed to encourage participation, especially for the newer members.
        I appreciate that. But several people in this thread (and you can count me in that group as well) question what the added value of participating is, if that participating means the game has degenerated to something meaningless.

        It's like asking bystanders (newcomers) to participate in a game of soccer, and rewarding them for running around and kicking the ball. Even if they don't care for the team they are assigned to, and kick the ball out of bounds. The bystanders have participated - they kick the ball, but they don't play soccer.

        If you did place your votes thoughtfully and judiciously, then your experience did raise over the time. You read a lot of materian and you thought about it. How could it not have affected your experience? ;-)

        I would say that in your case the ploy worked great. It's hard to measure experience, just like it's hard to measure quality. That's why we have at least XP and kwalitee. It can be measured and even being what it is, it's still a useful first aproximation.

        Jenda
        Enoch was right!
        Enjoy the last years of Rome.

Re: Down-vote Bad, Up-vote Good
by JavaFan (Canon) on Jun 09, 2009 at 13:30 UTC
    I'm sad to say it, but as of late I am losing my faith in the voting system here in the Monastery.
    I never had much faith in the voting system. On average, I spend just a few votes a day, and many days, I don't vote at all. I vote ++ for excellent nodes, nodes that learned me something new about Perl, and good rebuffals of nodes full of gibberish. Sadly, I don't encounter many nodes worthy of ++. I vote -- for nodes that don't answer the question, or are just plainly wrong. But while there are many nodes that fall in those categories, I only -- a few of them (or else, I'd spend all my votes each day) - most of the time, I can't bother. But I'm always surprised how high some of those nodes full of drivel score. Specially if they are first replies.

    If you game the system, and want to get high node reputation, be the first, or one of the first, to reply to a question. It doesn't matter if it's useful - just spotting the OP leaves out a "use strict" (regardless whether it matters for the problem the OP is having) is good for many points. Then frontpage the node, because we all know that if a thread is frontpaged, nodes in that thread, specially first nodes, get more votes than posts in a thread that isn't frontpaged.

Re: Down-vote Bad, Up-vote Good
by Plankton (Priest) on Jun 15, 2009 at 05:55 UTC
    The voting method here is based upon doublethink. You will be punished for your thoughtcrimes! I love Big Brother! Ignorance is Strength! War is Peace! Slavery is Freedom!

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