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I strongly disagree. I enjoy the ability to encourage behaviour I like, and discourage behavior I don't. I consider the ++ and -- as 'tiny' modifiers, and replies as 'bigger' ones.

I'll drop a ++ whenever I see something I like, and want to see more of:

  • Extremely interesting questions. (I don't upvote "normal" questions, as I consider the answers to be adequate reward.)
  • Good replies.
  • Feedback from the OP describing what worked and why.

Similarly, I'll drop a -- on any node with behavior I'd like to see less of:

  • Flamewars: I'll frequently drop a -- on all participants, and try to stay the heck out of it.
  • Misleading answers
  • Explicit spoon feeding of homework

Other people have different opinions on the behaviors they want to reward and which they want to discourage. I don't consider my opinions to be any better than any others, as it's a communal effort. If the behavioral norm moves away from what I like, I'll leave.

When I notice downvotes on one of my nodes, I re-read it to see if I can understand why. That way, I can decide whether I want adjust the way I do things in order to "play well with others". For example, when I started participating, I used to write messages like:


This is an example...


But then someone asked why I was downvoting/disapproving a node. I then switched over to using a colon after their name to avoid confusion.

Another example: I used to give out explicit answers to homework questions without thinking about it. Someone (here? elsewhere?) convinced me that it's usually not a good practice. So now I try to give appropriately-sized hints. If they showed good effort and presented their code, I might post a corrected version. If someone showed no effort but didn't ask for code, I'll point them at a couple modules or documents. For others I might give them a partial skeleton.

If you review my posting history, you'll see that my opinions change over time. I view the -- as a tool that helps everyone out. If we only had ++ or "shut up", I doubt that perlmonks would be as good as it is.

Ah, well, I've blathered on quite enough on the topic.

Update: s/upvode/upvote/


When your only tool is an upvote, it's hard to tell whether your node is bad or is simply boring.

In reply to Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes by roboticus
in thread Proposal: eliminate down-votes by sundialsvc4

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