|P is for Practical|
Let me put my money where my mouth is and direct you to e.g. the following web site: http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/03/the-value-of-downvoting-or-how-hacker-news-gets-it-wrong/
Now, let me be quick to point out that the case being made in this article is against my own view: the author, Jeff Atwood, argues that downvoting should be allowed and that it is important. But he goes on to say, about two-thirds of the way through the piece:
The problem isnít downvotes, per se, but encouraging responsible downvoting. Thatís why on Stack Overflow, we do it this way:
And of course, the real information value begins where the article ends, in the 39-so-far follow-on responses.
For example, Steve Sheldon chimed in that, “Every community I have been involved in, the process of downvoting has caused such destruction, it is not clear to me how anyone would treat it so casually. By destruction, I mean rating wars.”
CHMike later said: “The current model relies on the assumption that popularity ‘up votes’ is an indicator of pertinence and validity. But this depends on the competence and quality of judgment of the voters. Weighting the votes by the voter’s recognized ‘competence’ will yield a more valid estimation of the true value of the subject. This is how it works in the scientific domain. It is worth to take in consideration because it has been validated through a century old darwinian selection process.”
Max echoed my opinion when he said, “The problem with downvotes is it allows people who disagree to suppress the opinions of others. The whole upvote/downvote isn’t a measure of quality, it’s a measure of differences between the post and the person reading it.”
Dan Paluska turns to the animal kingdom when he says, “How do you teach animals new tricks? With positive rewards only. You ignore bad behavior. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/25/fashion/25love.html”
I can freely accept that the only apparent response to my posting was 30 (so far...) downvotes. It may well be that this section of the forum is only frequented by frequenters. But, contrary to any opinion that I might be harboring puerile motives here ... I think that this is a very legitimate topic for discussion here at PerlMonks in the manner that I actually intended it (twice). Right now, the system offers both up- and down-votes, of equal weight and no adverse cost, and only has a limited “dog votes” defense against bots and sock-puppets (presumably) which are used to blanket-downvote one’s chosen enemies. There are hundreds of discussion articles similar to the one at StackOverflow. But I don’t seem to be being too successful at starting one here...
I’m rather disappointed at that, frankly. “Are we doing it right, or wrong?” Given that we are looking closely at aesthetic improvements to the site, should we not also look at other aspects of how the software functions in service to the community? Should there be a “poll” offered to the community-at-large? (Has one ever been done?) Why is the only response that has so-far been offered here, to this I-think important question, “thirty downvotes?” Is this merely, as I frankly argue that it just might be, merely an effort to suppress a dissenting and hence unpopular view?
What arguments or discussions from elsewhere on the Internet might you bring to the discussion that I am (still...) trying to launch? Or should I just saddle up my pony and vamoose?