http://www.perlmonks.org?node_id=1132506

A long, long time ago now, I resigned myself to one simple observation:   that, “no matter what sundialsvc4, in particular, may say, he will promptly accumulate about 7 downvotes for the mere fact that he opened his mouth.”   (This post should immediately garner about twice that number, in the first twenty minutes or so, to punish my audacity for bringing this subject up yet again.)   After a little while, many of these posts then turn-around to acquire a positive shine, but I know that they will have had to pass through the gauntlet of obligatory down-voting to get there.

Now, it would be a marvelous thing if an Internet forum had no signal-to-noise ratio. If every post was rated strictly on the content and not on the person who wrote it.   If personalities had nothing to do with it.   But, it seems, everyone has their enemies, and I have accumulated give-or-take seven of mine.   (They are very consistent.)

But now, let’s talk about ... Super Search.

We have recently learned that PerlMonks has, not only a database of more than a million entries, but a venerable database, as well.   PM has a history, and certainly one of the main attractions of other people for the site is to gain access to the high quality of technical opinion and guidance that is routinely expressed here.   With such a large database, search by attributes other than keyword (and the other handful of criteria that Super now provides) would be extremely advantageous.   One of the criteria that I (still ...) think should be available is:   per-post vote ratings.

... but only if the positive and the negative votes were separately tallied.

To my way of thinking ... and this from forums besides this one ... an “up” vote indicates, both that the person casting the vote found the post to be useful to him, but also that the person understood the post in the first place.   Whereas a “down&rdquo vote ... I have no way to say it delicately, so I shall say it anyway ... is just someone pissing in the pool.   The two numbers, if tracked separately, would be (very!) useful to me in searching ... and I would ignore the negative one.   The sum of the two is seriously clouded by the summing.

Another possible approach ... rarely seen in forums ... is to obligate the person who is casting the positive or negative vote, both to identify him/herself, but also to explain why. This being maintained as a separate thread of information apart from “the thread.”   I am not persuaded, however, that this is really worth the additional storage-space required.

It is an unfortunate fact of PerlMonks that the site is widely regarded as being openly hostile.   (It is also observable on ChatterBox that many of the younger Monks speak derisively of that hostility.)   I don’t think that this is a good thing.   “The Go-To Site for information about Perl™” ought to be a socially pleasant place.   It should, as its whimsical name suggests, encourage the social and professional interaction that, I fear, today it is openly perceived to oppose.   Ours should not be a forum that people “put up with,” because they need information.   It should not be one in which there is fear of crucifixion.

  • Comment on And here's why I think "downvotes" should be eliminated, or tabulated separately ...

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Re: And here's why I think "downvotes" should be eliminated, or tabulated separately ...
by 1nickt (Abbot) on Jul 01, 2015 at 15:01 UTC

    Here's a funny story.

    A long, long time ago, back in the last decade of the last century of the previous millenium, I was building a team for a company that was growing very rapidly, as the Internet expanded quickly. We were doing fine building our stuff in Perl and keeping up with our massive growth. The work was fun and sexy and we were able to hire first_name last_name, first_name last_name, and first_name last_name*. We were kicking ass.

    Then the company got its second round of VC funding and the IPO was on. Goldman Sachs were the underwriters. This led to the sudden onset of managerial incompetence and idiocy as the money suits were put in charge of the engineers. We got a CTO who was just utterly clueless, and couldn't push back against the suits at all.

    The "due diligence" that the suits required and imposed was ridiculous from our point of view, but hey, the Internets were brand new, and we were scruffy young Perl hackers, so they didn't trust us. We tried various things to show the suits that we knew what we were doing, but nothing worked until we hit on the idea of spending more money. This was a big success!

    So, in order to demonstrate to the underwriters that we were following best practices, we brought in some experts. We flew in Monty Widenius from Finland (!), along with his daughter, whom he was looking after, and his mom, who would babysit the daughter, and put them all up in a nice hotel. Monty was a bit confused about why he was there, but he had a nice vacation with his family, we had some nice talks about MySQL, and the suits were impressed.

    Concurrently, we also flew in this guy named Mike who was a "software consultant" who had invented a Borland database maintenance tool. I forget where we found him, maybe at an ORA Perl conference. He was living at the time in Mexico, seem to remember he was from Tx.

    This guy proceeded to talk for a couple of days about stuff that had nothing to do with our work. Mostly it was theoretical talk about inter-process messaging protocols. But we were using Perl, apache and mod_perl, and we had already developed our front-end lightweight proxy - to - hefty mod_perl processor backend system, and it was working great and scaling nicely. It took us a little while to get our heads around the fact that he was an emperor with no clothes -- particularly, he knew nothing about http, nor, amazingly, about Perl!

    Our friend Mike waffled on and on and after a few hours we realized that he wasn't saying anything! Eventually the suits were satisfied and after a couple of days we threw him out of the office along with his big check, and went back to work.

    Little did I imagine that he would still be around in 2015, still spreading FUD and misinformation and meaningless drivel in the guise of some old-school guru. Man, he was doing that in 1997! What perseverance!

    The Mike Robinson I knew then was an okay guy ... not an ass, just sort of a waste of space ... he was pleasant, full of shit, and able to talk up a storm of meaningless jargon that impressed ignorant managers and made him a living.

    If this is the same Mike, and I am 99.99% certain that it is, he still seems to be not a complete ass, but just as full of crap as ever. When you think about how he could pull the wool over my and first_name last_name* my senior colleague's eyes for a minute, imagine how completely he could confuse and befuddle a Perl newbie after having practiced his schtick for 25 more years!

    Mike, please, your stuff was out of date in 1998 ... and you are still trying to make people believe that they are the ones missing the point. Give it up! What weird ego trip are you on, that you get your rocks off lecturing newbies, even when your lectures are uniformly discredited within minutes? Are you trying to turn a senior PM ranking into work, income? Is that effective when you are so discredited here? (Answer to self: "You can fool some of the people ... ")

    ( Somebody hinted at why: that you can garner XP on PM even if you contribute nothing of value, just by hanging around. If anything, I would say that what would help would be a function to deduct experience points based on downvotes. Maybe limit it to senior monks, who can be trusted to not use it for personal vindictiveness. Maybe senior monks have access to a separate kind of downvote, one that leas directly to XP--. I dunno. Probably not work that anyone is up for doing. But if Mike's objective is simply to increase his ranking on PM, he would surely quit posting crap if that led to a decrease in XP. )

    * Update: redacted the names of the inocenti.

    Remember: Ne dederis in spiritu molere illegitimi!
      Thank you so very much for bringing some more light into this phenomenon.

      I was already starting to regret digging up this thread from behind my ignore shield, but your entertaining post was definitely worth it. :)

      Cheers Rolf
      (addicted to the Perl Programming Language and ☆☆☆☆ :)
      Je suis Charlie!

      I missed this before… ++ but now I HAZ A SAD. Which is, ever so slightly, less bad than being mad, so, thanks.

Re: And here's why I think "downvotes" should be eliminated, or tabulated separately ...
by aaron_baugher (Curate) on Jun 29, 2015 at 22:33 UTC

    Two things:

    1. I've never downvoted one of your posts for anything other than the content: lack of substance, misleading or harmful advice, attempts to divide and cause dissension, desperate attention-seeking, and/or wasting everyone's time.
    2. You're almost the only poster I've ever downvoted. I haven't cast more than a handful of downvotes for others in my years here. That's how hesitant I am to use it, but you earn it over and over. I might feel bad about it if I thought you weren't doing it on purpose.

    I used to ignore your posts; using an RSS reader makes that easy to do. But I've been told that part of responsible membership in PM is countering your nonsense with downvotes and corrections so that you can't confuse newbies, because you simply can't be banned (for reasons that are beyond me).

    So I won't ignore you anymore. Now I'll make sure to give your posts the votes and treatment that their content deserves. I'd rather be helping honest questioners or exchanging interesting ideas and code, but it seems that cleaning up after you is part of the deal. So be it.

    Aaron B.
    Available for small or large Perl jobs and *nix system administration; see my home node.

      Even if he was banned, he could just create a new account, and the cycle would begin again.
        He could, but would he? Would he want to start again from scratch?

        And if he did, wouldn't the second and subsequent accounts be just as ban-able as the first? More quickly if the behaviour persisted.

      "because you simply can't be banned (for reasons that are beyond me)."

      The day you all realize that this site was taken over is the day you start to take your site back.

        Taken over by whom?
Re: And here's why I think "downvotes" should be eliminated, or tabulated separately ...
by stevieb (Canon) on Jun 29, 2015 at 18:59 UTC

    I'm for the idea of being able to see and search by vote count (++ or -- separately even, but only if they're seen together as GotToBTru stated). With that said, there's a reason you get consistent downvotes... the vast majority of replies you write are difficult to follow, provide little benefit and barely ever contain any code. (I pretty much stick to only downvoting blatantly abusive posts though, but I appreciate why some are a bit more liberal with the downvote button).

    As far as hostility, you're going to get some of that anywhere you go. I find PM the least hostile place in terms of hostility-to-education ratio in regards to coding help sites for both Perl and Python. If someone isn't willing to put in a bit of effort before asking a question for help to a bunch of professionals who are likely at work, there's bound to be at least one or two people upset.

Re: And here's why I think "downvotes" should be eliminated, or tabulated separately ...
by GotToBTru (Prior) on Jun 29, 2015 at 18:55 UTC

    There is another way of thinking about down votes that considers if the post was down-voted because of its content, or lack thereof.

    It might be useful to see separate up and down counts, but only as long as you see both. And NEVER for the reason you cite.

    Dum Spiro Spero
      It might be useful to see separate up and down counts

      You do know that this is already possible, right?

Re: And here's why I think "downvotes" should be eliminated, or tabulated separately ...
by marinersk (Priest) on Jun 29, 2015 at 20:17 UTC

    The only people I have ever seen indicate any kind of notion that PerlMonks is hostile is you, and two newbies who had the misfortune of being on CB whilst jeffa was on one of his recent disruption game exercises in the ChatterBox.

    That's it. Three people. (And, to be fair, there's no proof that the other two weren't just jeffa's sock puppets.)

    Otherwise, I've seen no indication at all that anyone thinks PerlMonks is hostile. Certainly not anyone who has survived asking a question at other online interactive collaborative resource sites.

    I've had a few bouts of being on PerlMonks very nearly round the clock, and through a combination of a small case of insomnia and extensive use of the Last Hour of CB node (which, I recently discovered, does not filter based on the /ignoresettings), recently caught some 72 hours of nearly uninterrupted CB activity.

    It's a small sample set, but I'm just not seeing whatever it is that impels you to proclaim that a negative opinion of PerlMonks exists as a "reputation".

    I don't suppose...I can't believe I'm actually going to ask this question but I guess I have a morbid sense of curiosity...would you be able to provide evidence to support the assertion? This, knowing full well that we are held to our honor not to repeat the words of any Monk's CB chatter after it falls away from the Last Hour page.

    A reply falls below the community's threshold of quality. You may see it by logging in.
Re: And here's why I think "downvotes" should be eliminated, or tabulated separately ...
by salva (Abbot) on Jun 30, 2015 at 08:19 UTC
    “no matter what sundialsvc4, in particular, may say, he will promptly accumulate about 7 downvotes for the mere fact that he opened his mouth.”

    And have you ever asked yourself why is that happening to you and only to you?

    Dear sundialsvc4, really, your almost-there but completely wrong posts, your "brilliant"  formatingTM, your capacity to ignore any advice from others, your inability to post just a single line of working code or to fix any error on your posts, and then your perseverance and prolific posts... well, I hope some day I would be able to know if you are a person really like that, or just a troll... and if it is the later case, let my say you are an artist, a genius in the fine art of trolling!!!

      and if it is the later case, let my say you are an artist, a genius in the fine art of trolling!!!

      I disagree with that, hes fairly run of the mill troll

Re: And here's why I think "downvotes" should be eliminated, or tabulated separately ...
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Jun 29, 2015 at 21:25 UTC

    You work harder to earn your downvotes than any other monk ever has. Without them, you'd be just another middle-ranked monk.

Re: And here's why I think "downvotes" should be eliminated, or tabulated separately ...
by Your Mother (Bishop) on Jun 29, 2015 at 21:42 UTC

    Downvoted this post without reading it. That's a first for me. The title + your username were entirely sufficient to know the right course of action.

      If you didn't read it, why both vote and reply to it? Wouldn't it have been better, in your opinion, to just ignore the post entirely?

        No, ignoring this individual doesn't work. It's been tried for years, and it just makes it easier for him to clutter the site up with his nonsense. In the last thread on this topic, the consensus was that members who care about the site should downvote his natter and leave replies pointing out what's wrong with it. That's all we can do.

        Aaron B.
        Available for small or large Perl jobs and *nix system administration; see my home node.

Re: And here's why I think "downvotes" should be eliminated, or tabulated separately ...
by afoken (Canon) on Jun 29, 2015 at 20:28 UTC
Re: And here's why I think "downvotes" should be eliminated, or tabulated separately ...
by ambrus (Abbot) on Jun 30, 2015 at 19:58 UTC
Re: And here's why I think "downvotes" should be eliminated, or tabulated separately ...
by Anonymous Monk on Jun 29, 2015 at 19:55 UTC

    It is an unfortunate fact of PerlMonks that the site is widely regarded as being openly hostile.

    Citation needed. You have no proof of this, like everything you say you use whatever desperate measures you can to make your spamvertisement posts seem less crap. Evidence of this widely regarded" fact? Nah.

    ...social and professional interaction that, I fear, today it is openly perceived to oppose.

    You are the least professional person posting. You have no social skills. More junk junk junk from you.

    It should not be one in which there is fear of crucifixion.

    Melodramatic much? You keep posting shit and people call you on it. Either stop posting shit and listen to people and they won't have anything to call you out on.

Re: And here's why I think "downvotes" should be eliminated, or tabulated separately ...
by LanX (Cardinal) on Jul 02, 2015 at 20:00 UTC
    > he will promptly accumulate about 7 downvotes for the mere fact that he opened his mouth.”

    OMG, the system works!

    Cheers Rolf
    (addicted to the Perl Programming Language and ☆☆☆☆ :)
    Je suis Charlie!

Re: And here's why I think "downvotes" should be eliminated, or tabulated separately ...
by jdporter (Canon) on Jun 30, 2015 at 21:13 UTC

    I upvoted the post. I can barely make out what he's trying to say, and from what little I've been able to glean, the proposal is almost certainly one I'd disagree with; but ++ nonetheless for trying to contribute constructively.

    I reckon we are the only monastery ever to have a dungeon stuffed with 16,000 zombies.

      I upvoted the post. I can barely make out what he's trying to say, and from what little I've been able to glean, the proposal is almost certainly one I'd disagree with; but ++ nonetheless for trying to contribute constructively.

      Too much fertilizer kills all the plants

Re: And here's why I think "downvotes" should be eliminated, or tabulated separately ...
by 1nickt (Abbot) on Jun 30, 2015 at 13:47 UTC

    Update: Oh lord, this got a downvote. I wonder from whom? I was trying to figure out if you are a guy I met briefly on a project in 1997 in Santa Barbara .... maybe it is you and you don't care to remember that gig?

    Mike, did you used to live in Mexico, San Miguel de Allende or something like that ... like in the late 1990s?

    Remember: Ne dederis in spiritu molere illegitimi!
Re: And here's why I think "downvotes" should be eliminated, or tabulated separately ...
by Anonymous Monk on Jun 29, 2015 at 20:52 UTC
    " “The Go-To Site for information about Perl™” ought to be a socially pleasant place."

    You can start by leaving.

Re: And here's why I think "downvotes" should be eliminated, or tabulated separately ...
by (anonymized user) (Curate) on Aug 05, 2015 at 13:18 UTC
    It can seem like victimisation to be downvoted. In a sense it is. Because given people here only see what you write, in effect: You are what you write!

    One world, one people