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Why - - A Node?

by Revelation (Deacon)
on May 15, 2002 at 00:44 UTC ( #166621=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

One of the options in voting is to take a vote away from a nodes score. My question- short and simple: Why -- a node?

Down voting nodes is a disincentive to timid monks, who choose to post as Anonymous monks, instead. It is my opinion that unless a node is trollish/(utterly inane) in nature there is no reason to down vote it. After all, the monk had the courage to voice their opinion or question for the rest of us to read, and there is merit in courage. (I.e. paco. Down voting nodes that donít have true merit is a disincentive for new monks to learn by posting; something that I believe this community should be promoting to itsí utmost.

Instead I see node ratings go down, where a node is logical and pertinent to the website. I ask again: What reason is there to down vote such a node? Is it because you feel that it is your responsibility to moderate nodes, and give them ratings correlated to the merit of the node, or is there some ulterior motive that I miss? Even nodes in which the questioner is utterly off or poster is completely off topic, what would make you want to down vote the node? Isnít there a strong node that merits a ++, instead?

My personal belief is that voting should be used for something closer to ďmeta-moderationĒ, where nodes/replies with low scores would be weeded out by monks not voting on a node, down voting is done when I find a node that I believe does not merit the website at all, and should be deleted by an editor. I sparsely down vote nodes- making the decision to do so when a node is either OT or trollish, yet others seem to have different rules.

Maybe itís time to reconsider how we vote, or consider as a group the formula for voting? What are your rules for down voting? There are so many strong nodes, and I believe it is the responsibility of monks to promote these, instead of dwelling on nodes that they see as "not worth their points" (which I see as a part of a karma-oriented society. BAD.)
Gyan Kapur

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Why + + A Node?
by ariels (Curate) on May 15, 2002 at 06:44 UTC

    One of the options in voting is to add a vote to a nodes score. My question- short and simple: Why ++ a node?

    Up voting nodes is an incentive to braggarts and high-level monks, who choose to post on the well-known and -agreed subjects (like use strict). It is my opinion that unless a node is truly unique in nature there is no reason to up vote it. After all, the monk lacked the courage to say something new in some amazingly original node, instead giving some run-of-the-mill answer that would be obvious to almost all readers; there is merit in courage, but courage is in going where no person has gone before. (E.g. merlyn . Up voting a node by this monk that, while is has some true merit, is not up to the superb standard of Learning Perl is a disincentive for such an expert to write a few more truly amazing columns; something that I believe this community should be promoting to itsí utmost.

    Instead I see node ratings go up, where a node is logical and pertinent to the website, but no different from hundreds of other well-reasoned, but ultimately fully understood and documented, answers. I ask again: What reason is there to up vote such a node? Is it because you feel that it is your responsibility to moderate nodes, and give them ratings correlated to the merit of the node, or is there some ulterior motive that I miss? Even nodes in which the questioner is utterly confused or poster is giving a completely correct answer, what would make you want to up vote the node? Isnít there some totally off-topic node, or personal attack or insult, that merits a ++, instead?

    I could continue, but (I hope) you get the point. Voting -- is just the opposite of voting ++. The above node seems to recommend cancelling the -- vote, and moving the "neutral point" of reputation from 0 to some positive value (say 4). Given that there is no moral statement in voting, I see no compelling advantage in doing this.

Re: Why - - A Node?
by VSarkiss (Monsignor) on May 15, 2002 at 02:38 UTC

    It's been said before, but I'll say it again: each individual's votes are theirs to use as they see fit.

    You may not agree with anyone's criteria, but that's part of the idea. We each have different reasons for voting the way we do. I have my own reasons for voting, and it's not anyone's business but my own. If you think a node's been downvoted unfairly, upvote it. If enough people agree with you, the node's rep will rise.

    As belg4mit pointed out, this has been hashed about over and over. Here's just a few threads to read about:

    I think the voting and moderation system works just great. It's not perfect, but I don't even know what perfection means in this context.

    I just noticed all this strange terminology you're using: "a node's score", "meta-moderation", "karma-oriented". Are you sure you're not confusing the monastery with someplace else?

(kudra) Re: Why - - A Node?
by kudra (Vicar) on May 15, 2002 at 09:17 UTC
    I'd rather see votes used more sparingly in general. To me it's just as 'bad' to upvote a mediocre node as to downvote it (meaning I wouldn't do either but I see no reason why other people shouldn't if they are so inclined). I prefer to save my votes for nodes that provoke strong reactions, either good or bad.

    ...which is why I downvoted the root node in this thread. I strongly disagree with it; I think both negative and positive reactions are important. In fact, I see the negative vote as so useful I wish political systems would adopt it as a means to combat voter apathy that naturally occurs when faced with only bad choices (somehow, the thought of downvoting the greater of two evils seems more pleasant than upvoting the lesser).

    My voting generally follows the suggestions laid out by voting guidelines, although I naturally have my own opinions. For example, I'm inclined to downvote discussions which rehash old issues without making references to the earlier instances (although I'm more forgiving now because of the supersearch modifications). Update It's my opinion that the person posting has a duty to read previous posts related to the topic. In some cases, people who have been pointed to past discussions have ended up revising their opinions. I also see it as the poster's duty to refer to the past discussions, for those who might not have seen them. Failing to do so is laziness or negligence in my opinion, and so I vote accordingly.

    I do have a small complaint about the voting system, however, when it is used for other purposes. For example, a node which should be deleted because it is a duplicate needs a negative reputation (unless this has changed) to be removed. The primary goal here is deletion--downvoting is just a means to an end, not any kind of a response to the content (although for some it may be a response to the fact that it was duplicated, I suspect this is not true for everyone).

    Another example is discussion/meditation posts. Sometimes I read posts that make me consider something I hadn't considered before, or that I feel are well-presented, yet I still disagree with the basic point. An upvote would suggest that I feel the idea should be implemented, whereas a downvote implies that the post was poorly written or the question should not have been raised.

      It seems to me that if you disagree, you should reply, not downvote. By replying, you say "I believe there is another way to look at things, and here it is," giving others the opportunity to consider your opinion. By downvoting, you effectively say "because I disagree with you, neither myself nor anyone else should even hear your ideas." And while I sympathize with your "negative presidential vote" idea, I think maybe "none of the above" would be a better solution; if you want to support one candidate over another, you should actually dirty yourself by voting for that candidate, rather than against the other. Plus, we already have Ralph Nader ;).

      About "rehashes": Seems to me it takes relatively little time to either (a) point someone to some of the relevant nodes, or (b) point them to super-search, since you've probably already done the relevant search and/or participated in the relevant discussions to even know that the post is a rehash. Imagine if your high school teachers had, when you asked a question to which the answer was already known, told you to stop talking. What would you have learned from this? Maybe the poster will follow the links you give, read the other material, and come back with a more informed opinion. Or maybe the poster has already read and digested the relevant material, and doesn't feel the need to cite it.

      I find it disturbing to see the root post sitting at -8 now. Are there really 9 people (I gave it a ++) who think that this person's voice shouldn't even be heard, or that there is nothing new to say on the subject of downvoting? I think by even replying you have answered "no".


        This discussion is entirely opinion, and i for one will not tell anyone how to spend their votes. I did not even want to touch this thread with a 10 foot pole until i saw this:

        By downvoting, you effectively say "because I disagree with you, neither myself nor anyone else should even hear your ideas ... this person's voice shouldn't even be heard ..."

        I strongly disagree with that argument. Replace downvoting with reaping and i will agree. Downvoting existed at this site long before reaping, which came about from trolling. Downvoting is peer review. Think of it as a pain receptor, like when you touch a hot surface. A significant number of negative votes (more than 2) means that the author _probably_ said something wrong. Downvoting is a simple feedback mechanism - replying would be better, but not everyone is confrontational. If someone feels that they have been wrongly downvoted, they can always raise the issue in the Chatterbox.

        Replying instead of downvoting is not always an option. Some monks are too busy at the moment. Some monks might have already told the author in question in a past post why they were wrong, see the author do it again, sigh out loud and --. Some monks will send the author a private /msg after downvoting. Some monks feel that the author should know better, and no explaination for the downvote is necessary. Whatever the reason, it is their choice, and i respect them for exercising their choice, even if i don't agree. It is our right.


        off the soapbox and back to learning Perl

        UPDATE: reply to your reply

        Sorry, but no, we don't agree. If you want to view it that way, then by all means do so. But i don't, because i do not believe that all nodes with a negative rep should be reaped. What would be the point of Worst Nodes then?

        Also, what i agreed to was that reaping a node is silencing that person's voice, not downvoting is just a means to have a node reaped. Big difference. (and there are two categories: downvoting and reaping ;))

        But i think that we can agree that Perl is the main reason we are here, so let's just agree to disagree on our interpretation of downvoting/reaping. Sorry to step up on my soapbox. ;)

Re: Why - - A Node?
by belg4mit (Prior) on May 15, 2002 at 01:18 UTC
    Yin and yang.

    Personally, I was tempted to -- this node right off the bat. Why? Because, it's been done before. And not just in the ancient past, two weeks ago or so. There have been many insightful commments made by others on the system. It is saddening that you did not seek them out or if you did, that you did not reference them to support your view or question them.

    I ++ for Amen(humor or technical), and -- for extreme lack of effort. Needless to say I don't have to -- too often.

    The system has no hard and fast rules, we are all allowed to excercise our best judgement.

    perl -pew "s/\b;([mnst])/'$1/g"

      Having read a reasonable deal of the nodes on down voting (not all of them), I found it still necessary to ask this question. The answers I have found have been stereotypical, yet I see nodes that have none of the criterion most people list are involved with these nodes.

      Most, like you have, say that they down vote due to "lack of effort", "abusiveness", or "how OT it is." Yet I see nodes that don't fit any of these criterion lose karma. The lines people draw *do* seem to be hard and fast, in fact- they seem to be extremely concrete. The majority of people use down voting for this meta-moderational purpose, yet I see nodes that are at least pertinent (and not homework assignments) get down voted as well (not to mention nodes that are strong in my opinion.)

      Although this node is not original (which does not matter too much to me). I'm much more concerned with what discussion this node elicits, if any. An answer saying "I down vote lewd comments," is obvious, but is there anything that you specifically down vote, because it betrays a pet-peeve, or because of some "more technical" reason?
      Gyan Kapur
        Well it is quite possible that there are monks that may not be so steadfast in their reasons. And some personality voting does occur, but we try not to think about that :-P

        Well a pet-peeve that may gain a -- is extreme hubris,. However I lump this in with lack of effort because what gets me is when someone has something that may or may not be trivial, but is very well-known and they have not done anything original with it. If these kinds of things were to turn up in SoPW and wanted a code review, that'd be a good thing. But to automatically post to Craft or CUFP, especially when a search would demonstrate that such things have been covered before, is irksome. This is not to say that I automagically -- anything that meets any given criterion. The post itself comes into play, as well as recent happenings in the monastery, and possibly patterns of posting by the monk (In which case I certainly /msg them). I try to be even-handed in things.

        perl -pew "s/\b;([mnst])/'$1/g"

Re: Why - - A Node?
by tadman (Prior) on May 15, 2002 at 04:10 UTC
    Why? There are many reasons, most of which relate to the usefulness of the posting. If, in my opinion, the usefulness of the post edges below zero, then we're into -- territory and the votes will be cast accordingly. Here's some things that degrade the value of a posting, at least in my opinion:
    • Careless spelling mistakes or horrific grammar, excepting any made by non-native English speakers. Not casual typos, but sadly negligent, nearly wreckless typing.
    • Failing to use capitals, or using only capitals.
    • Making pointless pseudo-witty remarks which aren't funny or amusing.
    • Use of pointless abbreviations such as "ur", "u" and so forth, including "34337 H4X0R" speak. Save these for IRC or ICQ please.
    • Arrogance or refusal to admit defeat when the battle is clearly lost.
    • Providing wildly incorrect or damaging advice, especially because of a rush to get the "first post".
    • Posting dismissive remarks, such as: "use X", when there are many willing to take the effort to explain it properly. Don't bother.
    • Missing the boat so badly that the post is actually counter-productive.
    • Asking really, really stupid questions out of false laziness.
    Nodes that are exceptionally worthless attract -- because it is our only practical way of protesting. It's harsh discipline sometimes, especially for some users who just don't get it (no names specified in the interests of being civil), but there aren't many alternatives.
      Not many alternatives?

      I haven't read the rest of the thread, but I can say that you're right to a degree. What I'd do if a post meets some of these criteria is leave a private message to the poster stating what was wrong, how to correct it, etc.

      I've actually had folks do this for me instead of letting me know I was asleep at the wheel by downvoting my incorrect node. This allowed me to 1) update the node to be correct; 2) learn from my mistakes instead of feeling crappy

      Me spell chucker work grate. Knead grandma chicken.

Re: Why - - A Node?
by educated_foo (Vicar) on May 15, 2002 at 01:11 UTC
    I downvote my fair share of nodes, almost exclusively because they are abusive or dismissive. While these nodes are relatively uncommon, they do still get posted, and by downvoting them I am doing my own small part to help "clean" the site. I might also be tempted to downvote a completely offtopic or clueless node, but only if I'm fairly sure the fault is deliberate. I don't feel the need to punish someone for breaking "the rules" unawares, unless "the rules" are those of human decency and respect.

    As for why I don't use these points to upvote other, worthy nodes... There's no filtering on this site, so unlike on slashdot, even nodes with no votes will still be seen -- everyone has a voice. So while upvotes only help the author of the node (by giving him/her karma), downvotes more directly help the site as a whole.


Re: Why - - A Node?
by ehdonhon (Curate) on May 15, 2002 at 01:57 UTC

    My personal voting rules:

    • First, I try to avoid giving the same user two votes in the same thread. Especially when they are just saying the same thing a second time.
    • Second, if I think that the post is somehow un-professional, I give it a --.
    • Third, if I strongly diagree with what is being said, I give it a null vote. (Sometimes, I wish there was a "I vote not to vote on this" option, so I could see the reputation of a node without having to modify it up or down).
    • Fourth, if the node has no meaningful content, I consider it.
    • Finally, if I actually take the time to read and think about what was posted, I typically give it a ++.

    Some people might disagree with that final point, but my philosophy is that any meaningful contribution is worth something, even if its completely wrong or if it appears to be a rediculously simple question / answer.

Why I Downvote
by ignatz (Vicar) on May 15, 2002 at 15:17 UTC
    • Bad advice
    • Hateful posts
    • Things just plain wrong
    • Needless, uninteresting (very important) rudeness
    • Complaining about downvoting
    • Vanity
    • The impetuousness of youth
Re: Why - - A Node?
by FoxtrotUniform (Prior) on May 15, 2002 at 15:59 UTC
      Why -- a node?
    • I'll downvote a node that's gratuitously abusive or offensive. Flames tend to qualify.
    • I'll downvote a node that's glaringly wrong, if it's presented as The Right Way To Do It(tm). Especially if it's a topic that's been done to death (CGI, matching XML with regexes, validating email addresses, etc).
    • I'll downvote a node that's immature -- whining about how little XP you're getting, abbrevs lik u r on IRC, |_075 0\/ |_3375P34|<, or lazy speling misteaks.

    (I don't tend to downvote very much, though: I'd say that I spend one in every hundred votes on a --. If I voted -- more often, I'd probably have a more precise set of criteria.)

    In particular, downvoting is a judgement call. So when you say:

      I see node ratings go down, where a node is logical and pertinent to the website. I ask again: What reason is there to down vote such a node?

    it's likely that the node's rep went down because someone else thought it illogical, off-topic, or otherwise unworthy. Everyone has different standards and different ideas of what PerlMonks should be, and I'd hate to see that heterogeny disappear.

    One of your premises seems to be that new monks endure a lot of downvoting, and that a steady stream of initiates are driven from the site by cruel, elitist downvoters. In my experience, that just doesn't happen: most monks' early nodes have very few votes cast on them. A ++ here, a -- there. I don't think I got a node above 5 rep, or below -1, for at least a month. (Perhaps I'm just unremarkable.)

    In general, I think that downvoting is less prevalent than you believe, that the strong nodes that merit upvotes tend to get them, and that the voting system as it stands is "good enough".

      There are so many strong nodes, and I believe it is the responsibility of monks to promote these, instead of dwelling on nodes that they see as "not worth their points" (which I see as a part of a karma-oriented society. BAD.)

    I see no evidence that monks are downvoting nodes that "aren't worth their reputation". If they were, Paco's one and only wouldn't be one of the Best Nodes of all time, by rep. Am I missing something?


Re: Why - - A Node?
by talexb (Canon) on May 15, 2002 at 18:53 UTC
    I ++ your node because it asked a valid question in a professional manner.

    I disagree with your thesis that no one should be downvoting. As has already been mentioned, the voting aspect of this site is a method that members can use to reward and punish behaviour that they define 'good' and 'bad', where these are arbitrary individually defined ideals.

    I prefer to wait until I see a good node before I ++ a node, but if something really rubs me the wrong way (like a HUGE 'RTFM' and nothing else in response to a valid Perl question), the -- gets used.

    It's a way of letting off steam. Imagine how much higher the tension level would be if there were only ++ votes available. :)

    --t. alex

    "Nyahhh (munch, munch) What's up, Doc?" --Bugs Bunny

Re: Why - - A Node?
by mrbbking (Hermit) on May 15, 2002 at 17:34 UTC
    Like most of the folks replying here, I rarely vote --, and when I do, it's because I belive the node diminishes the value of the Monastery. Un-called-for rudeness and painful lack of effort are my two main reasons.

    Each monastery member has a number of votes proportional to that member's XP, and can only vote on a given node one time. Those two things limit the 'harm' any one member can do by voting in a way you (or I, for that matter) find distasteful.

    The monastery is full of people, each governed by different (and changing) values.
    That's good.
    Otherwise, why let everyone vote? Why not just let the editors or the saints do it? (I don't want that.)

    Spend your votes in a way that makes sense to you, and don't worry too much about how others spend theirs. You've risen to monkhood quickly; I don't think anyone's downvotes are holding you back.

    I'm curious about why this is such a hot topic lately.

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