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Abusive Negative Voting

by buzzcutbuddha (Chaplain)
on Jun 09, 2000 at 17:21 UTC ( [id://17297] : monkdiscuss . print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I try to make an effort to scan through Worst Nodes everyday to correct unfair negative votes, and
I just wanted to say that there seems to be a lot of negative votes that seem spiteful lately. I don't
like it. It's just my personal opinion, but here is an example from MAS4891.

Granted, I understand he asked a question that he could have simply looked up in docs, at least mention that
when you vote someone down. Say "Your answer is here" and provide a pointer to where they can look
it up themselves. Many beginners ask instead of reading the documentation because it makes more sense to
hear it from a human, and they don't always know where to look.

Please, let's be compassionate and understanding of our beginners.
We are all beginners at something.

Thanks for hearing me out.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
RE: Abusive Negative Voting
by Shendal (Hermit) on Jun 09, 2000 at 18:10 UTC
    To me, the use of negative voting is, in effect, to say that the post is either:
    - Off-topic
    - Uses foul language
    - Is insulting
    - Significantly detracts from the subject matter

    That's about it. I see this comment as being a typical newbie question. I think it would have been more appropriate to reply with a RTFM-like response, with a link to where the answer could be found. Perhaps even a recommendation that the newbie get the Camel book.
    It does make me wonder what the policy here is on negative voting. Voting down nodes that are just simple is a valid way of using the system, but that's not how I see it. What does everyone else think?
      This is exactly how I use negative votes. When newbies ask me simple questions elsewhere, usually they're more grateful when I give them a tip on where to find the information they're looking for, rather than just ignoring the question.

      Also, some newbies ask simple questions just because they know that more experienced people may have some extra tips and tricks that most likely aren't in the standard documentation (those little gems like "But watch out for ...", "The docs say to do it like this, but ...", "It's simpler to do it like this ...", or "From my experience ..."). This is good. Get them into good habits early on. These kinds of little knowledge nuggets certainly help me save a lot of time when I'm learning something new.

      However, there are some people who ask non-stop simple questions forever. Maybe they're social people who prefer human interaction over a manual, or maybe they're truly clueless, I don't know. It's annoying, yes, and that's when I start chastising them. Eventually they either get the point or they go on my list of people to ignore.

RE: Abusive Negative Voting
by cciulla (Friar) on Jun 09, 2000 at 21:47 UTC
    I agree that beginners should not be voted down just because they asked a "stupid" question.

    If there is something you disagree with, then comment on it. If a writeup is wrong, comment on it. If you think a question is "stupid," comment on it.

    It takes a trivial amount of time to vote something down. It takes a little more time to hunt down an answer.

    It is the negative connotation of lazy when a monk votes-- without a comment.

    This node has been voted-- with the obvious lack of a comment. Annonymous voting--, IMHO, is somewhat cowardly.

RE: Abusive Negative Voting
by Corion (Patriarch) on Jun 09, 2000 at 22:05 UTC

    The discussion has strayed a bit off-topic IMO. I don't think that novices should be exempt from -- voting, but I think that some consideration should be given for the -- vote, and it should be in relation to the abilities of the voted person.

    For example, while I don't agree 100% with KMs stance on voting -- on my posts to newbies, when these posts don't use strict; and don't use warnings; (or have #!/usr/bin/perl -w for that matter), I understand the rationale behind it, and I agree that code for newbies should be made as safe and good-natured as possible - and adding a use strict; to the top of my code dosen't break it in most cases anyway :). In that case, I have abilities that I didn't use for the better of the newbies, and even though the measure is hard, it dosen't take (me) much to avoid it.

    On the other side, somebody who is a newbie, naturally will ask newbie questions, that could/should be handled with a "RTFM", but in some cases a simple rewording of the documentation and maybe different examples help even more. Voting -- on such a post is in general not helpful, as the newbie does not have the abilities to use the resources at his/her disposal.

    So all in all, I think that negative votes should always be given in consideration of the abilities of the posting monk, and also the spirit of the monastery should be considered. Excessive ---wars could be detrimental in my opinion to the mood and the culture of this site (and though I already have an arsenal of votes to launch, there are people with more votes than me ;).

RE: Abusive Negative Voting
by turnstep (Parson) on Jun 10, 2000 at 01:49 UTC

    Well, I am not as harsh as KM but I am willing to vote a post down occasionally. I may have even voted down the "chomp" one, simply because at the top of every page in perlmonks there is a search box. Enter "chomp" into this and you get a nicely formatted man page all about chomp. Heck, I bet I could even make some links to it: chomp and chop. I save most of my votes for positive votes. If I use those up and still have some left over, then I vote down empty posts. Then deragotory/off-topic/etc. posts. I also think that someone could very easily vote a post like that down and give a nice polite reply.

    Voting down is not always meant as a dig at the post or the poster, per se, but as a way of helping the "better" questions filter to the top.

RE: Abusive Negative Voting
by KM (Priest) on Jun 09, 2000 at 17:28 UTC
    I voted that post down, and am not afraid to say so.

    'what does chomp do?'

    Asking a question like that means he didn't even try to look in the docs, and I then feel it is noise (just as this post somewhat is). If it was stated as 'Can someone help me get a clearer understanding of the differences between chop() and chomp()?', well then that means he looked at the docs and has a good question. His

    When I don't understand why some of my posts get a -- I bitch in the chatterbox, not create more noise without starting Yet Another Bitch About Negative Votes thread.


      I don't think it's ever appropriate or necessary to vote down a newbie. The only effect that will have is driving away an inquiring programmer from the site. If my first question to a quirkily organized Q/A site was greeted with an anonymous negative vote, no answer, and no explanation, I'd immediately think the forum was filled with arrogant know-it-alls and promptly ask somewhere else. I really don't think Perlmonks is such a place, or I wouldn't frequent it. Asking a simple question doesn't at all require that the asker didn't look in the docs; it just means he didn't find the relevant information. Keep in mind that tools experienced Monks use (the search box, perldoc, etc.) don't have big neon signs pointing to them saying "use me to find information on a built-in function". The obvious function of the search box is searching for nodes, and it's not too blindingly clear that built-ins have their own nodes. IMHO, the best advice one could give to a newbie post would be to answer the outstanding question with a generic reference to a place to look in the future (someone mentioned plugging Camel... that's a good suggestion). And really, do you need to waste a vote postdec'ing a reply?
      A reply falls below the community's threshold of quality. You may see it by logging in.
      Like I said, it's obvious that he did not look in the docs before he started posting.
      I am merely trying to say that if you're going to vote it down for something like not
      looking in the docs, then say that, and then vote down. I understand that voting down
      is going to happen. I don't want to alienate new monks. I like the friendly atmosphere
      that we have here and I would like to see it extended to everyone.
        Live with it, learn from it, go on with your life. People know they can comment on posts, and will do so when they deem it is needed. Is this conversation going to come up every single week?? By the way, I am giving the start of this thread a --, because I am tired of these threads. Happy? I explained why I am giving it --.