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Voting system idea..

by castaway (Parson)
on Nov 22, 2004 at 08:25 UTC ( #409518=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Hi folks..

Yes, yes, I know, we've seen many many voting system change ideas. So if you're of the opinion that nothing needs changing, then just stop reading right now..

Still with me? Ok then. I was pondering whether to explain this one from the beginning (the idea) or the end (the reasoning).. I think I'll go for the former.


Mentioning no names, I noticed this morning that a post that was, in my not so humble opinion, wrong, still had a rep somewhere around the $NORM mark. Now, it maybe that I misinterpreted it, or something, but it led me to wonder why. If we take as given that it was wrong, and still upvoted, why do people do this? Probably one of several reasons. They thought it sounded right and didn't bother to check, they generally upvote posts from this person, or they just had some votes left over.. .


It's this throwing away of votes that piques me. I'm not sure if people do it because theres a bonus at the end (for those that haven't noticed, theres a bonus of 1/6 of your votes cast for using up all of them in one day, up until level 5 at least), or for some other reason, but surely these are bad reasons to vote on something. Especially if we look at Reputation as an indication of correctness.


So, simple solution. Get rid of the bonus.


Multiple reasons. It gets rid of the 'I just *have* to vote on something' idea. I think that is also habit-forming, so even after level 5, people attempt to get rid of all their votes. Also I believe this incentive was given when the voting system was created because there were just a bunch less users that could vote, so there was less of a range on the Rep of nodes. That's clearly not the case any more.

This morning I even went as far as to wonder if there shouldn't be a penalty for spending every last vote, but maybe that's overdoing it.. Anyhow, any of my above beliefs, conjectures and opinions may be incorrect. I haven't surveyed any of those who spend all their votes, or at least lots more than I, (I get to about 10 on a good day, from 40), so if some of those would please speak up, I'd be grateful.

We can't force people to vote sensibly, we could at least not reward them for not doing it..


Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Voting system idea..
by FoxtrotUniform (Prior) on Nov 22, 2004 at 08:42 UTC

    I don't really mind either way.

    However, I don't think that "get rid of the spend-all-your-votes bonus" is going to do much to correct this problem (if problem it is). I think that most of the flippant voters do it because they might get one XP just for voting, not because they'll get XP later. (I will admit to having gone to quite some lengths to spend leftover votes for just this reason, although I like to think that I usually try to find suitably deserving nodes. There are plenty of those around.) Now we're back to rozallin's proposal, which may not be a bad thing.

    Yours in pedantry,
    F o x t r o t U n i f o r m

    "Anything you put in comments is not tested and easily goes out of date." -- tye

Re: Voting system idea..
by Happy-the-monk (Canon) on Nov 22, 2004 at 08:57 UTC

    I speak in favour of the two kinds of bonuses from voting actively.

    The voting system is there to be used, so people should vote. I dream that some people unlike me or castaway (who are here nearly every day) and who come to PM once in a while, read, cast votes.

    We must encourage them to do so, and hence there's a bonus. Maybe it should just be that, at level five, you get no more bonus points for the last votes you cast, maybe the number of your level. And for level 8 and above, twice the number of your level of the votes don't get you XP for voting anymore.

    Assuming high ranking monks with a number of votes do know what voting is supposed to do, they will still want to spend their votes on worthy nodes, even without a benefit.

    Cheers, Sören

Re: Voting system idea..
by Aristotle (Chancellor) on Nov 22, 2004 at 13:20 UTC

    I believe this won't change much of anything. I'm pretty sure the primary reason for wrong posts to be upvoted, by a long shot, is that they sound good and may even look correct for someone less versed with Perl.

    I'm drawing this conclusion from the observation of my own lack of a habit to doublecheck the facts in a post before I upvote it. I definitely know that I've wanted to withdraw an upvote on a number of occasions when someone posted a correcting follow-up to something I upvoted. All that is despite my spending much fewer than all of my votes (commonly about 25 out of 40 when I actually read PM; though lately I've been absent).

    I don't know exactly what that makes of your proposal. I see the merit of cutting down on the implied must! vote! imperative regardless, so I can't really argue either way.

    Makeshifts last the longest.

Re: Voting system idea..
by gaal (Parson) on Nov 22, 2004 at 09:59 UTC
    If we partition pm users to those who have the bonus potential (ie, $level <= 5) and those who don't, isn't the voting power of the non-bonused partition much larger than that of the other one?

    High-ranking monks probably utilize their available votes less than relative newcomers, in terms of percentage, simply because you don't always have anything to do with 30 spare votes, but has anyone compared cumulative counts of votes cast by level?

Re: Voting system idea..
by Paulster2 (Priest) on Nov 22, 2004 at 11:53 UTC

    While I agree with you fundamentally, castaway, I don't think that your solution brings anything to the table. I personnally don't think that eliminating the lower end voting bonus is going to do what you are wanting it to do, mainly because the lower end levels don't have that many votes to cast. The left-overs from voting at these levels is very slim. I would think that the larger abuse comes from levels 6 through 9, where a monk has more votes and therefor more left overs. By sainthood I would think that a monk is no longer in it for the XP (if they were in it for XP in the first place) so are a little more judicious in how they dole out their votes.

    Anyway, I don't have a solution here, just wanted to state IMHO what I see as a larger issue than what you have stated above. As always, castaway, I appreciate your time, talents, and ideas you bring to the monestary.


    You're so sly, but so am I. - Quote from the movie Manhunter.

      Point the First: I think you're overlooking the fact that there's more than one person of lower ranks here. Granted, the lower levels still don't add up to as many votes as the higher levels, but they aren't insignificant in this respect.

      Point the Second: It has been suggested that it gets one into the habit of spending all votes, which I think carries a fair bit of truth. Eliminating the habit-making incentive will surely help cut down on later over-voting as well.

      Point the Third: The first couple of voting levels pretty much never have any members to speak of. I think the earliest couple of levels pass too quickly. Ditching this extra XP incentive should help slow that down slightly. Granted, I'm an odd case, having posted a couple of things early on that got a lot of voting attention, but I literally advanced three ranks in two days. A little of that involved the fact that I got bonuses for expending all my votes.

      - apotheon
      CopyWrite Chad Perrin

        Points well taken.

        The habit of getting rid of all your points in the lower levels is not necessarily a good one, that's for sure. The only thing is that in the lower levels, because of the number of votes that you have, it's real easy to get rid of them. I found in the lower levels that I had burned up my votes and wished that I had more.

        Besides, castasay pointed out that a lower level monk only receives 1/6 of total votes as a bonus. That really isn't a whole lot of bonus points. If my understanding is correct, that is a maximum bonus of 3 points. Please correct me if I am wrong, I hope that I didn't misunderstand what castaway was explaining.


        You're so sly, but so am I. - Quote from the movie Manhunter.
Re: Voting system idea..
by exussum0 (Vicar) on Nov 22, 2004 at 12:17 UTC
    The voting system sucks. Any new system sucks. There's no system that'll make all the people happy most of the time or something. :) The only counter argument is, fine, if everyone used up all their votes, then you'll have a lot of high ranking nodes, and some low ranking ones. The difference between top and bottom will be further. Makes it easier to distinguish good from bad, eh? At least until that pesky group think comes into play... :)

    Then B.I. said, "Hov' remind yourself nobody built like you, you designed yourself"

      This reminds me of a university professor saying that western democraties are not perfect systems, but do belong to the best possible systems. Maybe the same goes for the XP system here?
Re: Voting system idea..
by DaWolf (Curate) on Nov 22, 2004 at 10:38 UTC
    I agree with castaway.

    Voting is not so much a must do as it is a responsability, so throwing votes away just to get a XP bonus seems wrong to me.

    The PM Voting system is a fantastic idea. Have you noticed that this kind of thing can't be found on other popular developer forums? I think we're so used to it that we don't see how unique and creative idea that is.

    As of encouraging the user to vote... well, the node content should be the only reason a user is encouraged to upvote or downvote a particular node and even if we can't always be sure a user does it based on this (take this exactly node for an instance, it was downvoted and I can't see why), we should not encourage a user to do it otherwise.

    (Hope I could get my point, since my english is not very good).

    Best regards,
Re: Voting system idea..
by eric256 (Parson) on Nov 22, 2004 at 14:53 UTC

    I've always thought that getting a reward for voting was a bit strange. Personaly I wouldn't mind the whole bonus for voting going away.

    On another note, maybe we just make it easier for people to explain what there vote means. Right now we can only vote + or -, sometimes this isn't a clear discription of how you feel about a node. Maybe add more voting options, --, -, 0, +, ++, so if you just think a person put a lot of time into a post, but it may be wrong you vote +, if your sure they are correct ++, and so on. I know this isn't perfect, and it might be harder to implement, but personal I would like to see a little more range in voting, yes, no is seldom enough. Perhaps we could make the single +,- count as .5 votes in either direction, and ++,-- = 1. Then the new system would still play well with historical numbers.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Eric Hodges

      I absolutely agree that voting doesn't need any reward associated with it at all. It's gratuitous and unnecessary to reward people for voting, to say nothing of it being often counterproductive. Voting should be its own reward (to sound like a greeting card for a moment).

      I'm afraid I don't think I really agree with your second point. The voting system doesn't require additional complication. I would very much like that sort of fine-grained control for my own purposes, but I think it would turn out to be misused or inconvenient for the majority of users.

      Just my 1.5 cents.

      - apotheon
      CopyWrite Chad Perrin

Re: Voting system idea..
by TedPride (Priest) on Nov 22, 2004 at 15:28 UTC
    I'm all for removing the bonus. I choose my vote placement carefully, and only once have I ever run out of votes. However, some people at least appear to be spamming their votes, since I've seen a fair number of threads upvoted that definitely didn't deserve it, even ones that were obviously incorrect, or negative in their usefulness. Removing the bonus will help fix this, imho.
Re: Voting system idea..
by BrowserUk (Patriarch) on Nov 23, 2004 at 10:02 UTC

    One thing I would favour, is the ability for a node author to reset the rating of individual node back to zero. (At least of they were in positive territory).

    The idea being, that if an author posts a node that later posts (or private messages) show to be answering a different question, seriously incomplete, or just plain wrong, then the author can update the node to reflect that, and zero the rep.

    There have been (a few:) posts of mine where I have made one or more of the above errors. At that point you are faced with several choices:

    1. Go back and update the node pointing out the error and giving a correct solution.

      That's fine, but it doesn't undo those votes already cast by people who also didn't see the flaw.

      It might also encourage the sending of prvate messages by those downvoting a node stating "I'm downvoting this node because..." or even just "/msg author [id://pqrstu|Total bollocks!]" giving the author the opportunity to "do the right thing".

      Especially gauling for those that posted the correct solution, but didn't gain as many votes because they posted later; or the do not have the same level of name recognition.

      Worse is that some later viewers will view the node and up vote the correction, despite that it may replicate a solution posted (correctly; first time) by a later node. Or simply because the author corrected himself.

    2. You can post a note at the top saying that the solution is total crap and should be ignored.

      Even this will receive upvotes--on the basis of honesty I assume.

      It doesn't undo the votes cast by people who also failed to see the flaw in the solution.

      I've even added a specific note: "Stop upvoting this node; IT IS WRONG!". And still the node continues to garner upvotes, presumably for similar reasons?

    3. Leave the node unmodified and hope that later voters will see the later corrections and either not vote, or downvote to compensate for the earlier mis-directed upvotes.

      Unfortunately, people (me included) have a tendancy to upvote a node immediately we read it, if we (think we) see a clever, insightful, or complete solution.

      If we then read the later post, that shows us that we too missed the flaw, there is nothing we can do about it.

    4. Finally, a frowned upon practice, is to erase the node entirely.

      This has two advantages.

      1. Such nodes usually receive a comprehensive pounding. As such, it effectively undoes any earlier, misconceived upvotes.
      2. It removes the errant information from the thread, thereby preventing the very real possibility that those coming along later looking for answers to the same problem, will not be fooled by a wrong answer that managed to garner and retain enough votes that, when sorted by reputation, still appears well up the order relative to later, correct posts.

    If I had the option to zero the reputation of a node, which would include removing it established reputation from my overall tally, there are several occasions I would have used this.

    In addition, the post should probably gain some (preferably automated) headnote stating that the author has voluntarially withdrawn the node and relinguished any XP it had gained him.

    It would probably also make sense to then freeze the XP of the node at 0 (and display it as such regardless), so as to prevent the node from gaining "sympathy votes" on the basis of honesty.

    Though I can see some arguing that this latter idea would prevent them from further penalising a node.

    It might even encourage the practice of the sending /msgs to the effect of "I downvoted this node because ...", or even "/msg author [id://pqrstu|Total bollocks!]" thereby giving the author the opportunity to do the 'right thing'.

    Examine what is said, not who speaks.
    "But you should never overestimate the ingenuity of the sceptics to come up with a counter-argument." -Myles Allen
    "Think for yourself!" - Abigail        "Time is a poor substitute for thought"--theorbtwo         "Efficiency is intelligent laziness." -David Dunham
    "Memory, processor, disk in that order on the hardware side. Algorithm, algorithm, algorithm on the code side." - tachyon

      Your observations about the reputation on corrected or obsoleted nodes, which coincide with mine, are exactly why I say that node rep is feedback to the author, rather than any kind of measure of the value of the node itself. It particularly is not an absolute measure.

      But there have been discussions about the meaning of individual node reps considered in isolation enough for a couple lifetimes over… :-)

      Makeshifts last the longest.

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