For several reasons, it struck me that it would be a good idea to have some sort of indicator that a post has a strongly negative rep with insignificant upvotes (the threshhold would be a User Setting). I floated the idea in the Chatterbox and got some feedback, including ideas and criticisms. I think the criticisms largely indicate that it would be easy to implement this badly, but there was no reason it couldn't be useful.
Incidentally, the most negative reaction was about calling it a "troll warning", so there would probably be no actual mention of "troll" in the indicator, but that was my initial idea, and it's catchier than anything else I've come up with, so I left it as the title of this node.
- What problem does it solve?
- A few:
- Most of us know not to feed the trolls, but sometimes we feel the need to say something to warn others, or it doesn't occur to us that the bait is bait. The warning is an indicator that the lack of merit is widely recognized and doesn't need to be pointed out.
- Trolls eat votes. People see a horrendous post and think it's important to downvote it, not knowing that it's already got plenty of downvotes. This is significant to those who are on a vote budget.
- Achieving an astronomically negative reputation and a lot of responses are badges of honor for a troll. This would make it less likely to be a rewarding enterprise.
- Isn't this just a different badge of honor?
- Because the threshhold is individually determined, there is no particular goal to achieve. In that vein, I propose we not enable the feature for Anonymous Monk.
- Negative rep != troll.
- True, but it's certainly an indicator that the post is recognized as
having little or no merit. The exact wording of the warning would be a matter for careful consideration; it probably shouldn't actually say "troll". Maybe just the word "Caution," by the vote and/or reply buttons, linking to the explanation of the mechanism.
- People should make up their own minds about a post's merits.
- Yes, they should. This isn't to do their thinking for them, it's to provide them with some information (without spending a vote) that they wouldn't otherwise have, to help them decide whether a vote or reply is warranted. If they want to reply, they'll be free to do so. If they want to turn off the feature or change the threshhold, that's entirely up to them.
- You're adding insult to injury for good people whose posts get downvoted.
- That's why the indicator needs to be clearly about the post and not the intent or character or intelligence of the poster.
- Wouldn't it be ironic if your proposal ended up being marked "troll"?
- Yes, especially because that would mean my proposal was accepted and implemented.
As an alternative, I would propose that posts by Anonymous Monk
have a minimum reputation limit of -9. Once a post has reached that limit, the downvote option is disabled. That would act as an indicator and also eliminate the negative-rep badge incentive for Anonymous trolls.
Caution: Contents may have been coded under pressure.