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.