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Re: Thoughtless voting?

by mr_mischief (Monsignor)
on Jan 30, 2011 at 17:37 UTC ( #885132=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Thoughtless voting?

  • Your node intentionally shows information specifically hidden by the interface until after a vote is made by the viewer. I don't know of any specific rule against this. I would think someone would get the hint that there's some reason or reasons that information is by default hidden. One reason, of course, not to peg it down in a node is that it is subject to constant change.
  • You also judge a node specifically and largely because it is posted by "a Monk with more than 500 posts and fewer than 50 XP" which is the very definition of an ad hominem attack on the node. There is often talk of ad hominem attacks being bad, like in Re^2: Thoughtless voting? in fact. Yet you yourself just used one. I don't think asking which module or method of a module would be worth further study for a very clearly specified task is a bad question at all. It may have been avoided with enough research, but then this resource is here for all of us to not have to figure out every detail on our own. Perhaps you expected a catalog of every spreadsheet module and every method of them listed in the node. Even when the same poster goes on to ask for a code example, it is something that could easily be answered "Look at the "worksheet() and worksheets() methods of Spreadsheet::ParseExcel and ask any specific questions you have about them if you can't get one to work for you". That's not writing a program for someone. It's lending a small hand up by pointing out a couple of lines of documentation for one of many modules that seem they could be of use. I think the reason the monks in that specific thread were slow to point out a short example doesn't have anything to do with the nodes being particularly bad in themselves, but the fact that they were posted by someone with a pattern of asking for and then ignoring advice. There's a difference between wanting to ration your time to offer it where it will be more useful (or even down-voting the node) and telling others there is no possibly redeeming value to the nodes in question and that they are not allowed to up-vote it for asking a question that spawned a useful answer. That useful answer, BTW, was of a particular module of interest to people who came along later and found the thread when they did search for answers before asking. That could be really useful. These people might not even know or care about who posted that root node and the negative pattern of behavior that lead to the down-votes and the answers of other members disappointed in it. They were perhaps voting on the node itself and not on its value in the context of who posted it, which is exactly what you ask people to do when you decry ad hominem attacks. This node is completely different when read out of the context of personality than the one about being "rusty" writing template systems and actually wanting a working program rather than as little as a line or two.
  • You want to penalize people who mostly get a chance to use the site on weekends. Weekends start and stop across a range of 24 hours even if you assume the same two days of the week. You suggested this for no reason other than you apparently are not one of them. Yet you posted this root node about it on a Saturday. At least it was Saturday in my time zone... I don't care where you are because when you say "weekend" and post when it's the weekend anywhere the site is used you should be aware of what you're saying.
  • You want to empower certain members to be ward bosses who have the power to control the voting of others. If monks want to respond to a node and criticize it, they have that power now. I don't see making one monk's opinion capable of getting a node voted down to oblivion any less open to abuse than the ability to vote up a questionable node. In fact, it seems much more open to abuse.
  • You talk of multiple up-votes and whether or not nodes deserve multiple up-votes. Yet at some level there is no such thing as deserving multiple votes in either direction. Each voting account can only vote for a node once. Each account is limited in its number of votes allotted, so there is not even a vote per node per user. What matters at the time of the vote is whether the holder of that account determines the node is worth one vote up or down. That's all. This site may have its cliques, but I have yet to see the sort of organized political machines you suggest which control blocks of votes. As far as I know, nobody here gets together and plans proportional voting for a particular node to show an agreed community level of approval and disapproval. Votes are one monk making a decision about casting one vote on one issue using a supply of ballot slots smaller than the issues available for voting. Node reputation is a result of popular opinion, not planned to represent it beforehand.
  • I think being "astounded" that someone read a node you wrote and found it worthy of a vote is pretty silly. Also, did you realize you can gain a small amount of XP (2 points) just for logging in sometimes? Do you ever check the reputation of your recently posted nodes to see which have been voted up? Remember when wondering why that each vote is one vote, and that a reputation of +12 means twelve more people thought +1 than thought -1. It doesn't mean anyone in particular thought it deserved a +12 in proportion to other nodes and decided to make it so. Claiming astonishment sounds almost like you're fishing for someone to point out for your edification why your nodes get voted up.

For these reasons, I think your node deserves the negative vote it (the node, not you) got from me. This meets with the guidance offered in How should I spend my votes? -- General Voting Guidelines about down-voting a suggestion that "you think it would make the site less usable/functional". That page did exist when you opened your rant but you never mentioned it, for whatever that thought is worth. There are also pages linked from the FAQ about node approval, node moving, placing nodes on the front page, editing nodes, node consideration, node reaping, what XP and node reputation each mean, how to post effective questions, and how to word effective node titles among other topics.

Yet your suggested solutions are not to point people to these educational and informational resources which exist, even while asking for more education and information in one small bullet point of your post. You want to penalize people based upon when they use the site. You want to tell people how to vote. You want to penalize them for a single up-vote because you or some number of your cronies (whom you've told to down-vote the node) cast votes you feel are somehow more important than theirs.

Perhaps silliest of all is you're so concerned with people up-voting a node frivolously in order to game the XP system that you suggest abolishing XP for contributing to the site through voting. This is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It's even further clear how thoughtless this suggestion was when you consider that changing the rules does not keep people from playing games with the rules rather than within them. If you take away gaming XP by voting you only heap more incentive for people looking to game the XP system to post numerous nodes containing obsequious replies and hasty meditations sheathed in trite expressions and false profundity.

I'd much rather see a thoughtless vote for a node than a thoughtless vote against it. You seem to sway very far the other way, so far as to have people told to vote against a node without their own consideration of desert. In any case, I'd much rather have thoughtless voting in the system than a higher number of thoughtless nodes.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re^2: Thoughtless voting?
by ww (Archbishop) on Jan 30, 2011 at 19:14 UTC

    mr_mischief: For the open record, thank you for your citation of How should I spend my votes? -- General Voting Guidelines. I should have cited that myself and appreciate that you brought it to our attention.

    But our common ground pretty much ends there.

    I'm not going even to try to address the many points you made based on interpretations or extrapolations which go far beyond anything I've actually written. However, I will respond to the utter nonsense and unjustified conclusion in your assertion that I "judge a node specifically and largely because it is posted by (a Monk with a particular history)." No, the statistics cited are not an ad hominem attack -- they're data supporting my assessment that the OP knew better than to post such a node.

    Second, your hypothesis that "...the reason the monks in that specific thread were slow to point out a short example doesn't have anything to do with the nodes being particularly bad in themselves, but the fact that they were posted by someone with a pattern of asking for and then ignoring advice."

    I'm having a hard time distinguishing the negative impact of OP's "pattern of asking for and then ignoring advice" -- a wilful waste of your time, my time, and that of others (and conduct that inconveniences numerous electrons) -- from "bad in (it)self". The OP and the patently lazy first-followup contribute --even though only trivially -- to the load on PM's servers. Yes, seeking the answer in the docs, or with Super Search or would require a tad more effort by the SoPW, but since the writer had been advised -- repeatedly and often over many years -- that doing so is more in consonance with the Monastery's norms than lazily asking what might be characterized as 'the same old question," why should we regard the node as meritorious?

    You argue that the node would be "of interest to people who came along later and found the thread when they did search for answers before asking. That could be really useful. Useful? Maybe. But highly redundant, and, thus, wasteful of PM's resources? I think so.

      The OP knowing better than to post a node lacking certain content such as what has been tried is not mutually exclusive of the question being asked being a useful question. The node is incomplete perhaps. It may be rude in the author's omissions, but it is not rude in the content it includes. It defames nobody, incites none to violence, advertises no product unsolicited, contains no profanity, and in fact blames no other member of the site for answering or not answering in any particular fashion. The question can quite easily be answered for posterity even if we have reason to believe answering briefly and clearly with exact information will do the original poster little or no good. I can't say I'd give it a vote to the good knowing the background, but considering it apart from the poster's background I certainly wouldn't accuse people of necessarily supporting the textual content of it thoughtlessly.

      The way you separate the poster's habits from the content of the particular node is just that. Consider the node's content without considering who wrote it. Not everyone is as familiar with the OP as we. They may find something redeeming in the question without knowledge of who asked it or without consideration of that person's past behavior. Don't blame them for that. They are just examining the ideas and not who presents them. Some consider that an ideal. At least one member here has been known to have a similar plea in a signature line used to sign posts.

      Your idea of "highly redundant and wasteful" and mine must meet different magnitudes to qualify as "highly". The poster in question has asked four root-node questions in the past year or so. This person has asked other questions about Excel in the past, but they do not appear to me at this time to be the same question about it. The only thing highly wasteful is that habit of not providing more background research and the false laziness of it. The volume of questions and the overlaps of their content don't seem to be "highly" anything. Ignoring the question for spite and having many people later stumble across it unanswered in searches seems much more wasteful to me.

      Don't think that by defending a node I'm condoning a pattern of behavior. I'm not. I think the node in question could have been much better and that the poster should know by now how to make it better. I'm just saying there are perfectly valid reasons it's not universally voted down and maybe even deserves a little noise in the signal toward the positive based on the merits of the text itself.

      If we only defend the most popular utterances by the most popular of speakers then we do not strengthen our discourse. The popular need little defense. It is by matters of degree and by allowing for faults in good work or merit in poor works that we improve ideas over time. Tearing down the faults of the good for their being faults and building up the merits of the faulty for their being merits is what sets the truest examples. Accepting everything or rejecting everything from a source based simply on preference for or against that source is a sort of self-imposed ignorance. For those who call self-imposed ignorance wasteful, it is sad that they would dismiss a valid question only because the asker will make poor use of the answer. It only becomes two cases of waste where there was one.

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