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Proposal: eliminate down-votes

by sundialsvc4 (Abbot)
on May 31, 2012 at 18:23 UTC ( [id://973576]=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

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Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by chromatic (Archbishop) on May 31, 2012 at 20:09 UTC

    Out of the last 250 votes cast on your nodes, 85.6% have been positive. Out of the last 500 votes, 87.4% have been positive.

    Another frequent poster (often controversial) has 87.6% positive of last 250 and 92% positive out of 500.

    A third controversial poster has 85.6% positive of 250 and 87.2% positive of 500.

    I don't see anyone systematically downvoting everything you post.

    (I do think you get some downvotes because your posts are often very difficult to read. You write long sentences sprinkled with what seem like arbitrary font changes and punctuation.)

Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by BrowserUk (Patriarch) on May 31, 2012 at 20:18 UTC

    You do not "have a sworn enemy", at least not in me. There is nothing systematic about my voting on your posts. I vote on the content of your posts, not their author. If they are in a thread I am interested in, I read them.

    • If I think they are useful, insightful or funny etc. I upvote them.
    • If they do not move me one way or the other, I do not vote on them.
    • If I consider that they are technically, grossly inaccurate or ill-informed; or if they appear to serve no purpose in respect of answering the OPs question; I downvote them.

    Remember, I can only downvote any post once. You only need impress one other person sufficiently that they upvote you, and you are at net 0, with my expression of opinion totally negated.

    Some stats: Of your 2155 posts, I have voted on just over 10% at 245. Of those 24 have been upvotes and 221, downvotes.

    The most recent upvote was on the 7th May, the most recent downvote was on the 31st May.

    I've generally made it my practice to reply to posts I downvote, in order to explain why I downvoted it, but I long since gave up with you. Doing so never seems to stop you from trotting out the same vague, condescending, soapbox wisdoms -- often barely, if at all, related to the question at hand -- even on subjects that it is perfectly obvious -- and repeatedly demonstrated -- that you do not have a clue.

    Like a politician. you'll often court popularity, by talking up popular subjects -- eg. "It should of course go without saying that there are numerous complete frameworks within CPAN for implementing scenarios such as this one." without actually identifying which modules you are alluding to.

    And you never post actual solutions. (Ie. code.).

    Those posts I've downvoted have earned that downvote by dint of their content; not because of their authorship.

    With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
    Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
    "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
    In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.

    The start of some sanity?

Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by eyepopslikeamosquito (Archbishop) on May 31, 2012 at 22:30 UTC

    I'm confused on two points.

    Six months ago, you posted essentially the same proposal to eliminate down-votes, receiving much useful feedback. So why post again, and without providing a link to your previous post? Did you forget you posted it?

    You claim that, like Rhett Butler, you don't give a damn about being down-voted. If down-votes don't bother you, why go to the trouble, not once but twice, to write at length about the ill-feeling caused by down-voting?

Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by roboticus (Chancellor) on May 31, 2012 at 20:49 UTC


    I strongly disagree. I enjoy the ability to encourage behaviour I like, and discourage behavior I don't. I consider the ++ and -- as 'tiny' modifiers, and replies as 'bigger' ones.

    I'll drop a ++ whenever I see something I like, and want to see more of:

    • Extremely interesting questions. (I don't upvote "normal" questions, as I consider the answers to be adequate reward.)
    • Good replies.
    • Feedback from the OP describing what worked and why.

    Similarly, I'll drop a -- on any node with behavior I'd like to see less of:

    • Flamewars: I'll frequently drop a -- on all participants, and try to stay the heck out of it.
    • Misleading answers
    • Explicit spoon feeding of homework

    Other people have different opinions on the behaviors they want to reward and which they want to discourage. I don't consider my opinions to be any better than any others, as it's a communal effort. If the behavioral norm moves away from what I like, I'll leave.

    When I notice downvotes on one of my nodes, I re-read it to see if I can understand why. That way, I can decide whether I want adjust the way I do things in order to "play well with others". For example, when I started participating, I used to write messages like:


    This is an example...


    But then someone asked why I was downvoting/disapproving a node. I then switched over to using a colon after their name to avoid confusion.

    Another example: I used to give out explicit answers to homework questions without thinking about it. Someone (here? elsewhere?) convinced me that it's usually not a good practice. So now I try to give appropriately-sized hints. If they showed good effort and presented their code, I might post a corrected version. If someone showed no effort but didn't ask for code, I'll point them at a couple modules or documents. For others I might give them a partial skeleton.

    If you review my posting history, you'll see that my opinions change over time. I view the -- as a tool that helps everyone out. If we only had ++ or "shut up", I doubt that perlmonks would be as good as it is.

    Ah, well, I've blathered on quite enough on the topic.

    Update: s/upvode/upvote/


    When your only tool is an upvote, it's hard to tell whether your node is bad or is simply boring.

Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by ww (Archbishop) on May 31, 2012 at 20:44 UTC
    I downvoted this proposal because
    1. It's been thoroughly discussed before (cf jdporter's note above).
    2. Thumbs down (aka - -) is a relevant and appropriate response to false or garbage posts; a point contradicted in this proposal, IMO.
    3. Similarly, this is not eBay; nobody's transactions here necessarily involve financial gain or loss and reputation is to some extent or another a consequence of worthwhile contributions -- which is to say, wise answers, appropriate tutelage or even thoughtful voting (<rant> which does NOT include the ++ votes that appear so often for truly ill-formed questions</rant>).
    4. Just because I disagree with your proposal (and would oppose it, even were it presented without such easily disputed/rebutted "arguments in support")>.
    5. Finally, I second Your Mother's point, and call the question.

    BTW, there must be more than one villain of the type you posit in your introduction: I probably downvote you nodes slightly more often than I ++ them (but then, most of them I leave unmolested in either direction.)

Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by jdporter (Paladin) on May 31, 2012 at 19:49 UTC

    just FYI, this has been proposed and discussed before. The ones I was able to find easily are We should elminate: Anonymous, and DOWN-voting and Down-vote Bad, Up-vote Good, but I know there have been several others.

    (Oh - you already know about the first of those two threads: you posted it!)

    I reckon we are the only monastery ever to have a dungeon stuffed with 16,000 zombies.
Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by Your Mother (Archbishop) on May 31, 2012 at 18:32 UTC

    -- One of the reasons I don't participate at SO is that I cannot downvote comments. When I don't have a voice, critical or otherwise, I expect a paycheck in return.

Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by eyepopslikeamosquito (Archbishop) on Jun 02, 2012 at 09:23 UTC

        Please, do keep it up. A lot of times I about choke on my coffee going "wtf!?1" when I read his posts and then I see you've already called him on his vaguely theoretical bs and then I smile because you've saved me the trouble of having to do it.

Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by Argel (Prior) on May 31, 2012 at 21:54 UTC
    Over the past ~10.5 years I have been a member here, voting has for the most part worked fine. Instead of trying to remove the ability to down vote, you should be meditating on how to become a better Monk.

    Elda Taluta; Sarks Sark; Ark Arks
    My deviantART gallery

Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by stevieb (Canon) on May 31, 2012 at 23:39 UTC

    I share roboticus' methodology in this post they wrote for upvoting, but with one further addition... I'll usually also upvote an OP for showing appreciation to the person who solved the issue, and/or all who provided aid.

    As far as downvoting is concerned, I believe I've only used two downvotes in my near three years here on PM. With that said, I'm not against downvoting, as it allows one to create thresholds as to what they want to look at. If something is very offensive, over-the-top derogatory or just plain stupid, I want the option to cast my doubt on that post.

    All in all, even if PerlMonks has a few rogue a-holes who just downvote everything, they're likely the type who don't have many votes per day to begin with, and most likely will get bored with it and move on in short order. Also, I'm a *firm* believer that the vast majority of Monks here are positive people who are here for the benefit of the community, so they would rather upvote a good post than downvote a bad one.

    If a post is good and one receives negative feedback/votes by a couple douchebags thinking they are going to upset the system, the rest of us who really care will wipe those votes out in a heartbeat.

    Down voting stays imho.


    Update: To further, I believe I have had but two posts out of the ~200 I've written that ended up in a negative state. That is very constructive criticism, as it shows I'm doing something wrong. In both cases it *was* my mistake, and I believe in each of them I updated the post with such a statement. At work, I WANT both my staff and other departments giving me this critical feedback, as it allows me to not only become more effective at my job, but it also allows me to build my character. It shows I'm willing to communicate and respond to complaints, and that builds stronger teams and morale. I give props to BrowserUK for his approach of commenting on his downvotes. That's a tactic which I am going to forever remember and use.

Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by planetscape (Chancellor) on May 31, 2012 at 23:56 UTC



Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by aaron_baugher (Curate) on Jun 01, 2012 at 18:15 UTC

    I've made 741 ++ votes and only 7 -- votes, but I wouldn't want to see down-voting go away. I assume that the threat of down-votes prevents a certain amount of nonsense, and regularly receiving down-votes probably drives away a certain kind of problem user.

    "I feel that the posting of negative feedback on anything is, as eBay for example certainly regards it, an act of declaring that something is actually bad. That it has been made with “bad” motivation. And I simply do not think that people on a forum ought to be given the opportunity to express an opinion like that."

    Why on earth not? Yes, my judgment that a post was made from "bad motivation" is exactly why I would vote it down. I wouldn't vote down a post for being honestly clueless or wrong, or for being poorly written, as long as the poster seemed to be doing his best. But when it looks like a troll, or is insulting, or ignores the question in favor of pushing an unhelpful solution, then I may cast a down vote. In short, I won't down-vote someone who's honestly looking for help or trying to be helpful, but I may when it's clear to me that helpfulness was not the goal.

    I suspect most people vote that way. I know I've been just plain wrong on a couple of solutions I offered, and I still didn't get down votes, presumably because people could tell it was an honest mistake and I accepted their corrections gracefully.

    (Sometimes I'm tempted to down-vote for sloppy writing, but I resist that unless it's combined with another reason. It's not that hard to tell the "knows English but can't be bothered to write correctly" posts from the "doing his best with a foreign language" posts, but I wouldn't want to guess wrong. I do draw the line at up-voting those posts though; no one who can't be bothered to capitalize the first letter of a sentence will ever get a ++ from me, for instance, no matter how brilliant the content. But that's just me.)

    "This is nothing personal; this is not a rant; I have a Rhett Butler approach about such trivialities."

    Sorry, but no, you don't, or you wouldn't be posting on the subject repeatedly. And to be brutally honest, perhaps you shouldn't be blasé about this. If more than a negligible percentage of the votes you receive are negative, then maybe you should be concerned about it. Stop telling yourself it's because some one person doesn't like you, and ask yourself what there might be about the way you post that makes people react that way. If you're truly trying to be helpful and you're getting down votes, there's a disconnect there, and it's up to you to find it. I say this with nothing but kindness: we all need to stop once in a while and say, "Wait a second, is it me? Am I just being a jackass?"

    Another option: make a few posts anonymously, chosen randomly from your usual postings. Do your anonymous posts get down-voted too, or just the ones where people know who you are? That will tell you the score, if you really want to know.

    Aaron B.
    Available for small or large Perl jobs; see my home node.

Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by afoken (Chancellor) on Jun 02, 2012 at 17:24 UTC

    My first impression when I read the heading: Oh no, not another!

    I don't know about international ebay sites, but the german one has removed the "downvotes" for vendors. Vendors can send a neutral or positive rating, buyers can additionally send a negative rating. Sure, the rating system was abused by some people, but without any way to tell others that a buyer shows unwanted behaviour, the rating system on is essentially useless for vendors. And neutral is the "new negative".

    What does that mean for perlmonks? There is no neutral vote, just up and down. Remove down and you get a completely useless tool, just like the page visit counters on every web page in the 1990s.

    I use the voting tool as a shotcut to "punish" bad behavior or really stupid posts with downvotes, and to reward good posts. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Yes, there are trolls around here, some plain stupid ones, and a few some very clever ones. The former disappear rater quickly, but the clever ones are harder to handle. I downvote troll postings of both kinds, even if that does not hurt the XP of the clever ones much. But even if I prefer upvoting, I would really miss the downvote function.


    Today I will gladly share my knowledge and experience, for there are no sweeter words than "I told you so". ;-)

      I just got my first post that got a net negative evaluation, and there was no mystery to it: I mis-posted and somehow double-posted trying to fix it. I didn't get burned at the stake, and ended up gaining a few experience points, where I might have made twice that if I had posted correctly. The downvotes give an incentive to not screw up and get it right.

      I would really miss the downvote function.

      I don't know, the new neutered downvote function dosn't seem quite as useful as the old unfiltered one

Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by flexvault (Monsignor) on Jun 01, 2012 at 14:47 UTC

    Dear Monks,

    I don't know how many 'down-votes' I've used over the last few years, and I don't know if any one else does what I do before voting. In the last year or so, I read all posts before voting for any of them. Sometimes that has been hard to do, but I want to get a feeling for the value of the question and the value of the answers before starting to vote.

    Many times I have been amazed by great answers to questions that I saw as trivial. If the whole post turns into a 'rant', I just skip it and find another sequence of posts to read.

    That said, I see a new type(to me) of poster that asks a question showing that they don't know anything about Perl, and after a monk supplies an explanation and sample code, the original poster goes back and updates the original question with "Update: I fixed it myself" or something like this. Before I started reading the entire sequence of posts, I skipped this 'self-answered' post and the real monk that deserves the '++" was ignored. If I remember correctly, in one case they actually cut and pasted the real answer into the updated question.

    I think I have found a good use for the 'down-vote'!

    Just my 2¢

    "Well done is better than well said." - Benjamin Franklin

Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by thomas895 (Deacon) on Jun 01, 2012 at 06:37 UTC

    Proposal: How

    On some of the communities I'm a member of, this has been suggested time and time again as well. And every time it's been suggested, it's been shot down. Why?
    There's a number of reasons. One is that we want to express our opinion. That goes without saying -- imagine if this applied to real life, in terms of free speech, perhaps. Sound like Germany in the '40s to you?
    Also, it is almost a given that there are some, well, assholes in every community. PerlMonks is no exception, and there always those who enjoy downvoting everything they can just to get that thrill of "I just made somebody's life miserable. That felt so good!" And then they do it again and again.

    I'm always amazed at how easily people get irritated, often over the most trivial of trivial issues.

    Okay, I'm done. :-)

    bless( $you ) if $you->{sneezed};
      The problem here is that person is complaining about the downvotes -- he won't stop being that but he wants the downvotes to stop

        I can say, with very high ain't happenin' bro B-).


        bless( $you ) if $you->{sneezed};
Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by Anonymous Monk on May 31, 2012 at 20:17 UTC

    I personally downvote all posts (here, and wherever else I have that possibility) that use double spacing after each sentence. Yes, I was taught that convention when I learnt to type (back in the 1970s). But I also learnt (in the 1980s?) that with "modern" fonts, it no longer has any justification: today, apart from being ugly, it just looks like a ridiculous affectation.

    So, henceforth, consider me as Yet Another Sworn Enemy. Any posts violating my sensibilities in this respect will be systematically downvoted.

    That's what I think.

    P.S. If you ever posted a line of code from time to time, rather than subjecting us to your usual boring, cliché-peppered (and often misleading, if not downright wrong) ramblings, maybe you would earn a small bit more respect from your fellow Monks...

      I assumed this was a joke at first, because HTML flattens any amount of whitespace into a single space, so there's no way to tell whether someone double-spaces. (I still do; after 30 years it seems like a hard habit to break, although it is annoying when some web-based editors try to "help" by turning the second space into a non-breakable-space HTML entity.) Then I noticed that the OP does have really long spaces between sentences, so I checked the source, and he's actually putting a non-breakable-space in between two regular spaces, resulting in a (more-or-less) triple-space! Carry on.

      Aaron B.
      Available for small or large Perl jobs; see my home node.

Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by DrHyde (Prior) on Jun 01, 2012 at 11:42 UTC
    Downvoted, for whining about XP
Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by Argel (Prior) on Jun 01, 2012 at 23:24 UTC
    Hmm, you know, looking at your OP again, I think you undermined your own proposal in the first sentence. You have a sworn enemy on PM? Really?? That right there is the the kind of behavior that down voting is designed to discourage. I realize you think BrowserUK really is your sworn enemy, but for it to have merit, he would have to feel the same about you. And I just do not believe that one. He can be brash, and he definitely speaks his mind, but if you limited your posting to accurate responses, I believe he would be there up voting those posts. I really think you need to look in to the mirror on this one.

    Elda Taluta; Sarks Sark; Ark Arks
    My deviantART gallery

Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by Argel (Prior) on Jun 08, 2012 at 00:41 UTC
    What arguments or discussions from elsewhere on the Internet might you bring to the discussion that I am (still...) trying to launch? Or should I just saddle up my pony and vamoose?
    Gah! Seriously!? Work on limiting your posts to subjects you are very knowledgeable on and your downvoting and alleged sworn enemy issues will go away. As I said way up above, "you should be meditating on how to become a better Monk." Overall, I believe PM has benefited from your presence and I would be disappointed to see you leave. :(

    Elda Taluta; Sarks Sark; Ark Arks
    My deviantART gallery

      out of votes, but ++

Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by RedElk (Hermit) on Jun 01, 2012 at 14:46 UTC

    Brother sundialsvc4 I thoroughly disagree.

    This community has A LOT of personality, for better or worse. Seems like the whole of open source is like that. Leveling this out by removing the negative opinion is not a good thing.

    In fact, some of what you posted smacks of mind control and thought police and ... sheesh. Haven't you noticed that about your post? After all, just because a node has lots of up-votes it doesn't mean that the node has the right answer.

    Leave down-votes intact.

Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by hominid (Priest) on Jun 01, 2012 at 20:16 UTC
    Your "sworn enemy" is helping you. Learn from him.
Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by eyepopslikeamosquito (Archbishop) on Jun 02, 2012 at 07:43 UTC

    It seems that sundialsvc4's account was hacked during August 2011, for an imposter masquerading as sundialsvc4 posted:

    Humble Monks, I just spent half of my “dog votes” today voting-down this entire thread

Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by Anonymous Monk on Jun 01, 2012 at 02:23 UTC

    What do you think?

    I think you should change the nature of your responses so they're not pointless distractions -- stop trolling

      Are you recommending people should stop posting only when their drinking? How absurd.

Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by stevieb (Canon) on Jun 05, 2012 at 04:30 UTC

    I'm going to jump on this, and reflect on one of my earlier posts within the thread.

    Because coding is a side-effect of my job, I don't often get a chance to look at PerlMonks until 18-24 hours late. That means my posts are often forgotten.

    If one would go through my history, they'd find that I'm positive across the board. Unfortunately, because I'm usually late to the party, the code I've provided is forgotten because it is lost in the obscurity that is yesterday.

    I have many 0-3 votes, simply because I was late to the game. I'd rather my helpful posts as a 0-2 show up as useful than a 0 that matches it that is a piece of fuscking spam or whatever.

    A -N is much better than my quality 0.

Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by doom (Deacon) on Jun 01, 2012 at 20:45 UTC

    You have my sympathies, but I think you're going after the wrong problem. I've been on the receiving end of that treatment myself -- I was daring to argue with someone who was clearly initially down-voting everything I said, in addition to responding to me -- but the thing that was most interesting about that was the pattern of up-votes happening with the person I was arguing with. Everything, even trivia, seemed to be getting a few up-votes: I strongly suspect he's using sock-puppets to vote for his own postings.

    The fact that we don't have any sort of real, verified I.D.s means that the entire XP system is essentially a toy, which really can't be taken seriously. You can hack on it all you want-- eliminate downvotes, forbid voting in threads you're participating in, add "meta-moderation", whatever-- but it'll remain an easily gameable toy.

      I have doubts as to how much damage one person can do to another with down-voting, even with sock puppets. Looking at my own posting history, I have made 248 posts which have received a total score of +1634, for an average of +6.6 per post. I assume I'm pretty ordinary; the most I've gotten for a post was +26 (for what I thought was a fairly routine bit about web servers and CGI -- not even directly about Perl, oddly enough) and my least was -1. (Which appeared to get two -- votes because I implied that negative look-behind is a "recent" regex feature. Oops.) No really high ones or really low ones.

      So anyway, to give me 15% negative votes, as chromatic reported above, my arch-enemy would have to vote at least once on every single one of my posts. That would be too obvious if he did it from a single account, so maybe he'd divide it up with a couple sock puppets. Then, so it still wouldn't be obvious, he'd have to down-vote some other people too (and really, is the kind of person who would do this likely to only have one target?). Then to keep from getting penalized for too many down-votes, he'd have to spread around a lot of up-votes to other people -- and not just to his sock puppets, or that would be obvious too.

      So I'm guessing that to make it work and keep the accounts functioning and avoid getting caught, he'd have to spread around a dozen or more votes for every negative one he gives me. And I'm not that prolific; I only post once or twice per day. To keep up with someone who posts several times a day, he'd have to spread around several dozen votes. That means more time, and even more sock puppets, just to have enough votes to keep up.

      I don't know; maybe I'm not dastardly enough, but it just seems like way too much work to me.

      Aaron B.
      Available for small or large Perl jobs; see my home node.


        but it just seems like way too much work to me.

        Well ... uh ... perhaps he could write a script? I hear perl is nice...

        /me ducks and runs...


        When your only tool is a hammer, all problems look like your thumb.

Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by ig (Vicar) on Jun 25, 2012 at 22:55 UTC

    I am more interested in what people have written than how others voted about it.

    The voting system doesn't reliably distinguish between "good" and "bad" posts, for any definitions of good and bad that are useful to me.

    I suspect you are no less likely to have a sworn enemy if downvotes are eliminated.

      If you have a sworn enemy and they can't down-vote you, then they have to resort to anonymously replying rudely.
        That's true. I'll happily click a -- button in many cases when I can't be bothered to type out a negative reply. Don't force me to!
Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by Anonymous Monk on Jun 27, 2012 at 04:13 UTC
    Well, frankly, I agree with Dr. Richard Feynmann on this one: “why do you care what other people think?”

    Quoting Feynmann to support your thinly veiled whining about getting downvoted is, frankly, very offensive and I'm sure the good Doctor is rolling over in his grave right now.

    If you really don't care, you can do what I did and just log out: let your words stand or fall based on their own merits rather than playing some silly ego game.

    FWIW, as much as this post is asking for it, I didn't bother to log in and downvote you

    --The Anonymous Monk formerly known as rowdog

Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by tobyink (Canon) on Jun 03, 2012 at 12:07 UTC

    Personally I down-vote all the posts I see just to be non-biased. I'd down-vote my own posts if it would let me.

    (Aside: why can't I down-vote my own posts? I understand why I'm not allowed to up-vote them.)

    Update: thank you whoever downvoted this post. I would have done it myself if I could.

    perl -E'sub Monkey::do{say$_,for@_,do{($monkey=[caller(0)]->[3])=~s{::}{ }and$monkey}}"Monkey say"->Monkey::do'
Re: Proposal: eliminate down-votes
by Anonymous Monk on Jun 02, 2012 at 23:13 UTC
    If your suffering from sockpuppets, I suggest making some of your own to upvote yourself.

      If your suffering from sockpuppets, I suggest making some of your own to upvote yourself.

      That is against the site rules

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