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(Ovid) Re: Challenging votes

by Ovid (Cardinal)
on Jun 23, 2001 at 01:13 UTC ( #90868=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Challenging votes

Interesting idea, but I don't like it. I see many, many problems here. Frankly, I'm surprised that you of all people would suggest this!

Problem 1

From the home node of Dominus:

I do not read 'chatbox', so if you /msg me and I don't answer, that's why. Send email instead.

So, who wants to explain to him why he lost his voting privileges?

Problem 2

As of this writing, we have over 7,000 registered monks. Let's say that only 1% of them do this. Further, let's pluck a number out of the air and say that the average number of votes per post that they challenge is 10. Further, let's say they do this once per day. 700 monks at 10 votes a post, 7 times a week is an extra 49,000 messages per week. Do you really think that all of those are going to be responded to? I can't help but wonder how many other people have their chatbox turned off. What if I'm out of town for a week and don't check the site? Sure, we can limit the frequency of challenges, but this still could quickly become unmanageable -- and I think 10 votes a post is probably conservative!

Problem 3

I'm a Saint (which, if you add $2.50, let's me buy a latté). I get 40 votes a day. Compare that to someone who only gets 5 votes a day and I'll wind up spending a disproportionately large amount of time explaining my votes.

Problem 4

There's gonna be flamewars, baby. I'm sure it'll get heated when joeuser sees that janeuser has been downvoting his posts. Maybe those downvotes were perfectly reasonable (joeuser insults everyone), but it's really going to raise the tension level here. Many monks, desiring to avoid conflict, will simply stop downvoting, which I don't like.

Personal note

I'll be honest: I know of at least one well-regarded monk here who took exception to some posts and immediately downvoted what I thought were some very reasonable rebuttals to an argument that this monk made. I was kind of irritated because this particular monk appeared to be downvoting material because it disagreed with said monk, rather than voting whether or not the node had merit. Is this fair? I don't know. If the challenge system were in place, I'd immediately challenge these posts and I'd probably do it because this monk made me mad. I'd rather not have that temptation, thank you.


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Re (tilly) : (Ovid) Re: Challenging votes
by tilly (Archbishop) on Jun 23, 2001 at 04:26 UTC
    Let me respond point by point.

    1. The issue of people seeing that they have challenges is one a lot of people have raised. It is true this is a real consideration. However it is not necessarily a fatal flaw. People can be informed in a variety of ways. For instance a button could be placed next to the voting button saying, "You have challenged votes". That takes you to a screen where you can go through the explaining process.

      There are infinite variations. For a random instance it could list a set of votes you have not said whether or not you will explain, and you can mark them off as, "Explain" or "Discard". Your discards cannot go over, say, 2 times the explains. This removes the problem of people needing to respond in a timely matter or having chatbox access. And the form submission could easily have ++ or -- added. (Update: Here is another variation. Challenges cost you 2 votes and 3 XP. When you challenge, half of the people who voted on the node are chosen. When they enter the challenge screen (which looks a lot like your inbox) they can choose which of their challenged votes they will admit to, not admit to, or not decide on yet. By default you admit to all of them. The person whose node it is gets told who admitted to what votes, and how many did not admit to the vote. The results are stored and in case of controversy, presumably vroom would look at the list of votes people don't admit to. The list of challenged, randomly selected, and then kept private votes is likely to be a good filter for the dubious votes.)

    2. With all due respect, your estimates here are are so far off from reality that they don't pass any sanity test. You estimate 700 challenges per day. (Update: Oops. You estimated 1% of the user base challenges per day, and each challenge affects 10 votes. That works out to 70 nodes, 700 votes. Possible but not plausible.) In the last day we had about 300 posts. That is simply impossible.

      What is wrong with your estimation technique? Well as I said in my proposal, you only challenge votes on your own nodes. Sure we have thousands of registered users. Only a few hundred show up here on a regular basis. Only a fraction of them post. And only a fraction of that would challenge. So your 1% is off by orders of magnitude.

      Let me estimate this in a more reasonable way. In the last day there were about 300 posts. Suppose that one post in 20 gets challenged. That is 15 posts per day. Is that an unreasonable stress on the system? I don't believe that it would even be that high, but that is at least a figure that is in the realm of possibility.

      Rather than waving around thousands of users who nobody has seen, look at your own posting habits and ask what you would worry about. As someone who has been at the center of more than my share of voting controversies, I have posted 1900 or so posts. Of them I would have wanted to know the answers to who voted on what? 2-3 come to mind. Counting all of the minor annoyances that I might have done for no particular reason, perhaps 20 of them? That is about a fifth of what I estimated as the going rate.

      And remember, if your node is positive, you are probably going to lose XP by challenging it. That will keep a lot of people who might have done it out of curiousity from bothering.

    3. As a saint if you use all 40 votes per day (which I do sometimes and don't others) then you are spending a lot of time deciding. Now let us bias the estimates above. Suppose that you are 5 times as likely to vote on a controversial node as a non-controversial one. (ObRandomNote: Several of my, "I would challenge" would be on old nodes that people started voting on. This would be to create problems for mass-voters and would affect very few people.) That means that of your 40 votes per day, 10 are challenged. Suppose you need to respond to one out of three of those. (That would be the case with the system I outlined above.) That is about 3 /msg per day. Which is nothing compared to deciding how to spend 40 votes.

      Another concern people have is that you go away for a while and will be overwhelmed later. Well if you go away for a few weeks, well most challenges will come pretty close to when a node is posted. So you accumulate a day or two of challenges. Then nothing. And after a week, your votes *can't* be challenged.

    4. Will this cause conflict? Well it creates in one place and takes away in another. I believe it would allow the people who are concerned about vote-bots to figure out who the mass down-voter(s) are. I believe it would have eliminated merlyn's desire for causing several flamewars. It would reduce the On the flip side it would definitely cause feuds as people found out who dislikes them. Some of those would resolve as people settled differences. Others would turn into festering messes.

      Which one is better? I don't know. I do know that since arriving I have never liked the fact that voting was anonymous. I am willing to live with the fact that it is. I understand why people think it should remain. But my personal belief all along has been that a little accountability would be a good thing on the whole.

    As for your personal note, how did you guess how that monk voted? Perhaps it was someone else who was defending someone they liked? That has certainly happened to me before.

    But even if you are right and challenged in anger, what then? The person in question says, "Hrm, I overreacted in the heat of the moment." They choose not to respond to that challenge, and you are still in the same position. The next day your temper has cooled down, they have been reminded that their posting is out of line, and you still have no proof. And I think that this is the most likely course of events unless that person is really spoiling for a fight. But sometimes if someone is spoiling for a fight, it is best just to give them what they want. They will get that fight eventually, and if that has to happen, better sooner than later. Don't leave things to fester. If you have something that upsets you, bring it up, thrash it out, and resolve it. (This advice brought to you from over a decade of marriage.)

    So yeah, that might have been a bad thing. But I doubt it. And really, this system would only be effective in finding out cases where a lot of votes come for the same reason. No individual person can be forced to reveal anything to any other.

    Now is this a good thing? Well opinions differ. My opinion is that something like this is a reasonable compromise between people who want an anonymous voting system (most people) and people who think that the anonymity in the voting system makes serious problems harder to track down (merlyn, myself, etc).

    Minor edits, explained why it is relevant that I would pick old posts which are recently voted on for challenges.

    UPDATE 2
    Added the sections in italics.

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