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Re^7: And here's why I think "downvotes" should be eliminated, or tabulated separately ...

by aaron_baugher (Curate)
on Jul 01, 2015 at 13:46 UTC ( #1132820=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re^6: And here's why I think "downvotes" should be eliminated, or tabulated separately ...
in thread And here's why I think "downvotes" should be eliminated, or tabulated separately ...

That reason reeks of intolerance. It was used to suppress entire populations.

No, that's just silly. A community can enforce minimal standards of acceptable behavior without "suppressing entire populations." Let's not invoke Godwin's Law over one annoying troll. That's simply an argument for having no standards at all.

Downvotes achieve nothing.

Maybe that's the point we're trying to make by using them.

Look, we've had this discussion before. We tried ignoring him. The problem with that is it leaves him free to post his nonsense unopposed where newbies will find it and be misled or driven away from Perl. That's no good for a programming help site that can be entered at any node from search engines. We've tried reasoning with him, but he's not interested. If we bring up banning him, or even reaping his posts, that's shot down as censorship. You just argued that downvoting his posts is tantamount to "suppressing" people, but you'd support outright banning him? That seems backwards.

So all we're left with is downvotes and explaining why he's wrong. Over and over. Day after day. Year after year.

If you have a better solution, one that hasn't already been tried and failed or suggested and shot down, and that won't make people faint at the spectre of censorship or suppression, please offer it. The community needs it.

Aaron B.
Available for small or large Perl jobs and *nix system administration; see my home node.

  • Comment on Re^7: And here's why I think "downvotes" should be eliminated, or tabulated separately ...

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Re^8: And here's why I think "downvotes" should be eliminated, or tabulated separately ...
by chacham (Prior) on Jul 01, 2015 at 14:44 UTC

    where newbies will find it and be misled or driven away from Perl.

    And that rightly justifies the replies. However, downvoting still achieves nothing. And, lest we forget my original comment "If you didn't read it, why both vote and reply to it?", which has zero to do with preventing new users from anything about Perl.

    You just argued that downvoting his posts is tantamount to "suppressing" people, but you'd support outright banning him?

    I made no such comment! I was responding to the idea that "If multiple people who used to be reluctant to downvote at all are becoming quick with the trigger, maybe that shows the extent of the problem" is an intolerant approach. Nothing against the downvotes themselves.

    a better solution

    There are many (better) solutions. It depends on what flavor people want. Here's some that might require tweaking:

    1. Defaulting Note Ordering in User Settings to "Best First"
    2. Show post reputation
    3. Allow comment filtration based on reputation
    4. Allow an "answer" or "seconded" flag for replies.

    #1 is used by some other popular sites. bad comments aren't hidden. Good comments simply take precedence.

    #2 is said to be open to abuse. However, hiding reputation is also open to abuse.

    #3 is used by Slashdot. Anyone can see what they want. They can change the default to anything they want. But, a default is applied simply to filter out the worst comments.

    #4 is not rep. It would be a simple way for people to vote on the current reply. Perhaps limited to one per question. It doesn't say "nice post." It says "this is the solution."

    Positive reinforcement usually works best. That is, no action against abusers, but without support, they are all but consigned to oblivion.

    The other approach is optional and default filters. Those are good to help newbies until they learn the ropes.

      Defaulting Note Ordering in User Settings to "Best First"

      Yeah, I've long felt we should do that. I even quite recently wrote a patch to do that (or at least part of that) and left it sitting there, unapplied, deciding how (or even if) I should advertise it to get more feedback on it.

      It seems to me to be a pretty good idea. Anonymous visitors and new (registered) users are the ones who would most benefit from showing notes sorted by reputation instead of by time. (It is also pretty trivial to implement.)

      In a demonstration of irony, within only a couple of hours, my patch was downvoted and no other feedback ever arrived in any way. I find it tempting to claim to have drawn some insight from this incident. But in the end, I've decided that a single downvote just doesn't contain enough data or significance to hang even a facetious conclusion upon.

      - tye        

        Stack Overflow orders answers by reputation, and I can remember quite a few occasions where the highest rep answer wasn't the most useful one for the problem I searched for.

        So I'm not sure it would be better, but I'm not against trying it out here. If it were implemented here, we ought to make it clear to viewers that what they're seeing isn't a chronological listing.

        Personally, i don't like it. However, that's because i would not want that to be the option for me. I like to see it in the raw (as long as it isn't abusive. But, that's just me. (Expressed to get my bias out of the way.)

        As for this being a default on something that is easily changeable, would match other sites. I believe Microsoft uses this approach in their forums, with the justification that most people who come to the site just want the answer. That makes a lot for sense here as well.

        I don't know what you mean by this mysterious "vote" you refer to. :) Was it something in PMD? If not, PMD has been quite active of late. This ought to make a good discussion, especially for something you already wrote. That means no "yeah, but who's gonna write it" complaints.

      There are many (better) solutions. It depends on what flavor people want. Here's some that might require tweaking:

      Those might help; it's hard to say. But how much work should people have to do to accommodate one determined troublemaker? We've already wasted considerable time writing about it in this thread alone. Multiply that by however many threads over the years, plus however many threads started out useful and then were taken over by this. Now add whatever coding someone would have to do to add these features, then tweak them, then add more tweaks and features when he finds ways around those...

      It just seems like an awful lot of trouble to go to, and for what? I agree with you that downvoting isn't a solution, but it is a way to show the people in charge of the site (of whom I am not one) how many people are sick of it. If anyone thought he only rubbed a couple people the wrong way, well, now we know otherwise.

      Let's say you open a soup kitchen. You make it open to absolutely everyone, no restrictions by race, creed, etc. Anyone can come and get a bowl of soup, and you're very proud of that fact. Then one day a guy comes in, gets his bowl of soup, and dumps it on the next person who walks in the door. You're nice to him at first, thinking if he feels welcome he'll stop doing it, but he doesn't. You try talking to him about respecting others, but he doesn't listen. You get volunteers to stand next to the door with trays to catch the soup when he dumps it, but he just turns and dumps it on someone else. You even design a dump-proof bowl, but he gets a mouthful out and then spits it on people.

      How long would it take before you admitted you needed to put a restriction on your "everyone is welcome" policy? And why would you feel bad about doing so?

      Aaron B.
      Available for small or large Perl jobs and *nix system administration; see my home node.

        First things first. That is a nice post.

        how much work should people have to do to accommodate one determined troublemaker?

        There isn't just one disfavored monk, there are many. However, one of them annoys more than the rest to the point it is considered unbearable. A solution, however, can work for everyone.

        Of course, if that isn't worth the effort, or the idea of changing the way things are done (which has worked for well over a decade) is anathema, a single monk can be singled out. If so, deal with the issue for the one monk with a banning or something. Pick your poison.

        it is a way to show the people in charge of the site (of whom I am not one) how many people are sick of it

        That is an excellent point. I didn't think of that. Reputation is an indicator to the management, especially when a difficult choice may be in the offing. Although this would require due diligence in voting on the post and not the monk (making quick downvotes less valuable), it is still a decent indicator.

        It should be noted that it would make the site exclusive to people who don't tick everyone else off. That is still intolerance (by definition), but understandable, especially if the main concern is that bad advice is being offered consistently and in enough quantity, where there is a real fear of damage via misinformation.

        How long would it take before you admitted you needed to put a restriction on your "everyone is welcome" policy?

        That might depend on how much anime i watched recently, where some supposedly righteous character never gets angry. :) But seriously, such a person would likely get a warning and then get banned.

        That case is not really comparable because he is both causing damage to other people and cannot be ignored given just one general area.

      As a side note, I observe that Answers to Questions in the Categorized Questions and Answers section are already shown in 'Best First' order. FWIW.

      I reckon we are the only monastery ever to have a dungeon stuffed with 16,000 zombies.

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