|XP is just a number|
On downvoting (Re: Interesting use of the chatterbox...)by tye (Sage)
|on Apr 12, 2002 at 17:03 UTC||Need Help??|
To me, the "If you downvote, please reply" idea seems nice at first but doesn't hold up under much scrutiny. My position is:
If you have something to say, then say it. If it is constructive or interesting, then consider posting it. If not, a /msg would be better, but better still might be to decide that you don't have anything worth saying, but that is up to you.
If I "say something" that criticizes, I try to be constructive. But just being criticized, even in a constructive manner, is often a bit of a blow. So if I criticize I don't downvote because that would be "adding injury to insult".
But if one doesn't have anything useful to say but can't manage to just let things go, then I'd rather one downvote than rant or insult.
So I consider a downvote to be an anonymous expression of disapproval from someone who doesn't have anything worth saying. And I personally don't want to hear from such people. I don't see any good in "/msg tye Boy, you are stupid". And I see plenty of potential bad in that. I've heard people say that they'd rather get such a /msg from each downvoter rather than silent downvotes. But I boggle when I hear such claims.
I'm sure there are lots of people that don't like something that they perceive (accurately or not) about me or something I wrote. If one of them can find the strength to make an intelligent, thoughtful expression of it to me, then I might be able to find the strength to take the criticism well and perhaps discuss the disagreement. If they "have nothing worth saying", then I'm pretty sure I don't want to hear from them.
But I am certainly not quick to downvote, and I encourage others to not downvote too easily. There are lots of reasons to skip over the downvote. I'll give just a couple of examples of reasons.
First, I hate downvoting of new members. Their first posting is unlikely to be a great node. But I don't find treating them to "Ack! You lost 2 experience points!" repeatedly to be useful. Yes, I want them to be encouraged to improve. But new members are also unlikely to understand the XP system and so can easily react very badly, ranting, whining, storming off never to return, becoming a troll, etc. I'd like a new feature that prevents XP from going negative (at least for a while after your first posting) so that downvoting would be less likely to make such a bad first impression.
Second, I usually avoid downvoting nodes that are unlikely to have a positive reputation (because they are new or appear the type of node that others would downvote). I don't enjoy traumatizing people with those "Ack!" messages or by putting their node in Worst Nodes. I enjoy even less listening to them whine about being downvoted. Let us take this thread as an example:
This thread started out with:
So even someone who repeatedly says that they expect to get downvoted and won't mind, we still get complaining after the loss of a single XP. It can be very hard to ignore the XP when you are getting downvoted. It is very easy to ignore the XP when you are getting XP for casting downvotes or when you are listening to someone else complain.
I'd like a downvote to give the voter a chance of losing one XP. Either the voter thinks you should ignore the XP and so a downvote shouldn't be a big deal and so they shouldn't find the potential loss of one XP to be a big deal either. Or, the voter only downvotes in extreme cases and shouldn't mind the very rare loss of a single XP.
In anticipation of alternate proposals: I don't want to eliminate downvotes. I find them to be at least a valuable "release valve", probably preventing (IMHO) more rants than the number of complaints they generate. I've reviewed many, many proposals for how to limit downvoting in a wide variety of ways, some written by me. In the end, I couldn't support any of them.
BTW, I find the current voting/XP system to be pretty good. No, node reputations don't accurately reflect the quality of a node. I think there are lots of such unrealistic expectations that we could discuss (not that I really want to dicuss them). Of course, there will always be room for the occasional minor tweak, especially as the audience for this site changes and evolves. But, IMHO, the voting/XP system has a lot to do with the success of this site.- tye (but my friends call me "Tye")