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Quick feedback option for downvotes

by Rhandom (Curate)
on Mar 14, 2007 at 21:18 UTC ( #604894=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I think it would be useful to be able to have short spot to give private feedback for why a node was down voted. There have been both times that I have received down votes without any good explanation why, and there have times when I have given down votes without explaining to the user why I did so in a sub post. I think this would be a way to provide more feed back to users when they do something that warrants the downvote.

The way I would propose that it get implemented would be to have a section that is exposed inside each node that is marked with a down vote. The section would include three things:
  • A pulldown of common grievances such as: "Doesn't answer question," "Vague," "Offtopic," "Rude tone," and so on.
  • A text box with a maxsize 50 for other.
  • A checkbox to indicate if the feedback should be anonymous.
When the "Vote" button is pressed, these extra fields would be submitted with the normal form and stored in a new table that contains the node id, the monk id, and the comment. When a user is browsing their own responses, they would be presented with another hidden field that can be shown by pressing a text link such as "Reasons (4)". The anonymous monk postings would have this section available for anybody browsing.

The downsides that I see is that this would require more html and more fields submitted with every vote. It would require another table with more relationships to pull during reading. It also would introduce Javascript to the system, of which there isn't very much at the moment.

It also sort of duplicates that you can send private messages in the chat, or you can write a follow up comment explaining the downvote. However, these options are rarely done and at least for myself have left me stumped why the sudden down votes. Even though we can use the chat or additional comments - we usually don't. Under the new system, if I received downvotes without explanation I would possibly discount them more.

I think the system would go along why at making criticism a little easier to give and make it a little more constructive. I don't have a lot of tuits, but I'd certainly be willing to help with the extra javascript, table, design, html design, and so on.

my @a=qw(random brilliant braindead); print $a[rand(@a)];

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Quick feedback option for downvotes
by diotalevi (Canon) on Mar 14, 2007 at 23:24 UTC

    I'd like to keep my pm inbox free of spam like "I liked your node" and "Gawd, your node sucked!" or whatever other things people would write just because they felt obligated to write something. If someone has something extraordinary to say, that's fine otherwise *please*, *please* don't make it a default or too obvious and easy. I like the current system where it requires some intention to send someone a message about a node. Awesome.

    ⠤⠤ ⠙⠊⠕⠞⠁⠇⠑⠧⠊

Re: Quick feedback option for downvotes
by jettero (Monsignor) on Mar 14, 2007 at 21:26 UTC

    I think it would be useful to be able to have short spot to give private feedback for why a node was down voted.

    It seems to exist and is labled, "Send private /msg to Rhandom." The problem is that nobody uses it. Some fear reciprocity (I suspect) and others are too lazy. Most likely the downvotes come from being incorrect or negative (as in attitude). Grammatical errors can cause it, as well as random down-voters or people who just plain don't like you — hopefully those are rare.

    My point is that some people are not trying to be constructive with their votes.


      I use the /msg feature occasionally--probably as often as I downvote (which is rarely).

        I think most people would be very irritated by /msg responses to every downvote actually. Whenever I get downvoted, it's usually pretty clear why it's happening. I can either live with -5 rep (probably the worst of it unless it was a monkdiscuss) or fix it, but the feedback usually isn't necessary.

        I'm with you though. I just don't use downvotes very often. You have to really earn a downvote for me to give it. I think most people are that way because they've felt the sting of the downvote before.


      Thank you for your reply.

      Yes, I mention the private message in the chat and also mentioned that though it exists - nobody uses it in this case, or at least infrequently.

      Grammatical errors can cause it, as well as random down-voters or people who just plain don't like you — hopefully those are rare. My point is that some people are not trying to be constructive with their votes.

      I agree. My hope is that those who are trying to be constructive will have a simple (and thus hopefully easy and readily used) way to provide feedback. If it is easy enough to use, then generally those who care about the quality of community would use it. If it succeeds and becomes that way, then it will be a little easier to see if I was downvoted for being stupid - or because somebody else is having a bad day - or because I managed to offend somebody.

      Update: I guess in the same vein it would be useful to have a similar system for ++ votes. Often it is hard to tell if I was up voted for saying something worth while or because somebody was having a good day, or because I replied to a popular node. Those that cared to respond with why they ++ voted would have more merit with me than those that just up vote. I think it provides better feedback to new and old monks alike. But again -- it has to be very simple for it too work.

      my @a=qw(random brilliant braindead); print $a[rand(@a)];
Re: Quick feedback option for downvotes
by Eimi Metamorphoumai (Deacon) on Mar 15, 2007 at 15:17 UTC
    I really don't think there's enough support for the idea to be implemented and turned on for everyone. But I bet it wouldn't be too difficult to write it as a Free Nodelet hack, adding a text box next to each voting button, and /msging the text (if any) to the user in question. Then you can see how many people actually want to use such a thing, and they can use it easily.

      The problem with that idea is that, as noted in the highest-rated reply of this thread (and as I've noted in old threads), you need to allow the recipients to opt in or out as well.

      In response to this whole idea of attaching text to votes, I mostly think this comes from faulty logic, only looking at the situation from a specific angle. One starts with "I got downvoted and don't know why" and tries to come up with ways to get explanation for the downvotes. But it is important to stop looking at it from the vote recipient's perspective and look at it from the vote caster's perspective, especially since the one casting the votes is the one whose behavior would have to change.

      From the vote caster's perspective, they already have three fairly convenient ways to give written feedback (click the "reply" link, click the "/msg author" link, or mention it in the Chatter Box). So, if they have words to express their disapproval or approval of the node, they can already do that. If I'm going to write feedback, then I'm not going to also downvote because there is a good chance of a positive, useful response to "You could improve your node if ..." and much less chance of a good reaction to "I punished you because ...".

      So there are very good reasons to not attach a downvote to a comment. Sure, it is easy to think "if only there were a comment attached to that downvote". But when you look from the other (more practical) angle, the angle of the person with the information to give, tieing those items together isn't a good idea.

      I've already noted that adding a text field to each node to make it even easier to provide written feed-back might be an acceptable enhancement provided that both senders and receivers be able to either opt in or opt out. It might even get a small percentage of downvotes converted into text feedback. There are a lot more obstacles to going from downvote to text than just convenience. For one thing, most downvotes are cast by relatively few people who just cast a lot of downvotes. I doubt they'll suddenly start sending lots of private messages. So the lion's share of downvotes aren't going to get explained that way. I downvote when I've decided that I don't know how or don't want to give effective written feedback (often because I think the reason is not hard to figure out).

      Now, this particular (root node) proposal went beyond what I've discussed above. The ability to cast more specific types of votes ("off topic", "misses the point", "vague", "rude", "inaccurate", "insightful", "funny", "useful") has more merit. I particularly like the positive categories, but that wouldn't address the motivation that causes this same basic idea to get proposed over and over. So what about the negative categories? I think it would be helpful in some cases but I also see it causing more problems. The simple increasing of the emphasis on and visibility of negative votes will likely cause more aggrevation and complaining. Although getting a note of "rude" contains more information than a note of "--", I don't envision that extra information being particularly comforting for me as a recipient. I mostly see it being more likely to cause me to try to react to it, updating my node or replying trying to explain why I wasn't being rude or denying that I was rude. That is how hurt feelings get more hurt and how flame wars start.

      So I think it is important to only convert downvotes into more information when the source of the information has the eloquence to convey that information in a manner that likely will be well accepted. In some cases, I feel I have that eloquence and in some cases I don't.

      Having pre-defined "downvote reasons" reminds me of the times when someone has endeavoured to solve some common posting mistake by composing a boiler plate response that they would post each time they saw the mistake. I and many others found those responses quite obnoxious. However, when someone finds the eloquence to point out the frenquently-made mistake while also providing less-rude accompanying text (which can't be boiler plate) and providing some help specific to other aspects of the question, then such is usually appreciated by many (note that I find the too-frequent short notes that mostly consist of links to nodes with titles like "how to not be such an idiot when asking a question" obnoxious).

      So I think it is good when someone explains why a node might attract downvotes. But that needs to be done politely and with some eloquence. And it is obnoxious if you get 10 such notices so it can be good if such is done in public. But doing it in public means that there should be an equal way to respond. Which is why such should be done by replying or via the Chatter Box.

      So, on the whole, I don't like the original (root node) proposal. So I clearly don't find it desirable enough to be worth the extensive changes it requires.

      I also think more people should learn to tolerate a little mystery in their lives and be encouraged to try to figure things out for themselves. When I notice a node of mine is downvoted, it isn't a pleasant experience but I find thinking about all of the different ways that my node might be badly perceived helps me. And practicing not becoming obsessed about a few downvotes is also good. In life, I sometimes notice that people are upset with me. On the practical side, trying to get the details out of them often ends up badly. On the theory side, if I were psychic I suspect I'd also be less happy in many situations.

      As noted in the site documentation, one downvote on a node almost always has more to do with the person casting the vote than with the node. In my experience, several downvotes on a node is usually pretty easy to figure out.

      - tye        

Re: Quick feedback option for downvotes
by jdporter (Chancellor) on Mar 14, 2007 at 21:36 UTC
      Thank you. I did try searching but managed to only use "--" for the search term which didn't return as much relevant material as I would have hoped.

      So - all of those nodes look to accomplish nearly the same thing. That is great. As always I have been superceded by greater minds.

      So then, what has been done, or what consensus has been taken? The most similar node was written in August of 2006. Nothing has happened. Did the idea die because it was a bad idea, or because monks were apathetic to the issue, or because nobody added code or had time to? The system I have proposed would make it unobtrusive to those who don't care, and easy to use for those that do. I'd be very willing to contribute working code, schema, javascript etc. But I won't put the time out if isn't going to be accepted.

      Perhaps we need a section of "topics that we have discussed and shouldn't discuss any more" - that would contain topics such as OS choice, templating engine choice, text editor, and now "additional vote comment options."

      my @a=qw(random brilliant braindead); print $a[rand(@a)];

        I realize those threads, and others they link to in turn, are rather lengthy, so I don't expect you to have read them all exhaustively; but I get the impression you only read the root nodes. If you read the threads, you find that the consensus is opposed to your (and your predecessors') proposition. In particular, it gets virtually no support from the site policy makers and the site programmers, so it should come as no surprise that nothing has been done about it. Update: see tye's response below.

        Perhaps we need a section of "topics...

        That's also not likely to happen. See the FAQ: I think there should be a new Section on PerlMonks for Jobs/Modules/Quizzes/Perl6/Newbies/OffTopic/etc.

        > > > > What we really need is a workable keyword tagging system. We have keywords, but for some reason, the gods consider it to be a security hazard, or something, so it hasn't been enabled for non-special users.

        A word spoken in Mind will reach its own level, in the objective world, by its own weight

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