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Think about Loose Coupling

Challenging votes

by tilly (Archbishop)
on Jun 22, 2001 at 23:51 UTC ( [id://90844] : monkdiscuss . print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

This is based on an idea I had in chatter earlier.

I think the following might be useful. Once per day (week, some period), let people (perhaps only people of sufficient level) select one node of their own to challenge votes on. When the node is challenged all people who voted on it (either way) in the last week are notified. They have a week to send a /msg explaining their vote. After a week all votes that were not explained get removed from that node. Any person who meets some criteria for having too many votes rescinded (eg 5 in a row) loses their voting privileges.

This is an attempt at a compromise. It largely maintains the privacy of the current system, while providing a mechanism for people to get feedback about why they are getting voted on as they are. However the volume of feedback will be small, and people can always choose to maintain privacy about how they voted. But you cannot choose to vote both unaccountably and controversially.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
(Ovid) Re: Challenging votes
by Ovid (Cardinal) on Jun 23, 2001 at 01:13 UTC

    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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      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.

Re: Challenging votes
by tinman (Curate) on Jun 23, 2001 at 00:13 UTC

    As I said in a /msg to you, tilly, I don't like this idea a lot..

    First, the adminstrative hassle for me... I plan on moving back to a place with no broadband very soon *sob*.. the cost of connecting to the Net being what it is there, I expect my visits to the site to drop drastically as a result.. When I visit after some time, I see the potential to be bombarded with a lot of requests for "why did you vote this way"..

    Even assuming I could find the time to answer all of them, I could simply abuse the system and say "I liked your post so I ++ ed it" (even if I -- ed it in reality).. I could actually write a reply-bot to do this for myself, were I so inclined.. :o), if you do something as silly and pointless as running a vote bot, writing a spam like stock reply-bot can't be that much harder, surely ?

    I welcome the idea of accountability, and I can see the point of doing what you suggest.. but please don't make it harder than it already is to actually enjoy this site for what really is, a place to learn about and share experiences on Perl and related topics...(just try visiting Newest Nodes after taking a few days off, and you'll know what I mean)

    Update: When I really like or appreciate a node, I usually /msg the author and tell them that I like it anyway.. ++ isn't really granular enough, in that sense.. There are a few nodes that I would gladly expend more votes than 1, were I given the chance. But I stress that I do this through choice, not because I *have* to.. my usual policy with -- is to avoid, unless its a really abusive or trollish post, again, criteria which are pretty subjective..Sometimes I think not even PSI::ESP can explain why I voted on a node.. What will I do in that case ? :o)

    An idea (update 2): How about another section, like "Explain the votes" or something.. I have no doubt this will be a massive development job, but in the interest of trying to find a solution : here goes.. I like American football, and one of the things I've noticed is the TV replay and appeal system.. essentially, a team can give up a timeout and pursue a possibly faulty decision.. In a similar vein, why not allow a perlmonk user to submit his/her node for explanation of why a particular vote was made. In order to stop abuse, the user should necessarily give up a certain number of votes to be able to submit a node in this way (and other limits should also apply)... Perhaps some limited information from the votelog could also be made available on submission (such as the total number of votes on the node or something). In other words, a challenge becomes a service (for the posters peace of mind, primarily), and there is a barrier to entry, in that you give up a few of your daily quota of votes to get this service... More details if/when I think it through, comments welcome :o)
    detail: Submitting a node for an explanation should cost a percentage of your daily quota (I propose 40% of your daily vote quota). This means that saint or novice, you can only do 2 appeals a day. Votes given up in this manner should obviously not be eligible to gain XP (25% chance of +1 XP each time a vote is expended, normally, but not here).

(marcink) Re: Challenging votes
by marcink (Monk) on Jun 23, 2001 at 01:09 UTC


    I understand that there are people who use their votes the wrong way (no offense, WrongWay ;-)), but all you can achieve by creating elaborate vote control systems is making all the monks' lifes more difficult.

    I try to vote honestly. To me it's quite simple, actually: if after reading a node I feel I learned something interesting, that node is ++d; if the node is abusive, it gets -- (I --d 3 or 4 posts within last three weeks). Everything in between is ignored. So you see, I don't think I'm a Bad Guy (tm). But I definitely don't like the idea of being forced to explain to everyone what was on my mind when I --d or ++d their node. It might have been a mistake. Bad weather. A hangover. Whatever. Those things happen; live with it.

    As for the /msg system, how about the details: who decides whether a vote explanation is good enough? Saints? vroom? Or will we vote on explanations (ooh - meta-voting system... /. anyone?). What about people with explanat-O-matics - I'd probably write something that would send the previous paragraph for me every time someone challenged my votes. Either that, or I would simply stop voting. Seriously, if voting on a node meant additional hassle I wouldn't bother - it's not something I'd die without. I guess my opinions|votes are something you all can live without as well, so there will be no harm done. But since votes are just another way of passing information to other monks, PM would lose part of its usefullness.

    So, we have a voting system. There are some people who abuse it, but that's how it is - there are *cough*assholes*cough* everywhere. There are some sites where they are the majority; so far PM seems to have fairly good signal-to-noise ratio, both in votes and posts. There are some (my or other monks') votes that have, in my opinion, inappropriate reputation. Too bad. I might curse and swear at that, but I don't feel like repeatedly hitting voters' heads with a hammer until they explain why they did what they did. Some of them might grow up given enough time, be patient ;-)

Re: Challenging votes
by petdance (Parson) on Jun 23, 2001 at 01:58 UTC
    What is the problem that this is supposed to solve?

    I'm guessing that there's a scenario that goes something like: "UserX is mad at Petdance. UserX votes against a Petdance node, even though it's an excellent node. UserX needs to be penalized for voting against it, because he did it out of spite, rather than for a reason." Is this the problem we're addressing?

    Personally, I don't see it as much of a problem. I certainly don't want my time at Perlmonks to be buried in administrivia, and the worst thing that's happened is that my XP has gone down some. I'm not very concerned about an angry UserX voting against me, since the rest of my nodes are of such a high quality. It's a small downward blip. I've had plenty of nodes voted against inexplicably, but I don't cry over it.

    Now, if the goal is to provide feedback to the writer of the nodes, THAT'S a heck of an idea. I envision something like this:

    Node score: 9 = 12++, 3--
    ++ Nicely done, this is a big help
    ++ Useful
    -- Code is broken
    Note that not everyone (indeed, very few) gave reasons for their votes, which is what I expect would happen.

    I was dreaming when I wrote this, so sue me if I go too fast.

      But you cannot choose to vote both unaccountably and controversially.
      er. um. ew. I am not sure i can explain how icky i find this; and the list of reasons is long. Now i can't downvote even a troll unless i am prepared to type in an explanation of why i think it's a troll. and what counts as valid? can i send a blank message as my explanation? or do i have to say "this node is bad"? maybe you want a 4-paragraph essay on the grammatical, algorithmic, and emotional problems i detected in the writing? i think most of the time the explanations would be too long to write or too short to help. i think agonizing over whether or not i'll be challenged will keep me from downvoting nodes worthy of being downvoted; and what's worse, i think fear of having to explain why i liked an unpopular node will keep me from voting up nodes that deserve it. i think a lot of people have raised a lot of good points, and i'm not sure you've answered all of them, though i'll have to re-read this whole conversation to assimilate it all.

      i replied to petdance's post because i like this idea; it's what they used to do at Red Meat Construction, and similar to what they still do; basically, comments are optional and can be anonymous but are often signed. we could even make the signing unfakable (or rather, such that it always signs the username if there is a sig) via a checkbox rather than in the text. i think this would do everything that the accountability would do, and actually not make life unlivable.

      the other compromise i thought of was that the challenge be added to the "consider" options in nodes to consider. that way, if the higher level monks feel a node's rep is not representative of its value, they can make that call. (and i do mean higher level; this is probably something only a saint can ask for, but not limited to his own nodes.)

      over all, however, i think my attitude is that votes should remain anonymous, and people should just take it easy. after all, XP just gets you more votes, and votes just generate XP. all in all the sum total is nothing; voting is just for fun. if you don't like the system, don't use it. there's nothing that says you can't post just because you don't vote.


      slight tangent: sometimes i think there should be a section for "suggestions" where rep votes cannot count against your XP, where the voting "context" is agree or disagree, especially for nodes like this. my instinct is to vote against this node (though i won't, i'll vote for it) because i don't want the thing it proposes to be made reality, and i feel like there should be a numeric way to express this. this would be different from other areas of perlmonks because you would be voting up or down the *idea* not the *node*: suggestions with high positive response would be more likely to be implemented than those without. but i think it's clear that suggesting something people don't want should not cause you to lose XP. i also think tha tthere, you should be able to change your vote if argument sways your opinion.

      You ask what problem would be solved, and then give an instance that I think it would be least effective for. Well here are a list of problems that I think this would be good for.
      1. Make it harder for someone to distort the system with vote-bots. And if someone wrote a better bot, make it possible for someone other than vroom to get an idea who some of the bots probably are.
      2. Fairly frequently we have people who say, "What didn't people like about that node?" They want feedback, but the current system keeps them from getting it. The best anyone can say is that people vote for all sorts of reasons. Well this would provide a way to get that feedback.
      3. Some people use the anonymity of their votes to snipe at others and vote indiscriminantly. We often call this "personality voting". Often the personality votes come very fast. This would reduce that abuse.
      4. Periodically monks have become frustrated at being completely powerless when faced with voting abuses. This would give them a fairly low-impact tool (compared with merlyn's "Other Users" snapshot anything is low-impact) for doing something. Not a very effective or powerful tool. But something is better than nothing.
      Now one point I should make. I structured the proposal explicitly with the idea that the vast majority of your votes remain anonymous, and of the fraction that do not remain anonymous, you get considerable choice. I think that the privacy issues are preserved. What has changed is that there is some accountability for the "faceless hordes". Is that worth potential for conflict that comes with accountability? I think so, but then again I was on the wrong side of the current system right at the start, and in every case where it has been argued, I have been on the side of making things more accountable...

        2. Fairly frequently we have people who say, "What didn't people like about that node?" They want feedback, but the current system keeps them from getting it.
        with all due respect, tilly, i think this is just not true. the current system doesn't facilitate it, but it in no way prevents it. most nodes can be edited easily; others you might have to put in an edit request or post a reply; but you can certainly ask, "I am very interested in why people downvoted this; i honestly thought it was a good node and would appreciate feedback. chatterbox /msg or AM replies welcome."

        granted that if it is a separate node, that request is likely to get downvoted by at least all the people who downvoted the original; sometimes you just have to live with it.


        (i got an explanation of a downvote once; i was happy to get it. i looked at the node again and decided that they were wrong, but at least i knew why they did it. but i suspect i'd not be any happier if i got the "i didn't like what you said in the chatterbox earlier" "i think you're rather an arrogant jerk for a newbie" and "just shut up" explanations that would go with the majority of the downvotes i've received.)

      I like the idea of categorizing votes. Especially since people will pat you on the back by just ++'ing the node rather than replying with more detailed comments, so you don't really know and don't get as much satisfaction as you would with a more personal feedback.

      However, then people would need to explain why they didn't vote, too! E.g. “I found the idea interesting, but found the prose too annoying and unformatted, so it came out neutral.”

Re: Challenging votes
by footpad (Abbot) on Jun 23, 2001 at 02:49 UTC

    I assume someone got personality voted again?

    Your idea is interesting and might work, but I'm not sure yet. Let's look at a few different things:

    • How will this affect XP's granted by voting?

      I've heard there's a votelog somewhere. Is there also a log of XP's granted by voting? Would the voter lose any XP's granted for unconfirmed or inappropriate votes? Would the votee regain XP's lost by unconfirmed downvotes or lose XP's for unconfirmed upvotes?

      If not, then you really haven't done much to mute the personality voters. You've simply limited their annoyance factor by increasing the burden of work of everyone who votes.

      However, if these XP's are balanced out/in, I wonder if that doesn't make the XP system really unpredictable. You might be a Saint one day and an initiate the next. Okay, that's a bit extreme, but I think you get the idea.

    • It seems like this would create a huge burden of work for someone, whether vroom or whoever. Aren't there better ways to invest our development resources? There have been a lot of good suggestions made over the past several months. Thankfully, some have been implemented. Unfortunately, others haven't. I'm not sure what the ToDo list looks like, but I imagine it's pretty huge.

    • Like power deregulation in California, it might back-fire severely. Ovid mentioned that he's not sure he really wants to be able to challenge votes because he's not sure he really wants to know. Another editor recently expressed similar misgivings privately to the team.

      We may find that we really don't want to learn who voted us down and why. Granted, there are times when it can help, such as when you and I discussed a node of mine that you downvoted, but I wonder if there would be other times where it might increase friction between certain monks. (And, as you know, friction generates heat.)

    • I don't think it'll really stop the votebot/personality voter problem. After all, it seems like it would be pretty easy to register a new handle and work it to earn votes. You might chase those folks away for a time, but they'll only resurface under a different handle or find another way to abuse the system.

      In other words, I don't think it'll catch the rat(s) I think you're trying to chase down, the one's defacing doors (as merlyn once put it).

    I agree that there is a problem with one or more people, but I'm not convinced that this is the best way to solve it. Perhaps a better idea would be to simply limit the number of downvotes available in a given time frame to 1/10th (or 1/20th) the total number of votes granted during that time period. I'm not completely satisfied by that, but it does prevent those that voted from having to explain their votes. Also, it seems like it:

    1. Is a simpler implementation
    2. Limits the effects a troll can have
    3. Still allows you to properly downvote nodes that truly deserve it
    4. Doesn't add any burden to the people who are participating nicely.
    5. Preserves voter anonymity.

    Again, I'm not convinced that's a better solution. However, if we must have a compromise, perhaps this one will be more palatable.


      I read original idea of tilly at work, was tempted to respond (agree), then read disagreement of others and I realised I tend to agree with them, too. So I "left issue in back burner", and now, close to midnight, after reading more responses, here is my 0.02.

      First, as petdance said, let's agree on what problem we want to solve, and what we want ot avoid.

      I guess tilly and Masem want voting be more responsible, because he feels some monks sometimes abuse the system. Goal is to clean the monastery a little, make place to be more revarding. If so, it's worth trying.

      I understand that if initiate monk will get -- for no reason (by votebot?), s/he can get frustrated, forget about monastery and we just lost one soul looking for enlightment.

      I also agree with footpad that this is probably not the most important feature, and maybe it is not worth too much development effort.

      Still, from many posts in a month I am here in monastery I got feeling that sometimes many of you would like to know what happened with voting process, and why, so slight need to educate (to teach a lesson?... :o) ) our voting comunity is apparent here.

      So, IMHO, question is: how to accomodate "cleanup" need without too much code development and too much disturbance for monks who do not want to participate?

      I think what might work is: after (monk on high enough experience level) voted, together with reputation s/he shold see also ++ and -- votes(like: 17 = 22-5). If this is not stored already, s/b not too complicated to add.

      If I see -- votes where in my opinion they should not be, I can spend one more vote on chalenging the node. (another vote, or special votes like 10% of my total votes). Or directly while chalenging, you may decide to chalenge only ++ or -- votes.

      If enough monks will decide voting on suspicious node should be chalenged, it's probably worth doing. We can set high treshold so it will not happen too often. Or only 3 (or so) most often chalenged nodes each day will be precessed further.

      Now, How to get explanation of votes without too much development?

      Maybe someone can just run report manually (ID of monks who downvoted the chalenged node) and send report via email to one (or all) of the monks who decided to chalenge node. Then they can meet via email and decide I guess /msg or email "unbehaving' monks that there are issues with the vote. I think this might be enough, just to let them know that voting is anonymous, but misbehaving is not.

      I whink we can play idea that XP points, our reputation, is important for participants, and they will not be pleased to respond too often "I made honest mistake" "I clicked wrong button" etc. Even if they behave like children, they will prefer other will think about them as mature persons.

      And after we found out and resolve couple ot these isues, we will know the pattern and we will have better feeling what we need and how to automate it. And in this first phase, without automation, only truly dedicated will do it. After a week or two doing it manually (resolving 20-30 nodes) we will know if it makes sense and how to do it - how to automate it, if feasible.

      Maybe "misbehaving" monk can get "black points", which will be in his/her account for some time until expire.

      So if we can figure out how to make our stay here Monastery better, safer and more pleasant experience without too much need of development from vroom, let's do it.

      And if Ovid will need to overcame some temptation in the process, so be it - he can be tempted, he is saint, isn't he? :o)

      I agree with your arguments, even if you do not agree with each other. And I am glad I can participate in such a comunity where is more than single correct opinion and more than one single answer. Now, go ahead and downvote me, if you feel so, I know I am not consistent. This is not black-or-white, here we do not have single correct syntax: we are dealing with life, with humans, not with computers.

      And, by the way TIMTOWTDI...

      And soon, we will have no nodes to chalenge - and everybody is happy... :o)

      Update: I probably will not chalenge votes myself - I do hope on my level it will not be allowed. However, maybe strugling with temptations might improve my karma... :o)


      To make errors is human. But to make million errors per second, you need a computer.

Re: Challenging votes
by Albannach (Monsignor) on Jun 23, 2001 at 00:14 UTC
    While I quite like the idea of getting /msgs to explain votes, what is to stop people from simply responding "because you suck" or something similar, thereby avoiding both the vote removal and loss of privileges? If some higher authority will have to arbitrate the process to stop such abuse, then it will be unweildy and doomed to fail.

    I'd be quite delighted to see a working system, but I'm sorry to say that this probably isn't it.

    I've been thinking about the voting system lately, as I suspect have many other monks, and I'm somewhat surprised that even with the quite formidable collection of brains present, no significant progress has really been made towards solving the problems of the voting system. I'm not certain what this observation reveals (though I have some theories) but there it is. Though it has been suggested before, it bears repeating: we should all try to worry a lot less about how voting works and get on with simply reading and writing nodes to the best of our abilities. We're all at least pretending to be mature here (I almost said "we're all adults", but I'm glad to say that isn't true at all, especially since there is little correlation between age and maturity) and if we could put co-operation and our obvious joy of learning ahead of petty squabbles, I suspect that there would be no voting problem at all.

    I'd like to be able to assign to an luser

Re: Challenging votes
by voyager (Friar) on Jun 23, 2001 at 01:55 UTC
    Having to explain your vote means giving up anonymity. So either we vote anonymously or not.

    In the spirit of some earlier posts along similar lines, I tried explaining down votes twice. Both times I got hammered, so I no longer explain down-votes.

    In the end, isn't XP a game we are all playing? I learned playing pick-up basketball games that the guys who argued calls the most had the least amount of satisfaction in the rest of their lives off the court so they had to succeed on the court. Draw your own analogies.

(ichimunki) Re: Challenging votes
by ichimunki (Priest) on Jun 23, 2001 at 02:17 UTC
    I am opposed to this. I feel that in a system where it is very easy to rack up positive votes and even easier to gain XP, that downvotes get way too much attention as it is-- this only draws more attention to them.

    I know I've been paying a lot less attention at PM the last few months, but I haven't seen any serious problem that this solves. And I don't know that you can solve the problem of some people just can't act civilized. I agree that some downvoting is for the wrong reasons, but I don't think I believe that this is the majority of downvotes. I mean, if we have such a serious problem with it, why not just remove downvoting and leave inaccurate or foul nodes to be considered?

    If any changes are to be made to the voting system, I'd like to see different instances of the positive and negative vote classes, with perhaps more XP awarded to nodes voted "++, technical wizardry" than "++, funny".
Re: Challenging votes
by fpina (Pilgrim) on Jun 23, 2001 at 18:20 UTC

    Everybody seems to worry about downvotes, as if the only purpose of the voting system is to just get more votes. I think that its purpose should be to give an idea of the overall usefulness of a node, not just to convert the system in a competition to get more votes. Maybe some people consistently downvotes some writers, or use votebots; other will consistently upvote those same writers and the use votebots may be either way. Thus, I don't think the effect of those "anomalies" is going to essentially affect the results of the votation on truly good and truly bad nodes.

    On the other way, the reasons to up- or down-vote a node may be fuzzy; you may feel that something is wrong (in the contents or in the form) or that the node is wonderful, but you may be not able to actually express way. Also, you may not exactelly remember the exact reasons for a vote without careful reading of the whole thread, which could consume a lot of time, which I (at least) am not wishing to use; perlmonks reading already needs more time that what I have.

    Last, I've got the feeling that some people are thinking that they will have the opportunity to challenge the downvotes received, thus upping its reputation. This seems unfair. If challenging is to be implemented, both up and down votes should be challenged, randomly if possible, potentially reducing the reputation. Moreover, it should have such a cost as to make it an option to be taken only in extreme cases. As I think this would be used by people wishing to increase the reputation of a node, such a price could be a number of XP, plus a downvote for each unanswered reply (or something like that). I would be much more in favour of a system giving feedback on the good and bad points of a node (in the line of having several ++ and -- boxes). Moreover, I feel that the anonimity of voting is a good part of the system; removing it would possibly cause some people to stop voting, just to avoid the hassle, but the more votes are overly cast, the more accurate are the results.

Re: Challenging votes
by arhuman (Vicar) on Jun 23, 2001 at 16:49 UTC
    I++ tilly's nodes as I agree that things have to be enhanced and I recognize his efforts to solve problems.

    However, I don't think his proposal is the solution.

    To my mind we're trying to solve different problems :
    • Personnality voting (systematic downvote (it's strange that FEW people consider sytematic upvotes ;-))
    • VoteBots( automating voting proggies) which vote to achieve several goals (dump votes, personnality voting...)
    • The low feedback we have with the actual voting system.
      You don't know why you get down/upvoted ? (Idea, Implementation, Usefulness of post...)

    I think tilly's idea fail to adress them completly whilemaking the system sigificantly less pleasant to use :
    • It won't prevent personnality voting, beccause the downvoter could altern answers like "sorry! I miss select the button" "I don't agree(general fake answer)" "I subcribe to X's point of view, and you miss something when you say...(detailed fake answer)" or just silence (from times to times just to avoid loosing voting rights)
      By the way what would you do If someone answer "I don't like you!" will you tell to wroom ? will you retaliate ? who will decide to remove his voting right ?
    • It won't prevent VoteBots, as they could be enhanced to produce general answers to challenges...
    • It doesn't give us enough info, as we'll get feedback only on few nodes and as it was said before, we have no guarantee that the feedback will be usefull ("it's my choice", "beccause you deserve it" kind of answers won't help...)

    As it seems obvious to me that we CAN'T solve perfectly all those problems with one solution.
    But we may try to correct some of them with specific answer.

    I won't address the personality voting system,
    I have some ideas to correct it, but I don't think it worths all the mess.
    Ichimunki is right, we pay WAY too much attention to downvotes, even the probably first personnality voters target can't say that downvotes are significant enough to stop his XP gain.
    It's a marginal problem, the few downvoters are simply drowned in the mass of all the people using the voting system properly.

    You may wonder why I would adress the VoteBots problem then ?
    First probably beccause I'd like to solve it in the technical ground and so it becomes an interesting challenge to me...
    Let me explain : I've been thinking about ways to discriminate automated agent (mostly LWP script) from usual browsers. My goal was mainly to protect against email grabbers but also to come up with an antibot system.
    I think that such protection could protect voting systems (and our in particular) from VoteBot, I already have some ideas and even results...<vr>

    Now to enhance the feedback signal the old idea of different voting buttons comes into mind ("++good Idea", "++informative", "++smart", "--inneficient" "--wrong"..) with maybe a text field to submit additional comment.
    (As suggested by Petdance and other monks in the CB (epoptai ? Chipmunk ?))
    I'm well aware that it doesn't ENFORCE anything, someone could just downvote me and check "--wrong", but It may offer a simple way to know why I was up/down voted.
    I still recall how frustated it was to get a lot votes on a node and almost no comment ! (was the idea good ? was it clear ? was it usefull ? what part should/could be enhanced? ...)

    "Only Bad Coders Code Badly In Perl" (OBC2BIP)
Re: Challenging votes
by lemming (Priest) on Jun 23, 2001 at 04:30 UTC

    It's an interesting solution, but I have to agree with those that say this would open up more problems.

    I whined a couple weeks ago when I noticed some (8?) of my first nodes all dropped a rep. That happened two days in a row and then in CB someone noted that a bunch of their old nodes gained a rep. This either happened right after or before votes came in. I was on line at the time so that's how I noticed and I setup xrepwalker to just see if I could get a better pattern. Would of needed to do a user watch as well, but by then it was past worrying.

    I don't think it was personality voting, but a bot that was just dumping votes to get the %25 bonuses. Of course that could then be used for arming a better bot.

    I think we could setup something that would catch simple or single-minded bots. Of course, that might also catch the person who just did a personality shoot as well.

Re: Challenging votes
by Masem (Monsignor) on Jun 23, 2001 at 00:03 UTC
    I would definitely leave it at a week; with anestimated active 5000 monks around, it can easily become a pain to respond to daily requests. I would also limit the max reputation that you can challenge; anything less than 20, for example (and even that might be too high); I can see an abusive monk that has posted well using it to annoy 50+ monks at a time. I would also limit the date of which nodes can be challenged; nodes older than 2 weeks for example should not be allowed, only because the context will be lost.

    But I do agree this is a good idea; it does remove the ease of those votebots to abuse the system.

    Dr. Michael K. Neylon - || "You've left the lens cap of your mind on again, Pinky" - The Brain
      Actually I think that allowing it on older nodes is very relevant. It appears that vote-bots are being used on older nodes, and people should be able to use this system to help identify them. But the challenge should only be to *votes* made in the last week for exactly the reason stated.

      Also note that you would only respond on the basis of votes made and challenged. I suspect that a very small portion of nodes would ever get challenged, so any individual voter only would be challenged on a small number of votes. Also note that unexplained ++ votes would be lost as well, so a node in the positive would lose rep for a challenge. That should discourage people challenging nodes casually.

      As for abusive people, well their nodes tend to get reaped, and once reaped you no longer own it and so would be unable to challenge.

      BTW a good point made in private to me is that it is important that when people respond to the challenge to have the recipient told whether that was a ++ or a --. Otherwise half vote ++, half vote --, but everyone says, "I liked it and voted ++."

Re: Challenging votes
by yakko (Friar) on Jun 23, 2001 at 04:17 UTC
    I haven't had the energy to actually vote lately, much less read the site... but I feel that if there's any way to lock my lethargy down, this would do it.

    Most always, the replies to a certain node do a sufficient job of explaining its reputation, especially if the topic is "hot." In addition, wouldn't implementation of this idea involve tracking who votes which way on what nodes? I would definitely shudder at the prospect of that, and probably hang my voting hat up for good.

    Sure, I can voice my opinion against this idea, but unfortunately, I don't have my own idea on how to go about fixing the "feedback/personality voter/votebot/etc" issues...

    Me spell chucker work grate. Knead grandma chicken.

Re: Challenging votes
by scottstef (Curate) on Jun 23, 2001 at 17:58 UTC
    I see a whole lot of problems with this idea, fueds starting (fine! so and so wants to vote me down, I will vote them down), feelings hurt(some newer monk having a saint they respect "constructively critique" code they sweated over for 4 days). Perhaps rather than doing a challenge, why not have a comment as part of voting? Perhaps when you click a ++ or -- there was a second page after you clicked on vote for reasons- have a few drop downs for ++ ie.
  • very creative
  • unique design
  • great approach
    And we could have the -- comments
  • You would make St. Larry cry {grin}
  • Do you understand the concept of designing code?
  • very creative- but perl doesn't do that
    And perhaps at the bottom we could have a simple text area for comments that do not fit there.

    Perhaps there would be some way to keep a ANONOMOUS record of these comments. When a person looked at their nodes, there would be a little table that said x++ votes cited..., y-- votes gave this reason etc. Perhaps anonymous "reasons" could help some people without them having a fear of retribution. I think this will not alleviate all of the problems that there is with anonymous voting, it may help.

    "The social dynamics of the net are a direct consequence of the fact that nobody has yet developed a Remote Strangulation Protocol." -- Larry Wall