In a recent thread, esper mentioned that one could gain sainthood by doing nothing but logging in and vote on other nodes.

I'd say that it's a lot worse than that. In theory, one could gain sainthood just by logging in and downvoting anything one sees. I think this is very bad. I've mentioned this before, but this time I'll mention it in a meditation of it's own, hoping for a broader audience.

I really think one should not receive any XP when downvoting.

Downvoting has it's reason in selected cases, but I think the voter should pay a price when downvoting. And that price should be the knowledge that you cannot gain any XP when downvoting. tye once proposed that one should risk loosing XP by downvoting. I think that's taking it too far (at least for the moment) but gaining XP from downvoting just seems terribly wrong.

This would mean that to gain XP from voting, you must vote ++. Which would somewhat indicate an agreement with the author of the node. And would make it impossible to become a Saint only by downvoting.

I believe that someone frequently downvoting is probably doing personality voting, whereas someone that is only exceptionally downvoting is convinced the node should be downvoted on it's own contents and is ready to pay a small price for it.

XP should be earned by writing good nodes and by reading and voting on good nodes.

Everything went worng, just as foreseen.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Downvoting -- No XP
by cjf (Parson) on May 24, 2002 at 10:21 UTC
    one could gain sainthood just by logging in and downvoting anything one sees.


    Someone wastes x amount of their time, doesn't learn anything, and the only effect it has is that nodes that they immediately see (which may be on the frontpage and if that's the case are more than likely highly overvalued anyways) will have their rep reduced by one. Doesn't seem like a big problem to me.

    I really think one should not receive any XP when downvoting.

    I disagree. Then virtually nobody would downvote, which would create problems of its own. If you're going to remove XP bonuses for downvoting, it should be done for upvoting as well, but that's another debate (and not a very important one IMHO).

    Update: To quote Mark Twain:

    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.

    While I'm still pretty sure removing the xp bonus for downvoting wouldn't improve the moderation system at all, are there other additions (or removals of current features) that would?

      I totally agree with you.

      So, someone makes saint without actually contributing to the site and the community. I'd say that's his problem, not ours. Because if you persist in just logging in and downvoting for as long as it takes (gaining XP by voting takes a lot longer than by getting others to upvote you, by the way), you seriously have a problem.

      Downvoting has an important function in this community. I personally downvote a lot of nodes (especially when I'm in a bad mood but that's another story) and I'd hate to see that control mechanism go.


      As a newbie, I will try not to say anything stupid here...

      I think cjf hits it on the nose here:
      Someone wastes x amount of their time, doesn't learn anything...
      Wouldn't it take a heck of a long time to become a Saint just by voting? I would think that anyone negative enough to want to become a Saint by downvoting would lose interest and go away long before racking up such a huge number of XP. That'd be an awful lot of time to waste for no concrete benefit.

      I'm not saying there are no benefits to Sainthood; what I'm saying is that the benefits I perceive, as a newbie observing Monastery dynamics, have to do with your experience and advice being especially desired and attended to and respected. If someone's just interested in voting, and not posting nodes, those benefits would presumably not mean anything to them, so there'd be no advantage for them.

      This is just a long-winded way of agreeing, and offering my novice's perspective on Sainthood.


      Sigh...I should've known to be careful about posting in a node about downvoting! Oh well. Note to self: Think with care, post with care, vote with care.
        the benefits I perceive, as a newbie observing Monastery dynamics, have to do with your experience and advice being especially desired and attended to and respected

        I hope this isn't the case. The last thing I want is for my advice to be respected. I'd much rather have every little error pointed out than have someone not reply because of a meaningless number.

        As for a faster/easier way to become a saint, consult the XP-Whoring HOWTO ;-)

Re: Downvoting -- No XP
by Molt (Chaplain) on May 24, 2002 at 10:47 UTC

    I disagree with any kind of penalty for downvoting. If you're doing it to remove trolling, or a simply dangerous suggestion, then I really don't think you should suffer for doing something to help give people consider'ing the node a clue as to what people think. If people felt that downvoting was more frowned upon than it already is then I don't think they'd do it, thus losing us a valuable ability and indicator as to what people think.

    People who downvote with restraint and discretion are doing Perlmonks at least as much good as someone who upvotes wildly on anything they see. I don't see why they shouldn't get at least as much XP-recognition in that.

    Myself I try not to downvote unless I think it's actually harming Perlmonks and the people who'd take this advise to have it there, or if it's a question which shows absolutely zero effort before asking.

    It's not censorship, it's not a personality campaign, it's quality control.

      "It's not censorship, it's not a personality campaign, it's quality control."

      Honestly, there are some examples of the contrary on this site. I'm sure you could come up with a few of those without me pointing fingers to specific monks.

      Everything went worng, just as foreseen.

        This is true, I was more thinking of the way people should vote- and the way I now do try and vote.

        I think you get the personality cult problem on upvotes as well, and in an 'ideal world' it shouldn't be 'XP for ++s, no XP for --s', it should be 'XP for sensible voting, no XP for stupid voting'. By stupid voting I mean things like the personality cult (Both positive and negative), voting on the basis of personal opinion ('I disagree with you so I will downvote your opinion'), the spending of all votes in an effort to gain more personal XP, and so on.

        I don't think the stopping of XP for --s will help here though. I'd hope it wouldn't make any difference, with those who'd -- sensibly not being overly dissuaded, but I can see it detracting those borderline people who still do have the XP lure but also the conscience.

        Voting issues here, both good and bad, come ultimately down to the individual. I don't think trying to code round that will help any and it's going to end up being a case of taking the rough with the smooth.

(crazyinsomniac: no xp period )Re: Downvoting -- No XP
by crazyinsomniac (Prior) on May 24, 2002 at 12:40 UTC
    I'm all for this idea.

    Further more, I'd also like that all people who reach the XP level of saint, be subject to a perl test. If they do not pass, they will be docked a 1000 XP and lose their saint hood.

    Furthermore, same goes for Pontiffs, except they only lose 500 XP if they flunk.

    Also, same goes for Bishop's, except they only lose 300 XP.

    Abbots i don't care much for either, but they shouldn't be allowed to write nodes. ....

    Need I go on?

    In case you missed the sarcasm, this is a horrible idea. I'm a saint, and I became one due in large part from xp gained by voting and hanging around. Despite his nice, and high ranking nodes, so did Erudil. You want sainthood to become exclusive now? well actually, i'm not fully sure i would mind that ;)

    Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
    perl -e "$q=$_;map({chr unpack qq;H*;,$_}split(q;;,q*H*));print;$q/$q;"

      "You want sainthood to become exclusive now?"

      I'm not sure whom you're addressing with that question, but since it's a reply to my meditation, I'll give you my point of view.

      In no way am I arguing for some way of restricting access to sainthood. Not at all. If anything, the contrary.

      I was asking for a way of limiting the interest in restricting someone from sainthood. My proposal was to not be as hard as tye proposed (potentially giving negative XP while downvoting), but just to not give out XP from downvoting.

      Everything went worng, just as foreseen.

(RhetTbull) Re: Downvoting -- No XP
by RhetTbull (Curate) on May 24, 2002 at 11:35 UTC
    I disagree.
  • XP doesn't mean anything -- so what?
  • A lot of people for some reason, do find XP to be important. This would prevent them from downvoting. I think that downvoting is a Good Thing. It helps weed out bad posts/flames/etc. On the other hand, encouraging upvoting simply inflates all the posts, which makes finding the best nodes more difficult.
  • If you really wanted XP to mean something, then you should ONLY get XP if other people vote on your nodes. However, this might discourage voting (thanks to Laziness).

      "A lot of people for some reason, do find XP to be important."

      For some reason, these are very often people trying to work their way 'up' in the XP scale, with the ultimate goal of achieving sainthood. Few Saints give major importance to XP.

      "It helps weed out bad posts/flames/etc."

      I agree that it helps, but the ultimate tool for that still remains the consideration and potential reaping actions.

      Everything went worng, just as foreseen.

Re: Downvoting -- No XP
by boo_radley (Parson) on May 24, 2002 at 15:13 UTC

      He, he, he... Seems I should have read the last paragraph of that FAQ before posting the root node of this thread. ;-)

      Well, I said what I felt. The Monaster obviously have a different opinion. No worries.

      Everything went worng, just as foreseen.

Re: Downvoting -- No XP
by xtype (Deacon) on May 26, 2002 at 06:53 UTC
    This would mean that to gain XP from voting, you must vote ++.
    What is the difference of someone logging in and down-voting anything one sees, vs. logging in and simply up-voting anything one sees?
    To me they are equally damaging. .to the community and voting/XP structure. (or equally non-damaging perhaps).

    Which would somewhat indicate an agreement with the author of the node

    That is not at all true. The same person who is logging in now, and down-voting everything to gain XP, would just start up-voting everything to gain XP. Correct?

    Update: Does it upset you that much to know that someone who has contributed little (if anything) to perlmonks, might conceivably become a saint? If they contributed little, they will continue to contribute little and go on being ignored in their sainthood. No bother.

    Update: Anyway, haven't you ever come across someone in life with high(er) credentials who just was not very bright. and you thought to yourself "how on earth did they get to where they are, they know absolutely nothing of what they speak?" Well, what they know is How To Play The System. Same rule applies here, with XP. You will spot them for who they are, and learn to ignore their higher than deserved XP rating.

    cheers -xtype
Re: Downvoting -- No XP
by Aristotle (Chancellor) on May 24, 2002 at 15:38 UTC
    Just a point: I remember someone made calculations and found that it takes about 8 months of constantly spending all one's votes to become saint by merely voting.

    Makeshifts last the longest.

      Only 8 months?! ++ to you, leaving me only 4 votes for the rest of the day!

      But seriously - <caveat>I'm benefiting from the XP bonus you get from voting, so I'm possibly not the most objective person for this</caveat> - I think the current process is pretty good. I don't go through and spread my votes (all 8 of them - whoo-hoo!) willy-nilly (I actually try and understand what is being said), but I can see the potential for abuse. You don't need to even read a post to vote on it - sure it's on the screen but you can easily go to SoPW and '++' or '--' each post randomly and get the same benefits as someone who has used their votes wisely.

      Possible Solution #1
      Maybe we could add a minimum posting requirement - to move up to the next level you have to have had at least as many posts (including replies) as you'll get in votes at the next level. For example, I couldn't get to scribe (12 votes) without having made at least 12 posts. The XP system would continue to be part of this so I would need 100 XP plus the 12 posts to move up.

      The opportunity for abuse is available here as well, although it does require a bit more effort on my part, as I have to post to move up (similar to the 'Publish or Perish' issue with University folks). Of course, anytime you post you have the danger of being downvoted, so stupid or filler posts would be detrimental to your XP health, so yet even more effort would have to go into moving up.

      Possible Solution #2
      And yet another possibility is requiring that a certain percentage of your XP come from votes on your Writeups. The percentage could be fixed for all levels or could be variable depending on level.

      Wow. This was originally going to be a semi-glib one-liner. I guess I care about this issue more than I thought.

      I must admit that I look at XP as a sign of experience/knowledge and that I want to move up. When I started and had nothing then I didn't care. Now that I've got a few XP, I want more. Of course, if I wanted the XP enough, I would put in a post that covers old ground in a hopefully new way. I'd also make sure to put it in Meditations with a catchy name so it got more views. Wait - is it too late to make this reply its own node? :)

Re: Downvoting -- No XP
by mattr (Curate) on Jun 01, 2002 at 08:37 UTC
    While emotionally I share Biker's opinion that "XP should be earned by writing good nodes and by reading and voting on good nodes", this can weaken PM I think in the following ways.

    - Constructive feedback is educational regardless of whether it is -- or ++. While I personally hardly ever cast -- votes, by introducing another thing to think about when voting, your suggestion will likely have a slight chilling effect (reducing both ++ and -- votes) which will reduce the total quantity of community interaction. Not sure if total quality will suffer..

    - Many potentially valuable analyses of community interaction such as those based on patterns of ++/-- voting in threads which I suggested at the end of a recent thread will be weighted by implementation of your suggestion. If we understand what is going on we can maybe compensate for it with empirical calibration though.

    - Implementation of "no XP++ on casting -- vote" means something else (maybe from my list?) will not be implemented. I don't think your suggestion is as pressing as some other possibly empowering functions.

    - In general we only have one binary bit of information (--/++) of possible feedback which isn't a whole lot. I think we need much more, and those additional categories should be editable by the community possibly. Considering the endless discussions about the ramifications of that one bit, it seems that feedback is important and maybe we are unsuccessfully cramming a lot of signification into the one bit. So I'd be against reducing the value of the only votable information bit we have by reducing the distinction between its values and the popularity of voting. Of course your suggestion would be immensely useful if we added a participation score and a contribution score, and made XP a calculation based on the two (or scrapped XP altogether).

    - Consideration of a system which includes elements of the previous point and your own suggestion, sounds like maybe we should remove the ability to make -- votes and instead introduce at least one pulldown menu of which each option results in XP or some other dimension being incremented by one. This could also be done with radio buttons.

    So I identify with your suggestion emotionally Biker but think it should not be implemented immediately, nor without simultaneously making other changes to the voting page and XP system, at the risk of having an overall negative effect on PM community interaction. I think we would have a much more positive effect by raising the entire community's interaction to a higher, more complex level (like solving an economic problem with growth) that provides more dimensions of feedback, discourse, and education.

Re: Downvoting -- No XP
by cybear (Monk) on May 24, 2002 at 17:25 UTC
    From an initiate...

    It's easy to disagree with an article or posting,
    and simplistic to say so. "That sucks.", for example.

    It takes some thought to support a good article.
    Unless you're a politician, you would have to read
    a "node" and weigh it's merits in your mind BEFORE
    throwing your support behind it.

    Biker is correct. Awarding XP for disagreeing is just like
    rewarding people for disagreeing.
    Disagreement will only increase and new monks will be
    less likely to join the Monistary, because of the hostility.

    If you want newbee's to continue learning PERL you have
    to make them feel that their efforts will be rewarded.
    If you want them to continue
    visiting the Monistary then they need to feel that they will
    not be attacked just for being ignorant. We are hear
    to be enlightened, after all.

      Awarding XP for disagreeing is just like rewarding people for disagreeing.

      I encourage people to disagree with posts that are factually incorrect, hostile, intended only as provocation, or offensive.

      Until the code can categorize those posts automatically, we'll have to rely on human judgment to find them. Since XP rewards participation in the monastery, I don't support removing the potential benefit from legitimate and useful "disagreement".