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Why do we have downvoting in primaries?

It doesn't seem democratic (some may see it as the ultimate democracy in voting) to me. If the candidate has put no effort in fair enough don't upvote them. But the people that have put in effort but are not well liked by the majority, do have a minority of supporters which should not be dismissed of the vote by having someone else downvote them.

Now, as I write this, I know I will probably get downvoted, as I have mostly talked about my opinion rather than hard cold facts.

I just need some enlightenment.

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    $\begingroup$ Election voting is an intuitivist matter: the law of the excluded middle does not apply. There is yes, no, and also very no. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Gruber Dec 16 '14 at 8:40
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexanderGruber: Yes, maybe, and no may be better analogues. $\endgroup$ – user642796 Dec 16 '14 at 8:42
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    $\begingroup$ What bothers me much more is that we can see the score before the end of the primary. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Dec 16 '14 at 10:15
  • $\begingroup$ @NajibIdrissi You hit the nail on the head there. I think that is what makes my point slightly valid, just slightly, and that is down vote I can accept now, but making it blind would be better. In either case, it is the way it is..I just wanted to see other view points. $\endgroup$ – Chinny84 Dec 16 '14 at 10:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Chinny84: You may be interested in this old feature request. $\endgroup$ – user642796 Dec 16 '14 at 11:01
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    $\begingroup$ @arthurfischer great stuff. I think my original issue was equivalent to your link (underneath) $\endgroup$ – Chinny84 Dec 16 '14 at 13:25
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One can debate whether or not the choice to display only non-negative scores is the best choice (I do not think so, but it is not a big-deal either).

However, the fact that one can vote against a candidate, via downvote, is in my opinion useful and apt.

For a moderator one wants (in my opinion) somebody that is at least alright for most of the community. Given a candidate that 30% find good and 70% find neutral and another one that 60% find great but 40% hate, I think the first should be selected.
If it were not for people potentially trying to game the system I would even prefer more weight was given to opposing votes.

In a purely sentimental way it might not be nice to vote against somebody; but having a moderator that a significant part of the community opposes from the start on is a lot worse.

To sum it up: the current system, while it might look more confrontational at the outside, actually favors consensus candidates over controversial candidates. And, this is good thing for this type of job.

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  • $\begingroup$ I agree with you for the most part. I guess, I am being to soft in my old age! I can see the reasons for wanting to remove the people you don't like (confrontational) as quickly as possible as over the ones that have neutral appeal..but I guess my argument is arguing for the groups of candidates that will probably not factor in the end anyway..as the candidates we want to go through will end up going through in either models! So I think going with a blind vote scoring system might be better..but the (-3 on this question) suggest I am off base ;). +1 $\endgroup$ – Chinny84 Dec 16 '14 at 12:15
  • $\begingroup$ That it is not blind is indeed somewhat surprising, and possibly unfortunate. $\endgroup$ – quid Dec 16 '14 at 13:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Chinny84 Maybe you'd have gotten a better response if your question and been about blind voting instead of no downvoting. It is surprising it's not blind. $\endgroup$ – aes Dec 16 '14 at 16:41
  • $\begingroup$ What about 95% and 5% ratios? And what point does "great" overcome "hate"? $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 16 '14 at 16:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Asaf to pin down a precise threshold value is a bit difficult. In a perfect world, where nobody would try to game it, I would even be in favor of giving more weight to "against" votes than to "support" votes. How much exactly, I am not sure. In the real world, I consider the system we have, in its simplity, about optimal for the purpose. $\endgroup$ – quid Dec 16 '14 at 16:47
  • $\begingroup$ Where you come up with a number and that number is law? :-D $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 16 '14 at 16:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Asaf no, where I would not even have to come up with a number. :D $\endgroup$ – quid Dec 16 '14 at 16:53
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    $\begingroup$ I AM NOT A NUMBER, I AM A FREE MAN. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 16 '14 at 17:01
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    $\begingroup$ @Asaf you are right you seem to have way too much time at the moment. I am jealous. ;-) $\endgroup$ – quid Dec 16 '14 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ @aes you are most likely correct. But my original viewpoint seemed valid to me at the time and just wanted to see what the general consensus is :)..so as they say "there is no such thing as bad news" so I have sort of gotten a poll by the downvotes on this question.plus I still think it was worthy to ask. $\endgroup$ – Chinny84 Dec 16 '14 at 17:27
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The logic of primary votes is quite simple.

  • If I support a nomination, I upvote it.
  • If I oppose a nomination, I downvote it.
  • If I have no opinion, I do not vote.

Nobody is "dismissed of the vote". Your vote counts as much as mine or anyone else's. Even a candidate with negative vote total can advance to the final round, if they are among the top 10. The system keeps track of every vote, even though it does not display negative totals by default (one can see the precise split by clicking the vote count).


I'll add my comments on two related points.

  1. I like the fact that the primary vote is public. It means I don't have to read the statements of candidates who are already out of it, and they don't have to waste time writing them, either. Sure, the votes may be distorted by the fact of them being public -- but the primary vote does not have to be very accurate, as its purpose is only to remove nonviable nominations.

  2. I think that displaying only non-negative scores is a good idea, as it reduces pity upvotes. We know how it goes... This guy was downvoted to -10! People are so mean! Here, have an upvote...

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  • $\begingroup$ I didn't say my vote was dismissed but showing a score of $\left(\#\text{upvotes}-\#\text{down votes}\right)^+$ is not the way forward and just voting for who you would think would be the better mod is best. But like I said it is more of an opinion and a discussion. So thank you for your view. Cheers $\endgroup$ – Chinny84 Dec 16 '14 at 8:40

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