-10
$\begingroup$

I can understand why folks downvote and I respect the reasons for doing this.

It seems to me that when a question is at -2 and someone downvotes it further, that this down vote is crossing a line. Unless there's a legitimate point, this strikes me as just plain mean and aggressive.

This is not an issue that directly affects me as a user. In my case, I usually delete a question if it gets to -1 so this is not about me.

This is an issue that affects me as a member of the math stack exchange community. I do not believe an educational community should be unnecessarily harsh or disempowering.

This relates to questions such as this: What are the likely fruitful approaches and challenges to be overcome, when tackling this Group cohomology representation of the Collatz conjecture?

I voted this one up not because I felt terrible that this question had been downvoted to -5. I am glad that its rating has moved upward.

In my view, the question ideally should really be at 0 if people feel it is not of value and in negative area if there are changes that are expected or if the author could have spent more time before asking the question.

The anonymity of downvotes allows them to be quite cruel. I understand that there are questions out there that legitimately deserve a lower number than -2 so here's my proposal:

Can we make it that to downvote a question that is already at -2 that we require a justification of a minimum length or a flag of spam or inappropriate content. If a person doesn't feel strongly enough to provide a justification of mimimum length or a flag, then I suspect that the downvote past -2 is probably inappropriate.

If a question does deserve to go to -3, then let the person who makes the downvote justify it. When anyone sees a question with -2, they get the point that this is not an authoritative question.

Does this sound reasonable? If I see a -5, I really expect to see spam or someone who asks a question that is completely outrageous. I don't expect to see a question like the one that I referenced.

$\endgroup$
25
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I don't think this is something that can be done per-site, so you should probably ask on the main Meta site. But I don't see you getting much support, to be honest. Your choice of $-2$ is arbitrary, which is a problem, but who, exactly, is supposed to assess this "justification of minimum length" and decide if it's good enough? $\endgroup$
    – postmortes
    Aug 23, 2022 at 19:43
  • 13
    $\begingroup$ Can we limit upvotes to +2? $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Aug 23, 2022 at 19:51
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ See also here for arguments against "pity upvotes". $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2022 at 19:54
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Well, and I think Xander is hinting at this too, a downvote is worth -2 rep and an upvote is worth +10. So to be "fair", whatever that word should mean in this context, as 5 downvotes equals one upvote that's the ratio that could be looked at to determine a limit. But equally, if you have to justify downvoting you should have to justify upvoting too. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, after all. $\endgroup$
    – postmortes
    Aug 23, 2022 at 20:03
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @postmortes The "sauce for the goose" is, in my opinion, the more salient point. Upvoting already swamps downvoting by a fair degree on this site---vanishingly few posts end up with scores lower than $-2$ or $-3$. People already largely limit themselves when it comes to downvoting already heavily downvoted posts. I don't see a need for this kind of limitation, but if such a limitation existed, why make it apply only to downvotes? $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Aug 23, 2022 at 20:14
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ And if such a proposal were adopted, I think it would encourage hasty downvotes, as that would allow the downvoter to not have to provide a justification for it. $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2022 at 20:30
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Hmmm @XanderHenderson, I find it interesting that you said limit to 2 upvote yet your comment got 3 upvote (just an observation) $\endgroup$
    – Babu
    Aug 23, 2022 at 21:24
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @TrystwithFreedom Given that the comment was meant to be sardonic, I am not sure why you find that interesting. Perhaps other simply appreciate my sense of humour? $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Aug 23, 2022 at 21:27
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @LarryFreeman (cont.) There's also more recent ones, such as Feature Request: Require comment for downvotes if user reaches reputation threshold, which has been closed as a duplicate of $2$ other ones, in particular, Encouraging people to explain downvotes which currently has $31$ non-deleted answers (and $8$ deleted answers). Nonetheless, I don't recall reading any, nor can I find any now, post requesting what you're asking for, i.e., a cut-off point (e.g., your $-2$) for requiring commenting/flagging. $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2022 at 23:07
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @LarryFreeman FYI, note there's a good reason, & use, for why some questions should be able to easily go to $-3$. This is since one trusted users privilege is "Voting to delete questions with a score of -$3$ or lower immediately after they are closed". IMHO, this is not needed very often (I've only used it a few times), but there are sometimes posts and/or comments, e.g., ones that contain quite rude and/or abusive content, that should be deleted ASAP, without having to wait hours, or even days, for a diamond moderator to handle. $\endgroup$ Aug 24, 2022 at 1:26
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Another justification for voting a question below -3 is that questions with a score of -4 or lower gets hidden from the front page. So people may feel that if a PSQ stays on the front page before it could get closed increases the chance of it getting answered, and a downvote is one way of preventing that. $\endgroup$
    – Elliot Yu
    Aug 24, 2022 at 3:18
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ If this were the main site, the hope is that the negative downvotes would encourage you to improve the question and thus start attracting upvotes. Despite your views of "cruel and disempowering" the system is intended to empower users to turn things around if they want. Here on meta, where we view these up- and down-votes as agreement/disagreement, things can still turn around because users are in different timezones. It's also possible for someone (you/a commentor/an answerer) to make a point that changes everyone's views and the voting (there used to be a badge just for that) $\endgroup$
    – postmortes
    Aug 24, 2022 at 6:14
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Why should an opinion be removed because its simply bot the one in majority @larry $\endgroup$
    – Babu
    Aug 24, 2022 at 9:38
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @SarveshRavichandranIyer your suggestion doesn't stop the question-poster from seeing the downvotes; they now just have to visit their question anonymously or have a second account to look at it from. Which they will do, because humans are insatiably curious. So I suspect your suggestion will create a temptation to create sock-puppet accounts since if you're visiting your question to see it's true votes, you may as upvote yourself with your extra account.... $\endgroup$
    – postmortes
    Aug 24, 2022 at 11:00
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ I doubt this will help much but basically: if you stop looking at that score as "I have done something wrong" and start looking at it as "the people who have considered my question seriously don't feel this is the right way to solve it" you might feel better. And that is what that score is telling you, because that's what it's supposed to do. Feedback, especially negative feedback, is how people learn and it's really valuable. You don't have to like it, but since it's built into this site being part of this community means you will have to find a way to live with it. $\endgroup$
    – postmortes
    Aug 25, 2022 at 6:00

1 Answer 1

-7
$\begingroup$

There are few view points one can have on these matters on how we should vote. I think they can roughly categorized into two categories which I try to explain here:

1. Quality by Anarchistic voting

enter image description here

Highlighted points:

  1. Emotional indifference to how a question is voted on
  2. Quality is what community believes to, so no matter how we vote it's fine./ One desn't need to justify their vote.
  3. SE system allows for this naturally.
Positive Negative
Demcoracy Manifest .....Democracy Manifest?
Much less mentally tasking to do as one shouldn't explain their vote Makes some users feel negative when they receive negative vote
Kicks out people who can't conform Lose potential high value contributors

Some offtopic Remarks:

I think point third row in the table is similar to the real life arguement of natalism vs antinatalism

2. Principled Voting

enter image description here

Highlighted points:

  1. Different users have different principles. Principles are often based on emotional reasons. I note the main viewpoints I observe ( this is very rough):

    1.1. Some have wish to encourage new users , so they vote positive even if the question is not to the highest quality.

    1.2. Some users vote on presentation on questions. So, for example even if the solution is trivial, they vote to encourage hard work of OP.

    1.3. Vote only if the question has great idea and also presented well

  2. Mostly impossible to implement unilaterally a 100%. Different people have different definition of quality. However, what can be done is try to convince others of one's principles by arguements. What ends up usually happening is, these principled voters come and often try to neutralize the vote of the Anarchist voters to bring a "balance" (this goes both ways, negative and positive voting)

Positive Negative
MSE usage becomes a more fulfilling experience Giving too much positive feedback may turn quality subpar long term
Requires more mental effort to evaluate questions Less users get triggered
MSE becomes more inclusive Lose current high value contributors because they can't "tolerate" principled posts

What's the right way to vote?

I think the issue really derives from people having very different conception on ** the goal of MSE**. If MSE is to become a homework help site (which it already sort of is), then it makes sense to move to some sort of principled voting but if MSE wants to become a museum of the most democratically voted math questions ever, then 1. works.


Final points:

It could be that this post is total non sense. It is just my personal analysis of the situation but I hope it adds at least a little clarity on the question of "How do people perceive this issue actually?".

$\endgroup$

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .