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Q/A upvote/downvotes

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Monty

There's something I've been noticing happening here for a while that's really been rubbing me the wrong way - I think others may have noticed it too by now. Unlike the old forum this one has an upvote/downvote function limited to the QandA board, which I thought was a cool idea because it allows the best answers to go to the top. But for the past few months, a certain group of people seem to have been abusing this function to downvote answers for no reason. I won't name and shame but I definitely have a good idea of who these people are, and I find it very petty, because I know they're only doing it because some of their answers have been voted down and they've taken it as a personal attack.
The thing is, downvoting answers has an actual function. Answers being downvoted doesnt mean people don't like you or are telling you to shut up. It's literally just a method of filtering out answers that are not helpful to the OP. In more than one case I have seen answers on this board that a)are factually incorrect (these have been deleted now) - I dont mean 'bad opinion' incorrect but actually factually wrong b)do not answer the question and are basically the poster saying 'I dont know' or c)seem to be answering a completely different question to what the OP asked. I don't see any issue with answers like these being voted down. If I gave incorrect advice or info accidentally I would -hope- that I was voted down so anyone looking at the thread would be able to see it and know. But... I guess some people took it personally and have gone on some weird crusade to downvote all the other answers by people they don't like (or at least the people they suspect of downvoting them). 

This isn't just a clash of opinions either, because I've seen answers that are factually correct being voted down and answers that actually answer the OP's question being voted down, and I can only assume the downvoting is 100% due to who posted them rather than the actual content. I'm sure anyone who has frequented the QandA board knows exactly what I'm talking about (although in some cases people have stepped in to vote the more helpful answers back up again)

I think it's reached the point where something should probably be done about it. I like the system, but this trend of voting down correct or helpful answers (and, presumably, getting ones friends to upvote their own answer that was voted down due to being wrong or unhelpful) defeats the entire purpose of the system to begin with. It's a place people go to seek answers, not a popularity contest. It also probably leads to confusion and doubt. I don't know if theres a way to fix this without removing it entirely, but maybe if it was upvote only? 

 

Edited by Monty
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cfx

I think one additional suggestion is only full members should be able to up/downvote, which would eliminate the issue with the creation of numerous alt accounts for the sole purpose of manipulating the votes.

I'm curious about something else--there is that tab for "questions with no best answer" yet I've never seen a button or anything to select a best answer. I thought perhaps that would only be visible to the OP (which makes sense) but I looked at an old question I asked and it's not there either. Is this something that isn't working like it's supposed to?

I think if that best answer feature is there and works, then the upvote/downvote system isn't necessarily required at all; the system is fine though if it wasn't being used for the online equivalent of a childish tantrum.

One small problem aside from this with the voting system is part of its nature; since it reorders the answers based on their rank, if some responses are more of a response to another answer, the thread order gets a bit jumbled up.
 

Edited by cfx
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BeyondTime

Heh, I actually messaged Averis and Billy about that yesterday. I wasn't shy about naming names either.

 

4 hours ago, cfx said:

eliminate the issue with the creation of numerous alt accounts for the sole purpose of manipulating the votes.

They call those sockpuppets these days: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sockpuppet_(Internet)

 

4 hours ago, Monty said:

If I gave incorrect advice or info accidentally I would -hope- that I was voted down so anyone looking at the thread would be able to see it and know.

Yeah, I routinely upvote answers that are better than mine. Some users like @Cauldroness or @Subaru are normally so spot on all I can really do in response is send it up the ladder so the OP sees it first."

I suggested removing the function in question and replacing it with "right answer" This might be the best option, because it places the power to upvote in the hands of the OP whose problem gets solved. The downside is posters often have to be reminded to do this in tech forums that have this feature. It also makes the forum a bit less member maintained.

Or making it a full member feature. The upside is we keep the feature intact, but the downside is your really driven troll will post enough on their socks. It's not going to eliminate the problem, but it will mitigate.

Or just removing the downvote. I'm not even sure this is possible, but it might mitigate the issue because the desire of the individual(s) in question seems to be to hurt people they don't like. Taking out the option to gives negatives removes that, but still lets correct answers be set apart. The downside is wrong answers could still be upvoted.

Not all of those suggestions were things I thought of. A few of us have been discussing this among ourselves for a few days. The opinions on them are totally mine though.

As long as the function isn't being used as intended it doesn't serve it's purpose, so it would be better off gone.

 

Edited by BeyondTime

The difference between Dollfie Dreams and Heroin? Heroin is illegal, Dollfie Dreams probably should be.

“Empty wallets, full hearts.” That’s probably an apt description for the effects of DD addiction

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Cauldroness

[Cauldroness has been successfully summoned]

I have also noticed this trend on the forum, but I don't think it's necessarily sockpuppets. I think it's groups of friends -- all real, legitimate accounts. It's just human nature. You want to support your friends, so you vote up their answers, perhaps without considering whether their answer is truly the best answer. Maybe you downvote someone else, not based on the quality of their answer, but because you want your friend to have the top answer or you're unhappy they disagreed with your friend.

I think this trend is probably made worse by the fact that upvoting/downvoting is anonymous. I think a lot of people will downvote when anonymous, but would not downvote if it were shown that they downvoted. Ultimately, it's all about making people accountable for their actions. 

I would suggest two solutions:

- Make it so upvoting/downvoting is NOT anonymous, and there's a record of exactly who upvoted & downvoted

- Remove the upvoting/downvoting feature, and let the person who asked the question decide which answer is best on their own (perhaps they can look at the "Like" function, as that is NOT anonymous, I often seen answers that have 0 or negative votes but multiple likes, or answers with positive votes but zero likes, which shows the clear difference between anonymous and non-anonymous behaviors)

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BeyondTime
26 minutes ago, Cauldroness said:

I have also noticed this trend on the forum, but I don't think it's necessarily sockpuppets.

Another member noticed three new accounts all created at the same time, and the downvotes increased by three at the same time they were created. It certainly could be friends recruited from another forum or social group, or it could be total coincidence and the new users have nothing to do with this.

You make an excellent point that the lack of anonymity makes it impossible to know for certain where it comes from. I figure Averis has a way to know, assuming he has access to the database tables behind the forum. It's got to be in there somewhere because it remembers how you voted.

Edited by BeyondTime

The difference between Dollfie Dreams and Heroin? Heroin is illegal, Dollfie Dreams probably should be.

“Empty wallets, full hearts.” That’s probably an apt description for the effects of DD addiction

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25 minutes ago, Cauldroness said:

I think this trend is probably made worse by the fact that upvoting/downvoting is anonymous.

I came to this same conclusion, because while the voting is being abused, the post "like" system mostly isn't.

25 minutes ago, Cauldroness said:

I have also noticed this trend on the forum, but I don't think it's necessarily sockpuppets

While I agree with the rest of what you wrote here, and agree in general, there was a too-coincidental timing issue recently with the creation of numerous accounts and the wrong kind of voting activity. It was visible to anyone who happened to look at the "who's online" thing on the front page at the right time.

Edit: Haha, posting the same info at the same time...

Edited by cfx

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Gabriel

I had noticed this as well, and whoever is doing it has a distinct vendetta against certain posters.  I have also have felt that several new users recently have had very similar posting styles and tics, which in my experience with messageboards is a strong indicator of sockpuppet trolls.

I'll also state a warning.  This is the type of thread such posters want.  They want to be talked about, even indirectly.  They like knowing they're making an impact.  

 

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BeyondTime
23 hours ago, Gabriel said:

I'll also state a warning.  This is the type of thread such posters want.  They want to be talked about, even indirectly.  They like knowing they're making an impact.  

 

I originally messaged Billy and Averis directly for the very reason that open posting is likely to fuel drama. However the horse is out of the barn now, so might as well let it run. 

In this particular case I don’t think it’s trolling here for the sake of trolling somewhere. There was a conflict awhile back, it ended badly for the user who was starting fights with people, and now they are fixated on those people. 

Edited by BeyondTime

The difference between Dollfie Dreams and Heroin? Heroin is illegal, Dollfie Dreams probably should be.

“Empty wallets, full hearts.” That’s probably an apt description for the effects of DD addiction

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Monty

Probably for the best, and at least it also solved the issue of posts being out of order and muddling a discussion, but it still annoys me that a few immature people had to ruin this for everyone. Good going.

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BeyondTime

Can we implement something that lets the OP mark a right answer or answers? I think that would have value. 


The difference between Dollfie Dreams and Heroin? Heroin is illegal, Dollfie Dreams probably should be.

“Empty wallets, full hearts.” That’s probably an apt description for the effects of DD addiction

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Testament
1 hour ago, BeyondTime said:

Can we implement something that lets the OP mark a right answer or answers? I think that would have value. 

I agree, I found more sense in shifting the voting power to the OPs, even if it's a responsability on their part.


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