The number of votes on comments is no longer visible (for the next week)
I want to try another experiment today, and unlike some other times when I've referred to something as an "experiment" and ended up just leaving it around forever, I'll set a specific time limit on this one.
For the next week, the number of votes on comments will be completely hidden. This applies to everyone and all comments, including your own. I'm not even cheating for myself with admin permissions, I can't see comment vote counts any more either (unless I look it up manually in the database, but I won't do that).
There's no functional change: you can still vote and sorting will be affected exactly as before, but there's no way to see how many votes a particular comment has. Topic voting is staying unchanged, with the counts still visible.
I know that some of you are going to hate this. I think that I'm probably going to hate this. But I want to try it, because I think visible vote counts have both positive and negative effects, and I want to try and sort through those a little. Tildes is still small enough right now that almost all threads can be fully read through easily, so the voting isn't really that significant, and this is a good time to try it.
Here are the main things I'd like to think about, and want to hear from you about:
- In what cases does not being able to see the votes make things more difficult for you? Are there particular threads that you feel like you need to see the vote counts? Why?
- From a less functional perspective, when does not being able to see the counts feel better or worse?
- Can you think of other ways that we could accomplish the positive aspects (ones that are lost by hiding the counts), without showing an actual vote count?
Thanks, let me know what you think. Initial reactions/thoughts are good, but I'm also interested in your thoughts after a few days, once you've gotten a little more accustomed to it.
(And as is pretty usual with "official" posts now, I'm using this as a good time to top everyone back up to 10 invites)
i'm going to make a point of saying that i think the biggest problem with something like this is that votes do at this point serve a pretty significant purpose on this site (whether people recognize it or not), which is, in effect, curation and self-policing by the community in the absence of moderation. for example, if a post gets no votes, and the one after it gets say 20, that sends a message that is communally understood to mean something. being able to see votes probably deters people from feeling obliged to respond if someone else has already made the point they wanted to and gotten good reception--i know i personally don't feel obliged to respond to most people's posts if someone else already said it better than i could since i and others can just upvote their point and make it clearly visible that people do not agree with a point someone's raised. to some extent i think being able to see votes and how they're distributed reinforces that they're not just an agree button necessarily but also that even if you raise a point people disagree with and have a nice conversation about it, you can receive feedback through upvotes. and of course, there is the inevitable fact that upvoting--whether people like it or not--probably incentivizes the behavior we want to cultivate here: if you make a good point, people will recognize that with upvotes.
all of that feedback, and all feedback like that either becomes significantly harder or entirely ceases to exist without votes. and just in general, if we can't see votes anyways, why keep them at all? to me they're something that really only make sense to have if it's transparent what they do and how they work on a site like tildes.
This is definitely true and one of the things I'm personally concerned about losing, but it's not purely a positive either. It's great when it works "properly" like this, but there are also cases where a bad/wrong comment gets a lot of votes, and that makes everything go worse. People come in and see a comment they disagree with has a significant number of votes, and then they feel like they need to reply vehemently to explain to all those wrong people how wrong they are and wtf why does this have so many votes what's wrong with you all?!
I agree with this point. It feels purely agreement/hivemind-y (I don't really want to use hivemind because it has such a negative connotation but my brain has decided to delete any other words). There are lots of examples on reddit where someone posts a long and verbose statement, and sometimes even cite sources, that get lots of votes because it looks impressive (bc long and has links to sources), is a sentiment the community agrees with, and sounds authoritative, where later we find out that the highly upvoted post is completely wrong and the sources are BS. I don't know that things are better or worse without that happening, but I agree with you that people always assume its purely positive when its really not.
i think of this mostly as a community problem, tbh. i sorta spoke about a similar issue that we gravitate toward at times in another comment where people feel kinda pressured to speak at length because tildes is Weighty and Serious when they don't actually have that much to say and so they either don't say it or say it in way more words than they need to. i think the main solution to what you're describing is trying to cultivate a place where people don't feel like they have to speak out of their ass or necessarily self-educate in a million different things to contribute to the discussion.
often times i get the sense that when people speak out of their ass it's one of those that's a result of the feelings other websites have beaten into people, like the idea that you need to be smart/knowledgeable/able to discuss everything. in reality it's perfectly okay to not know things, and to ask questions about things you're confused about in topics where they're relevant, and get clarifications, and sometimes get things wrong and be corrected! hell, some of the most interesting threads on this site are threads where people who were unsure about things came in and asked questions to people who did, and that led to protracted discussion on things that might have otherwise not happened if people in those threads had just gone in acting like they knew everything because they spent ten seconds on wikipedia or something.
I agree! I wrote a long reply to cadadr slightly farther down that touches on a lot of things but specifically how I think hiding votes would affect this. I would love to hear your thoughts on if you think my logic makes sense even if you don't agree with me that votes should stay private, because what we are talking about here is what I think is the biggest issue with Tildes IMO (not that I think that Tildes is bad. Fuck I am having such a hard time wording my thoughts I love this site I just think some things could be better)
Edit: Expanding because I'm an impatient fuck who is never happy with the way he phrases things.
I agree with both you and @Amarok. I think people have expectations of how commenting and voting should work based on what other forums they come from and the tildes documentation. Asking questions and admitting you don't know things is actively discouraged on so many subreddits and other social media sites. It part of why I want voting to be as minimal to nonexistent as possible. I want a system that is radically different from other sites because I want one that actively encourages acting questions and admitting your wrong. I think if we remove voting there is going to be an influx of low-quality comments that basically say "I agree". And that's going to suck! But I see each one of those comments as a foot in the door victory. To me it says "We did it! Someone made a comment so good a lurker stopped lurking!" It is a chance for us to try and welcome them with open arms! Ask follow-up questions, add additional points, calmly and non-aggressively get them to comment more! If it doesn't work and people just continue to spam low-quality comments well fuck, we tried something and it didn't work and we change the system again.
We'll rue the day people don't feel that way. There's always room for improvement, and experimentation is a lot of fun.
One of the HN guidelines that helps keep conversations healthy is:
And the corollary:
Maybe Tilde's guidelines should say that meta-moderation comments are off-topic and should be labeled as such.
I'd prefer we eliminate voting entirely and replace it with labels to capture more precise feedback. It seems nonsensical to commingle into a single number "I agree with your opinion" and "that's an interesting interpretation even though I disagree with it" and "just wanted you to know I read your comment".
Yes, that's it. As I said elsewhere
When votes (a) combine multiple, disparate, conflicting signals into a single number, and (b) this number is the primary sort key, then (c) people will vote strategically to change how others experience the site.
Yes, this could help dilute some of the gaming behavior.
Ultimately, we want people to vote honestly instead of strategically. Honest votes are much better signals of what is good. Strategic votes are essentially hostile acts of nano-censorship.
By separating the reasons for a vote, and by letting the reader decide how to sort and filter, we eliminate some of the motivation to vote strategically.
The next step might be to allow the reader to amplify the curations of people with values and motivations that align with hers, and to suppress curations of those pursuing a different agenda.
Converting from a one-size-fits-all presentation to an individualized experience could eliminate even more of the motivation to game the mechanics. It would increase relevance and nurture a broader variety of thoughts and styles.
FWIW both of those guidelines are essentially wishful thinking: HN has turned into reddit, and people constantly comment about votes.
HN is antithetical to a good online community IMHO: moderation is sided even when it has nothing to do with political issues (e.g. my single comment about Rich Hickey was deemed trolling and another personal attack [this and this]; apparently "I don't think Rich Hickey is a good citizen of the F/OSS community." is a personal attack and not agreeing Hickey is trolling; and there are many other invisible red lines about what is pronouncable; if you view my other comments, I've basically stopped visiting and using the platform after this event 6 months ago), and it is almost completely opaque, with unaccountable and unquestionable moderation, and an essentially closed-source platform.
I didn't intend to talk about whether HN has a good community or moderators.
My only point is that Tildes should follow HN's lead and discourage comments about voting, labeling and sorting. This stuff is off-topic and boring.
Unless a topic is in ~tildes or ~tildes.official (like this one is), Tildes' guidelines should encourage labeling comments about mechanics as off-topic.
I agree that your comment did not warrant a mod flag but, as someone who has clashed with the hn mods several times, my experience is that they are very much open to being questioned and accounted for. I've emailed them several times about deadflags they put on some of my comments and they've taken back a couple (and I've taken back a couple as well).
well, yeah, but i think people tend to do that anyways with or without votes, honestly. a lot of the worst arguments around here that i've seen or been a part of probably would have (or did) play out the same way even with lower vote totals. the same is true of a lot of the worst arguments i've seen on places like reddit: vote totals might have exacerbated the problem, but people would have argued and did argue regardless of the vote totals at play. it's an issue for certain, but i don't know that it's one that necessarily has an easy technological fix, because to me it seems more like a community issue than a technology issue.
i also haven't really seen someone respond in that kind of way specifically in my time on here that i can recall, which suggests to me it's not necessarily an actual motivator in-and-of-itself for people on here so much as a factor which might play into how they respond. given things like that, i tend to come down on the side of thinking that social media voting systems in general and creating a voting system that's not garbage is something that's both community focused and technology focused--and the most part i think our system fits that bill and works right now, we just need to keep reinforcing it as a community and patching things up where problems exist (like with the ambiguity of how we use votes).
most of the issues that come with voting (like the one you gave) i think are things we can address through the community and not technology--not that it'll be easy of course--and i haven't really seen votes being misused that often, at least insofar as they can be. where they are being misused or might be i think it more comes as a result of the sort of binary there is with voting, which is something we have the liberty of expanding on with things like comment labels and other features.
this is of course not to say that the current system is perfect or that there aren't gripes with it--the system we have is of course going to be fallible sometimes and making a good system takes a ton of time and effort and balancing and shit like that. every system we could replace it with is also going to be fallible, though, because there are no perfect solutions, and in any case i really don't think we have to reinvent the wheel (and potentially the community self-policing that comes with how that wheel works), i think we just need to make the wheel we already have better seeing as it's serviceable to begin with. we seem to have the community and the technology to make a good voting system here, so i personally just don't see a lot of reason to ditch it for something else or for not having votes right now.
I like the idea of vote counts being hidden from readers, but the default comment sorting algorithm should factor in how many times (and how quickly) a comment has been voted. This way, readers get a vague sense of what comments are popular by their order on the page without any concrete numbers to set off any strong opinions.
also just as a further, semi-related point: i honestly don't get the weird discourse over votes in general and it feels like people care just a bit too much about something that materially isn't that important one way or the other. for as much as i typed up there, i really haven't given much of a thought to votes and i kinda don't care in a broader sense if we do or don't have them so much as i care about all the conversation around them since nearly everything they're useful for can be done in other (generally less convenient, admittedly) ways.
it really at times feels like people are reactionary when it comes to voting as a system primarily because reddit has no fucking clue how to deal with it and most implementations of voting outside of reddit don't go well--but most of the problems associated with voting systems like the one on reddit just aren't problems on tildes to begin with. tildes doesn't keep track of total votes, for example, so my 152 vote, 12 exemplary comment in a thread from forever ago means nothing in the long term. it's just a gauge of how people who read that thread felt in that particular thread at that particular time, and in tildes's implementation of voting, it's almost entirely self-contained otherwise (the only way it's not being that it influences future behaviors in some way, which i see as a pretty good mechanism through which to steer the community without being overbearing or cluttering threads with meta and shit). so i'm pretty sure we don't have to throw the entire system out here just because other voting systems are bad; there is something that is workable here, if people actually try with it.
But somehow you remember it down to the exact number :). I'm sorry I couldn't help myself. I agree with what you're saying. In my 10+ years on reddit I've always been baffled how much votes means to so many people other that the obvious exposure. And now it's just ridiculous and really annoying that it's somehow OK to care so much about it.
I really don't think it's ridiculous, it's rather ingrained in our species. I think almost everyone wants to be liked and be part of the group. And seeing that the time you spend to read other people's opinions and contribute your own is appreciated, is just a nice feeling that gets boosted by the amount of attention.
I agree that it's an ingrained feature in humans and I understand that but what I meant was the way it's so blatant on reddit now compared to earlier is utterly ridiculous.
I see. I thought you're answering to alyaza being proud of his post. I totally agree that reddit is broken right now.
Do you have any suggestions for other ways?
well, community self-policing in the sense i'm talking about there can also be done through things like reports (which we already have in malice labels), DMing people, or just talking to them in the thread they replied in, but those are all clunky and less convenient as i said, and they also have a tendency to go much worse than the silent communication of vote totals do. there are also more technical solutions, presumably, but those are not things we have for the most part yet and so they would realistically need to be developed and be put into practice. the trust system in its eventual implementation for example will probably be a self-policing community system of that sort in at least some ways.
From the technical standpoint, I still feel that /.'s meta-moderation and tagged votes ("informative/interesting/funny/etc.") strikes an excellent balance between self-policing community engagement while avoiding the worst of reddit-style flat votes.
Even keeping the model at just one vote type, the basic concept of randomly distributing votes/mod points to a handful of (eligible) people at a time and capping the displayed vote totals to a narrow range (-1..+5) seems very beneficial.
I like this idea, but I do wish there was some way to functionally say "Ditto" or "I Agree" without needing to make an entire post to that effect. The Exemplary label comes close, but it's time locked.
I remember the Roosterteeth forum of old used to let you award points from a finite pool of points that cycled around. They had different types of mod points for positive of negative contributions. IIRC they were:
-1 [something I can't remember]
It had its issues. It led to a sort of "mod whoring" issue, in some cases with people literally promising favors (like nudes) for mod points. People would also "mod bomb" each other going through comment histories and encouraging others to down mod them. But it was also a lot of fun.
That community was a lot more ribald and less "serious discussion" oriented than this one is so I don't think you could port something like that over. The prioritization of delivering zingers and funny one-liners probably wouldn't be super constructive here.
Yeah, I think that's one of the main cases that's difficult. There's definitely value to it, but I'm not sure how we can support it without it just turning into a vote count. "Some unknown number of people agreed with this" doesn't really cover it, and even if you keep the exact quantity vague it still ends up effectively pretty similar to a vote count.
At least at RoosterTeeth, the implementation gave each account a limited stock of mod points that they had to earn by making posts that prompted others to mod them. I think people were gifted some amount each month too but I can't recall. In any event, you had to actually elicit one of the +1 mods to be able to mod someone else. On the flip side, having people give you a -1 flamebait took away a point from your stock. So it wound up being read less like a vote and more like a tip jar (albeit a strange one where you could pay a dollar to light a dollar in my tip jar on fire). Initially they let you mod a comment as many times as you wanted as long as your budget allowed, but power users with large banks of mod points had that get out of hand quickly.
The system was originally conceptualized as a way to get around the pecking order Internet forums used to settle on (usually based on post counts or account age) by creating a more meritocratic pecking order. Secondarily they wanted to reduce the count of low-value posts like "This!" The karma-whoring problem was an emergent behavior that kind of deflated the appeal of the whole thing. Reddit hadn't come out yet so I don't think people anticipated the lengths people would go accrue fake internet points as an end in itself.
Maybe the solution is to frame the votes in a way that makes people feel bad about having too many of them. Kind of like how Steam tells you how many hours you've spent on a game and it mostly just makes you feel like a sad-sack when you see it laid out like that.
I'm really glad you've mentioned the RoosterTeeth forums, since I hadn't heard of them before and it sounds like the only other implementation of Slashdot-style tagged votes/mod points. A significant difference being that getting up-voted didn't directly grant you mod points, they were just randomly distributed every so often if you had high enough karma.
Did RT also cap the displayed vote totals into a fixed range? That's the other component that I think helps to limit pile-on behavior while still working well for moderation and filtering purposes.
I don’t believe there was a cap, but the top line number would just summarize the totals and show only the mode of the distribution next to it. So if you got three +1 ditto, two +1 cool, and four -1 noob it would show “+1 noob.” You would need to hover over to see the breakdown. The most coveted configuration was to settle on the elusive, +1 WTF.
It definitely did not deter pile on behavior, but the mod points also didn’t have any effect on sorting or rank. They only granted you karma and added to your own bank of points. People had the option of hiding posts below a certain vote threshold, but I don’t think anyone actually did. It wasn’t really meant to make any editorial or moderation decision so much as to approximate a reaction from the room. I would think of it almost like the crowd jeering or cheering two battle rappers.
I'm gonna come back to this thread and actually read through the comments when I have more time, but a quick suggestion: how about some sort of "follow" function on a post that displays 'x number of people are following this comment thread' or something similar? That way lurkers can vouch for the quality of a post and interest it stirs up without necessarily agreeing with its content, show that they're awaiting a response from the OP or a rebuttal from someone more informed, etc.
Already a Gitlab issue for it:
Add ability to "watch" topics (or individual comment threads?) and get a notification on replies
But I do also like the idea of showing the "follower/watcher" number somewhere. I suggested something similar with the bookmark mechanic as well:
Add a "most bookmarked" topic sort and/or "# of bookmarks" counter for topics to help identify exemplary topics.
I was actually thinking about something like this, except instead of showing the data as numbers you display it as an intentionally vague graphic. You could also tie the maximum "intensity" as a percentage, with 100% being equal to the comment with the highest vote counts in the topic. If this sounds interesting, Deimos, let me know and I can create a quick mock-up.
One of the design philosophies behind Tildes is "Use words, not icons".
Yes, but I am not talking about creating an icon. The section is talking about the interface and not wanting to hide user functions behind icons.
I am not talking about creating an icon, I am talking about creating graphics to display data. And it's designed in a specifically fuzzy way so that there is no way to use it to signifigantly alter conversations.
Yeah, like the thumbs up in Gitlab issues for example.
And here, this comment by NaraVara is a great example of where we need votes: now that they aren't visible, how do we know how many users agree this comment of NaraVara? I replied and said I do agree and support it, but because we can't see votes, we should rely on its position in the listing of comments. But what does that mean? That people did not vote and this comment stands out because it had one or two votes, or it is buried, but because some other comments vere really popular, yet this had like 40 or 50 votes? And even if the sorting tells the story well enough, how do we know it is transparent and dependable? Having vote count visible solves all that.
Maybe a better approach is hiding votes for a certain time after posting? Say for an hour?
That's kind of the point—why does knowing that matter? If 5 people agree or 20, does that distinction change anything? Why?
Note also that a vote doesn't necessarily mean "I agree". I vote on things that I disagree with all the time, just because I think they're good comments that contribute to a discussion. So you're interpreting the vote count to mean something that it doesn't.
Frankly, I think this view is pretty naïve. It may be a nice ideal, but the reality is that people upvote things they agree with and (where it's supported by the platform) downvote things they disagree with. This is easily observed on reddit; I would be surprised if it were significantly different on Tildes, even given the relatively higher proportion of people who are aware of how the system is meant to work.
less naive and more of "literally not how things work in practice", i think. the vote button is literally the only way to express agreement on here short of writing an agreeing, substantive comment in lieu of something like an 'agree' button that's separate from voting, so i'd be shocked if that's not how the majority of votes are doled out on here. even i probably upvote more to express my agreement with a good point than i do to encourage conversation, and i make a habit of doing the latter in threads i start. that said, an "agree" button is not a bad thing unto itself, and people shouldn't act like the behavior of people who vote on comments is inherently bad because they use it that way.
I feel like there's another angle here, too - everyone who comes to Tildes has already been trained to think like this by the rest of the internet, even though as you say the reality is more nuanced. The vote button here seems like a placebo, just something to mash to get that ingrained need to agree or disagree out of one's system. I can imagine some people losing their shit if things don't work like that under a different system, trying to find something/anything to replace the up/down feeder buttons they've been trained to use. All of the visible labels here were turned off for exactly that reason.
Oh, I'm certainly aware that a lot of people use it that way, I'm just saying it's a mistake to assume that it's always being used that way and treat the vote count as "this is how many people agreed". Voting on something can mean many things: "I agree", "lol", "good point", "thank you", "I've read this", etc.
It's basically the same issue as with downvotes: almost everyone recognizes that downvotes being used for "I disagree" is a bad thing, but then why are we so accepting of upvotes being used for the opposite?
I'm probably missing something obvious, but isn't the solution to this to have a sorting system separated from a agree/disagree polling system?
I don't see much sense (apart from fun) in having "WTF", "ZING" or other such labels, but two prominent buttons: agree/disagree which don't affect the sort order, would be perfect in my opinion.
This idea was iterated many times, this post is what I believe is the first topic on some sort of agree/disagree buttons.
Right, thanks for that reference. I agree to the majority there that a disagree button might not be such a good idea. But an agree button I feel like is really needed.
I'm curious about @Deimos' opinion on that.
I don't know, it's hard to say. If we show how many "agrees" a comment gets, you've basically just moved the issues with vote numbers over to the agree numbers. The sorting isn't the only aspect that matters, the visible "score" makes a big difference. My examples in this comment help explain that, just imagine the numbers are "agrees" instead of "votes".
Not sure if I should start a new thread/post for this, but what do you think about a voting option that you can toggle at the time of posting your comment?
That way everyone can decide by themselves if they want to see other people's reactions (with public agree/disagree numbers).
Probably not, I think that would be confusing. It's also more of a "cultural" thing than something that people should do individually, the overall effects matter more than individual comments. If people don't want to see votes they can already hide it quite easily using something like uBlock's cosmetic filters or a CSS-customization extension like Stylus.
This is what I do for reddit, but it's a pain in the ass. It doesn't work on mobile which means I can't use mobile apps, and they change their class names so often in the redesign that it's a constantly moving target.
Though rather than making it per-comment/thread, I think a profile toggle makes more sense. If visible voting were to be reinstated on Tildes anyway.
If I don't want to see them, I can hide it. But currently there is no possibility to see agreements or other reactions apart from written replies. And the point of this thread is to separate reasons for voting, e.g. relevance, agreement or other reactions.
I think the comment is getting more at the fact that you're imputing intentions to a vote that may or may not be there. In Reddit downvotes don't always just mean disagreement. They could mean disagreement, they could mean they agree with you but think you're an asshole, they could mean whether they agree or disagree is immaterial and they actually just don't want to hear what you have to say.
Same with upvotes. How you interpret your vote total says more about what you want to get out of the post than what people actually think about it.
Isn't that why Tildes was created though? A bunch of people collectively said "Man, the way reddit does things sucks. Let's do it different". I'm not saying voting should or shouldn't be used for an agreement, or that we'll ever get 100% of people do not use it that way if that's what we want. I just don't think "This is just the way we have always done things" is a good counter point to "this shouldn't mean this". Tildes is a young site with not many users and is still in development and has its own community and own rules. If the community thinks that the way upvoting/downvoting became synonymous with agree/disagree is bad or was a misuse of the system, shouldn't we push the community to use the system properly rather than accept things are the way they are?
We can't rely on continuously re-training a growing community on the "proper" way to vote. It's just too ambiguous, people are creatures of habit, and confirmation bias is hardwired into our nervous systems.
If we want to change behavior, we must start with the mechanics of the site.
If voting for most people means something that we don't want here, let's recognize that we're not going to change the people.
Instead, we should eliminate the voting. Build different curation signals that are more precise and relevant to this community, where it's obvious and intuitive what is expected, and no re-training is required.
I disagree, we know we can change the way people behave and interaction on sites because we already have successfully done it. There is nothing stopping people from posting jokes or puns or low effort content right now other than they might eventually get asked to leave after a few warnings if Demois catches them. That's not a scalable system either. We made a goal of the site to be quality discussion, only accepted people who agreed that was important. I still go to sports sibreddits and post memes and puns and one sentence comments, and then tab over to Tildes and post more thought out ideas because I know the goals of commenting here and want to achieve that goal. I know the reason why people vote isn't as easy to gauge and cut-and-dry. But I absolutely disagree that people are immutible objects that can't be changed.
I've always treated voting along the lines of @Deimos. You're not promoting views, you're promoting threads with the best conversation.
If the comment is contributing to the conversation, +1 -- if not (in the context of Tildes), then leave it alone. Typically if you're responding to someone, the parent comment has enough to warrant an up-vote, regardless of opinion.
I'd personally like to know what the community agrees and disagrees with.
What if we reduced precision on votes? Instead of showing the raw count you could limit it to
~20, etc. Or instead of rough numbers you could use color, size, or some other dimension to indicate popularity.
You also see it in runescape of all places. For ages they had a polling system in their oldschool runescape reboot, but it was a farce. For years it showed you the %'s of each answer WHILE you were voting so it became this huge clusterbiff of people voting basically only one way.
There was already a divide between PvP and PvM players, but this made it so much worse since most people didn't vote, and of the ones that did most of them were in spite of another faction of voters. Not what you want out of a poll system. But that's just Jagex for you.. Eventually after enough player rioting on the subreddit (every time jagex fucks up, they spam the sub with every other mistake they've made and refuse to fix) they finally decided to hide results until after you've answered.
I could go on about this for hours since i've already had to skip over a bunch of other iffy stuff, but I just realised how offtopic this is now haha
If we're going to use numbers, let's make sure they are real ones, not fake. Reddit got an inconceivable amount of shit for having 'fuzzy' numbers. It's one of those discussions you just don't want to have hanging around your neck.
Sure. I'm not advocating for adding randomness, though.
Well, in this particular case because you're soliciting feedback from the community on a major change, but you now have no way to effectively gauge the overall support for each individual idea and counter argument to your changes being put forth. Sure, you can rely on position in the sort and whether or not a comment has an exemplary... but those are rather vague metrics.
If 5 users voted on a comment saying "I am leaving if this change is kept", would that be distinctly different from if 5,000 users voted on the same comment? I would say yes, absolutely so. The first would show that it's potentially only a minority of people who are unhappy with the change, but the second would be incredibly worrying to see given the size of Tildes right now.
At a certain point the answer just becomes "make a poll."
I think there's trouble in mixing the purpose of comment voting between "gauge community opinion" and "promote worthwhile discussion and discourage/demote worthless comments". I think we can have better solutions to both problems if we don't tie them into the same function.
I agree (lol).
Not sure if a "read" button is that useful though... If you didn't get an expected response, you could just write to the person again to get attention. I feel like it happens very rarely that your comments are not read by the person that you reply to. And I think its implementation is not trivial: if you set the "read" flag just when the user opens his messages, it doesn't really mean he read all the messages. Another way to offer a read button for every message would mean that you'd have to press a button for every message which is also not guaranteed to happen...
And maybe a separate button for "high effort post" wouldn't have that much use either, as those posts can be easily spotted (by their length or amount of links) and should also be upvoted, so I don't know how they differ from just "popular", a.k.a regularly upvoted posts.
This is obviously completely anecdotal, but if I find that many people are disagreeing with me on some topic I am more likely to reconsider my view on that topic - and I think that is a good thing. It's a form of "well surely everybody can't be wrong...". In addition, being able to gauge how the community views a comment helps to guide the discussion and move it forward to new places.
As for your point regarding interpretation of votes, I agree. But I also think that is a reason to keep them in the long run (barring this experiment really changing my mind of course). Everyone interprets and uses feedback from votes differently, so I'm not sure hiding the vote count is really productive. The fact that voting can become toxic, as evidenced by voting on other sites, seems to be much more an issue of the community than the function itself, to borrow @alyaza's point.
It may be interpreted as 5 people or 20 people desire this feature.
I do agree this bit and act similarly. But in certain contexts I think votes may mean more than just "good comment!", especially in a context like this where someone comes up with a suggestion and how many agree with it is something nice to know.
That point seems almost to suggest, rather than having votes visible for all comments, that there be an option to have an agree/disagree poll attached to a comment. This would make it explicitly and clearly a poll, would hopefully only have it apply in contexts that are relevant, and would perhaps avoid the problem of having visible votes in general.
This this THIS! I love how people here are so confused about what's right and wrong and what to agree with without votes. How about taking a stand and trust yourself enough to make your own decisions about what you like and who you agree with.
Knowing what the people around you believe and valuing that does not mean you're incapable of your own thought.
I agree, but if you can't live without it the issue might not be lack of voting.
my opinions on something don't miraculously change just because people don't upvote it, and i'm pretty sure my statement is true for 99.5% of the rest of the people on this website. i really do not get why some of y'all think that this is a thing that happens or that it's some argument against having votes, because i guarantee you it happens so infrequently it might as well not happen at all.
I like the reactions on Discord, although they often get pretty ridiculous. It lets you see at a glance, if the server's emotes make any kind of sense at least, how people feel about a post. I like seeing what the general reaction is to something, and it feels good to react to a post or a comment in a way that shows the commenter that you appreciated it, or it made you angry, or you agree/disagree. It also makes voting for a genuinely good post that you disagree with feel better, if you can't articulate why you disagree with it or it upsets you. I think it might help uncouple the Vote button from agreement or disagreement for some users.
Maybe those quick, feel-good reactions are fluff that doesn't have a place on Tildes, but there is something nice about that sort of thing.
Actually yeah. Being able to stick emoji as reactions works pretty well as a reaction. It’s functionally another way of putting up a post, but it doesn’t clutter up the thread with low value posts.
There is one issue with reactions though, which is that it makes people kind of post with an eye towards the reaction. That may be fine or it may not, but it’s worth thinking about if you want a mild vibe of mugging for the crowd.
I think GitHub or Slack are good examples. You can react with any emoji, which allows for a wide spectrum of short responses. That ensures that users can express their opinion without writing a comment and I think that's useful. Maybe you can have a different up-/downvote system that actually influenced the ranking but where votes are hidden from users /u/Deimos? That probably decreases the tendency to only use votes as "agree" bittons
Maybe an unpopular opinion, but emoji "reactions" seem really low-effort to me, and honestly, kind of juvenile. I don't think they suit a platform designed for discussion.
It's probably best to only have one way of reacting to posts. Votes AND reactions will end up muddying people's ideas about how to react to things or what various responses mean. There are emoji that indicate agreement and disagreement, for example, so you'd have a few votes a few thumbs up emojis, a few thumbs down emojis, etc.
The other issue with emoji, is that not all browsers see them. @Algernon_Asimov and I spoke a while ago about it and it turned out he couldn't actually see most of them and the ones he could see were so abstracted that he couldn't actually tell what they were supposed to be. And even browsers that support it don't all see them the same way. One example was how the revolver emoji slowly transitioned into a water gun across platforms, but at different rates. So for a while 👱♂️🔫 could imply summer fun time or something really dark depending on whether you were on iOS or various flavors of Android.
So if you're implementing it on a discussion forum where not having misunderstandings is kind of important, you'll need to have your own emoji font/rendering which seems like a pretty big lift. I suppose you could just put in custom smileys for the site instead, but I'm not sure if that's any less of a lift.
As a specific example, Cake doesn't have voting, they only have "reactions" using emoji.
They've already had to worry about things like needing to remove the eye-roll and ok-sign emoji from the options. Emoji have their own problems too.
I did not realize the "OK" sign had so many varied meanings across cultures! In India we used it to mean something was really good, akin to an extra enthusiastic thumbs up.
I really like the idea. Sometimes I catch myself voting for a comment just because another comment of similar quality has more votes to make it more fair, not necessarily because I think the comment deserves the vote. And another positive effect I see is that there won't be the competition between two users having a discussion who has more votes. While most users here do not care about comment upvotes (or at least nowhere near like generic reddit user), it doesn't feel good when the other person has much more upvotes than you have.
And as a bonus, users will be upvoting truly high-quality content, without the slight peer pressure from number of votes.
Absolutely, yeah. It hasn't been common on Tildes, but it happens a lot elsewhere to have people cite the vote counts to "prove" that they're winning an argument, which I don't think is a very healthy type of interaction at all.
On the topic of getting many more upvotes, I still delete comments sometimes when I end up in this situation, and I've seen other users here admit as much.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out, even if my own thoughts are kind of conflicting.
I'm going to be "that dude" and say that I like seeing votes on my own comments. It's a form of virtual camaraderie ("hey, what I said there resonated with people"), and a community without camaraderie seems odd.
There's probably a reasonably middle ground where it could be realistic to see your own votes without influencing too much. But having votes completely visible to everyone, when they are—at the end of the day—an implementation mechanism to inform the Tildes sorting functionality of quality—is not a good idea.
That's what Hacker News does: you can only see the votes on your own comments, but nobody else's. Reddit also always allows you to see your own comments' votes, even when the subreddit hides comment scores for a while.
Like every option, I think it has both good and bad aspects. It eliminates or reduces the ability to judge other people's comments based on how many votes they have, but it doesn't help with people obsessing over how many votes they get, posting comments more to "perform for the crowd" than legitimately contribute, and so on.
Do you really view these as the main issues as to why you hid vote counts?
I feel like votes on your own page is fairly harmless. If someone wants to perform for a crowd they are going to do so. If someone is going to obsess over how people view them, they are also going to do so.
I just can't see a situation where the number on your own page contributes to any reasonable change in behavior.
I'd disagree with you here (I really miss the information of how many others agree with you and how many will agree with me).
But there may be the very human effect of trying to get better every time, so trying to beat one's previous "high score" or at least maintain it, which would motivate such crowd performers to make "populist" posts.
I fully agree. I never even look at anyone's vote count but my own.
I can't tell how popular a comment is with the community. I can't judge the meaning of the Exemplary tag, which is sometimes used to boost indecent comments by likeminded individuals especially in controversial threads (obvious when a comment has a low vote count but also exemplary'd).
Sometimes a comment does not start a discussion, but still is highly upvoted, so popular. Can't tell that fact apart without visible votes.
No, not really. I think it is a binary choice: we either have votes because of their pros, or we rid of them because of their cons. The middleground is worse than both extremes.
IMHO if votes are hidden, it is unfair to sort based on votes, and that if they will remain hidden, it is better and more transparent to remove them altogether. We could sort threads with a method similar to [activity] on mainpage, which would possibly help more threads get more comments (the HN/Reddit tendency that the topmost thread is the most active is definitely present here, and we'd rather deal with it). But not showing comments and also sorting based on them is not really transparent.
In sum, I think I'd be supportive of getting rid of comment voting altogether, and sorting comments in such a way that by default the listing is not static and more threads can get more interaction. Personally, I don't like that [Exemplary] has such a high impact on sorting either, and I believe it shouldn't have any instead: each vote should count equal, and everybody should have one and only one vote to cast on a given comment. I also see it abused quite often, to push unpopular/undesirable comments higher up, which have nothing exemplary in them otherwise.
But also I fail to understand the problem with votes, TBH, since the beginning of the debate. I see the issue @Wes brings up w.r.t. expecting validations, but when votes are gone, won't replies replace them? I.e. people will expect noise comments that amount to a wordy upvote, or replies in general? Also, personally, I don't really feel any of the pressures or remorse @Soptik describes. Furthermore, this may end up, I imagine and speculate, encouraging bad behaviour like abusing labels because you can't upvote the other end of a debate.
I think you've hit on it. What do we want from votes, or from labels? Why do we have these mechanisms?
It's sorting and validation, isn't it? Voting is really there 'because democracy' but we don't use it for democracy, we use it for sorting. We feel validated, or incensed, based on how many votes come in (or at least, some people do - and the rest of the web certainly trains people to behave like this). Real democracy requires polling and quorums and something like parliamentary procedure, which I have frankly never seen in online forums. There are polls, but no quorums, no formal procedures.
We all know that raw voting makes for a dicey sorting solution (see: all of reddit history) and the validation angle swings both ways, particularly when downvotes are involved. The guys who created reddit didn't give a shit about validation, or sorting, or democracy - it was there because it's in the form of a point-based game, which keeps some people around and compels them to become involved (or even addicted). I feel like the people who have read your comment and mine here are already thinking more deeply about this than reddit's creators.
I smell an opportunity to solve some of the issues with new comments being buried, too. That's a consequence of the sorting we've traditionally used when threads outgrow those basic methods. If this is about sorting and validation, let's step back from the mechanisms and think about that.
It's the bandwagon effect, isn't it? That's the troublemaker in the room. It was the same negative effect that caused us to hide comment labels right out of the gate last year. What if the feedback and validation are kept private and anonymous? What would that kind of system look like?
@kfwyre makes a nice contribution to the "validation" argument: not all validation is bad, and we need to know we are not shouting into the void.
Maybe we could have "private replies", analogous to exemplary but not time limited and not contributing to sorting. They would be deleted once read (not immediately, but after a certain time period so that can be reported if abusive), and could be used for sending a +1 to the user. There is the possibility that this is abused in various ways tho. Like bad messages.
We've talked about a private reply/whisper/sidebar comment mechanism before, funny how that keeps coming up in these discussions. :)
That's a pretty good idea, but why would they need to be deleted?
They wouldn't. It's just that they don't have a lot of value for anyone other than the two people directly communicating, and on reddit comments like that end up being the lion's share of what's there on large threads. If they are hidden so only the people directly involved see them, that solves the problem of clutter. We haven't talked through mechanics for this yet, just a general sense that there's a semi-private reply space to explore, to soak up some of the offtopic/noise comments.
Wouldn't this essentially be a convenient way to send a PM with a link to a certain comment?
And, rethinking, it bears the same problems w.r.t. approval that some users brought up, namely people expecting these things and possibly performing for them or obsessing with them.
It is PM-like just with embedded context. It's kinda sorta like the message on the exemplary and malice labels. One goes to the OP, the other goes to the site admin. I can't help with the obsessing bit, but if the back and forth is private from the rest of the thread for those people, the performance aspect will probably diminish.
For them to not take up much space in Tildes' servers. I don't think they serve much of a purpose once read, the user can archive them if they want. They are definitely way more expensive in all regards than a simple integer for votes.
I wouldn't expect they would take more space than a comment. Also, text is tiny. It will take next to no storage space.
Well, I wouldn't mind if Deimos don't mind.
I nearly forgot about that. I really miss those tbh, for as short a time as we had them and for all the grief they caused.
They were colorful and fun, and I miss them too - though not the chaos and dogfighting they were driving. It seems like colorful and fun are a great way to drive engagement... so rather than being sad that the colorfun is turned off, perhaps we should be asking what we could use it for. What system works so well it deserves that sort of playful engaging interface? Probably not well suited for voting and labeling, since those seem to suffer from bandwagon effects.
I totally missed this, what was that like?
Short lived and brutal.
User's comments getting tagged with malice and joke when their comments were benign or serious. The visibility of the tags provoked a response from the taggee directed towards the taggers, which predictably spiralled out of control until Deimos disabled the visibility entirely. I recall that a few users were banned as a result, during a time with under/around a thousand users total.
Slightly off-topic but does the "joke" label have any actual effect on a user's comment be it sorting, display, moderation or otherwise? I've looked in the official docs but it just mentions the usage of it ("comments posted for humor purposes") rather than any effect it might have. Does that mean that it doesn't have any effect now that labels are no longer displayed? And if so, is there any reason to take the extra time to label a comment as "joke" if it is clearly so?
You can find a how-to guide in the sidebar of ~tildes (it will eventually find its way into the official documents). This guide includes a section about comment labels, including the "joke" label:
Ah okay cheers, I definitely wouldn't have found that myself! I'm much more inclined to use it now that I know what it does and the effect makes sense too in relation to the other labels.
I know. However, Deimos has said he wants to incorporate the guide into the official docs, so I'm working on that at the moment (behind the scenes). It'll be easier to find then.
It came to a head in this old trump thread. The labels were all visible, along with the count, to everyone, on every comment. Each was a little box, different colors. The comments were racking up tons of joke(x)7, troll(x)12, etc. It was a flame grilled disaster. Reddit's usual comment pattern was emerging, back and forth sniping, no actual discussion.
Couple bans came out of that (and not just for the lone trump supporter). I don't have a screenshot handy for what the labels looked like all lit up like that, but it did make Tildes seem a lot more colorful and busy - game effects in full force. Right now, since they are hidden again, there aren't any to see on that thread. Someone probably has a screenshot, though. I checked and couldn't find one with a quick search.
Thank you and @CALICO, I remember that Trump thread but somehow I did not notice them...
I don't see how this is a bad thing. Why is how popular a comment is with the community important? Aren't the aspects of a comment that matter (a) quality and (b) the thoughts it provokes and questions it causes you to ask?
I don't think vote count should be used to tell this. Sometimes things are unpopular and correct. Something can be exemplary even if you don't agree with it. I can write a heavily sourced comment about scientists saying that trans people exits and the "xx and xy" argument people use to say trans people are crazy is an oversimplification of complex biology, but depending what site (or in the case of reddit, what subreddit) I post that comment its going to either get heavily voted or heavily criticized. Does where I posted a comment change if it is exemplary or not? Just because you don't think something deserves an exemplary tag doesn't mean others don't.
What do you gain from knowing if it is popular or not? I really don't understand. Other than the author themselves feeling good that they wrote something people agree with, what do other people gain from knowing a comment was popular or not popular. That was partially the point behind putting the vote button below a post: it was supposed to get people to read a comment and form an opinion before seeing how many votes it had. This is an extension of that. People are going to have to think about and come to a conclusion about if they agree with something or don't completely independently of if something is popular. Which is a good thing.
Probably? But why is that a bad thing? Every time a "what would make tildes better" thread comes up, half the replies are "I wish more people posted articles and comments". This is pushing people to do exactly that.
I'm going to say 2 things about this one.
(1) People use this a lot as an argument and a lot of times they (not specifically you, I don't know if you meant this or not) commonly conflate short = low effort and long = effort. If I comment a 2 sentence comment that says "I agree, this made me think <short thought>." I think that's a fine comment. The author took the time to read the comment, think and digest it, and write a response that could create further discussion. Not everything needs to be full paragraphs to have been come to after thought and consideration and to promote discussion.
(2) I don't think its bad. Get people commenting! Get people interacting! Sure it sucks if they start off with low quality comments, but that's a start! That's a place where we as a community can gently and kindly push and probe them to expand their thoughts. Help them improve! Give pointers! Ask questions! Try and get them to be active members. Lots of people are afraid to comment on this site because they read the docs and are intimidated that they aren't going to meet the community standard for high-quality discussion so they don't ever do anything and just lurk. This encourages people to start commenting and start being more active than just voting. Are there going to be people who only do low-quality comments and don't improve? Yeah, there are. But there are going to be those people even with voting numbers shown.
There will be people who abuse any metric you give them. That's why moderators and (in the future) the trust system exist. Because there are always going to be bad actors. Being clear about how labels are used and punishing those who refuse to listen seems like a better plan than not making a change to one thing because there is a chance people might start abusing another thing, especially when you stated above that people are already abusing the label system before voting numbers went private.
Your entire comment looks like you misunderstood my comment.
Isn't the idea of the community important?
Should or not, it does show a trend (and if you look at Deimos' reply, I'm not the only one to notice this).
That is not what I'm saying, see above. This sort of patronising lecturing is not nice.
People have reacted to this comment positively, either the delivery, or the content, or both.
The facts included in the comment are more likely (tho not definitely) to be true.
Even tho there are no replies, this comment has been appreciated.
The validation for the author is nice and incentivises participation.
It's not the "hey I agree" comments that we want. Proliferation of lots of comments that add essentially nothing to the discussion is undesirable. Generates noise, crowds the thread. I am actually content with the level of activity here, and I'm not even subbed to ~news and a few other groups.
Are you aware that I'm not against change and actually suggesting another sort of change (remove comment voting in general, activity sort for comments by default). The main problem for me here is that if votes will remain but be hidden, that's not a nice situation (and I talk about this elsewhere in this topic). I don't mind not having votes at all, but a limbo where we vote but can't tell its results is undesirable.
Yes, I just don't see how seeing that somone else's comment has 9 votes builds a sense of community. It just tells me that 9 people existed on this thread and had a thought about a post.
It wasn't meant to be patronizing lecturing. So let me try this again. "Exemplary" is entirely subjective. You imply that people who mark low-vote posts as exemplary are only tagging things as such because they want to gain the system to keep combative posts high up. I don't disagree that there are cases where this happens, but I do disagree that this is a common case. You yourself admit somewhere else in this thread that it is a rare occurrence. If a minority opinion is marked as exemplary it is equally likely that someone else who holds the minority opinion thought the comment was exemplary. It could be that someone that is neutral (or even disagrees) thinks the comment was just an exemplary comment even if they don't agree with the opinion posted. I couldn't tell you how many votes any exemplary post I've ever seen on this site has had, or even a ballpark, because I don't think votes are a good metric for that. All exemplary tells me is that someone else on this site thought a comment was (a) well thought out and (b) had an interesting inside. It doesn't tell you any more than that because anything beyond that is a guess about the intentions of another user. The only people who knows why something was marked exemplary are the person who labeled it and the person who made the comment and got the message why. And yes, we can both agree that people DO use votes to mean agree/disagree, but it can mean so many other things and I don't think people should make the assumption that 1 vote = 1 agree. You don't have to agree with that logic! That's fine. We are allowed to see votes differently.
Great! I'm all for this! But I don't see how having votes public for everyone fixes this. If there is a move to only showing how many votes your own comments have then I'm on board. That idea gets a solid ++ from me.
Again, this is going to be us viewing these comments different ways and that's fine. You see them as negatives that need to be avoided. I see them as a foot in the door of getting more people actively commenting on posts. As I said in my last reply, I think the proper response to these kinds of comments is to reply to these posts gently pushing people to give more in depth answers. I think if we mix that with a "I can see how many votes my own comments get" then we get what some of us want which is more interaction. People start off making low-quality comments, other users start conversations with them, ask them questions. They either don't respond in which case fuck that sucks or the give a slightly better response. They get more votes and see their first comment got marked as noise where this one did better. They're validated for putting in the slightly more effort. They've now stopped lurking and had their first contribution to the site.
And some of us aren't and want to see more. Both are opinions that some people agree with and don't agree with and are equally valid. We'll just have to agree to disagree here.
You still fail to see the point here, so I'll focus in a bit:
I've noticed a pattern where [exemplary] is used to push comments higher up in the thread, i.e. make it more "relevant" given the default sorting method is "relevance". I do understand it is totally subjective. But when the comment is unpopular and also (almost or completely) breaks Tildes ethos and also has an [exemplary] tag, there seems to be an abuse of the feature to boost a comment. And I think that's unfair.
In general, I think exemplary tags affecting sorting is unfair and should be disabled. Keep them around, nice feature, but being able to boost a comment in a thread with a limited resource is not a nice idea IMHO.
How is it any more unfair than someone just voting on that comment? Unless multiple other people vote on the comment, the exemplary label does less than a single vote does in terms of effect on sorting.
Votes are an unlimited resource, but with exemplary, we need to choose who to give it for 8 hours. Some will not mind spending them just to artificially boost one comment but some will be very stingy with them.
Also, when approaching a comment, we all have a single vote and theoretically unlimited comments, so we're all equals, except for the exemplary label: some of us might have spent it elsewhere. So we're potentially on slightly unequal grounds.
And then there is the fact that it's unclear what exemplary is: someone's exemplary is someone else's horrible comment. But that's probably an issue with score-based sorting. Maybe our next experiment could be to make
newestthe default sort for comments for a while?
Now you're closer to arguing that votes are even worse than exemplary labels, because they're more unfair for being able to "artificially boost" something, and they're even more unclear in terms of meaning.
I get that you (clearly) dislike them, but I think you're greatly exaggerating multiple problems with exemplary labels. You started out at "these are being abused constantly and are hugely unfair" to now trying to justify that feeling when they're rarely used at all and not even as impactful as a single vote in isolation.
I think I have a mistaken conception of how much effect they have.
I think I've actually mentioned the possibility of getting rid of votes altogether and pseudo-randomising sorting in my toplevel comment:
A good discussion that's going on here in a fragmented manner is on what we're trying to achieve with sorting, and I'm curious about the outcome of that.
Anyways, it seems that I was exaggearating this exemplary thing out of ignorance all along, so I'm sorry about that.
'Exemplary' labels currently add a multiplier effect of 0.5 to a comment's vote weighting. If a comment has 10 votes and 1 'Exemplary' label, it will be sorted as if it has
10 x (1 + 0.5) =15 votes.
Wait what, @Deimos is this true? You said earlier:
but this example given is in stark contrast to your statement.
They're both true. Because it's a multiplier, if a comment gets:
So the bonus is a single vote's value or less unless the comment gets at least 4 votes.
I was a little confused given
is an absolute statement whereas the reality is a conditional.
Thanks for the clarification!
Well, his full comment as you quoted was:
which is a sort of a conditional (Unless ~ If not).
perhaps it is late and my reading comprehension isn't the best
Yes, it's a multiplier.
So I was actually in the process of editing my previous comment so I'll stop and post them here.
(1) To reply:
A comment can be unpopular and exemplary and be marked as such and that is fine. If a comment goes against the Tildes ethos, it should be removed. It doesn't matter if it is a popular opinion or not, or if it is given an exemplary tag or not. We're arguing in circles here because, as you pointed out, we're arguing different things. I agree that the situation you posited is unfair. I disagree that vote count is a way to sort this issue. It is what the malice label was created for.
We agree again.
(2) A partial reply to your last comment: I am on board with a site without voting. To be honest, after giving it thought I'm fine with pretty much every non-public version of voting including it not existing. I'm fine with a system where only I can see how many votes my posts have, similar to how the exemplary tags work now. Similarly, I'm fine with a system where there is no votes. The only system I think is bad is one where vote counts are public, be it the exact count, or "tiers" as others have suggested below.
This is also similar to how USENET was or mailing lists are, no? So it wouldn't be totally novel and untried.
We don't really disagree there, actually. Sure, votes won't help with that, but they are indicative of a potential pattern. Once we notice it, it should be food for thought; not necessarily implying that votes alone would solve or even help solve any problems there.
I'm going to scream! We agree! We did it! IS THIS WHAT A FUNCTIONAL DISCUSSION SITE LOOKS LIKE OR WHAT. FUCK WE ARE SO GOOD.
I do have one more point/question I'd like to raise with you. Why do you think the voting system encourages/discourages low-quality comments? There is nothing stopping people from commenting bad comments now. In fact, we know they exist. Is the argument that voting offers the middle-ground for a way to say I agree without commenting? I'm not sold that taking away voting increases this, because reddit has upvotes and downvotes and still has this problem. I don't really see the voting system as a solution for minimizing low-quality comments because I view the quality of comments to be more related to the quality of the average user more so than the voting system. I think the way to avoid low-quality comments is via the community, not via the voting system (or lack thereof).
On multiple occasions, I've just upvoted someone's reply which definitely helps with the urge to add my slightly different version. And on multiple occasions I've used them as a sort of "thanks".
I wouldn't say votes are the only means or best means for this. And there are functional discussion platforms, like say mailing lists, that don't have votes.
I suspect that the more likely outcome is that these people will simply not comment or vote, as opposed to voting + commenting because the total isn't shown. Lurking can happen because the apparent cost of participating is high, but it can also happen because people simply don't want to add to the discussion for various reasons. Tons of people lurk on reddit, where the cost of participation is substantially lower, so I'm not sure removing one of the few low cost ways of participating here will incentivize people to then invest more.
In any case, I don't think lurking is even bad, so I'm not sure why we should prod people out of lurk mode really.
I don't necessarily think lurking is bad. My point is that there is a common theme when people ask "what is tildes missing" and that is "more content and interactions". The suggested solution to it is always "invite more people". While that's one avenue, I think another perfectly valid one is to encourage more current users to participate. Yes, tons of people lurk on Reddit, but thats partially because reddit's community is "anyone who can create an account". If you're on Tildes, you've gotten an invite in which (while incredibly easy) means you've already put in more work to sign up than for signing up to pretty much ever social media site. The community isn't "the whole world" it's "people who want a social media site built around respect and good discussion about interesting topics".
If you have some examples of this, please PM them to me. I've seen it a handful of times, but it's been very rare from my perspective, so I'd definitely be interested in seeing it if you think it's happening quite often.
I honestly genuinely worry that now with vote counts being invisible you may actually start to see that exemplary abuse far more often, since people have no way to gauge support of back and forth arguments, comments from both sides will appear on absolutely equal footing and the only way to distinguish one side having more support than another will be by using up our exemplary labels even if the individual comments don't necessarily deserve them.
When vote count was visible, if UserA's comment had low votes and UserB's had a decent amount, I would have felt comfortable just walking away from that situation. However with the votes now hidden, I have no way of judging the overall community's take on the topic. And because of that I might now feel compelled to also argue against UserA and/or potentially exemplary UserB even though that is not a very good comment either.
I think I might have exaggerated there, and I haven't made a note of when I have encountered these, I'm sorry. All this is kinda anecdotal, but I can say this: I recall seeing this the most in ~news with more conservative right wing comments. One that I can clearly recall was a thread on abortion, where a pro life comment had 5 votes and exemplaried, whereas the average vote for other opinions were many multiples of 5.
I wouldn't say it is very rare tho, a bit more than plain rare, even, but definitely not often as I misrepresented it in my above comment.
I can see how this would happen without any sinister motives.
Imagine you're a pro-lifer and you're reading a thread about abortion. You scroll past comment after comment after comment, all advocating the murder of babies. Suddenly, near the bottom of the page, you see a comment about saving babies' lives. It's the first comment you've seen on that page which actually says something good and moral. Everyone else wants to kill babies, and here's one person who wants to save them. It's the only good comment on the page, so it needs to be marked as exemplary.
It doesn't have to be sinister.
Oh not necessarily sinister, but still not the intended use IMHO.
How is what I've described not the intended use? If I truly believe a comment expresses a good point of view, why shouldn't I label it as Exemplary - even if you don't like what the comment says?
My conception of an exemplary comment is that it sets an example for others to follow, not just makes a good PoV. It might be the case that I'm alone or in a minority with that view tho.
Well, the purpose is to highlight the best stuff - however the user defines best, that's left as an exercise to each person since it's a hopelessly subjective measurement (as algernon pointed out). That's also why it's a limited resource you can only use once per eight hours. The scarcity makes people reluctant to use them, so the tendency is to save it for something you really agree with or feel the need to highlight. I think of mine as a 'to the top with you' tool when I use it, nothing more complicated than that.
Someday when there's a mass of submissions, something like that will happen there too, to help highlight the best. What happens when we start aggregating the 'best' is still to be seen. As long as the result isn't boring I think we win.
I never really looked at mine as 'this comment sets an example everyone should follow' before.
The root of this entire thread is that each participant uses their subjective opinions and personal motivations to change how other people experience the discussion.
For one person, "best" means intellectually engaging and insightful, an example for others to follow. For another person, "best" is used to promote an ideology or political message. For a third person, "best" is just a mechanism to push other comments down the page so they're less visible.
What does it mean to average these conflicting meanings and motivations into a single "relevance" score? I'd argue the resulting mish-mash is not very relevant to my goal as a participant, which is to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Why do you want to send it to the top? Is it because it enhances your own experience, or because you want to influence everyone else's experience? Since you've already discovered and reacted to the comment, sending it to the top presumably isn't about your experience, it's about everyone else.
Changing the experience for everyone else might work if we are a homogeneous community with the same values and motivations. But on a site with many communities, many perspectives, many conflicting values, munging everyone's votes and labels together does not result in an "interestingness" score, it's just a muddled amalgamation of conflicting and irreconcilable motivations that doesn't mean much at all in the aggregate.
So I'd advocate more individualized curation mechanics. If I think @Amarok and @Algernon_Asimov are consistently deep and insightful, let me follow their votes and labels. And when I find content driven by ideological or political agendas instead of evidence and reason, let me ignore their votes and labels.
Then my experience of the site will reflect my values and should be much more relevant than commingled curations of conflicting constructs.
The site could then support many sub-communities side by side in the same group, and even in the same topic. If others want ideology and political agendas, they can meta-curate their own experience which will be very different from mine, and that's OK.
Instead of everyone gaming votes and labels to push their perspectives on everyone else, why not let everyone decide for themselves how they want to experience the site? A more individualized "pull" model might neutralize much of the gaming behavior that's inevitable in a one-size-fits-all design.
That's a very interesting idea but I see a few problems:
that essentially means, everyone's votes are public
it would probably need a lot of processing power and allows for no HTML caching.
I don't really see that working on big comment threads of which you see hundreds per day on reddit. The first time you enter a new group of people, you have to do a lot of reading to figure out who you want to "follow". And if there are many posts of people that you follow, they all have the same position. But I guess they could be weighted by the amount of upvotes you gave them.
I'm not sure that's a negative. In an individualized "pull" model there's far less gaming or working the ref, because the goal is only to make my own experience more relevant. I'd want to "curate the curations" for my own benefit, not to influence what content other people see, and I have no motivation to game or troll myself.
Public votes are more problematic in the one-size-fits-all "push" model, because of the trolling, brigading, harassment and other pathological behavior driven by competitive dynamics.
True, you could no longer cache the entire tree, but that's a tertiary concern for me. First I'd get the experience right for the user, then I'll figure out how to optimize the site to deliver that.
Unlike Twitter where your timeline is empty until you follow people, you could still use the site-wide aggregate votes and labels by default. Then you can gradually tailor that to your preferences as you go, boosting the signal of some people and suppressing others.
And since we all inherit the curations of those we follow, my experience reflects their choices of who to boost and who to suppress. So just following a few people can generate preferences for thousands of users two or three hops away.
In my hypothetical scenario of a pro-life comment in a sea of baby-killing comments, someone can believe that talking about saving babies sets an example for others to follow.
Oh yes, it is actually really easy to see on most popular Reddit threads on a controversial topic when you sort by controversial.
Edit: why does my phone's autocorrect never seem to work when I actually misspell words?
You can, you can sort comments by vote.
And then the age of the comment gives some very subtle information.
If a comment is sorted by votes above older comments, then it got at least one more vote in a shorter timeframe.
I think there's a pro-social component to voting, as it's valuable to have a public display of what the community finds interesting and worthwhile. In the absence of this, I think it will be harder to acculturate newer users, since voting is a way of promoting social standards.
I also think there's a connective aspect to voting. While it's certainly validating to see my own vote counts, particularly on comments I've put a lot of effort into, the votes also help me see that I'm not just shouting into the void. Knowing that people have voted on my comments helps me to know that they're actually being read. It's not about the score for me but knowing that what I'm choosing to share has resonance and meaning outside of my own head.
With all that said, I'm also in favor of obfuscating the vote count. I think removing it entirely removes some of the pro-social aspects, but I also think that precise vote counts also introduce a whole lot of issues, particularly related to validation and the relative "value" of comments, particularly in arguments.
As such, I think a good middle ground would be to have voting tiers, whereby votes are pooled and the public status of the comment changes once the vote count crosses certain threshholds. For example, all comments might start out as Bronze until they receive, say, 10 votes, at which point they become Silver. Following that, at 30 they cross into Gold. This would allow voting to still carry meaning and have pro-social components without reducing commenting and arguments to point-based games.
I will say that I'm not married to the tierings I've chosen (i.e. Bronze, Silver, Gold) nor their associated point values, and I put those forth only as an example. I think having something more uniquely "ours" for the tier names could be a nice bit of individuality, and the potential cutoff points would have to be determined by someone far more data-minded than me. I'm merely proposing that a system like that could be a nice middle ground between precise, public voting, and hidden voting for all.
Gold/silver is going to gamify the situation, and cause problems with validation seeking behavior.
Maybe a color gradient would be better? The brighter the color, the higher the votes.
This is similar to what @staross proposed below.
Aren't these essentially the same thing with voting but with just the units different?
Well, they are close. The major difference is that the vote counts give you the hard data, and are going to look very different in popular/busy threads vs more tame/cool threads. Any kind of meter indicator is going to look the same in both kinds of threads. It's more uniform, and still prevents score-chasing behaviors, since a handful of extra votes isn't likely to move the meter much. Should be less reflexive page reloading happening with meters.
I feel like we're dancing around something nobody has hit on yet, stuck in headspace polluted by how everything's been done in the past, stuck with past examples. We've seen the votes and we've seen the meters, and nobody is really wild about them. What would get people interested more than those methods? What are we looking for that we haven't got a word for yet?
Without spiraling into something completely different, I think the novel new approach (not that this hasn't been tried in general, but there's a lot of different ways to go) is expressive and flexible labels. If they exist in such a way that really separates out the reasons we would vote for a thing, we can toy around with how much we weight each of those values, while still keeping the user feedback that voting gives us right now.
Ultimately, I think votes should either exist more or less as they have on Tildes up until now or be entirely ditched in favor of a much expanded system of labels.
The labelpocalypse? I think it's worth a thread (perhaps after the week is over) discussing what kinds of labels we want. We can think about that while we miss our votes - whatever behavior was making you check for the vote total is probably a cue for a label.
honestly regardless of what we do with votes, more labels would be optimal since we have the ability and there are a few ambiguities which new labels would probably resolve. beyond space concerns, there really aren't that many limiters with the label system since it can basically just parallel how discord handles reactions, or the rating systems of some xenforo-built traditional boards.
Thanks, good thoughts. I think the "signaling" aspect of being able to show what the community supports is really significant.
People suggest the "voting tier" idea a lot, but I'm not a fan of it personally. It causes almost all the same issues as just showing vote counts (e.g. implying that higher-voted comments are "better", causing prejudice about who's "winning", making some people refresh constantly to see how their comments are doing), but works even worse in a lot of cases. Cutoff values don't really transfer across groups with different activity levels, or even across different topics. For example, this thread is very popular and active, so I wouldn't be surprised if some comments in it reach 50 votes. There probably hasn't been a single other comment this week that's gotten that many, but the comments here aren't better, they just happen to be in a very popular thread.
What if the tier is specific to the post itself? The denominator (or part of the function) is the total number of votes in the post? That way it will automatically adjust to the popularity, and just be a reflection of how the votes distribute within the post (or potentially even comment thread)?
It's possible, but has some weird effects too. For example, imagine watching your tier go all the way to the top level initially, and then gradually drop down to one of the lowest ones because someone else's comment ended up collecting more votes.
this could be offset by a formula which sets a minimum total denominator, or acts slightly differently when a thread has few votes, or does not show tiering until a certain number of votes have accrued
but you're right, it's possible for a comment to "decay" because someone else posts something that draws a lot of attention.
Thanks for putting into words how I feel about this on a gut level. Sometimes you come into a thread with one comment having 50 votes and the next few only having 5 or so. And it makes you think. I guess the question is if that's a good/valuable thing to think about. If it's worth it.
For example, posting time already is a huge influence, whoever posted first, likely got more votes. That's not really valuable information. On the other hand, for the same reason school grades have a purpose, it does help finding comments that give you a good idea of the general consensus, which is valuable not just to absorb it blindly but – if you disagree – to see how strongly you disagree. Maybe you wouldn't reply to a comment with 1 or 2 votes but you would comment on one with 100 votes, because it's a more prevalent opinion than you thought. That, of course, treats votes as a measure of "agreement", which doesn't match the idealistic idea of them being rather given for the quality of their content. But how realistic is that, anyway?
It's weird how much hiding votes messes with you after having spent many years on reddit and similar sites (including Tildes). I think ultimately, I wouldn't miss votes but I do believe they serve more purpose than ego boosts. Probably nothing really important, though, and it's tempting to just remove them from any meta-discussion altogether. Just the headspace freed from obsessing over them might be worth it.
Doesn't promoting these comments to the top accomplish the same goal? It just reduces gamification of the system.
To some extent, yes, but its utility is lessened.
In a comment chain of only singular replies, every comment is essentially "top level" and therefore doesn't benefit from sorting. Relying only on sorting would cast nearly noise-level comments as functionally equal to exemplary ones any time there's an absence of same-level replies. Furthermore, in threads with few comments, it's unclear if things in the top spots are there by default or because they are genuinely compelling or interesting. It makes an ignored post publicly indistinguishable from a contributory one.
I addressed this in an edit to my earlier comment here. But to briefly recap, isn't it better that you be the one to decide if a comment is compelling or interesting? Relying too much on other's opinions seems to lead to the groupthink behaviour that Tildes is trying to break away from.
I admit there's some balance to be struck. Nobody wants to read a trove of low-quality comments, which means some sorting or guidance is necessary. But I'm of the opinion that showing vote counts presents more negatives than positives. I elaborate more on that point in my other (linked above) comment.
Lol I had feel the same way and did something very similar. I was halfway down the thread and thought "huh I wonder how many votes my past comments have been getting!" and went to check and then facepalmed.
I've been wondering about this the past couple weeks myself, so you're still a mind-reader. <3
Votes feel like the last vestige of reddit still clinging to this place. We can probably do better. I like the idea that everyone must choose to vote or label privately without feedback mechanisms from the group to inform their choices.
Hm, I think I'll go into the more involved reasons why this doesn't strike me as great when we reach the end of the week and I've given it a good shot.
For now, my main issue is that there's even less feedback on a site where we don't get nearly enough. This just doubles the effect of feeling like you're screaming out into the void to no one in particular. This might have separate effects like encouraging "noise" since there's now no way to tell a person there's someone liking and appreciating what they do other than...telling them. That's not the biggest deal to me, I just thought it was worth mentioning since we have a wide range of opinions on how pleasantries like that should go, but to me this change makes Tildes a more distant place. Feedback is important for feeling like you're acting as part of a community and your time is being appreciated, and this seriously gets in the way of that.
Oh, and since votes still exist, it still has most of the same possible negatives but replaces that with making users guess at vote counts. And when you throw labels into the mix, it becomes a big mess. I think I'll find myself assuming comments at the top of a thread with exemplaries were actually lower than the ones below them in terms of votes, but got exemplaried up...it gets gets weird.
This deserves emphasis. I think we should keep a close eye on general statistics about the site during this week. I can imagine this affecting the engagement, especially that of new users who may have ignored or have not seen this experiment notice.
...and as this thread goes on, how increasingly difficult (near-impossible) it gets to read really highlights why I don't like this.
All I can do is judge by how often things are being said. The "vocal minority" on any subject gets stronger when you don't empower lurkers to make their opinions known. Of course, the more vocal people here may not be a vocal minority...but I can't sort that out now!
I guess by & large I feel neutral about it. I like votes because I'm used to them, and am not sure what positives they hold in my mind other than their familiarity. I'll be very interested to see how things go during the experiment, in myself and on the site as a whole.
Seeing a large difference in votes between a parent and child comment can help users read the room on issues where comments disagree or offer alternative perspectives, and that provides an opportunity for supporters of the lesser voted view to chime in and support their position if they feel they're being underrepresented or mischaracterized. And at this point in writing my comment I think that perhaps voting can be seen as a negative in this situation, and making it invisible might avoid users piling on votes in agreement and instead comment to support or dispute.
Should be interesting.
This is a change which I wouldn't mind being made permanent.
I used to moderate a sizeable subreddit on reddit, and we had very strict subreddit rules. We didn't allow memes or low-effort comments (such as "I agree!", "This is awesome!", and the like.) We'd often get angry comments or modmails telling us that reddit was designed for users to vote on things, and that the users should not be deprived the ability to see content that the moderators veto.
However, in practice, once a comment had a small number of votes, the vote score alone would encourage people to vote similarly (I'm guilty of that myself.) It's hard to read a comment and formulate an informed, personal opinion about it when the first thing you see is that it has 3 gold awards and 83k points. The decision to vote on a comment should always be upon the merits of the comment, not the number of votes it's gotten.
Tildes has already worked around this issue quite handily by moving the vote button below the comment, implicitly delaying users from reading the vote count before the comment itself.
In fact, I'd be okay with hiding vote counts for posts as well, with the caveat that there needs to be some indicator of activity or "interest" in the topic. This doesn't need to be votes, but something like an interest score that increases whenever somebody votes or comments on the topic. There's already the beginning of such a feature with the "x new comments" text, which roughly indicates how much activity a topic has seen since the last time you've viewed it.
Excellent news! Votes are nothing more than ego validation and sadly incentivise prevailing opinions and disincentives minority ones. I'd love to see this made permanent. Thank you Deimos!
Frankly I think it's very telling there's power users here arguing against this change—not meaning to be rude to that section of the community, but you're probably the group that can benefit from having votes hidden the most, even if you dislike it currently :P
can we please as a collective stop with the weird offhand crypto-callouts against "power users" and shit of the sort? they add literally nothing to conversation and, even if you don't intend for it to come off that way, it's weirdly gatekeep-y both with respect to opinions and people (you're basically acting as if somehow these "power user" opinions mean less and as if they mean less to the site). the "power users" trope doesn't even make sense here either; power users hold literally no more meaningful a power on this website than anybody else does, and it's not like the more active users on here are treated any differently by deimos.
That is unfair. I and others have written on useful sides of voting in other comments.
This is even more unfair. If I am one of those power users, I hardly ever get high vote counts (I think most voting happens in ~news where I am not present), and if @alyaza is one I don't think presence or absence of votes would change their great contribution which I enjoy.
Positive words of affirmation.
You're doing great, don't give up.
We'll all just reply with "I upvoted you" and you can tally the numbers as needed!
That's what the noise tag is for.
I guess you could make a system where you can label your own comments offtopic or noise before posting it, and it'll appear minimized instantly, will only notify the direct parent and will not show an orange "1 new comment" marker on the topic itself, or something like it.
Here's some validation in audio form https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_MFvidLubA
I upvoted you dude.
I also upvoted you just now!
I think I like it. I turn off votes on reddit already so it doesn't come as a big "UX shock", or feel that unfamiliar.
The validation on Tildes can be nice, but at the same time you also start to expect it and get disappointed when it doesn't appear. I'm actually really on board with this change!
edit: I guess I can expand on my thoughts.
The reason I turned off votes on reddit are two fold:
Now I have little concern about sharing more honest opinions. If I receive downvotes I don't know about it, and I don't care either. It's quite freeing. I also appreciate how much it cleans up the site to remove all karma scores.
Now that's not to say that votes are always a negative thing. Vote numbers did have the upside of allowing me to more quickly parse threads and determine what was worth reading. If something received many downvotes it may let me know to apply caution (eg. maybe somewhere downthread somebody was called out for lying). But that's just the tradeoff to be made.
I make an exception for subreddits that I moderate. In that position I feel it's important to still gauge community sentiment, so I have votes turned on. It sometimes sucks to see unpopular removals voted on but at least it lets me keep a more healthy beat on the community.
By itself, I don't see this as a significant change. Comments are still sorted by relevance, which always feels the same as by votes.
Are you going to pair this with also randomly float new comments to the top to see how they do?
The first comments usually become the most voted comment, which means they usually remain the top comment.
On a small community such as this, the effect is far less pronounced, but still exists.
If a topic interests me, and if it has hundreds of comments, I find myself looking for comments that are significantly newer than their immediate neighbors.
This usually indicates an exceptional comment.
That could be a really interesting feature to trial.
Exactly! See https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/64y44g/the_mostupvoted_comments_in_reddit_threads_arent/ for some data on this.
That's probably because people don't come back to a thread often on reddit and therefore late posts are ignored. Tilde's comment folding already reduces this effect in my opinion.
Take a look at this thread. The most voted comments were the earliest.
Huh? No they're not.
Order posted - top 10 = mjangle1985, NaraVara, Soptik, Wes, Amarok, CALICO, zlsa, Thrabalen, cadadr, The_Fad
Most votes - top 10 = alyaza, NaraVara, Soptik, Thrabalen, mjangle1985, cadadr, vivaria, kfwyre, Amarok, CALICO
Here is what I think - votes really did helped me to see if anyone is reading what I'm writing. For example, if I'm dragged into a long discussion, I tend to loose interest if it's not "public", as in nobody is going to read it except for me and the person I'm talking to. It's far more interesting if there are some "eyes" on the topic and you can have people who jump in if anything is left unsaid. But for this to still be a thing you don't really need actual votes, all you need is view counters on the posts to see if anyone is still reading the topic.
Here are my immediate thoughts:
I like the idea. But maybe having a qualitative indicator (like an icon slightly changing color) would be a good idea; you would still be able to see that a post is upvoted but you wouldn't be able to see how much exactly.
Personally, I love this. Hacker News is like this, and its one of my favorite aspects of their overall voting system.
Especially when threads are sorted by weight, there isn't any benefit to showing the count. That being said, I'm also on the more 'extreme' end where I believe that a comment or post should be automatically up-voted once you respond to it. In my view, votes are purely to signify if content promotes conversation or not.
I'll second that notion - if you reply, the parent deserves credit for the discussion regardless.
This is not a good thing. Many times you reply to something as a warning or out of disapproval, and there is no reason that means supporting that comment. It is essentially like ads which make you help people earn money regardless of whether you want them to.
I'll add on to that and say that it will discourage me from engaging with people I disagree with on things I feel strongly about. If simply replying someone boots the visibility of their message and essentially widens their platform and I find it morally repugnant, I'm sure as hell not gonna give them that.
(Activity sort does the same for posts, as someone might point out, and this does cause me to avoid jumping into some threads. We need to borrow saging from imageboards.)
Do you think that a system with automatic voting would lead to leaner discussion where the replies are more thought out / researched / engaging, understanding the consequence of promoting something the writer disagrees with?
I don't see why it would. There are reasons why you might want to avoid people who disagree interacting all the time, as bad as that might sound to some, because people who have more common ground generally are more productive when it comes to talking about the things they don't agree on. However, the positive versions of this come from changing who we come in contact with and how much control we have over that...I don't see how effectively punishing users for talking to people who disagree with them accomplishes anything positive.
its interesting to view the auto-vote as punishment. All its really doing is giving more weight to an active discussion. That is good food for thought, though.
I find the different views and approaches to voting interesting. I always figured people were in one of two camps (voting for opinions or voting for quality discussion) -- but reading through the thread, the views are all over the place.
Would an auto-vote with an option to un-vote be a good middle ground?
that sounds like mod-work and a total outlier. But even if you're correcting someone, their response is still adding to the conversation, just as your response will further add value to the thread. Just because something is wrong / incorrect, it doesn't mean its not valuable.
If somebody said, 'an all carb diet combined with little to no sleep and 18 hours of gaming is a healthy lifestyle. Look at me, I'm thin!' -- there may be others who agree with those choices and would find value in your educated, well-researched response.
Now, I should say that the auto-vote works best when scores are hidden. With scores showing, I do think that all replies should add weight to the parent comment, but not be counted in the manual scoring, since its common to assume that score represents community support for the views therein... which it doesn't, and shouldn't.
Well, if we're taking it as weight rather than endorsement, then I'm okay with an experiment of the sorts. I was thinking of it in the context of a public upvote count.
I think it's about separating the value (say of a correct well sourced comment) from the effect (say of an incorrect comment that triggers lots of good replies). We don't really look at those as separate things in the code/voting. Maybe we should try thinking along those lines. This thread has given me lots to ponder. :)
endorsement, like @cadadr said, is a great way to break down the two approaches to voting. along with
effect-- and we could probably map everybody somewhere in a grid like this ---
... and I bet we would probably score different on the things we vote for vs the motivation for commenting. There's probably some thesis material buried in here :)
Personally, I think I'd put my voting (on a scale of 5) around +3 (value) and +4 weight, but when I comment I'm probably looking for +3 endorsement and +5 value.. regardless of what I am actually putting out. I love the validation that comes with a high vote count on a comment, both for my own ego and to further a long, healthy discussion.
One thing I do think this no-visible-votes system would benefit from is an acknowledgement button for those times where you read a reply from someone, but just don't have anything further to add.
it makes sense, right? This notion of 'you only get votes if we agree with you' isn't healthy for any community.
Man, it's a really weird experience just scrolling through the comments, I almost don't know where to look, didn't realise how much I relied on vote counts as a guide. Probably not a good habit.
I think this would a nice if votes were disables periodically, every 6 months, once a year(?) a small reminder that votes are not that all that important and the perspective shift is refreshing.
Also, I'm curious to see how this thread looks with the voting visible, seeing if my guesses on popular comments are correct.
This has been so fascinating to me as someone who doesn't look at vote counts for other people's comments. Despite spending a ton of time on Tildes and Reddit, I never directly used votes as a guide of what to read (I mean, the site sorts but I try to always sort by new I'm not totally independent of it). It's fascinating to see so many people rely on it so heavily. I'm not trying to be like "I'm better than you because I don't care about votes", it is just something that I knew was a big trend on Reddit, but didn't think was as big here. It is really interesting.
If sorting isn't affected, then what's the point of removing the vote numbers? I can still tell which comments have more votes, because they're the ones that appear near the top of the page. I can still ride the bandwagon by upvoting the upvoted comments, because they're the ones that appear near the top of the page. The unvoted comments will still have lower visibility and attracted fewer votes, because they're the ones that appear near the bottom of the page.
I think, for the duration of this experiment, you should force all comment sorting to be random. See what happens when you really remove votes scores and their effects from threads. We signed up to be lab rats, after all!
That said, there is one thing I like about vote scores (and it's already been mentioned a few times by other people): validation. It's good for the commenter to see whether their comment is resonating with the community or being rejected. It provides positive feedback to people.
The difference is largely psychological and affects how everyone views the comments, including the people that posted them. You can use the sorting to vaguely tell which ones have more votes, but just being able to compare relatively like that is very different from knowing exactly the difference between them. As some examples, consider the difference in feeling in these cases if you're one of the commenters:
In a thread with only 3 top-level comments, all posted at around the same time:
You're arguing back and forth with someone:
I bet you can attach an emotion or at least a general feeling to every single one of those cases with visible numbers, without even needing to know anything about what the discussions are about.
Here's an interesting twist.
I just found myself almost deciding not to vote on a comment... because it doesn't matter if I do or don't. It's not a top-level comment (it's a few levels deep in a conversation), so my vote won't really change the sorting, and the other person won't see my vote (to confirm I've read and appreciated their reply), so I found myself thinking that there's no reason to vote.
yeah, this is something i'm noticing and which i've been having happen since the switch. i'm already a bit inconsistent with votes, but now i just don't see a point in voting on a lot of the comments in this thread and others since i can't really tell that it does anything anyways in most circumstances beyond changing the button color, which is purely on my end obviously. since people are going to see it the exact same whether or not i vote, why bother? it's not like they can see the number associated with it right now.
Yep, I've noticed the same thing myself, and even found myself thinking a couple of times, "but maybe I'll still vote, because maybe they'll notice it in a week when I turn this off".
So now the interesting question is: now that we've admitted that we know that the vote is actually pointless except that it makes a number go up, is that really worth doing so much?
I'm devils-advocating a bit here—obviously I like voting, the site is literally built around it—but I think it's worth thinking about this kind of stuff.
Just to offer the opposing side, I've voted on nested comments in this thread without considering the sorting factor at all. It just came as an automatic response to a good comment.
Maybe it is futile, or at least it will be unless a sister comment replies to the same parent. But it still feels like a nice way to recognizing an author.
This has got me thinking though. Here's a bit of a wild idea. What if votes were more than a small ranking signal? I'm not suggesting a currency or anything like that, but maybe they could still benefit the author. For instance, what if for every vote you received, you got 30 minutes reduced from your "exemplary" tag cooldown? That way an author receives a tangible benefit for "good" comments, and it encourages the usage of votes (and tags) in nested threads.
In theory, this could promote better comments and usage of the exemplary tag. Well-spoken authors would receive more exemplary power - if only a little bit - which they would spread around the site.
Alternatively it might allow the creation of circles of people boosting each other to promote an unpopular view point. I don't really know. Like I said, wild idea.
But I think playing around with the idea of integrating it into tags would be worth considering. There may be some "two birds, one stone" solutions to uncover.
Not true. It also affects the sorting. However, when a comment is three or four levels deep, that effect isn't very strong. If it was a top-level or second-level comment, the reason for voting would still exist.
Also, the number isn't meaningless. It represents positive feedback from other members of the community.
And there's still the long-term plans for the trust system. I assume that giving and receiving votes will feed into that trust system to some degree.
i haven't really fired up the Discourse Machine yet since it's 6am where i am right now so there are probably better ways of writing my observations here, but i don't think it's pointless at all, mainly for the reasons i outlined in my post at the top but also for a few other reasons. one such example: votes kinda give me a barometer by which to gauge people's reactions to things in threads like this asking for opinions in a way that replies cannot, but i honestly have no idea what is going on in most of this thread because i can't tell who likes or agrees with what at a glance because there's no definitive way to tell how many people agree with what, and it gets increasingly bad as this thread grows in size. nested threads in particular are really bad because there's really no way to tell, even based on the fuzziness of sort, how many people think a certain point brought up in response to someone else's point is good or agree with it. votes in this case serve a somewhat obvious function, the function is just mostly useless and pointless when we can't see the raw numbers going into it.
I've felt all those emotions from all those scenarios.
Right now, the only emotion I'm feeling is frustration, because I don't know if people are reading my comments and/or liking them or disliking them. But it's only a couple of hours into the experiment. Maybe it'll get better after a few days.
I'm right there with you, I usually refresh my user page regularly (much too regularly, really) to see what's happening with all my recent posts, and it's really weird for the answer to always be "nothing" unless I've got an actual reply.
The question is whether that's actually something that's good to be doing, or if it's more like an addiction to the validation that you mentioned.
I think it's a good thing as far as reinforcing involvement here. I don't post here a lot recently, but I still have high hopes for this place—and my participation, for whatever humans-are-flawed reason, is dependent on feedback on what my participation means to other people. I'm not commenting to talk to myself when I comment on an internet forum. But since we foster deeper, more thoughtful discussion here, a simple "Atta boy!" or "I agree" post is not only discouraged, it's likely to be hidden (which is good, and I agree with minimizing any sort of 'fluff' post and discouraging them altogether), which leads to it seeming like I'm screaming into the void.
If I return to a comment of mine and it has few replies but 25 votes, I'll know at least people read the damn thing, and that fosters more participation on my part (please note, I'm not holding 'my participation' up as some valuable thing I might withhold—I mean "the greater participation of membership").
This makes me think: what if we had votes, but they did not affect the sorting, which would be random or activity based?
This is a great idea and experiment and I'm curious to see how it pans out.
What I also would love to see is an experiment where we can't see usernames. Not like a permanent solution but maybe just one thread like this. If implemented (like one thread a week) it could of course end up being used to always give hints on who you are in every other comment but people here seem cool and ready to try different things so it could be an interesting approach IMO. Like an anonymous weekly thread.
So I am onto a little experiment myself now. After I left this thread, I decided I won't vote for the duration of it, and with a couple exceptions due to error, I have not been voting on comments for around a full day (two days? my sleep sucks, sorry) and a half. That is usually a short frame of time, but I posted the What are You Reading thread over at ~books, and I was active in a few threads including this one, so I actually did not vote on tens of comments which I would've otherwise.
The first subjective observation here is that in many occasion it felt really had when I did appreciate a comment, but did not need to reply it b/c I had nothing to add apart from my appreciation, which I'd otherwise show with an upvote. The result here is that a substitute for this sort of appreciation only interactions might be useful indeed. Whisper / private replies, emoji, or a brand new idea.
Another observation, again naturally subjective, is that I check my profile way less frequently. I don't really care about the absence of upvotes, but their presence can be uplifting at times.
Lastly, I don't think absence of votes (out of sight, out of mind) affected my activity levels here. Also, the ~books thread was as active as it normally is (upper bound of the second quartile I'd say, the source for the data being my gut feeling). Tho I think only Deimos has access to overall activity levels of Tildes, am I right?
Replies stroke my ego more than votes anyhow, so as long as everyone keeps talking to me I expect little will change for me.
Inb4 everyone shuns me for a week please don't I'm a fragile sensitive artist who means no harm and only gets mouthy like, once a month tops.
My mind is open and I'll give this a go. I'm interested to see how this has an effect on things.
Have you considered how lobste.rs does things? I think votes are hidden there by default for a while.
I've definitely thought about that. I wrote the feature on reddit that lets mods have scores temporarily hidden in their subreddits.
I think it helps with some things, but not others. I think it's also less applicable on a site where discussions can be longer-lived.
Yes, sorry, I should have phrased what I said differently: I was 100% certain that you've considered that, and I was actually just wondering what your thoughts were. I even knew that you wrote that feature.
It does feel like we have longer lived discussions here, which is great.
I'm looking forward to seeing the results in a week!
If we're going to hide them, I think we should just go ahead and remove them. It just feels wierd to have this voting system going on behind a curtain. It feels too much like one of Google's secret algorithms.
Voting still provides a useful signal for surfacing higher quality content to the top of the thread. The actual algorithm is visible in Tilde's source code - it isn't a secret.
I think this is the biggest difference behind hiding vote counts on Tildes and Google's secret algorithms: While you might not know exactly how many votes something has, you know (or have the ability to know) EXACTLY what algorithm is being used to sort things.
Good point. It still just feels wierd to me though.
This is actually taking away from an experiment I am runnning right now. With the community as small as it is right now, the vote count is enough to tell me the difference between when my comment is filled with legitimately good ideas, bad or uninteresting ideas, or unintentional circlejerking. That last one is actually a surprisingly useful thing to know, because being able to avoid it makes the conversation here so much better, and there isn't really a much better barometer.
Beyond that, I think that votes are useful because they are keeping the size of threads down. This topic has completely exploded because it's full of a bunch of agreement, and I think voting would reduce the need for these comments.
So far l constantly feel like l'm doing things wrong because l can't see any votes on my posts even after a day or so. I really need that validation, personally. Not liking this change so far.
I may be wrong but it also feels like being dumbed down a little; if tildes is supposed to have a trust system, why can't the community be trusted with seeing vote counts?
Also, unrelated: this thread is incredibly annoying to navigate. So many comments and not really a good way to keep track of where you are in a thread.
edit: annoying, not hard
If validation-seeking via votes is a learned behaviour, then it likely can be unlearned as well. You would need to let the experiment run for long enough to break that mental expectation of seeing votes. I still instinctively check my user page on occasion, but less-so now than at first.
the problem is that it's not really just a matter of validation, it's also a matter of being acknowledged in any capacity as many people have mentioned in this thread. i can't tell if anybody actually sees my shit or is paying attention to it until someone replies to it, i can only assume they are, which means nothing. (to say nothing of the fact that receiving validation from votes unto itself is not a bad thing.)
for anxiety reasons, not getting validation makes me feel really bad because l might be wrong or because am l being ignored? or did l say something wrong?
l could just be talking to a wall until l get a reply, as alyaza mentioned below.
I am interested to see what happens with this change. I would guess that there would be no noticable change in the number of votes per post/reply or in total number of votes on the site as a whole. But hopefully I'm wrong.
I don't mind hiding votes on comments, but I feel the way comments are sorted could be improved, and hiding comments is unfortunately going to hide this issue as well. I feel like the current sorting order places too much emphasis on old comment threads. This in turn discourages people from posting new threads. Maybe we could adapt reddit's "best" sort order to tildes upvote-only scheme? If there is interest I can think about the math 😊
This might have the consequence of simply making some people sort by votes. I know I'm inclined to do so.
I agree with this, and think it should be permanent.
Do you think we need vote ranking at all? Currently there's not many comments on posts so I generally read them all. I suppose it might make more sense in the future, if the community grows.
I have a perhaps odd request: if votes are going to be entirely out of the eye of everyone if the experiment is largely successful, could an experiment be had where the site was given downvotes, too, given all they'll effect at that point will be positioning?
With that in mind, downvotes would devalue a trust system when that happens to be implemented, so it's definitely got flaws, regardless, even if all of the user-facing ones are gone under the current experiment.
If downvotes were added (and I hope they're not), I think there would be a few ways to reduce the problems of reddit.
Ultimately though it's better to focus on the carrot than the stick. While there can be value gleaned from downvotes as a site metric, they also present their own share of problems culturally. I imagine that's why Youtube, Facebook, etc. have done away with them or never implemented them.
No, it doesn't. If the cap for low scores is -1 (for example), then you'll end up with a small group of comments with a score of -1 all clustered at the bottom of the page.
I guess my thinking is that with this approach, you may at least have company down there. If the cap is zero, then you'd be sharing more space with newer/unseen comments instead.
We'd never know if a comment was at the bottom because it was new or because it was downvoted.
I'm okay with that! Maybe it would give a chance for some downvoted comments to be rescued without prejudice.
Off topic point of correction:
Youtube has thumbs down on both videos and comments.
To the best of my knowledge, the thumbs down on comments are placebo buttons. That's what I was thinking of in my example.
You're right that it does have an effect on videos themselves. Though I think it drives a more complex "engagement" metric than being a simple positive/negative signal.
See also this post from (exactly) one year ago: https://tildes.net/~tildes/1vv/disagree_button
So how does this work with sorting by new? Things that otherwise would not be voted on will not stick out from higher quality posts.
I don't think l'll like it, but we'll see.
I'm not sure what you mean. Nothing changes.
I mean it like, it isn't easy to see if posts are highly voted or not if ordered by time posted and votes aren't shown. That would defeat the point of votes entirely.
Votes on posts aren't being hidden though. They're only being hidden for comments.
l meant comments, oops.
@Deimos sorry for ping but l'd like to know how this'd work
It just doesn't. If you sort by new, you see the newest comments first. That's what sorting by new does. If you want voting involved, you'll have to sort by "relevance" or "most votes".
I understand the point you're making—you've basically lost a "dimension" of information that you can no longer see.