Should we hide the vote count display?
The only benefit that I can think of is that it gives users a rough idea of how good a post or comment is, which in my opinion, is not a very good thing. It prompts us to judge a post based on how many votes it has, when we should judge the post based on its actual content instead. It doesn't do a very good job as a quality meter either. A post with 12 votes is not that much "better" than a post with 10 votes but seeing those number, it sure does feel like it. On the other hand, is a post at 100k ten times better than a post at 10k? Voting as a way to sort content is fine as the sorting is like a suggestion, the number next to it however makes it feel like a popularity contest.
I know this is a very petty thing to complain about, just want to know if anyone else feels the same way. Personally, I've caught myself getting jealous when my submission "only" have 2 upvotes while also thinking of comments with higher vote count as more trustworthy before actually read them.
All great points you make. I dig where you’re coming from.
Counterpoint: seeing vote numbers change encourages voting participation. If you don’t see the number change it can feel like maybe your vote is getting thrown into a black hole.
What about instead of a vote count, it just says "Last Vote: X Minutes ago"
Then you get an idea of how active the discussion currently is, if other people are voting on it, and it incentivizes the user to vote. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I like it.
Ninja edit: It could even be something like "X votes in the last Y minutes" - Best of both worlds.
That would definitely be very interesting, and it would help keep with the theme tildes is trying to keep with active stuff at the top to encourage fresh discussions
If someone keeps voting/unvoting, does that keep the last voted time fresh?
I think there could easily be something implemented to prevent that.
That seems like too much effort for too little gain though. The display is only thematic, it's not going to make the post more visible. If anything, somebody doing that would also fulfill the intended purpose of showing activity as obviously there's at least one person staying in the thread to be able to do that.
I really like the idea because vote numbers correlate a lot with how old the comment is, on reddit, the top comments are usually some of the oldest in the whole post.
I think the Vote -> Voted change should be feedback enough to not feel like it's a black hole. Really the main drive behind voting is (probably) whether the comment resonated or not, and even without the count that drive would still be there.
I know this is my own fault and kind of stupid, but often I just forget to vote. I am usually more interested in the content of the story and the comments, so once I dive in I tend to just forget there was even a vote count. One idea I could have would be to let users check a setting to enable upvoting any topic (or comment?) that they reply to. I would definitely turn this on. Typically if I reply to something it means I find some kind of quality in it for debate or conversation.
Some previous discussion that relates to this. Notable excerpts that are important are:
I'm not really disagreeing and am definitely open to the idea of removing/hiding votes. My two-cents, as someone who contributes posts that often don't have any comments (which we can argue, I should just stop doing), it's really helpful to see votes. It's nice to have the feedback that someone read and liked/agreed/enjoyed it, though they may not have any words to add.
Don't stop posting! This site needs more content!
I often come across articles here I enjoy, and I haven't seen them elsewhere, yet I don't really have anything to say on the subject other than "That was a good article!", so I just leave a vote instead. Ironically, it's controversial or unwanted posts that end up with a hundred or more comments. Sometimes a good article ends up speaking for itself, whereas something that could be considered low-effort will spark a heated debate over what's considered low effort, which lasts for days.
This is generally my experience too! I often times read a really good article, go "wow, that was informative", but honestly have nothing to add. I usually vote and then check back throughout the day to see if anyone smarter had something to say.
And I kinda know we're not suppose to, but sometimes I do comment a "I found that interesting..." so the poster can get some feedback.
Yeah me too. My trick for that is to flesh out the "great article" to include a relevant portion of the article that would make for good conversation, or ask for clarification about a part of the article. It's pretty easy to turn an "I like this" into an insightful conversation starter. No one wants to read comments like "THIS." or "I lol'd", but if you flesh it out like "This is great! I especially liked the part where X. What did you think about Y?" then it becomes worthwhile content.
I agree that vote counts can be important for things that don't have a bunch of comments. For example I think I just counted 14 articles on the first page of ~news that don't have any comments. There was only one that I was genuinely surprised didn't have any comments on it. The rest of them are just general news that, while I want to know about, I don't think would foster much discussion past rehashing what the article said.
I wouldn't want the lack of any feedback to stop people from participating, as there already aren't that many other frequent posters.
I don't think you should stop doing this, I think one of the problems with tildes intent of maintaining high quality is that if something is very interesting, complex and perhaps a bit contentious commenting on it can be intimidating.
Yeah, I agree with you.
One thing that gets me to come back to reddit and tildes is the feedback of votes and seeing how many people liked your post / comment
I'd rather we not. Reddit's efforts to hide voting information always annoyed me. I'd rather just have the transparency.
I guess we just have different experiences, for I find myself feeling safer in subreddits where vote count is hidden.
What is safer about posting in subreddits where noone can see vote counts? How does invisible voting promote safety?
Because on Reddit, once downvoting starts it tends to cascade? Not an issue here of course, but the hivemind can possibly dictate successful and unsuccessful posts without even intending it.
And that feeling can affect anxiety and therefore safety?
I'm not seeing the link between one's comment being downvoted and one's safety being threatened. But thanks anyway.
We'll just have to wait for @mundane_and_naive to explain how voting online is linked to their safety.
Oh it's just feeling, as when I see a comment with tons of votes, I feel like I should not disagree with said comment since it feels like I'm going against thousands of people.
I do not think the community needs to accomodate that. Going against thousands or millions should be encouraged instead---especially in this community where we value quality discussion over anything---, that's how we get great ideas that help us ameliorate the cesspool the world is.
That is what I'm saying. If I see thousands of people already agree with something, I wouldn't bother giving my counter argument. If we want to encourage going against thousands, having the fact that thousands having already agreed isn't going to help.
It should help. How is it different to see a thousand comments that repeat the same thing, than see a comment with a thousand upvotes? If anything, it's easier for your single message to get lost and rest unseen among the voices of the thousand agreeing people. Having upvotes disincentivises comments of mere approval, i.e. those which, regardless of length, tell essentially that the commenter agrees to the parent post.
Just because the vote count is hidden doesn't mean people suddenly want to give more agreement comments. My experience in subreddits where the vote count is hidden tells me that that doesn't happen. People still vote, everyone knows what voting does, not seeing the number doesn't make that less effective.
It's not safety in the serious sense, I just meant it as a feeling, as if I'm not being judged.
Basically, you want to hide the vote count just so you don't feel bad when your comments don't get as many votes as other comments. I also feel bad when my comments don't get as many votes as I know they deserve (because my comments are always excellent! haha), but I still think visible vote counts are too useful to be hidden just on account of my bad feelings when a comment I put a lot of effort into gets only 4 votes.
Basically, yes. I believe part of what make a platform welcoming for sharing opinion is to help people not feeling as if they're being judged, and one way to do that is to not attach a grade to everyone's opinions, or at least not to make it a public display. It's like playing sport, we can always do it for fun. But when there's a scoring system, it's a competition. Of course, competition isn't a bad thing, it provides an incentive to do better. However, with Tildes mission of being a place that foster discussion, my personal opinion is that such an incentive is not needed.
Fair enough, plenty of room for both our opinions :)
Maybe once Tildes has moderators they could be given the power to hide votes in their specific communities.
One useful aspect of showing votes is that it shows where the community stands in some debates. I've argued against racists here and on Reddit. Here I get more votes, on Reddit they generally do. I think - although theres no real proof - that this evidence of communal disapproval has lead some problematic users to leave or at least stop espousing their views so readily.
Do we want an echo chamber? Because that's how you get an echo chamber.
If by echo chamber you mean a community where bigotry isn't tolerated, yes we do want that.
"Community disapproval" can apply to a whole host of things beyond bigotry. I think you're smart enough to realize that echo chambers naturally flow from runaway positive feedback loops and can take on all kinds of forms, so let's not be so reductionist. Echo chambers are bad, period.
I definitely see what you mean as whenever I see my comments getting a low score I know not to say something like that again. That being said, this benefit comes with the downside being that people with opposing opinions, not necessarily hate speech, also feel discouraged. On the subject of dealing with problematic users, we're going to have tags to deal with that, so once we do, I think we don't need to rely on vote count display anymore.
I agree, and I think another big negative impact the vote counts have are who you agree with when reading a comment chain. I try not to do this but find myself guilty of it on reddit a lot where if I'm reading a conversation and one person has all negative score comments and the other person has all positive score comments, it just makes me feel like the positive score comment is more reasonable (except on some subs) and I think that's something that should be avoided.
Yes. To me, a no vote system is like 4chan. While both votes is like reddit. Both have problems.
A middle ground of being able to vote up but not down is, in my opinion, the best option currently available. And the biggest reason that attracted me to Tildes.
Why is that a problem? More positive votes means bigger agreement, and given a community is not toxic, that means a better chance of being correct or more reasonable.
Personally I don't think that whether I agree with someone should be based on whether others agree with them. Also that's a pretty big given for a community to not be toxic. As it stands I don't think tildes is toxic almost ever, but I still see those who wish for a more diverse body of thought. I guess I just don't think it's wise to rely on other people to always choose the best and most reasonable content, and that it's better to decide that for yourself.
It is one predicate among many. And nobody has time for reading every comment, especially if one spends most of their time reading.
Please no. The vote count indicates many things and is a useful tool when selecting what to read or which discussion to participate. When I make/encounter a post and see N votes on it, it means that there are N people that agree on something, and that is a reassurance. Hiding votes is unnecessary given we don't have downvotes (which are totally useless anyways). If they are not present, nobody can make use of them, but if they are present, you can either use them or ignore them. If votes are good for sorting, I'd rather see how that sorting has happened.
If this is going to happen, it should be an opt-in setting, not a forced rule. Votes tell a lot about a submission and the general community. I want to see them.
Unlike Reddit, we're going to have tags. A generic number alone is quite vague and could mean anything (Is 20-something high or low? Does a low score mean people don't like it, don't care or haven't seen it? Does a high score mean people like what I say or they like the discussion that results from it?) I think tag is a much more informative way of labeling things and so once that's in place, there's no need for vote count display anymore.
And that's what I'm saying: just let it mean something to me, and nothing to you. Why you can't just ignore the number if you think that it's meaningless? Why we should have tags but not both tags and votes?
Also, reddit has flairs, which are basically tags, and quite useful when rigorously used. I don't see how our tag system is more different than flairs, apart from us encouraging better use of the site's features and better discussion so that the tags themselves also don't become unused or used for spamming.
I guess at this point, it's down to personal preference. I know that this is a very subjective thing and not everyone is affected the same way. You want to be able to see the raw data and infer meaning by yourself, while I can't avoid having the number influencing my perception negatively and so prefer to have those meaning being delivered to me via other ways.
Tags aren't different from flairs. That's great. Let's just make good use of it.
Then a toggle would be the best option, no? I can have votes display enabled, and you disabled.
That's just delaying the issue, the next question would be which to be made the default behaviour.
Great points. On the risk of being too pedantic, sometimes voting plays with my dopamine levels more than I’d like to. I also find it a bit distracting to have some of my mental energy focus on judging whether I should vote what I’m reading or not. I agree that sorting is useful, but is there perhaps a way to do it without voting? The one thing that comes to mind is counting views, similar to what ads do, and then sort by views. And voilà, effortless sorting.
Why not count the upvote ratio, then? Like, amount of people that have voted it / amount of people that have seen it. Disregarding posts for the first hour they're up (since they'd probably have 100% vote ratio)
I think these percentages would be very low. I know that unless I am actively thinking about it, I don't vote on much of anything, and I actively participate/post/comment. I would imagine that most of the people lurking vote even less than I do.
I really like this idea, but there's just no way to tell if someone's seen a particular piece of content.
Great points. I agree to hide scores on comments for sure, but could go either way for topics.
What about the person who posted the topic or comment? They get valuable feedback about how well their post is being received by seeing how many votes it gets. On one hand, if it's positive feedback, they'll feel encouraged to post more content like that. On the other hand, if it's negative feedback, they'll know to try something different next time.
Feedback also come from comments and replies too. I think it's more meaningful to hear people saying that they agree because of such and such, rather than seeing a bunch of people nodding their heads without saying anything. If it's negative feedback, we already know that it's more beneficial to tell the person why rather than just let them see a low score.
Perhaps a mechanism to reduce gamification and to tackle karma-for-karma's-sake problem, is to fuzz the display of the vote tally.
Of course the precise value of votes is still kept in the database, but only a more coarse-grained description will be displayed.
As an example, the categories might be "no votes", "≤ 9", "10 -- 19", "20 -- 49", "50 -- 99", "100 -- 999", "≥ 1k", etc. There are many parameters to adjust and knobs to turn in this scheme. The labels themselves may be less numerical and less suggestive of hierarchy or populist appeal. How it affects other features, e.g. sorting, can be discussed. Perhaps this can be made optional, as well as the ability to not display vote number at all.
A way to prevent gamification could be to have users be unable to accumulate votes/karma, and votes only pertain to specific submission/comment. I guess that's what goes on already, and I like that. When I look at any profile or mine, I don't see any numbers or whatnot, so there's no source for prejudice.
Thanks for reminding me about this. I agree. I didn't thought about the lack of a "karma" indicator on the user profile a feature, but it really ought to be. It's so natural I missed it.
How about implementing a feature to hide votes that people could turn on and off?
I will add that I had a merge request quite a while ago that added this feature (as a user option), but I closed it since it didn't seem useful at the time.
It would also be helpful to be able to hide comment tags (when they're re-enabled), as they act a bit like downvotes, which could influence your opinion more than votes.
I think it will also drive people to participate more as well. A lot of people just upvote comments they agree with so that they can influence the discussion without having to contribute to it. Visible votes for topics is good, but for comments it isn't needed.
Nothing's going to change the 90:9:1 rule of thumb—a rule that states that any forum will have 90% lurkers, 9% commenters, and 1% submitters. People participate at roughly those rates across most of the internet.
Maybe vote count should only be shown when you're actually in the post reading, so that upvote count doesn't impact what you click as much, but at the same time you can see the number change when you're invested in the post, taking care of the black hole problem u/Mango poses. (I don't know how to mention users on Tildes).
I think tat having the algorithm rank higher voted posts is important and hiding the votes disincentives voting.
That's true, but it's not necessarily a bad thing. It disincentives voting based on the current displayed number (if I think a post score is not high enough, I'll upvote, if I think it's too high, I'll downvote). If we hide it, there'll still be some people who do vote, and these votes would be much more meaningful as they do it despite not seeing the score, and it reflects what they think about the content, not what they think about it's score.
This is basically the same situation with movie rating. On IMDb people get to see the rating and get to rate, and we get the situation where someone may think this movie is an 8, but the current rating is 9, so they rate 1 instead.
A lot fewer people will vote if they cannot see the outcome of their voting.
Yes, and that's not a bad thing, as the few who do vote are more genuine. That to me is more valuable than to incentivize people to vote just for the sake of it, which is how we get bandwagon on Reddit.