Not having downvotes is a godsend
This is, of course, all anecdotal.
Spiteful downvotes are a common occurrence on Reddit. Sometimes I'm arguing in a deeply nested thread with a single person, and every one of my responses receives an immediate combo of reply and downvote. It's clear that the person arguing with me is the one making the downvotes, which doesn't seem fair. That's not an indication of my contribution to the debate, they just wanna "win".
In other occasions, when I go against the hive-mind, subjective interpretations of my phrasing renders a torrent of downvotes. I'm not talking about active belligerence on my part, but subtle differences that indicate minor defiance to the norm.
Upvoting seems less toxic. Some subs can use it to brigade /r/all, but that's easily addressable by the admins (I'm not saying they do). While downvotes can easily go unnoticed, upvotes are public by nature, they attract lots of attention, so if something vicious is upvoted the backlash it receives is frequently enough to put the author in their right place.
Tildes lack of downvotes is liberating. Not that I have the urge to post controversial stuff, but the lack of an easy "fuck you button" makes it possible for me to speak with nuance. I'm more preoccupied with what I wanna say than with the 300 implicit rules  I must follow to avoid being buried for offending the intricate biases of every sub.
And before this gets political, please notice that I never post on those subs. I'm speaking of "silly" places like /r/aww, /r/DunderMifflin/, /r/howyoudoin and /r/programmerHumor/.
So yeah: thank you, Tildes!
 I have no trouble following explicit ones.
While I agree with everything you've said about downvotes for comments, I have occasionally found myself frustrated at the lack of downvotes for posts on Tildes. We have labels to deal with sub-standard comments here, but there's currently no way of dealing with sub-standard posts - and I really wish there was. (I'm not talking about posts which are so bad as to require moderator intervention, but posts which are merely of sub-standard quality.)
Yes, I failed to include this in my post, but I
am of the samehave a similar position. I'm not certain if I like them, but downvotes for posts are much less toxic than downvotes for comments.
There's probably better ways to implement a negative weighting metric on posts than a downvote. It'd be nice if we had post labelling—maybe with a mandatory requirement for user input to provide a rationale for why they're labelling a post.
I enjoy the idea of having downvotes on posts, but not on comments. That feels like it will help police good content (and conversation) and allowing the comment section to help give the content a positive engagement for continued conversation.
+1 to adding downvotes on posts (or even a 'Hide' feature that would count as part of the alg. for the feed)
I am going to have to be the dissenting voice here about downvotes on posts. Based on my experience on reddit, once you get to scale, the vast, vast majority of posts in all the new queues are going to be downvoted and not for their lack of quality. Bots, idiots trying to get an advantage on their own submissions over others in the new queue, assholes/trolls downvoting everything for the lulz... take your pick as to why it happens, but it will happen and it won't be beneficial for the site. Downvotes on posts are also especially problematic in smaller communities where the amount of users actually patrolling the new queue for good content will not be able to compete with all the random downvotes that every submission inevitably accumulates.
If a post is not to your liking, ignore it and move on. If it's spam, inappropriate, malicious or really bad then report it (a feature which is no doubt coming here eventually) and let the admins/mods/trusted users deal with it. Both those options should be more than sufficient, without the need for downvotes IMO.
I will agree that a "hide" feature would be nice though, and also help with the "ignore it" part.
Yeah, I'd like to play with the concept of a 'hide' feature. Basic hiding like on reddit is pretty primitive and kinda useless, but I'm sure we can find ways to improve and extend the concept into something more functional/intuitive.
That's where I was a bit conflicted in my own views.
I think the concept of "hide" or "ignore" would be beneficial as its a different action than downvoting. Sure, it may affect the algorithm potentially (for sorting) - but it would have a different statement of purpose and would help police content as we grow on here. Hide the "hide" function in a submenu even, make it a bit harder to use so only people 'devoted' would use that feature.
I haven't given this much thought beyond wanting a way to push sub-standard posts down the list. I don't care if it's a downvote or a label or a flibberty-gibbet, as long as it works to demote a post below posts which don't have it. It would operate the opposite to a way to identify extra-good topics I've previously suggested. One would push posts higher in the list, one would push posts lower in the list.
It's definitely not a "hide" function I'm thinking of. This is more than me just wanting to not see a sub-standard post myself. It's me wanting to let other people it's a sub-standard post, so they don't have to see it, either - like when we label a comment as "noise" or "off-topic".
That would still risk cultivating a mob-mentality/hivemind unfortunately. It works well when the community is small or invite only, but once it crosses a critical threshold and you're in Eternal September territory all the "soft" rules and norms go out the window and people start using the "push down" function as an "I disagree" button.
It's possible that tags like "abusive language" or "no-content post" might help. It won't push stuff down, but it will serve the function of acculturating people to what constitutes constructive behavior.
Perhaps there could be a way to vote on whole threads rather than individual posts. That way it kind of makes it the responsibility of all participants to keep the discussion civil.
Do the 'noise' or 'off-topic' labels cultivate a mob mentality? They have the effect of pushing down a comment they're applied to.
But I'm not talking about the discussion about a post. I'm talking about the post itself. What if someone posts an article that's shallow and vapid?
To a point, yeah. Keeping it restricted specifically to topic and quality helps a bit to keep it from devolving into a “disagreement” button, but it’s still up in the air how well that standard will survive the Eternal September point.
that's the whole point.
sub-standard = noise
It's a bit harsh, given that they tried to contribute something, but if I feel it's doing a particularly bad job or someone would be better off not reading the post, I mark it as noise.
You can't mark posts (a.k.a. topics) as "noise". That applies only to comments, not posts/topics. There is no labelling/tagging function for posts/topics.
Hence my suggestion that we add this functionality for posts/topics, in addition to the existing functionality for comments.
Downvoting (or any similar negative action) for topics would have almost no effect right now since the default sort method is still Activity. It'll become more relevant when that changes (and it'll need to eventually).
It is still possible for users to choose "Most votes" to display their front page. You're right that this downvoting/whatever feature would work better when vote-based sorting is more widely used, but it would still have some utility now.
Anyway, I'm not asking for this feature now (I'm still waiting on Clicking on a reply should mark it as "read"! haha). I'm just suggesting it for the "to do" list.
Yeah, I know. I'm just saying that I think it wouldn't be a good addition at this point because it would basically just be a "spite button" that lets people express negativity but wouldn't even have a significant effect on the visibility of the post because of the default (and most common) sorting method. I agree that we'll need something eventually, I just don't think it's the time yet.
I've been thinking a little about a sorting method that would work mostly like Activity but not bump posts back up under some conditions like if the new comments are deep in the tree (usually two people bickering with each other), if the comment got marked as Noise soon after being posted, etc. With something like that, it would probably be useful to have Noise-like labels for topics that would make them less likely to get bumped as well. It's definitely worth thinking about though, I think we'll need some way to "weigh down" some topics.
Ohh I totally missed that. I mean, not voting or commenting is the functional equivalent of marking something as noise.
Sure, if one post/topic gets voted on and another post/topic does not, then the unvoted post/topic is lower on the list and less visible than the voted post/topic.
However, if neither post/topic gets voted on, but one post/topic is sub-standard, the sub-standard post/topic remains at the same place in the list and has the same visibility as the other post/topic. There's an extra step required to push a post/topic down, rather than leave it sit at "neutral".
I think the quality should draw more attention and votes to the better topic, but I understand the concern.
The plan is to focus more on promoting the good stuff with the bubble up features - think 'exemplary' labels for submissions. Once Tildes is busy enough, being subbed to the top of the groups should bring in nothing but exemplary submissions all day, every day. I think it's wiser to focus on promoting the good than on 'punishing' the bad stuff. Most submissions will always be crap, that's just the nature of social sharing, and it's kinda dickish to slap half the submissions on the site with a 'shitpost' metric of some kind.
It's going to take a long ass time before Tildes is really busy enough to put that sort of thing into action, though. We'd need hundreds of submissions per hierarchy to really see it in action and be able to play with/design for the quality metrics.
Frankly, I think even hiding positive votes on comments would make things even better on Tildes. Show the actual score to the comment owner, but let everyone else determine quality by actually reading the comment instead of voting on it because everyone else did.
The comment's position in the sort still indicates the popularity of a comment and so potentially leads to the exact same preconception/bandwagoning bias you're worried about... so IMO hiding the number itself doesn't really accomplish much besides potentially eroding trust in the system to report things truthfully and sort things accurately. The only way to really remove any preconceptions and bandwagoning whatsoever would be to completely randomize top-level comment position, which is useless at scale and obnoxious.
Besides, I personally rarely even notice vote #s on Tildes comments anymore before having read the comments already thanks to the position of the vote # being underneath the comment instead of above it like on reddit and its relatively small size/light colour deemphasizing its importance.
Not really. Tildes is open source for this reason. Anyone can view the GitLab source code & see exactly how comments are ordered; and it's a zero sum scenario too: what's stopping the vote scores right now from being obfuscated to some extent? How would you know? (The answer is the same, the source code is available to you).
Comment score hiding does make a difference (Reddit has proven this), even if only by a percentage. However, the fact that it doesn't absolutely solve the problem of bandwagoning shouldn't be grounds for a full dismissal of the idea—that's just fallacious.
Complete randomisation—sure. But I really appreciate the way HackerNews sorts comments: the first comment visible to you can occasionally be a randomly selected top level comment; this encourages conversational diversity & IMO, occasionally breaking trust in a perfect ordering is not necessarily a bad thing.
Not me. I can barely navigate in GitLab, and I certainly can't read or interpret the code to understand what it's doing.
We're not all computer developers.
Hate to say it, but unless you're skilled at reading source code & navigate a lot of technical nonsense; there's effectively zero way you can determine website trust—so it's moot when you discuss this with non-developers. I'm not saying that as a put down, that's just sadly how the internet has been designed.
This is actually a total aside from my initial point which was demonstrating how @cfabbro isn't really proving anything by stating that the visibility of votes forms a trust system.
Exactly. That's the point I'm making.
You're saying that we can determine website trust by reading the site's code. I'm pointing out that reading code is a specialised skill which only some people have attained. The rest of us are code-illiterate.
Oh, I agree. My initial point was only an aside to show how the argument @cfabbro was making didn't really carry any weight.
This whole sub-discussion about trust is mostly irrelevant to my original set of points.
Giving more information feels more trustworthy than less, and while the ability to review the code can impact some users, that doesn't change how design decisions impact that feeling (especially for those of us who can't).
Can't say I've ever felt this. Do "score hidden" comments on Reddit feel less trustworthy than those with scores?
Trust in the system, not trust in the comment itself. You remember how Reddit used to show both up and downvotes? It was made very clear that there was already fuzzing on those numbers and that they shouldn't have been taken as direct vote counters, but the response to the change to one number was still negative and like they were trying to pull something.
More information feels so much more trustworthy than less information that it maintains that feeling even when we know the info is bullshit either way!
I think we're all sensible enough humans (given most of us recognise the need for a high quality discussion platform) that we have some implicit trust in Tildes as a platform & its creator without requiring the presence of an otherwise irrelevant number attached to a comment.
The only reason reddit ever implemented that hidden score feature was because they knew downvotes were working out poorly in practice, but never had the balls to truly do something about it. They put the hidden score in as an attempt to block the bandwagon effect (up and down) and as for the vote 'fuzzing' I don't think anyone actually knows why the hell that happens. They said it was for 'spam fighting' but that's a bullshit non-reason and everyone knows it. That was back before reddit evolved into a global spam promotion system, which is basically all that's left of it today.
Nothing, nor does the site being opensource really ensure that the live code is actually the same as what's shown on gitlab. However IMO it's all about perception, being as open and honest about the system as you possibly can be and reducing technical barriers to understanding where you can. And obfuscation or outright hiding the data often causes confusion and as a result leads to erosion of trust and conspiracies about said system flourishing. Just look at what's happened over the years on reddit with regards to shadowbans, vote fuzzing and when downvote numbers were removed (even though they were fuzzed originally anyways, so the usefulness of them being reported was moot anyways). So why hide vote #s entirely when you can just significantly deemphasize them instead and the effect is roughly the same anyways, but without adding fuel to the confusion and conspiratorial fire?
And I like the way HN does it too, and have suggested something similar here as well... potentially reserving the top few slots of the comments section for a few new and "rising" comments to help reduce comment section stagnation. However I think it should be way more clear that is what's occurring, perhaps by having a light 1px box around the top X comments where this alternate sort occurs with a ? explaining what it is, so that "trust in perfect ordering" isn't broken when there is really no need to break that trust like they do on HN.
I'd imagine the people that are using Tildes are not the conspiratorial types—since the posts such people tend to make are inherently low effort, and will intrinsically be driven away from a platform designed for high quality discussion.
For now that may be true... but the current plan AFAIK is that Tilde isn't going to remain private and invite only forever.
But the intent—as per @Deimos' prior comments as well as the Tildes docs—is that it's also going to remain for the most part high quality, irrespective of public status. High quality discussion & conspiracy theories rarely go together. As a general expectation, I do believe those types of people are either going to be heavily frowned upon or shunned if they try and participate at their typical level of intellect, which creates a chilling effect for that sort of discussion, and usually results in such people discontinuing further participation.
Long story short, Tildes is never going to be a place conducive for conspiratorial thinking, so a high level of community mistrust in the system is also somewhat unlikely.
That is there on HN, and I hate(d) it. The positive votes are good to have, I can guess what certain numbers of votes mean and I can't know the truth of everything on every sub, and vote counts are a useful statistics.
One of the best things about any up/down system is to help filter worthwhile comments. Removing both just makes things a forum thread again, where all comments are equally weighted by their time of posting.
It sounds like @emdash is suggesting hiding the vote scores on posts, not removing the vote feature altogether. Posts would still be filtered as they are now.
One thing I've noticed is that without the downvote present, you have to either leave a reply of your own, or upvote a reply that you agree with when reading a conversation. I think this is having a small boosting effect on the number of comments.
It's also kinda interesting to see how the votes fall when a couple people get into a back and forth - one of the parties usually has a larger share of the votes on their comments. The other party may have no votes, or may have a smaller following of their own votes that's half or less of the side of the conversation most people are agreeing with and voting up.
I'm not sure of what use this information is, but I find it interesting. With downvotes, one 'side' would just end up buried and the conversation would get killed off. Instead it seems like we get a more genuine poll of the 'audience' reaction to both sides of an argument.
While I entirely disagree that the downvote shouldn't be used as a disagree button, I think the major failing of the vast majority in most modern implementations, is in not showing both the up and down count. The story of how a post/comment got to the score its at is way more telling about the public's opinion of it than just the pure sum that gets used for ranking.
Would you mind elaborating on why you disagree that the downvote shouldn't be used as a disagree button?
Because I think votes should be used to gauge the community's opinion of a post/comment. However as I said, this is only effective when showing both scores. Reddit and similar communities say that downvotes should be reserved for when you think something isnt contributing to the conversation or rule breaking. That's what the report button is for, not the downvote.
I can't think of anything less worth caring about than a reddit vote. Anything that goes against the echo-chamber in whatever reddit is going to get down voted, but so what? Say the same thing in another reddit and it gets up voted. It means nothing. It's definitely not worth a nanosecond of emotional investment.
Frankly, same for votes, here.
Just say what you mean - I mean... if you're being a jerk, then prob. exercise some self-censorship - and leave the kids to their pointless games.
Votes rank visibility which re-enforces hive minding.
Yeah, but I don't sort by votes, I sort by most recent, so the votes have no bearing on how I interact with reddit.
The visibility thing is a wash if you mean the collapsed comments because it's clear people are opening and reading the collapsed comments because the vote counts keep changing, even on highly negative vote counts.
My point: while the vote system affect visibility, it only does so for people playing the vote-count game. It's easy to ignore them and make it so they have no bearing on what you see on reddit.
Well, we are humans. Humans are social creatures. I am as antisocial as they come and don't struggle all that much to fit in. But even if I won't bend myself backwards to be liked, I still don't want to be disliked. And downvotes are basically that, the community telling you you did something wrong. And, as a human, I think it's perfectly natural for me to perceive it emotionally as bad thing.
I know pretty well how the hivemind works, and that there's no fighting it. But it still bothers me deeply sometimes. Often it's not even the hivemind, but the flat-out uncivical rudeness of a single individual in a 1-to-1 discussion downvoting you.
It's perfectly okay for people not to personally care about downvotes. But when they're telling others that caring about it makes no sense, they're not seeing the whole picture.
I'm not telling anyone to feel like me. It seems the responses to my post are people offended that I told them what they feel is wrong. I'm not doing that, and it shouldn't even need to be said. I'm talking about my own feelings and if you can find Truth in them, then take it. If not, then leave it.
I am a silly, silly man and I do care about downvotes. Sorry. And why would you assume I was being a jerk? :/
I wan't assuming you were being a jerk. I spoke in a conditional, IF you're being a jerk, THEN ...
We can all be a bit self-centered at times, and our patience varies. Sometimes I type a response, then I re-read it and I see that it's me being a bit of a jerk, so I delete the post rather than post it.
If you never find this happens to you, then don't worry about it.
I find that when I get downvotes on reddit, it's usually because I lacked some self-censorship and that I could have chosen my words with more care to the black-and-white, inflection-free format of the written word.
If that's the case, I try to learn from it. Not because of the down votes, though. Because I want to be a better person who takes personal effort to not spread negativity.
If I look at a post and it got down voted because it goes against the echo chamber in that thread or forum, then I don't care at all.
I despise that type.