I know we have talked about it to death, and even run experiments on the mechanism, but I think it's worth re-evaluating the idea of voting on comments.
I know that voting provides value to Tildes as a social platform; it acts almost like a social currency; you know that if you have a lot of votes, people appreciate what you have to say. That provides incentive for people to write more comments and participate with the community.
What I and others have come to realize is that votes also have negative effects on our community. Here's a short list of negative effects:
Voting is addictive. I'm sure most of us are familiar with the process of clicking on our usernames to see how many votes our last few comments have gathered. We do this because it's a dopamine hit; they act like tiny digital love letters telling us how awesome we are.
Voting is a measurement of popularity. Those love letters aren't actually how good you are, they measure how popular your ideas are. In other words, votes encourage group-think and creates an echo chamber that will prevent you from taking competing ideas seriously.
Because of number 2, we alienate people with other ideas and reduce the richness and quality of discussion on this platform.
Also as a result of number 2, the information that gets put into those popular threads becomes the de facto truth - weather or not it's actually true. This can prevent us from seeing the "bigger picture" or from understanding problems others might have with how we think.
The end result of all of these effects is that we will slowly become more and more extreme and insular as time progresses. We essentially become the same as the people stuck in conservative media prisons that we tend to look down on.
Personally speaking, I think that we would be a much more robust community if we had more conservative voices speaking up. After all, the left does not have a monopoly on the objective truth. I know we probably have a few conservatives that are lurking around, but I think that they are largely disincentivized to contribute because they don't get the same kind of votes left-leaning comments do.
With that being said, I would like to hear back from everyone what they think we should do about voting. Should we go back to hiding vote totals again? Should we get rid of them entirely? Or maybe you think things are good as they are? Please let us know your reasoning.