26 votes

Rethinking votes

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Because of number 2, we alienate people with other ideas and reduce the richness and quality of discussion on this platform.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

59 comments

  1. [9]
    Akir
    Link
    I was going to wait until there were more responses first because I didn't want to overwhelm the conversation from the start, but @tesseractcat's comment made me realize that I should probably...
    • Exemplary

    I was going to wait until there were more responses first because I didn't want to overwhelm the conversation from the start, but @tesseractcat's comment made me realize that I should probably just let it out.

    I do have an idea for an alternative to votes, and that's in the form of using positive labels. And instead of displaying a count, it should only display which label got applied the most.

    That way you know that people appreciated what you had to say, and it would hopefully also allow you to have feedback as to why people liked it. If it's got more than a certain number of different labels applied, we can even have it display more than one.

    We can use labels such as 'informative', 'helpful' 'insightful', etc. We just need to choose the right ones so that they reflect the site's conversational goals (i.e. 'funny' might not be helpful).

    24 votes
    1. Amarok
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      We had labels visible at the outset with a counter on each one. You'd see [exemplary 2] [joke 3] [noise 5] etc for each comment as bright bordered boxes. This incited dogpiling behavior, it was...

      We had labels visible at the outset with a counter on each one. You'd see [exemplary 2] [joke 3] [noise 5] etc for each comment as bright bordered boxes. This incited dogpiling behavior, it was open season on anyone labeled with flame/troll/joke/noise. That's why they are all invisible now, except Exemplary. That's what happens when it's all visible to the public. It's worth noting we've cleaned up the labels since then, malice wasn't even an option when they were visible.

      I think threading the needle here is about what information you display publicly to everyone, and what information you display privately just to the commenter. That's the social behavior prompt. This excellent suggestion gives us two prompts now, one to the group itself (the visible label) and one to the user (the full label data).

      The labels have to compete with each other for that top slot based on which one has the most applications. The count isn't shown, either, so we don't know how many people applied that label, just that it's at the front of the pack. I think this may prompt people who have a different opinion to label that comment differently if they disagree. I like that idea.

      The commenter however sees the full label data, including counts. Only for them. This provides a private feedback mechanism to the commenters on how their comments are being received by the community. What starts a dogpile in public might be good for introspection in private. Some labels could even exist exclusively in private, never even participate in the chase for the top slot, likely good for more administrative-type labels.

      One issue, though... what's our sorting criteria if we're not ordering the page based on votes? Go by some kind of label count? Not sure I like that idea... the labels still need something else to play off and multiply against, and as others have pointed out, if we turn off voting, labels will just be forced to replace it. Maybe we want that, maybe we don't, at least not until this system gets more play in a bigger arena. Don't move too fast.

      The real issue is that you can see other people's vote scores, isn't it? Why not hide them until after 30 days and the voting data gets wiped. Let the commenters be the only ones to see the vote total and the label counts. That way they can only judge their comments against their other comments, and people viewing threads have no visible cues other than the order of the comments and the top label if one is present.

      Edit: The vote is poorly named, now that I think about it. All it does here is say, 'to the top with you' and bump the comment up its thread. I think that's the best use of it, but why do we call it a 'vote' when it's more like 'promote' or 'boost'? I guess vote is just grandfathered in. Even when you find a forum without voting mechanics, how many replies that are just "+1" do you see? Plenty.

      10 votes
    2. suspended
      Link Parent
      I think that your idea is worthy of a trial or test run if @Deimos is willing.

      I think that your idea is worthy of a trial or test run if @Deimos is willing.

      5 votes
    3. [4]
      nothis
      Link Parent
      I was about to post the exact same suggestion. I've long thought that this has potential to solve a few ugly problems with votes. For example, people would label a comment "funny" instead of just...

      I was about to post the exact same suggestion. I've long thought that this has potential to solve a few ugly problems with votes. For example, people would label a comment "funny" instead of just upvoting it. You could now balance the ranking algorithm towards how important "funny" is compared to other labels (say, "insightful") and easily filter out fluff.

      The only problem I can see with it is complexity. What are the labels? How do you fit them into a space that was previously occupied by a single upvote arrow? How do you make sure people understand the labels and use them correctly?

      This, of course, is on top of a lot of other potential practical problems that could pop up only when it's actually implemented.

      Tildes already has a label system with "exemplary", "offtopic", "joke", "noise" and "malice". I keep forgetting about it (except for "exemplary", since it's so visible), despite all my praise for it above. That can't be a good sign. I guess the fact that normal upvotes still exist probably has an impact on this: It feels like classic upvotes outweigh all the labels, anyway. Also the current labels seem to mostly replace downvotes and I hardly ever downvote stuff.

      5 votes
      1. [3]
        Cycloneblaze
        Link Parent
        If they replaced votes, ideally, the labels would be made a bit more visible... As most of them have an effect on sorting, at the minute it's probably good that they are a bit hidden. I agree with...

        If they replaced votes, ideally, the labels would be made a bit more visible... As most of them have an effect on sorting, at the minute it's probably good that they are a bit hidden.

        I agree with @Akir though, replacing voting by adding more positive labels to the existing ones sounds like it could work.

        That being said I don't have much problem with votes as they exist right now.

        4 votes
        1. [2]
          nothis
          Link Parent
          Same. I keep thinking of these problems as they relate to reddit, yet they barely exist on Tildes. It's easier on a smaller site like Tildes but it mostly comes down to better moderation.

          That being said I don't have much problem with votes as they exist right now.

          Same. I keep thinking of these problems as they relate to reddit, yet they barely exist on Tildes. It's easier on a smaller site like Tildes but it mostly comes down to better moderation.

          2 votes
          1. Good_Apollo
            Link Parent
            Yeah I’m failing to see anything wrong with the current system on Tildes. Who’s bullying over votes on Tildes?

            Yeah I’m failing to see anything wrong with the current system on Tildes.

            Who’s bullying over votes on Tildes?

            1 vote
    4. [2]
      JRandomHacker
      Link Parent
      I wasn't engaged as a commenter back in the day, but isn't this how Slashdot comments work?

      I wasn't engaged as a commenter back in the day, but isn't this how Slashdot comments work?

      4 votes
      1. Amarok
        Link Parent
        I was thinking this idea had an echo of the [+5 Troll] phenomenon. We're not limited to +5 as the highest vote score or to a small number of labels, though. There may be group and/or...

        I was thinking this idea had an echo of the [+5 Troll] phenomenon. We're not limited to +5 as the highest vote score or to a small number of labels, though. There may be group and/or hierarchy-specific labels someday. :)

        4 votes
  2. [9]
    precise
    Link
    I would tend to agree that the idea of voting, and as it has been implemented on Tildes or pretty much any other internet community, has some serious drawbacks. I would be lying if I said I don't...
    • Exemplary

    I would tend to agree that the idea of voting, and as it has been implemented on Tildes or pretty much any other internet community, has some serious drawbacks. I would be lying if I said I don't periodically check my comments and posts to see those votes. I agree with almost the entire premise of your post, almost...

    I think we should keep voting the way it is. Like @NaraVara, I believe removing voting will create a lack of interest. I agree with @Deimos, that simply hiding the votes will only lead to community members searching for other forms of validation (e.g. deductive reasoning by thread sorting). I also believe introducing any replacement mechanic to replace voting (like Metafilter, as mentioned by @RusticGiraffe) will simply function as the voting we intended to fix.

    As others have said, there is no perfect solution. More astutely though, it has been said that this is a human problem, not a technical problem. Humans are not perfect, and Tildes will never be perfect. As a former techie, I have seen a consistent push amongst the technologically savvy to perfectly solve every problem imaginable with ones and zeroes. It is an understandable desire, as a former IT administrator it was the holy fail ahem grail. I don't think it is any coincidence that in a community whose participants lean quite heavily towards the technical portion of the spectrum, we would tend to search for technical solutions. There are some places and problems where a perfect solution is possible, a dynamic online community is not one of those places.

    I think we need to shift the conversation away from the voting mechanic. Several others have already alluded to the fact that voting is just a much more visible manifestation of the social conditions of the community. If we are to address the symptom, we need to address the root cause in human nature, which once again, is imperfect. @Akir alluded to a symptom of an increasingly broken internet culture in that conservative voices are being quelled here, and liberal voices elsewhere. As a self described "devout communist" (lol) I certainly feel at home on Tildes, but I also feel "safe" from most criticisms. It's not so much "safe" as in a safe space, but more along the lines of belonging to the group-think as was described in this post. There are pros and cons to safe spaces and I don't think Tildes is at any point where we could be described in Reddit-speak as a circle-jerk.

    So establishing what Tildes is or is becoming leads us to the needed action of diversifying Tildes. This may seem non sequitur but I disagree and I believe OP and other contributors in this thread have shown this. I believe taking this step will encourage, if forcibly, productive dialogue in situations where it is a rarity.

    Case and point: There are those like myself that believe bringing different voices to Tildes would be positive and doable. There are people like @AugustusFerdinand that claim bringing diversity, specifically political diversity to Tildes is a lost cause. That overly-broad generalizations keep differing voices at bay, or that (as I have seen others (e.g. not @AugustusFerdinand) state elsewhere in much less direct terms) it will just bring "unnecessary" or unpleasant divisive conversations. Then there are those like @RNG and @mrbig, positioned relatively closely to the prior who say that there's no home on Tildes for conservative/libertarian/republican/tea party/racist/fascist/nazi/some other label I'm forgetting members. I don't mean to call out anybody in this post in particular, but the microcosm of Tildes in this post... The ever so unironically created content by members of the community figuring how to stop echo chambers, while at the same time demonstrating a symptom of the root cause was too relevant to pass up. This entire thread is representative of political discourse on the internet. We can't fix this by changing the voting mechanics.

    Sure, this thread isn't devolving into incessant fighting and too much name calling, but that's because we at Tildes have set that standard. That said, as @kfwyre described in another thread: "One thing I love about Tildes is that we're not happy to merely hold ourselves to beating such a low bar of "better than a dumpster fire"." We don't do this through voting per se. Sure, we are supposed to vote for content that we see as contributing to the conversation, some people do. I think many here have seen or maybe even authored contributions that probably didn't deserve some of the votes they got simply because of developing group-think. Hell, we had an entire thread about users misusing the exemplary tag for the very same reason. This only goes to show adjusting the voting, using labels, or using some other arbitrary mechanism won't fix this social issue.

    As I stated, I believe a path towards the solution is an increase in diversity of Tildes, with the end goal being a community tolerant (to a point) and capable of self regulating its way through a productive dialogue. This increase needs to be moderated, not just by @Deimos, but by the entire community. We need to moderate each other and we need to moderate ourselves.

    I've had the pleasure once, maybe twice in my life to have somebody openly stand up for me that I'm aware of. I think we've all been the odd one out and criticized for it before. In that moment where one of the "in" individuals has your back, you feel much more welcome and safe. For a user on Tildes to politely, assertively call out another user for their rude, inflammatory or otherwise unproductive behavior would be a huge leap towards a diverse Tildes. This is where growth will happen, because this won't be easy. Reading someone's post you disagree with, then a comment that your gut reaction is to agree but then having the ability to recognize that the comment you like is bad for the community, then taking it even further and bringing it to the comment author's and community's attention is quite the feat. You don't see this often at all on the internet, bad faith content is so common that most folks just don't even bother.

    Then we have to look inward at ourselves. This is all very personal to you. I can say quite assuredly that I'm no angel, and I can get heated during online conversation. That said, I have also been known to walk away from threads where I know I'm emotionally attached to them to the point where they could get the best of me. Know yourself, and imagine the other person you are replying to and how they are going to perceive what you are saying. I know this seems super elementary, but I don't think many people do this online, even on Tildes.

    I hate to think I'm preaching to the choir, or that I'm presenting this as an easy solution from a soapbox or the high ground. If someone feels this way, please let me know, maybe I need to adjust my thinking. This is all much easier said than done, but it needs to be done because the bottom line is voting or any other ranking mechanic will not fix our problems or cure the symptoms therein. I strongly suggest we shift our efforts to ourselves and the community rather than using bandaids to hold together social constructs.

    13 votes
    1. [4]
      RNG
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I support the existing spectrum of Center-Right Liberals to Far-Left Socialists. We have a vast array of backgrounds and opinions that are shared here. This is far from an echo-chamber; excluding...
      • Exemplary

      Then there are those like @RNG and @mrbig, positioned relatively closely to the prior who say that there's no home on Tildes for conservative/libertarian/republican/tea party/racist/fascist/nazi/some other label I'm forgetting members. I don't mean to call out anybody in this post in particular, but the microcosm of Tildes in this post... The ever so unironically created content by members of the community figuring how to stop echo chambers, while at the same time demonstrating a symptom of the root cause was too relevant to pass up

      I support the existing spectrum of Center-Right Liberals to Far-Left Socialists. We have a vast array of backgrounds and opinions that are shared here. This is far from an echo-chamber; excluding rightist commenters isn't a hindrance to having productive conversation: in reality it is a prerequisite. As with any other important historical era, there is sometimes a group that necessarily shouldn't have any place where they are tolerated, whether it was monarchists, anti-abolitionists, segregationists, racists/bigots, or modern conservatives.

      If we want diversity of viewpoints, ensuring our platform is safe for POC, LGBTQ+ people, and immigrants is the way to go. Encouraging bringing in "conservatives" or emboldening "conservatives" simply doesn't provide the type of diversity you are looking for, in reality it may make the situation worse.

      7 votes
      1. Deimos
        Link Parent
        Sigh. Can we try not to turn half the threads on the site into the exact same political bickering, please? I'm going to wipe the replies to this out just to try to keep this thread somewhat on-topic.

        Sigh. Can we try not to turn half the threads on the site into the exact same political bickering, please?

        I'm going to wipe the replies to this out just to try to keep this thread somewhat on-topic.

        15 votes
      2. [2]
        GoingMerry
        Link Parent
        I take issue with you painting "conservatives" as some sort of homogeneous group that mean harm to POC, LGBTQ+, and immigrants. In fact I think this kind of broad generalization is exactly the...
        • Exemplary

        I take issue with you painting "conservatives" as some sort of homogeneous group that mean harm to POC, LGBTQ+, and immigrants. In fact I think this kind of broad generalization is exactly the reason why @Akir posted this thread.

        I understand that there are some prominent "right" groups (especially in the US) that have certain philosophies and techniques that shut down the voices of marginalized groups, but I feel that assuming anyone who might identify as "conservative" or "right" is counter-productive. It doesn't weaken these groups; it in fact strengthens them to draw a hard line between themselves and others.

        I'm not from the US, but I do have many friends and relatives there, and some are die-hard Trump supporters. I speak with them regularly about their thoughts and feelings on current events. They feel safe opening up to me because they know I have a desire to understand, not change theme. Shutting them down because they are self-identified "conservatives" would limit our exposure to each other, and further galvanize the tribes.

        In the end, isn't the problem not that we have different philosophies, but the fact that we can't discuss them respectfully?

        7 votes
        1. Good_Apollo
          Link Parent
          Yeah it depends. Fiscal conservatives that believe in free markets and minimal interference by governments in the day-to-day lives of private citizens...that kind of conservative or “right wing”...

          Yeah it depends. Fiscal conservatives that believe in free markets and minimal interference by governments in the day-to-day lives of private citizens...that kind of conservative or “right wing” ideology. I disagree with a lot of it but I don’t have a problem with those values necessarily...there’s room for discussion.

          I would hope Tildes wouldn’t welcome or embrace the other right.

          6 votes
      3. Removed by admin: 8 comments by 3 users
        Link Parent
      4. Removed by admin: 3 comments by 2 users
        Link Parent
    2. [3]
      mrbig
      Link Parent
      Just a clarification, I rarely, if ever, advocate against “echo chambers”. A community usually has encompassing goals and values that are far from universal. And some things will eventually be...

      Just a clarification, I rarely, if ever, advocate against “echo chambers”. A community usually has encompassing goals and values that are far from universal. And some things will eventually be deemed inappropriate or unproductive.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        NaraVara
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        The concern with echo chambers isn't usually that there are ideas considered beyond the pale. It's more that when a group becomes too insular it becomes susceptible to uncritically buying into...

        The concern with echo chambers isn't usually that there are ideas considered beyond the pale. It's more that when a group becomes too insular it becomes susceptible to uncritically buying into bullshit and/or going into a radicalization spiral. It's worthwhile to have certain ideas and behaviors be considered too gauche to entertain, but there's also a balance to keeping enough exposure to ideas outside your own view that you're forced to check your own worst impulses instead of leaning into them.

        The conservative/liberal thing is tough, because the conservative movement's main preoccupations and goals are actually just so deep into an echo chamber that it only makes sense if your view of the world is some crazy funhouse-mirror distortion of what other people think and what's actually going on. The same thing happens to leftists who get all their news and current events from "Breadtube" and stuff like Jacobin and that's worth pushing back on too. Basically, it's not the ideas themselves, it's getting into the habit engaging or justifying motivated reasoning on behalf of those ideas.

        7 votes
        1. mrbig
          Link Parent
          That’s a fine concept, but I think the expression is not currently used in that sense in the wild. To the point that maybe it is not that useful anymore.

          That’s a fine concept, but I think the expression is not currently used in that sense in the wild. To the point that maybe it is not that useful anymore.

          1 vote
    3. Akir
      Link Parent
      First of all, thank you for your insightful commentary. I very strongly agree with you that the way we act is going to be the most powerful force to attract users and activity. But the reason why...

      First of all, thank you for your insightful commentary. I very strongly agree with you that the way we act is going to be the most powerful force to attract users and activity. But the reason why I brought up voting again is because I fear that it may have become a force that counters our will.

      The thing about voting that makes it particularly bad is that it's a measure of will. And what I mean by that is that it's a way for people to show that a comment is agreed with without needing any words, and that sends out a different message than our actual words do. If I were to write a comment about how we are not an echo chamber, for instance, it would probably get a lot of votes, which ironically signal that we might be an echo chamber. In a similar vein, we can talk about wanting to hear new voices all the time, but if those voices don't get votes, it's telling people we don't actually value them. Publishing votes creates a virtual hivemind entity that we will have to fight against if we ever want to change, and I think that it might be a more powerful one than we tend to think, simply because actions tend to speak louder than words.

      And honestly, more than anything else, I'm more afraid of how I have noticed that votes have changed the way I act. I'll admit that there have been times I was so addicted to votes that I have written comments aimed solely with the purpose of gaining more of them. And these are the types of comments that by their nature do not help to advance helpful conversation because we all already know these things.

      And the worst thing is knowing that this kind of power is something that can lead me astray. Although I have a great deal of trust in this community, what if this was a more radical space? Could I be convinced to attempt a communist revolution? Because that's exactly the kind of scenario that I'm seeing on the far Right right now.

      Although, yes, I am worried about hypothetical lurkers and potential Tildes recruits, this isn't entirely about them; I'm just as concerned with the people who regularly post content and comments here (myself included) and how they may be affected.

      2 votes
  3. [4]
    tesseractcat
    Link
    I think that votes encourage activity. Personally I'd feel less interested in participating if votes didn't exist, or weren't visible. I understand that they have negative effects, but unless we...

    I think that votes encourage activity. Personally I'd feel less interested in participating if votes didn't exist, or weren't visible. I understand that they have negative effects, but unless we can find a suitable replacement, I don't think we should remove them. I think this conversation would be more interesting, and productive, if there was an interesting alternative to discuss.

    Furthermore, I think most communities will arrive at a 'de-facto' truth, no matter how you decide to sort the comments. Voting just makes the social pressures more obvious.

    16 votes
    1. [3]
      emdash
      Link Parent
      What about if the vote count was only visible to the owner of the comment? And the text simply said vote / voted for everyone else? That way there's still a level of validation and feedback that...

      What about if the vote count was only visible to the owner of the comment? And the text simply said vote / voted for everyone else? That way there's still a level of validation and feedback that you get (the dopamine drip), while forcing you to rely on your own opinions and views when deciding on whether a comment is worthy of your vote (eliminating the pile on effect), which would solve @Wes' problem to some extent.

      Hell, you could even still sort by most votes—so there's an implicit indicator as to which comments are the most well received, but is it really important for me to know that comment x by user y has z votes?

      8 votes
      1. [2]
        Deimos
        Link Parent
        That's what Hacker News does, and how Reddit behaves during the time that comment scores are hidden (for subreddits that have that feature enabled): the author of the comment can see the voting,...

        That's what Hacker News does, and how Reddit behaves during the time that comment scores are hidden (for subreddits that have that feature enabled): the author of the comment can see the voting, but nobody else.

        It has benefits to it, but downsides too (like every option, as I said in my other comment). The vote counts on other people's comments are information—yeah, sometimes that information can cause problems, but it often has value too. I think it's easy to focus on the times it's bad and gloss over all the times it's useful, but hiding it means you'll lose both.

        I wrote this comment in the thread about the hidden vote counts experiment, and it was written from the perspective of being one of the authors and not being able to see your own count either, but it's just as applicable when you're looking at discussions between other people:

        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:

        • All three comments have 2 votes
        • Your comment has 10 votes, the other two have 1 vote
        • The other two comments have 10 votes, yours has 1
        • One comment has 10 votes, yours has 4, the third one has 2
        • All the comments' votes are hidden, yours is in the middle (consider the other two possible positions too)

        You're arguing back and forth with someone:

        • Their comments all have 5 votes, yours have none
        • Your comments all have 5 votes, theirs have none
        • Your comments have 2 votes, theirs have 3
        • All the comments' votes are hidden

        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.

        10 votes
        1. Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          Thank you for adequately summarizing the exact reason I like to advocate for visible vote counts - it helps to understand both how the community views and values what's being contributed and has...

          Thank you for adequately summarizing the exact reason I like to advocate for visible vote counts - it helps to understand both how the community views and values what's being contributed and has at times had me reconsider whether my viewpoint was correct, well represented, etc. I use votes as a gut-check kind of mechanism to understand what I should and shouldn't be saying and when I might need to look into more information on a subject.

          With that being said, I think the same can be accomplished in some more abstract way such as vote fuzzing or votes corresponding to some sort of icon or meter without providing an exact count. I also like the idea of removing votes entirely for a set of labels instead, but we'll need a lot of different labels to really replace the idea of voting. I personally believe neutral and negative labels should get more visibility as well.

          3 votes
  4. [4]
    streblo
    Link
    Here's something a bit different than how other sites have done it: Allow voting only for top comments and for comments replying to you. This discourages contentious back and forths and encourages...

    Here's something a bit different than how other sites have done it:

    Allow voting only for top comments and for comments replying to you.

    This discourages contentious back and forths and encourages more top-level responses. The community can still 'filter' the top level responses and because the only person who can upvote your response is the person you are replying to you're more likely to aim for constructive discussion.

    12 votes
    1. [3]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      I like this since it's similar to a proposal I had, but simpler. But might it be a problem that all replies have either zero or one vote? It seems like it's not really a vote anymore. I guess we...

      I like this since it's similar to a proposal I had, but simpler.

      But might it be a problem that all replies have either zero or one vote? It seems like it's not really a vote anymore. I guess we would get used to it.

      Slightly more complicated: replies max out at two votes. One vote can only be made by the parent, and the other vote can come from anyone else.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        streblo
        Link Parent
        That might work as well. Or just let anyone vote on only top level comments and comments below them in the tree so you’re only voting on people who you’re conversing with.

        Slightly more complicated: replies max out at two votes. One vote can only be made by the parent, and the other vote can come from anyone else.

        That might work as well. Or just let anyone vote on only top level comments and comments below them in the tree so you’re only voting on people who you’re conversing with.

        3 votes
        1. spit-evil-olive-tips
          Link Parent
          A related idea - we could still allow anyone to vote on any comment, but apply relative weights to the votes, based on some measurement of how active the voter is in that thread. Right now the...

          Or just let anyone vote on only top level comments and comments below them in the tree so you’re only voting on people who you’re conversing with.

          A related idea - we could still allow anyone to vote on any comment, but apply relative weights to the votes, based on some measurement of how active the voter is in that thread.

          Right now the vote count (at least AFAIK) is directly tied to the number of times other users clicked the "vote" button. It doesn't need to be - we could compute a "score" that is only indirectly tied to the actual number of votes, and display that instead.

          For example, I post comment A, you reply to me with comment B.

          I vote for your comment B, and so does John Q. Random, a user who's logged-in but is otherwise just lurking and not participating in the thread.

          Right now, those votes are weighted equally. Your comment has 2 votes.

          The 90:9:1 rule means that there's probably several dozen John Q. Randoms browsing the thread. By their sheer numbers, they can outvote anyone actually participating in the thread (this is directly tied to @Akir's point #2 - "voting is a popularity contest"). Particularly in any sort of contentious thread, bystanders using the vote button to say "I agree with this side of the debate" quickly outweighs the actual participants using the vote button to say "this is a productive conversation".

          Along the same lines, suppose Jane OP comes along, and gives both my comment A and your comment B a vote. That's another fairly strong signal that should arguably count more than a vote from John Q. Random #42. The OP of that topic is saying "both of these comments are constructive, on-topic, etc"

          4 votes
  5. [3]
    Deimos
    Link
    Copy-paste of my comment from last time (that thread is probably worth reading through too): To try to head off a little bit of the arguing that I'm sure this will turn into: keep in mind that...

    Copy-paste of my comment from last time (that thread is probably worth reading through too):

    To try to head off a little bit of the arguing that I'm sure this will turn into: keep in mind that this is a decision that doesn't have a correct answer. Everything works fine and can be used for great communities:

    • having vote scores visible with only upvotes works (Tildes)
    • visible with up and down votes works (Reddit)
    • vote scores only visible to the poster works (Hacker News)
    • individual up and down vote counts works, even if the numbers barely resemble reality (Reddit until 2014 with RES)
    • no voting at all works (newsgroups, forums, etc.)

    Everything works, but none of them are "correct"—there are different effects (both positive and negative) from each of them, and it's difficult or even impossible to get a good understanding of how those effects influence people using the site. Different people are going to have different preferences because they put a different value on the benefits and drawbacks of each one.

    There's no right answer, and there's no way to prove that any of them are better or worse than any of the others. In the end it's just a choice that will have some good aspects and some bad ones.

    10 votes
    1. culturedleftfoot
      Link Parent
      SlashDot's system of score + label publicly visible always seemed the most useful that I've ever come across. The score is within a set range of 1 to 5, so you can get an average (I'm assuming) of...

      SlashDot's system of score + label publicly visible always seemed the most useful that I've ever come across. The score is within a set range of 1 to 5, so you can get an average (I'm assuming) of how valuable other users find your contribution to the conversation, rather than simply seeking sheer popularity, along with the labels such as insightful, informative, funny, etc. I don't know if/how it's gamed, but as a non-user it always helps me cut through the discussion.

      Come to think of it, a non-insignificant factor may also be that replies are titled.

      4 votes
    2. suspended
      Link Parent
      Much like being human. There are things about my wife, friends, etc that I don't like. However, I accept the whole bundle (good and bad) and they do the same for me.

      ...some good aspects and some bad ones.

      Much like being human. There are things about my wife, friends, etc that I don't like. However, I accept the whole bundle (good and bad) and they do the same for me.

      1 vote
  6. [2]
    NaraVara
    Link
    While most of your critiques aren't wrong, the downside of no votes was that during the brief experiment where votes were hidden there was a general sense that the site was empty. Most things...

    While most of your critiques aren't wrong, the downside of no votes was that during the brief experiment where votes were hidden there was a general sense that the site was empty. Most things don't merit a comment so that lack of feedback often made it seem like nobody was reading anything you did so what's the point? Maybe that's fine. Maybe a button that is more explicitly "I read this and found it interesting" rather than "Have an upvote!" could address that. Maybe not.

    There may be some merit to not showing votes in the comments but leaving them on the content though. Or, perhaps, only having votes on the parent comments but not on any children to discourage engagement on contentious back-and-forths. I do think there are cases where people see 3 or 4 votes for a comment they don't like and it prompts them to respond or respond more aggressively than if it was just a single comment by itself. It can make individual comments and commenters seem more like stand-ins for a tribe of people who think alike rather than an individual with a dumb view if you know what I mean.

    8 votes
    1. Akir
      Link Parent
      I agree with you; like I said, I think that votes do have value. I'm just asking everyone if they think that the benefits of voting outweigh the negatives. I also wanted to point out that I'm...

      While most of your critiques aren't wrong, the downside of no votes was that during the brief experiment where votes were hidden there was a general sense that the site was empty. Most things don't merit a comment so that lack of feedback often made it seem like nobody was reading anything you did so what's the point?

      I agree with you; like I said, I think that votes do have value. I'm just asking everyone if they think that the benefits of voting outweigh the negatives.

      I also wanted to point out that I'm perfectly fine with the votes for topics; I think they help people understand what content people want to read, and I don't think the negatives on it are as strong as they are on comments. A vote on a link is not so much an agreement that it's right than an endorsement of interest.

      I encourage you (and everyone else) to chime in later after they've heard some of the alternatives to see if there is any that spark your interest.

      3 votes
  7. gpl
    (edited )
    Link
    Since this conversation comes up so often I am beginning to think I simply don't understand the key issues. I like votes on Tildes because the site is relatively small and low activity, and they...

    Since this conversation comes up so often I am beginning to think I simply don't understand the key issues. I like votes on Tildes because the site is relatively small and low activity, and they are a low effort way to both let others know I read their comment, and for me to know there are people out there reading mine. I absolutely hated the no votes experiment on Tildes because it made me feel like no one was reading my stuff, and that made me less inclined to bother commenting. The site felt empty.

    As Deimos correctly points out, there's no right answer to which voting mechanism is the best. I think that's largely because all of the benefits as well as the detriments are largely "community" issues rather than technical ones. Voting is good when the community sees it as a simple way to express enjoyment or engagement. Voting is bad when the community views it as some marker of validity or truth. All of the complaints and issues with voting on Tildes seem to me to be lingering issues people have with how voting has turned out on other sites and applied to how voting works on Tildes. Does voting actually measure popularity? Does getting outvoted in an exchange make people less likely to share their ideas? Maybe that's the case for some, it's certainly not for me. I'm happy to (and have in the past) shared my thoughts or debated things I disagreed with even when it was clear the other commenters had the "popular" view. Part of the appeal of Tildes to me is that it is possible to do that without the comments themselves devolving into a disaster.

    As a community we have the ability to change how votes are perceived and used on this site even without any tinkering or refactoring of their technical functionality. It may be the case that voting on other sites ended up being a quick way to please the crowd. It doesn't have to be that way on Tildes, and already the biggest features that resulted in that (e.g. karma that accumulates on your use page) are absent here. I think at this point I am just missing what is fundamentally the problem since this discussion comes up so often. If you are unhappy with how votes appear to influence things, I think it is better to change how you interpret votes on the site rather than obscure their functionality or make them harder to use. If people are coming to conversations in order to get validation from the community rather than to have a discussion or ask a question, that will continue regardless of how votes work.

    This ended up being a bit of a rant and I didn't intend that, but I do think fundamentally that if people cared less about votes we'd all be better off.

    8 votes
  8. Wes
    Link
    Personally I was a fan of the week-long experiment we ran. I already disable votes on reddit as I find I focus less on how well a comment is received, and don't find myself influenced as easily by...

    Personally I was a fan of the week-long experiment we ran. I already disable votes on reddit as I find I focus less on how well a comment is received, and don't find myself influenced as easily by other's opinions. I have to pay attention more to the words and less to the scores.

    I think a good compromise would be adding a user preference to hide vote totals. Not to disable the vote functionality altogether, but just to remove the gamification aspect of it. I don't normally argue for adding a preference, but I think this is a good candidate for one.

    I basically never touch reddit on mobile because I can't apply my userstyle, and the site just feels noisy and boisterous with votes turned back on. Tildes has a great mobile experience (unlike reddit), but should somebody decide to make a client, this adds a standard feature for them to implement as well.

    7 votes
  9. culturedleftfoot
    Link
    I'm going to advocate again for removing the window on voting. Maybe I'm in the minority but I regularly visit/post in older threads, read valuable older comments and posts, want to link to those...

    I'm going to advocate again for removing the window on voting. Maybe I'm in the minority but I regularly visit/post in older threads, read valuable older comments and posts, want to link to those older discussions, etc. If we're really not discouraging people from posting in older threads as opposed to reposting or making new threads, there should be some way to leave positive feedback that doesn't add to noise.

    7 votes
  10. kfwyre
    Link
    I don’t even know if this is data that’s gathered by Tildes, but I sometimes feel privately embarrassed by the idea that, should someone look at Tildes’ logs, they would see probably hundreds of...

    I don’t even know if this is data that’s gathered by Tildes, but I sometimes feel privately embarrassed by the idea that, should someone look at Tildes’ logs, they would see probably hundreds of entries for my user page daily. This isn’t because of eager interested community members clicking through to my profile to see what else I have to say in other areas: it’s because I’m vain and I like refreshing that page frequently and checking in on my numbers — especially when they go up.

    This is not a good thing, and I think it speaks to the addiction that you’ve identified that I continue to do this despite being fully aware of it, and that it’s a detriment to me. I do it enough that it sometimes happens out of idle habit or muscle memory, a sort of compulsion absent intention. I’ll find myself tapping my name in the corner without ever meaning to do it.

    That part of me says that getting rid of displaying vote counts altogether is a good thing. I spent years in the 90s and 00s participating in various forums that had no voting mechanisms whatsoever, and those still worked just fine. It’s only now that I think it’s normal to put every single contribution of mine up to a vote, and is that normal or healthy? Should it be that way? These are genuine questions. I honestly don’t know.

    After all, there’s another part of me, a directly contradictory one, that thinks that this kind of feedback is still a good thing. I don’t treat my commenting here as disposable, throwaway posting. Many of my contributions here are products of significant time and effort. Knowing that they have found an audience matters to me, and the votes often validate the time and effort I spend on my writing. I don’t think this is as hollow as it’s often made out to be in discussions of internet points. The complete absence of that kind of feedback would make me feel like I’m busying myself sending thoughtful letters to a mailbox that is never even being checked.

    I believe that visible community and connection are valuable, especially in online platforms that don’t humanize posters in other ways. I think that wanting to know one’s efforts have impact is a positive aspect of vanity — a way of affirming that we, individually, mean something in a social context. Wanting to not be ignored is universally human.

    Voting gives us a low-barrier, time efficient method of validating others’ efforts. In that way it’s good, and I have a hard time disentangling where it exactly turns bad — where it turns into me refreshing my profile page hundreds of times a day. I have contradictory beliefs inhabiting my thoughts on this topic because I genuinely don’t know what the best solution is.

    If I had to propose something, I think that privatizing vote totals would be a net good. I haven’t talked about social comparison a lot here, but I think that’s a significant issue. I also think that having scores on everything helps to implicitly create a competitive or adversarial system, where certain comments are “winning” on account of their higher scores. Having vote totals visible only to the people who made them allows people to still know that they are being seen, heard, and appreciated, but they aren’t able to extrapolate anything beyond data on their own posts.

    This doesn’t eliminate the me-refreshing-my-profile issue though, which is why I also think it would be beneficial to implement some sort of vote pooling/tiering/level system. I talked about this a bit more at length here, but the basic idea is that I think it’s valuable to know if something I posted was voted on by, say, 20+ people, but I don’t particularly need to know it’s at 23, then 24, then 25, and so on. If my comment continued to display >20 (or whatever the tier/level is), refreshing my page doesn’t deliver anything new except when voting crosses specific thresholds. It doesn’t eliminate the addictive quality, but it reduces its frequency significantly. A post that rises to +50 in our current system can deliver 50 individual “hits” since each is observable. If instead we had say, three tiers, the same comment would only deliver a maximum of 3 hits. My other comment talks about some other benefits I believe this kind of thing has, but really I think its greatest value would be in reducing the drip feed of validation on offer without compromising the benefits that communal validation can bring to the table.

    6 votes
  11. [7]
    AugustusFerdinand
    Link
    Since this has been covered multiple times, I'll just copy/paste what I said then: As for this: Good luck. Every time it's brought up there is backlash because somehow all of the right is grouped...

    Since this has been covered multiple times, I'll just copy/paste what I said then:

    I made a previous comment on this in a thread about color coding comments and having a "best of" page; which I'll copy here as it applies.

    It would also be nice to have a “best of Tildes” page for exemplary comments.

    I disagree entirely. Discussion here is and should remain generally high quality purely on the basis of keeping the site at a high level. Unless someone specifically goes looking for a reason behind the colors and memorizes them (orange is obvious the first time anyone enters a thread they were in prior) they mostly go unnoticed. The statements given when exemplary is labeled should be the extent of the recognition a commentor receives and I am of the opinion that vote counts shouldn't be displayed either. A vote count or any other award/point/recognition system is inherently flawed and leads to little more than pandering to an audience to fit in (comparison is the thief of joy) for that minute dopamine rush when someone "likes" your response. These things are what has made reddit little more than an echo chamber with comment sections filled with jokes. Even here I've witnessed dissenting opinions be labeled as noise because people just can't give up on having a downvote button for anything they disagree with or doesn't match the status quo.

    I'm also of the opinion that vote counts should be hidden to everyone but the person that made the comment (and possibly only visible to that person on their own user page) either permanently or for a period of 3-7 days. Another idea is a modified version of reddit's "contest mode" in which the order of top level comments is randomized for a period of time before settling back into a set comment sort order. If done here I would prefer the replies to the top level comments not be hidden by default as they are in "contest mode" as that mode, as evidenced by the name, is meant specifically for subs that hold contests.

    Publicly declared voting systems are flawed, people will vote with the crowd to fit in, this has been readily apparent on reddit (and here) especially where up and down votes pile on without any actual thought being placed on the content, context, or factualness of the comment. I've watched comments swing wildly from negative to positive when presenting contrary information (leading to negatives) that is followed by someone else backing up the statement with something as simple as "You know, he's right..." making it rocket back into positives. If you want a more "real world" scenario, remember this: Every single election cycle is met with warnings about how X party is going to declare themselves the winner early to discourage people from getting out to vote and how exit polls discourage or rally voters depending on who's winning.

    As for this:

    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.

    Good luck. Every time it's brought up there is backlash because somehow all of the right is grouped into a single neonazi/conspiracy theorist/climate denying/(insert whatever idiotic group you want here) population and it is therefore vehemently opposed. The same would occur if we were a right leaning website and people asked for more leftist viewpoints they'd be met with grouping all liberals into communism/Marixism/anarchist/censorship/conspiracy theorist/(insert whatever idiotic group you want here) population. Each side has this nasty little habit of viewing the other as a single groupthink mass with zero nuance or ability to adequately express their opinions and reasons for them. Of course, they're both wrong.

    5 votes
    1. kfwyre
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Yup. And this is unfortunately mostly by design. Most social networks have mechanics that prioritize high-arousal content aimed at generating emotional responses in individuals. That type of...

      Each side has this nasty little habit of viewing the other as a single groupthink mass with zero nuance or ability to adequately express their opinions and reasons for them. Of course, they're both wrong.

      Yup. And this is unfortunately mostly by design. Most social networks have mechanics that prioritize high-arousal content aimed at generating emotional responses in individuals. That type of content tends to generate clicks, views, shares, and the general flurry of activity that social networks benefit from. Low-arousal content doesn't do this and dies on the vine.

      Outrage is one of the easiest and most effective ways of generating arousal, and it serves double duty. It not only inflames people's sense of injustice, but it also inflates a sense of superiority. Thus, if you want to rally a userbase, simply air the absolute worst examples of outgroup behavior, and it gets everyone riled up and angry while also letting everyone feel a little pat on the back for not being like them due to being one of the ingroup.

      It also has the additional "perk" of laying seeds that grow over time. With continued exposure to these worst examples, the outgroup tends to become characterized by them and them alone, allowing outrage to become self-sustaining. Outrage no longer requires outrageous behavior to be instigated -- it can be created out of the mere suspicion that someone belongs to or is even sympathetic to the outgroup in the first place. After all, the outgroup is so bad that even a slight association with them is worth full-throated condemnation.

      Like you identified, I cannot stress enough how this is not a problem of one particular "side". It is a universal problem embedded into much of modern media. I am not using this to say that everyone is equally complicit; only that everyone is equally susceptible to this sort of manipulation. I'm also not saying that there are some groups that aren't worthy of condemnation. Neo-nazis, for example, are certainly worthy of outrage, but characterizing all conservatives through the lens of neo-nazis is a good example of this distortion in action. We see the same type of distortion on the right, which is why the term "Democrat" is now used as an outright derogatory slur by millions of Americans.

      It doesn't even have to be partisan, either. Long before America split into the hard division of sides it has right now I saw this exact process happen with teachers. The worst examples of teacher conduct would be aired as proof that America needed significant educational reform. This was remarkably persuasive to many, and educational "reform" in the past decades has largely been a bipartisan affair. The problem is that much of it was based on a distortion that "bad teachers" were an endemic and overwhelming problem in American education -- a perception created by the strategic airing of the worst of the worst, as well as positioning teachers as an outgroup (leeches on society stealing your tax dollars!) rather than part of the ingroup (fellow community members dutifully supporting the development of our children!).

      7 votes
    2. [6]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. [5]
        AugustusFerdinand
        Link Parent
        Okay, you're wrong. :] But it's possibly my fault you are. I am very left and believe my comments reflect that, however your mental note (or TRE label) contrary to that is indicative that the only...

        Correct me if I'm wrong

        Okay, you're wrong. :] But it's possibly my fault you are.

        I am very left and believe my comments reflect that, however your mental note (or TRE label) contrary to that is indicative that the only expressed viewpoints of mine that stick in your mind are those that are counter to your own. As I've stated before and be it purposeful or not, I largely do not pay attention to who I'm responding to, I respond to the content of their comment/post. I will state that many of my right leaning comments must be taken with a disconnect from the person that makes them, same as I do to others. I regularly play devil's advocate, I adore debate, and find entertainment in challenging ideas. When the views are extreme I try to put in the devil's advocate disclaimer, but it's not something I always include or even remember to. I realize this makes it difficult to categorize me, not that I'm disappointed by it, but that's probably for the best as none of us are simple creatures with personalities or beliefs that amount to a single straight line. An example of this is a friend of mine we'll call Cody. Cody is an atheist that brews his own beer, has four rescue dogs that have their own bunk beds in their own bedroom in his house, donates so much to local charities that he's had to borrow money from me to fix his car when an unexpected problem arose right after a big donation (he makes around $200k/year and lives simply enough that he shouldn't have any money problems), has a master's in nursing and a master's in computer science yet works at a farm co-op, he's of mixed race and he's gay. Cody is also a huge fan of Trump, found the Drudge Report to be too "left leaning" even in 2016 (which having just googled I've found is now actually left leaning, wtf?), and counter to his now-husband's views was opposed to the legalization of gay marriage.

        Being in/from Texas and around people (most I've long since completely disconnected from) that have the full range of conservative views from right-of-center to outright Cheeto in Chief Cultists, I have been party to conversations and reasoning for their convictions, even though I do not agree with them. This has allowed me to understand why they hold those beliefs and, to an extent, share them as counter to other views expressed.

        Honestly, I don't think that Tildes has a particularly strong "leftist" bendt; rather, it's a deeply committed centrist space with little tolerance for people who lie or ignore the truth. In the US, that's most prominent among the Republicans and more niche left/centerlib parties like the CPUSA and the Greens; the Democrats do their damage in other ways.

        This I think is further evidence that your views are so far left that anything you see can only be right or center. If you're standing on the beach in California, then everything is to the east of you. The same as those with extreme right wing views see everything even remotely less conservative as "left wing". The census and comments within in are a clear reflection that Tildes is quite left leaning and that dissenters to that view are met with hostility and dog-piling.

        On my personal beliefs, I find nearly all (because only a Sith speaks in absolutes) policies by nearly all political parties or politicians in the US to be too conservative.

        On moderation...

        (Of course, it's also possible that this is due to Deimos' excellent moderation, and that people are super rude to you and I just don't see it, in which case, that sucks and I'm sorry.)

        That has happened, but there are times where I've perhaps taken things too far and the counterpoints I've stated have been met with intolerance and maliciousness. There are a number of my comments, or comment strings I've been a part of, that have been removed because of turns where people have been rude or taken something personally. I've also had a couple of 24 hour bans for inciting people to such. He does a great job and I rarely disagree with his moderation policies/style.

        11 votes
        1. [2]
          Akir
          Link Parent
          Honestly, I think that you and @tindall might be on to something with this; perhaps right now we only appear to be ultra-progressive because the far right is so popular. I've been talking about...

          Honestly, I think that you and @tindall might be on to something with this; perhaps right now we only appear to be ultra-progressive because the far right is so popular. I've been talking about wanting to hear more conservative voices, but the fact of the matter is that because there is so much focus at the extremes that it's very difficult to define where the center actually is.

          the Drudge Report to be too "left leaning" even in 2016 (which having just googled I've found is now actually left leaning, wtf?)

          Well that was surprising.

          5 votes
          1. [2]
            Comment deleted by author
            Link Parent
            1. streblo
              Link Parent
              This is perhaps true in a modern context but the origin of 'left' and 'right' from the French revolution was quite different. An interesting book I read long ago was Hanna Pitkin's The Concept of...

              but left and right are supposed the be about economics.

              This is perhaps true in a modern context but the origin of 'left' and 'right' from the French revolution was quite different. An interesting book I read long ago was Hanna Pitkin's The Concept of Representation which in part looks at three competing political philosophies born of the French revolution centered around concepts of democratic representation in the left (Rousseau), center (Mill) and right (Burke). It's still quite obvious that the ancestral ideas from over 200 years ago exist in undertones in the modern political wings today -- which I find fascinating.

              Sidenote: Discussing meta-politics is a lot more interesting than discussing politics -- which IMO are deterministically derived from your meta-politics. Perhaps we could try more of that here at Tildes to good effect.

              4 votes
        2. [3]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. [2]
            AugustusFerdinand
            Link Parent
            Oh I did, it's just much like the analogy of looking out to the Pacific from the beach, when you do so you see nothing of note as everything there is under water and should stay there. All of the...

            I think this is evidence that you haven't observed, in your California analogy, the existence of the Pacific.

            Oh I did, it's just much like the analogy of looking out to the Pacific from the beach, when you do so you see nothing of note as everything there is under water and should stay there. All of the things you listed are the extreme left views of insane individuals, just as a conservative standing on the east coast looking out to the Atlantic wouldn't see the nazis in U-boats under the surface or the sunken slave ships of white supremacists.

            Whereabouts in Dallas? I'm in DFW and grew up around here and in Houston.

            3 votes
            1. [2]
              Comment deleted by author
              Link Parent
              1. AugustusFerdinand
                Link Parent
                Lakewood is technically "East Dallas", but no one refers to it as east Dallas, they refer to it as Lakewood and "East Dallas" is once you get past the Arboretum (although the people there now want...

                Lakewood is technically "East Dallas", but no one refers to it as east Dallas, they refer to it as Lakewood and "East Dallas" is once you get past the Arboretum (although the people there now want to argue that "East Dallas" is now further east and they're some version of "Casa whatever", I lived over in the Casa's as well). Lakewood is an amazing area that I just moved out of actually (couple of years ago) and yeah, it's an unfortunate mix of absolutely beautiful old homes full of character and whimsy (I was in a 1920's built two story) and tasteless asshats that tear them down slap down another cookie cutter McMansion on the lot. There's been some pushback against them now and a couple of the neighborhood associations have come together to keep the old houses in place with agreements to only sell to individuals (not developers) that want to keep the home, so a lot of the McMansions have stopped/slowed down and I haven't seen any new ones go up in a couple of years.

                It's a great area, but has skyrocketed in price for both houses and business rental spaces. So it's this odd mix of quaint old neighborhood and crappy chain businesses (or outright empty buildings) as no independents can afford the real estate. Parking is still a pain in the ass around any parade/party on Greenville Ave as drunkards wobble back to their cars and puke in your yard after parking on the residential streets, if you aren't on the multi-million dollar mansion laden Swiss Ave your roads are still crap, and the affordable apartments as well as any old home with a big corner lot are getting torn down by developers to build those terrible three story mid-rise overpriced small apartment buildings shoved into a lot too tiny for them.

                I'm currently near Bishop Arts. Close enough to the actual area to have quick access to the fun there, nearly all independent shops to patronize, and far enough away that I don't hear the nightlife that others complain about. Which I think is really hilarious! "I'm gonna move to Bishop Arts where there's soooo much to do all the time!" (6 months later) "There are too many people here and it's always loud and this and that!" Same thing I hear at least once a quarter in some local news story about people complaining in Uptown.

                4 votes
  12. petrichor
    Link
    This is how I feel. Seeing votes on my comments gives me an understanding of the level of conversation Tildes is looking for. The "dopamine hit" also makes me put more effort into my 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.

    This is how I feel. Seeing votes on my comments gives me an understanding of the level of conversation Tildes is looking for. The "dopamine hit" also makes me put more effort into my comments.

    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.

    This is true. I'm not so sure if it's a negative effect, though.

    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.

    I disagree with this. It is true to some degree - without anything else considered, a comment on a popular idea is going to get more votes than a comment of the same caliber spouting an unpopular idea. But from what I've seen on Tildes, vote score correlates far more strongly with the quality and depth of the comment.

    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 - whether 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...

    I agree. This is probably the strongest argument against public vote scores.

    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.

    I'd be strongly against getting rid of votes as a whole. A label-based system isn't a replacement either. My suggestion would be the following, in order:

    • Wait half a year until the dust from 2020 settles down.
    • Try hiding vote scores publicly, again.
    • Randomize comment order on threads and hide public vote scores.
    4 votes
  13. citizenpremier
    Link
    I have a simple idea for voting I'd like to share. And I'll admit I didn't read this entire thread, so if it's been talked about already... sorry! Make it similar to reddit, but with two axes. One...

    I have a simple idea for voting I'd like to share. And I'll admit I didn't read this entire thread, so if it's been talked about already... sorry!

    Make it similar to reddit, but with two axes. One is for agree and disagree, and the other is for contributes and doesn't contribute. The caveat will be that if you downvote on the agree/disagree axis, you can't vote on the contribute/doesn't contribute axis; it will be assumed that if you felt the need the disagree, there was a discussion. However, I think you could say "yeah, I agree, but that's off topic." So you could vote up on agree/disagree and down on contributes/off topic.

    Reddit voting is largely for consensus building, but the problem is that it buries conflicting opinions. This gives us an easy way to say "yeah, that's right" or "no that's wrong" without also hiding conflicting opinions.

    Ideally, people should explain why they disagree, or why they think that something doesn't contribute. But people won't do that most of the time.

    4 votes
  14. [2]
    Apos
    Link
    Instead of a vote, I wouldn't mind testing something more like an "acknowledgement" or "ack" for short. Which would be something you could give if you read the comment. It doesn't mean you agree...

    Instead of a vote, I wouldn't mind testing something more like an "acknowledgement" or "ack" for short. Which would be something you could give if you read the comment. It doesn't mean you agree or disagree with it.

    With that, you'll still get an incentive to comment since others can now give you an acknowledgement and you'll know what you wrote had some sort of impact. Perhaps it can be automatically given if someone responds. Or if a response gets an ack, the parent chain also gets it.

    (Personally, it's already the way that I use the voting system.)

    3 votes
    1. GoingMerry
      Link Parent
      A read score would be interesting. If I had a post that was read a lot but not voted, it might encourage me to put more effort in the next time I comment. I’d go so far as saying it would be more...

      A read score would be interesting. If I had a post that was read a lot but not voted, it might encourage me to put more effort in the next time I comment.

      I’d go so far as saying it would be more interesting if it wasn’t user-initiated (I.e if you have the comment on screen for a certain amount of time, it counts as you reading it).

      2 votes
  15. MetArtScroll
    Link
    A good cure to the problems 2 to 5 (basically everything related to voting as a measure of popularity) is the ability to sort chronologically. For groups, this has been available from (more or...

    A good cure to the problems 2 to 5 (basically everything related to voting as a measure of popularity) is the ability to sort chronologically. For groups, this has been available from (more or less) the beginning of Tildes. For topics, I would strongly suggest that there is an option to set the default comment sort, though the ability to highlight the new comments and to collapse the seen ones significantly mitigates the problem.

    2 votes
  16. [3]
    nerb
    Link
    Right now the sort-algorithm that's used by default on comments is "relevance." I think labels like "best" and "relevance" silently hide systemic sorting and deceptively make users think that...

    Right now the sort-algorithm that's used by default on comments is "relevance." I think labels like "best" and "relevance" silently hide systemic sorting and deceptively make users think that whatever's at the top is actually what they (personally) want or would choose to be the best or relevant. I would rename "relevance" to a made-up word (call it a tilde or something) rather than one that people already associate with a bunch of other stuff. I also think that "vote" does this same thing.

    I would also look into UX changes that make the "mode of conversation/forum" chosen much more prominent. Sorting by order posted/votes/activity already exists - it's just not obvious or built into the default way of approaching these forums. This is how all the forums on the internet work right now. They don't ask you first what type of conversation you're interested in having - they just dump you straight into a mode and try to steer everyone into that mode too.

    Here are a couple other modes I was thinking about:

    1. "Attention" - Give higher rankings to posts where most users are spending their time in a thread. If a browser window sits over a particular posts for a longer time that post "accrues" a higher score than its surrounding posts.

    2. "Effort" - Sort posts by those that took the longest time for a user to compose

    3. "User newness" - Posters who are posting for the first time or who have posted rarely have their contributions highlighted (useful as long as user account creation is restricted).

    4. Primary Content type filter (img, link, video, text)

    5. "anti-viral"/"help this conversation" - sort by threads that haven't been commented on or engaged in

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      Kuromantis
      Link Parent
      Sorry for the short comment but @Deimos, does Tildes/you track that kind of stuff?

      "Attention" - Give higher rankings to posts where most users are spending their time in a thread. If a browser window sits over a particular posts for a longer time that post "accrues" a higher score than its surrounding posts.

      "Effort" - Sort posts by those that took the longest time for a user to compose

      Sorry for the short comment but @Deimos, does Tildes/you track that kind of stuff?

      1. Deimos
        Link Parent
        Nope, nothing is tracked to a level of detail like that (and I want to stay away from that as much as possible). Pretty much the only data I have is when people visit a comment page, so that can...

        Nope, nothing is tracked to a level of detail like that (and I want to stay away from that as much as possible). Pretty much the only data I have is when people visit a comment page, so that can be used to highlight the new comments after.

        2 votes
  17. [3]
    tomf
    Link
    I think voting is good for the order of threads, but for me personally, I don't need to see the actual totals. I chose to hide them because I don't really care if a comment has a lot of votes or...

    I think voting is good for the order of threads, but for me personally, I don't need to see the actual totals. I chose to hide them because I don't really care if a comment has a lot of votes or not and I'm always trying to vote good content over agreeable content.

    I'm thankful that Tildes isn't linear and I'm also thankful that there is a fairly transparent voting system in place. I love that we don't have overall vote totals attached to our profiles, too. Of the main boards, I think Tildes has the best balance.

    hiding comments with stylus
    article.topic-full menu button[data-ic-src*="/vote"] {
        font-size:0px;
        text-decoration: none;
    }
    
    article.topic-full menu button[data-ic-src*="/vote"]:before {
        content: "Vote";
        display: block;
        font-size: 12px;
        text-decoration: none;
    }
    
    article.topic-full menu button.btn-post-action-used[data-ic-src*="/vote"]:before {
        content:"Voted";
        display:block;
    }
    
    
    2 votes
    1. [2]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      @Bauke's Tildes ReExtended also has options to hide vote counts (on yours and/or others, comments and/or topics), as well as a bunch of other handy features. Chrome - Firefox

      @Bauke's Tildes ReExtended also has options to hide vote counts (on yours and/or others, comments and/or topics), as well as a bunch of other handy features. Chrome - Firefox

      2 votes
      1. tomf
        Link Parent
        ha. good plug! It's a great extension.

        ha. good plug! It's a great extension.

        2 votes
  18. [2]
    RusticGiraffe
    Link
    I support removing votes. Metafilter (another well-moderated community that has existed for over 2 decades at this point) doesn't have them, and that site is doing fine.

    I support removing votes. Metafilter (another well-moderated community that has existed for over 2 decades at this point) doesn't have them, and that site is doing fine.

    1 vote
    1. Deimos
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Metafilter absolutely has voting, it's just called "favorite". For example look at this thread. All of those "[26 favorites]", "[15 favorites]", "[2 favorites]" are people voting on comments. It...

      Metafilter absolutely has voting, it's just called "favorite". For example look at this thread. All of those "[26 favorites]", "[15 favorites]", "[2 favorites]" are people voting on comments.

      It even has a "Popular" page that shows the recent posts with the most favorites.

      8 votes
  19. [3]
    RNG
    Link
    While I'm not debating the larger sentiment here (even though I respectfully disagree with the conclusion,) on a growing list of the absolutely most important matters the left does have a...

    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.

    While I'm not debating the larger sentiment here (even though I respectfully disagree with the conclusion,) on a growing list of the absolutely most important matters the left does have a "monopoly on objective truth."

    • Anthropogenic climate change is real. It isn't a conspiracy. There is a clear, undeniable consensus on experts on this issue. "Alternative" viewpoints are not only not worthwhile, they are actively harmful.
    • COVID-19 exists. It's deadly; the death toll is real. Masks work. There is a clear, undeniable consensus on experts on this issue. "Alternative" viewpoints are not only not worthwhile, they are actively harmful.
    • Joseph Biden won Minnesota, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada. This is a fact; there was no grand conspiracy. The election was not stolen. "Alternative" viewpoints are not only not worthwhile, they are actively harmful.

    Now social issues aren't necessarily the realm of objective fact. LGBTQ rights, racial justice, and access to healthcare are often either sociological or moral questions, not necessarily that of objective fact. Depending on who you are, you may objectively benefit from preventing LGBTQ or racial justice reforms from passing. It's up to the reader to decide whether that's a valuable insight; I'll leave that discussion for another thread.

    Sometimes a society needs to stop treating "neutrality" and "bipartisanship" as virtues. Neutrality has historically been a reactionary force, whether that be during the Civil Rights Movement, the abolition of slavery, the labor movement, or countless other periods of our history.

    7 votes
    1. Akir
      Link Parent
      For the record, I am absolutely against the crazy people on the far right from having a voice on this platform. And in addition, I'm nowhere near even beginning to start a "both sides" arguement,...

      For the record, I am absolutely against the crazy people on the far right from having a voice on this platform. And in addition, I'm nowhere near even beginning to start a "both sides" arguement, because I think there's clearly a superior position in that particular scheme.

      But we have a lot of very far-left voices on this platform, and not many people who are willing to argue for basic things that are still on the "United States Left" such as traditional liberalism (i.e. free markets with sensible regulation). What I'm looking for are people to help center the conversation so we can focus on realistic ideas instead of the purely idealistic.

      7 votes
    2. Sand
      Link Parent
      None of those are left wing viewpoints.

      None of those are left wing viewpoints.

      4 votes
  20. mrbig
    Link
    Your statement concerning the validity of points of view from conservatives would be way more valid before 2016. It’ll take a long rehabilitation period before we can address this group in a...

    Your statement concerning the validity of points of view from conservatives would be way more valid before 2016. It’ll take a long rehabilitation period before we can address this group in a productive manner. So I’d say “yeah, but give it a few years.”

    They need profound reflection, and I’m not willing to serve as therapist for the deranged.

    4 votes