Petition To Make Inarticulate Downvoting More Difficult
I feel a strong affinity with this community, but that’s hard to remember when my own locally-weird ideas get downvoted and/or reverted to draft without giving me a clear route to explain myself.
Even just splitting the Karma mechanism into “doesn’t seem benevolent” and “doesn’t seem accurate” would be much more comforting. None of us have the working memory to keep that straight all the time.
Or, since nonbenevolence is a stronger claim, it could be the Strong Downvote? It should absolutely be labeled as such, though.
Hmm. You joined three days ago, wrote a post, it got downvoted to −13 (I didn’t downvote but also felt it was nonsense), several people explained to you why, you didn’t understand their explanations, and now you write a petition to make inarticulate downvoting more difficult, which wouldn’t help with your problem. Not a good start.
And honestly I think your feelings of “strong affinity” with LW aren’t on a good path. Maybe revert to not-very-strong affinity, treat LW as a place to chat in a more relaxed way, and let affinity grow mutually? As one of my teachers in university said, when giving an A to a student who had attended each and every class: “Relationships should be symmetric”.
How much have you interacted with strangers on anything intellectual in your life so far? You come off as not really realizing yet that communities have different communication styles and expectations and that you need to understand and learn the local customs before you’ll get a good reception.
For example, if you are getting downvoted a lot and don’t know why, you might for example make a comment on an open thread saying something like “Hey guys, looks like my stuff is getting downvoted a lot and I’m not sure why, can you tell me what I’m doing wrong”. You should probably not start by proposing changes to the fundamental workings of the forum.
Some things are a question of common sense or common forum etiquette, not of following a specific style guide. You’re expected to have enough other-modeling ability to see what it looks like from the outside when you show up with less than a week old account, get a negative reaction with your stuff, and then move on to propose changes to site rules.
Usually, when I downvote something, I try to weigh three factors against each other:
How much do I want others to see this?
How much time & effort would it take me to explain to the person why I think their comment is misguided?
How likely is it that I would influence the poster’s behavior productively?
I usually try to explain why I downvoted something, but I often have the impression that a simple “lurk moar”/”read the sequences and the codex”/”be more precise/formal/factual” would be the most accurate advice (most bad posts are meandering, imprecise and unstructured).
I wonder whether it’s nicer to comment and recommend someone to read the sequences and the codex than to strong-downvote them (I would guess that for most people, the psychological effect of the latter is much worse). For some reason, the former has kind of fallen out of fashion here.
Also, over time, I have learned that there are some topics that it’s pretty much hopeless to discuss about online: the E word, the C word, the G word, the other C word. At the least, for a conversation, there needs to be a shared understanding that you both know that you’re not just GPT-3ing the whole thing out.
Your experience differs from mine. When my posts get mass downvoted, I never have to guess why it happened.
There may be a large difference in quantity of observations. The OP has very few posts or comments (unless this is a new account for a longer-term contributor), where you’ve been updating your model for years, over many hundreds of posts and comments.
My general advice is to not worry much about karma—it’s a good signal, but quite noisy and intentionally information-light in order to increase participation. It should be a guide to what topics and styles work best, but don’t overfit, especially in your first dozen posts or hundred comments. You’ll get maybe 1⁄10 as many comments as voters, but comments have a lot more informational value.
I think there is a value to downvoting being easy, and not require an explanation (Eliezer talked about that being important from the start), but I do agree with you that it can be frustrating.
So, I suggest a better solution would look in the opposite direction, of rewarding articulate downvoting. How exactly I’m not sure, but I think it would be better than something that discourages downvoting.
I guess there’s already some of that, since if you explain your down vote in a comment then it can get upvoted. But it can also be ignored or downvoted, so it’s not a reliable reward.
One way to elicit more articulate downvoting is to explicitly request constructive criticism at the end of a post.
Mod Note: Horatio Von Becker has been banned. In addition to writing a high volume of low-quality posts/comments and petitioning to change the site because he didn’t get a good reaction, he was also non-cooperative with mod feedback, including reposting posts that I had drafted and told him were not a good fit for LessWrong.
Thanks to everyone in this thread for trying thoughtfully and helpfully engage. I’m sorry this user took up your time and attention.
I think I would phrase it differently, perhaps something like “Tell the typical LessWronger something that they will find valuable”, which might be kind of a cop-out.
That definition doesn’t exclude fiction or something like this, or Nate Soares Replacing Guilt series, which deals more with mental strategies than with truth.
I remember Valentine talking about wanting to have more poetry on LW – I think a post containing a poem, a mantra or litany, or a painting, or some music would also be valuable to LW, if it is relevant and some effort has been put into it.
A somewhat sad truth is that a post like this will likely only be upvoted if you are already known to the votership – you likely have to prove your worth beforehand.