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True, I think simply not having a downvote as opposed to entirely not having an information democracy is more a way to keep communities positive, to keep people from being buried entirely and having bad experiences that create resentment and hostility. People often have strong reactions to being downvoted that result in unnecessary conflict which can turn communities toxic. Good behavior is better reinforced by a community being committed to its values and rewarding such behavior, keeping it positive. Particularly with DN's "Be nice. Or else." ethos in mind.
Thanks for elaborating. I could see how that would work. Not that there needs to be for it to be true, but are there any examples of this working well in larger communities?
I can't think of a single one. I know a forum I used to frequent switch from an upvote/downvote to upvote-only system and it seemed to improve the vibe as far as I can tell, though engagement tailed off — unsure if that is related to the voting system or just aging user base slowly moving on from the community.
For clarification I don't mean to argue that upvote-only is the ideal system, just humoring some arguments I imagine factor into the DN team's reasoning. I think flaws are pretty easy to find in all three systems. A fortune awaits whoever solves them.
Yeah, you bring up some good points. How do you preserve good vibes but allow the community to filter out the cruft? If I hear you right, you are saying that while downvoting solves the issue of filtering out cruft, it also sacrifices the cultivation of good vibes.
I guess we need some other solution that gets us both. In the mean time I think HN is a good example to follow. downvoting and some smart algorithms help keep the quality high. Its not perfect but it works.
It solves this important problem.
Which gets the top spot? Which sinks to the bottom?
Upvote-only puts User1's post at the top. Upvote/downvote puts User2's story at the top. The community as a whole disliked User1's post, maybe it was too marketing but in the current state of DN it would rise to the top.
Anyway, this would be a fun product/problem to work on thats for sure.
"If I hear you right, you are saying that while downvoting solves the issue of filtering out cruft, it also sacrifices the cultivation of good vibes."
Yes, though I'd add, too, that downvoting doesn't necessarily work as described as it tends to aid in collective ignorance. If early downvoters are wrong about something, then those who are inclined to look to this social proof to decide what is good and bad information are likely to follow suit. Then a pattern is formed of a community deciding certain things are wrong and should be buried regardless of merit because, well, everyone else in the community has silently said as much. At the very least you find that communities with upvote/downvote trend toward reinforcing only a single paradigm and punishing all others. This isn't an exclusively bad thing, but if a community heads in the wrong direction it will be fully committed to that wrong direction and it will likely resist innovation of thought.
So ultimately this would require a cost/benefit analysis and some testing, I suppose. YouTube is a great example of a community that was utterly toxic with no voting system at all and improved by having upvote/downvote.
Good point. Another shortcoming of downvoting is early downvoting can have a big impact. I wonder if the solution there is a grace period. Show no up or down votes for a certain period and then rank it.
Ah yeah, and I guess that's what Reddit's solution is as well.
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