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So this downvote bombing thing is interesting ...

4 months ago from

As of this writing, every single post on the recent page has either zero or negative votes. I've noticed this trend over the past week or so, like someone is systematically going through each post and downvoting them. Sure, there's a lot of lousy content on DN, but the voting has always seemed to remain a mix. I'm sure this will get downvoted as well. :P

26 comments

  • Reece ButlerReece Butler, 4 months ago

    A much bigger problem in my opinion is that a post only needs 2 up votes — one is automatically there from creating the post — to reach the front page, and the ability for anyone to signup with unlimited accounts. Its far, far too easy for the front page to be filled with low quality content that has clearly been put there by a few strategically created accounts.

    Personally in the last few weeks I've been making a more concerted effort to upvote things I want to see — usually discussions — and downvoting anything that looks like spam or I don't think belongs here or is a dupe (we really don't need 4 posts covering a bloody software update or several covering a startup press release for example). I suspect I've contributed a little bit to this. I've also been very active in report spam posts and accounts lately as well, as clearly there is an issue there.

    I've also noticed the sudden surge in downvoting too since I became more active in doing so myself. It does now seem all posts have 0 or negative votes minutes after they have been posted. Could the extra surge be Bots?

    One interesting thing I have noticed in being more active. It seems very few other people are. One upvote or downvote from me seems to put something on the frontpage or dooms it to eternity in the recent tab.

    This place will never get better it seems, even if we as users become more active and discerning in what we post.

    There seems to be a handful of ways DN can fix this stuff.

    • I think a lot of the problems will resolve themselves if we go back to more restrictive signup process. Having a few hoops to jump through kept the quality of the community high as it couldn't be rigged by marketers. That lead to more appropriate content and better discussions. Hell, as someone in Australia, I had to either make a concerted effort to get up at 4am to be able to create an account or do so from a better timezone, which I did when in South America.
    • Posting guidelines - I personally think this place has basically become a self promotion tool (fine in limited amounts) and just a dumping ground for press releases. DN already removes Listicles and it works somewhat to keep that at bay. Some kind of guidelines that help encourage questions, sharing of work rather than just articles to browse would be great. It would also give a nice guide for other DN users on what content that should be left, upvoted, downvoted or removed.
    • Everybody starts using the upvote aod downvote buttons more. It seems people only use the upvote occasionally and the downvote not at all. I agree that downvoting shouldn't be for disagreeing with an idea or sentiment, but should be used on stuff that shouldn't be here.
    • A few more moderators. Perhaps in different timezones. I'm in Australia, and when view DN this place is a bit of a ghost town, and just fills with spam as (I'm assuming) the mods are US and Europe based.
    20 points
    • , 4 months ago

      Some good ideas here, but sadly I am afraid they will fall on deaf ears. A while back, when there was a short-lived community manager (I guess he couldn't deal with it and ran for the hills?), we were reassured that invite-only / more restrictive memberships would be returning. But that never happened either.

      5 points
    • Mike StevensonMike Stevenson, 3 months ago

      I was excited when DN went under new ownership, but it seems like they just abandoned it. So many little UX issues which is pretty ironic. I can barely even use the site on iOS because it constantly asks me to login with keychain, even if im already logged in.

      2 points
  • Matthew Hollingsworth, 4 months ago

    Hey all!

    Thanks for the feedback. I can assure you it’s not falling on deaf ears. This thread is important, and I wanted to give some context as to why we made the decision to go with downvotes. As you’re all well aware -- we were having some serious spam issues last year (especially Oct/Nov). The solution that we came to (after asking the community for their input) was to implement downvoting so that the best content would be the most visible. Downvoting obviously isn’t set in stone, but it the most requested option at the time, so we went with it. Also, we delayed comments for new users for five days in order to make sure these were people that were actually interested in being a part of the community.

    I’m sorry that some here feel the community is going in the wrong direction, or that we’re doing a poor job. We’re doing the best we can. To be honest, it’s been difficult to find the right balance here, as some of the direct messages to us have been nasty and unproductive. For those who reached out with productive feedback that we missed, I’m sorry. That’s on us. We’ve brought on more moderators to catch lousy content and remove it. Yes, sometimes we miss them, but we’re active here regularly throughout the day, every day. I personally remove around 4-5 stories a day that are flagged.

    That all being said -- let’s talk about ways we can improve. We want to hear them!

    9 points
    • , 4 months ago

      Is content only removed if it is flagged? There is a lot of poor content here that is likely not getting flagged as well. I think what would be more helpful is to add in more proactive moderation, if that's not already happening, instead of just reacting when something is reported.

      Is going back to a more restrictive (invite) membership signup still happening? That would go a long way toward curbing spam and such. Also, an earlier comment regarding the types of content allowed here is spot on. Right now, there is way too much self-promotion and blog spam.

      5 points
      • Matthew Hollingsworth, 4 months ago

        That's a good point. We do remove content that isn't flagged occasionally, but it's harder to do. We can do better there, especially now that we have more people to help. You should see an improvement there as we go. That being said, we'd love for the community's continued help in flagging things that aren't DN appropriate.

        The invite only system (or something more restrictive) is something we're still considering, but wanted to see what the effect of the delayed comments for new users was first. If the consensus is we should go back to a more restrictive invite system, then we're certainly open to discussing it. There are lot's of things to consider, but it's definitely still on the table.

        0 points
        • , 4 months ago

          I guess my thought on that would be that simply giving new members a waiting period doesn't perform any sort of screening function. If someone is determined to spam or just plug their stuff, they'll wait out the five days. An invite system would be far more selective in regards to who becomes a member and who doesn't.

          -1 points
    • , 3 months ago

      Since we are discussing site features, can you please fix the duplicate URL warning dingus when posting new topics? Several people have reported that it doesn't work, and just now there was a post made which duplicated a post made an hour ago.

      -2 points
    • Philip A, 4 months ago

      On hacker news you can't downvote until you have a certain amount of karma but you can upvote without karma.

      3 points
  • Catalin CimpanuCatalin Cimpanu, 3 months ago

    I've been raising the issue with the mods for two months now. Everybody's aware by now that downvoting was a wrong decision, in hindsight. It only helped voting rings by giving them the ability to sink good content while reducing the number of upvotes they needed to reach the frontpage.

    -1 points
  • Kushtrim XhaferiKushtrim Xhaferi, 3 months ago

    Hi Guys, I might have a solution for the whole downvote thing: Just show on every user Profile how many Up or Downvotes everyone did. Then let's see how the whole thing will regulate by itself. In a secure environment (act anonymously), crude behaviors of mankind gets room to grow, unfortunately.

    ps. sorry for my bad english.

    -3 points
  • , 3 months ago

    Well, based on other comments around the site, it seems some people are totally OK with spam and blatant self-promotion. Have at it then, and good luck to DN moving forward. I truly do hope it can become better.

    -3 points
  • Noah SNoah S, 4 months ago

    Yes it is strange. I'd sent the DN team an email about it earlier today but I didn't realise it had been happening for the past week!

    -5 points
    • , 4 months ago

      Good luck with getting a reply. I find they simply ignore any direct emails sent to them. It just reinforces the feeling that they don't have much interest in the site.

      -4 points
  • neuemage com, 3 months ago

    I downvote "activist" or clearly political posts so maybe there are other liberals here who do the same.

    The lack of purely design related posts lead to people being BORED and they downvote for the lols, see the comments here, they are ALL negative voted :P

    -6 points
  • Rey AlejandroRey Alejandro, 4 months ago

    I feel like Designer news is dying, sadly. I think just remove the downvote. What it does basically is removing a vote from someone who likes the post. Is it helpful?

    -7 points
    • , 4 months ago

      DN has been in a death spiral for quite come time now, devolving into its current state of poor content and spam. It's been mentioned they are only keeping the site going because of the job board, and that definitely seems true.

      I am actually an advocate for downvoting, but this appears to be abuse of the feature. What the site needs, and I've said it a million times, is active moderation. But that doesn't seem to be anything the owners care about.

      At this point, it would probably better off if they just killed the site since it's being left to rot on the vine. If they want to keep the job board, fine. But don't pretend the rest of the site provides any value, because it doesn't. Be honest about it instead of letting it limp along.

      -4 points
      • Andreas EllwangerAndreas Ellwanger, 4 months ago

        What would you call a good alternative? Or maybe a successor? I would love to stay on top of design related news and interesting creative works.

        -3 points
        • , 4 months ago

          I'm not quite sure. It's unfortunate that DN is in the state that it is. It really won't take much of an investment to take some first steps to clean up the content.

          0 points
    • Steve Huntington, 4 months ago

      Damn, the fact everyone in this comment thread is getting downvoted just for having a discussion really proves the point.

      5 points
    • neuemage com, 4 months ago

      I think the problem is that people are bored and downvote as a meme, see the comments in here they are all downvoted, for the lulz

      -2 points
  • R. KamushkenR. Kamushken, 4 months ago

    This is not a thing. This is the evolution. So enjoy the DN going to nowhere...

    -11 points
  • Juan J. RamirezJuan J. Ramirez, 3 months ago

    The introduction of downvotes was the single most stupid decision in the history of stupid decisions. Just wait and see how this comment gets downvoted.

    -11 points