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SO is looking for some sites where they would experimentally lower the rep requirement for voting to 1.

Do we want to volunteer?

I would suggest up- and downvotes on this question to stand for "yes" and "no". Or feel free to post an answer. (And of course the mods should have the final say, because they would be the ones to be saddled with all the additional work.)

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    $\begingroup$ Now that it has received these many downvotes, the system has automatically removed it from the main page, I guess (not sure though). Does this deprive any user visiting meta to see this post and cast their opinion (as vote)? $\endgroup$ Sep 21, 2023 at 16:55
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    $\begingroup$ This question has disappeared from the overview of recent questions. Possibly because some filter removing it from view due to it's low score? $\endgroup$ Sep 22, 2023 at 5:29
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    $\begingroup$ @SextusEmpiricus: thanks for pointing that out! I just flagged the question and asked whether the mods wanted to feature it for added attention. Then again, I would assume that the picture won't change much... $\endgroup$ Sep 22, 2023 at 8:21
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    $\begingroup$ @StephanKolassa, as I noted, this has been out of view since last evening. I read somewhere the system automatically removes heavily downvoted posts from main page. But it needs to be featured, I deem. $\endgroup$ Sep 22, 2023 at 9:35
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    $\begingroup$ Good point - I've featured it. $\endgroup$ Sep 22, 2023 at 11:03
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    $\begingroup$ @User1865345 your assumption is correct. I am not sure where the cut-off is (6 to 8?) but you need to click on the Questions link in the top left of your screen to see everything. This is fine except for on Meta sites where downvoting has a different meaning. $\endgroup$
    – mdewey
    Sep 22, 2023 at 13:42
  • $\begingroup$ This has been open and featured for visibility for three weeks now. I will flag it again and suggest it be de-featured. I don't think there will be much more new input. $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2023 at 7:19

4 Answers 4

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My vote against is on various grounds.

  1. I don't sense that the present low thresholds are too high, so that serious members who are able and willing to contribute are disenfranchised. They just need to do some useful work first. It's a fair question what kind of evidence would be expected either way, and that's a question too for those who want to explore change. But I've often seen unexplained downvoting of good answers, which can only be puzzled out as personal dislike or some kind of petty revenge. I think it's sufficient to raise the spectre of someone new to the site who might run riot downvoting those who explain why their new post is poor as posted. The site exists as a resource for anyone who finds it interesting or useful, but that doesn't make equal voting rights for everybody an obvious goal.

  2. Like many others I participate elsewhere and find a general relationship between quality of site and the application of moderation (in SE's sense and wider senses too) and the possibilities and constraints allowed by (e.g.) the SE system of reputation and privileges. I sense that many sites are marred if not ruined by low thresholds for participation, which result in lower standards and all too often lead to multitudes of silly, ignorant, nasty and hateful posts. The single most obvious example in my experience is Twitter (X) but I am aware of (much) more obnoxious sites (even in fields that include statistical work).

  3. Naturally you can't tell precisely what might work better without trying it, a platitude. In this context, I cite another equally ancient platitude, that you need not try to fix what isn't broken.

This is a gut reaction. Sorry, but I haven't the inclination to read through all the existing Meta thread, but I am confident that if I am missing something important in the idea that this will be pointed out!

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    $\begingroup$ I am morbidly curious to know what site is more obnoxious than twitter. The thought sends shivers down my spine. $\endgroup$ Sep 20, 2023 at 11:44
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    $\begingroup$ Economic Job Market Rumors and its sibling sites $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Sep 20, 2023 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ you need not try to fix what isn't broken. - Enough said. $\endgroup$ Sep 21, 2023 at 8:05
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-1 The voting system doesn't need fixing by changing rep standards, the principle of voting by popularity is the problem.

The system doesn't measure quality directly and only superficially relates to how good a post is.

If lowering the required reputation is gonna do anything, then it is increasing the problems that the system already has.

  • For example, hot network questions already get a lot of irregular votes from people that are not otherwise visiting the website and this will increase if more visitors can vote as well.
  • Such random hot posts that receive reputation that has little to do with a relative comparison of quality will increase if a pool of voters is added that visit the website in an irregular way. For example, some q&a that is used or linked in a university lecture might suddenly get a lot of votes from students that read the material. In many other ways low reputation visitors may visit the website in a very irregular way. The reputation system will be greatly influenced by such flows of occasional visitors that will not vote other questions at the same time. This makes voting/reputation system even less of a rating system than it already is.
  • Additionally, the site might become more vulnerable to attacks with bots.

If any changes should be made, then it is a removal of the system.

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    $\begingroup$ I guess everyone with any experience would underline that reputation is measured with error (both bias and caprice), but that doesn't make it meaningless. Congratulations to anyone who can be utterly indifferent to changes in reputation, but I doubt I am the only person who gets small pleasure out of iipvotes (and small irritation out of downvotes). Looking around I do find that sustained contribution of high quality is matched by high reputation. I don't agree at all with removing reputation. Reputation can be ignored if you don't care about or respect it. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Sep 25, 2023 at 12:37
  • $\begingroup$ @NickCox I definitely get pleasure out of upvotes too, but I find it a bad system to create a ranking. Sure, a system may have error, but when it is large then it becomes less meaningful. One source of error are the popular votes when many people visit only a single or a few posts on the website. Those votes indicate appreciation for those posts, but they don't mean a higher rating for the posts when the voters do not see at the same time other posts on the website. This source of error will increase when more occasional visitors are allowed to vote. $\endgroup$ Sep 25, 2023 at 14:15
  • $\begingroup$ A good example for bias in voting is this question: Do the 2.5th and 97.5th percentile of the theoretical sampling distribution of a statistic always contain the true population parameter?. In that question I removed my answer and I find Ute's answer the best answer. Still we both have 7 votes. The reason is that my answer was placed earlier and got more votes during a period of high activity for that question. Other questions that did not got removed have even more votes. I see this type of situation regularly. $\endgroup$ Sep 25, 2023 at 14:20
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    $\begingroup$ Sure but this is noise. If you come late to a thread, you may get less than you deserve too. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Sep 25, 2023 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ @NickCox it is more like bias than noise. The number of votes relate to the number of views, and posts get a different number of views for all sorts of reasons, some of which are artificial (like time or activity and position in lists). Because the vote system is purely based on popularity like/unlike and has no nuance, the view count is incredibly important. $\endgroup$ Sep 25, 2023 at 14:48
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    $\begingroup$ My instinct is to play down your adverbs, purely and incredibly. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Sep 25, 2023 at 15:46
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After reading the long post, let me regurgitate what I could comprehend: previous criteria of upvoting and downvoting would be reduced to encourage an otherwise a passive section of the community. To counter any form of dubious activity, tools the moderators use have been modified taking feedback from the moderators but they admit these won't be enough to deter any form of malice. To deter nonsensical downvotes, one has to mandatorily leave a comment (not publicly). Mostly it would be the revamped mod tools that would be used to avert any mischievous activities, at least that is what I could make out of it.


Now my take: I am pretty much conservative when it comes to lower what is already a low bar, as also noted by Nick Cox. It seems to be an over-ambitious endeavor which generates enough discomfiture in me.

This is not the place and time to argue whether those bars were and are still apt (they are). Even though apparently there have been preparations for over three months or so equipping the mods with new/modified tools (I am not aware of the specifics), chances are implementation of this venture would open a deluge of sock puppet accounts, and yes, the idea that registered account is a must would deter sock puppetry is quite shaky.

Here moderators do an excellent job in maintaining the site day in day out. The reviewers of the community also volunteer in clearing the review queue and detecting spam/bogus posts etc. Over all these, they would impose additional burden to gauge for any malicious activities thanks to the experimentation. I am not saying it would be impossible for the moderators to dole out the duty but what is the endgame here?

There is then the downvote. There is a reason why one needs to gain enough confidence in the community (in the form of the reputation of 125) before getting the privilege. Again, it would be insolent to think all new users are rogue who would go on a downvoting rampage or reactionary spree. But even a fraction of such activities would be primitive to the quality that site maintains. Yes, the system can detect serial voting but again due to the implementation, it would put extra pressure. Rep 1 users to be precise are novice and are not aware of the norms here and for all practical purposes, they don't pay tok much heed to the help page either. The existing bars provide them time to acclimatize with the ecosystem. Many come here due to urgency - they are in hurry to get solutions and whenever they feel they are not getting any useful substance, they would resort to downvoting. Maybe they won't involve in a rapid spree but the downvote was only due to that someone elicited clarification - that is only one speculative instance.

For the sake of argument, let's say, we agree in participating. What is the long term goal? Okay, this is not specific to this site and would be more generic. Over the years, we can say we have developed a good community which cherish and maintain a certain standard of repository of posts. If these minimum bars are lifted, would it alleviate the quality in a significant way? As a student of this subject, I must not throw my biased presumption that it wouldn't; if any experimentation indicates then, so be it. But think about it: any potential good user won't get deterred by the existing bars. They contribute, interact constructively, gradually gain reputations and subsequently become a part of the community.

I appreciate the efforts they are undertaking to assess how a certain number of users would add value to the site. But the thing is it seems to me quite half-baked. It is not good to be sclerotic but for seeking more contribution from a certain new users by removing the rational barriers is a no-no. I think SO's participation would be disastrous. Compared to SO, CV is way less intense. But that doesn't mean it should be the ground for such experimentation, at least not in the proposed form, imo.

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    $\begingroup$ Tldr: I voted -1. $\endgroup$ Sep 20, 2023 at 9:58
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I generally favour experimentation because sites can fall into a rut and let's face it, most online communities are pretty resistant to any site changes, however minor. But I really wish these had been separate initiatives. I'm less bothered by the removal of the upvote limit than the downvote limit & rep cost changes. Whatever tools they have developed for the inevitable consequence of the latter - a few annoyed new users mass downvoting people posting critical responses - surely this creates a lot of new and unnecessary work for the volunteer mods.

More importantly: the plan is NOT to revert the changes after the experiment unless there's a strong reason to do this, though this is not made very clear in the linked post.

Relevant text in the main post:

Because our test includes regular monitoring and clear guidance on when reverting the change is the best course of action, our plan is to retain these changes unless we see evidence they're causing negative impacts that we can't address quickly by making changes to tooling or automations.

And then more explicitly in the comments:

Our plan is to only roll back if we meet the guidance for doing so or if unexpected negative outcomes cause us to determine that rolling back is the best course of action.

This bothers me. I don't really trust the company's judgment of whether the effects of the experiment are negative or not.

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    $\begingroup$ Good point. Missed that. +1. $\endgroup$ Oct 9, 2023 at 12:35

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