Does a thumbing system add to reasoned discussion?

[color=#e53e00]BFW: Locking this. I think the community point has been made already - can’t see any benefit in further discussion. Nanako - you are currently welcome to discuss ideas and offer feedback, but not in this tone. Forum folks - I appreciate your responses and the effort you’ve made to answer the issue raised here. Please cease, for now {including those thumbs ;) }. And a reminder for everyone, this is not your typical internet forum - we aspire to greater civility, and mostly, achieve it. Could all sides continue to bear this in mind?[/color]

I would like to discuss this voting system we have here. i’d like to enquire others perspectives on why it exists, and what purpose it serves. And to offer my own thoughts on the matter.

Sometimes, having discussions here feels like holding a debate in the Wildweald Court. Perhaps not a wise idea, to be sure You sit round a table with those others interested in the discussion, and exchange words and ideas on the matter, while a crowd of variously souled apes hangs around in the rafters observing.

Having an audience is natural on the internet, and unavoidable. it’s also a good thing to be able to spread ideas to many.
But when a forum has a two way voting system added in, this changes things. Now it’s like the monkeys are anonymously flinging peanuts from above at whoever they don’t like.

If they want to have a voice in a debate, the option is there for them to speak, why not use it? And if you are planning to speak anyway, what’s the point of flinging a peanut at your opponent first, it doesn’t set a good tone for a conversation. If people are not planning to participate in conversation, then why give a voice to those who have nothing to say?

I feel like the anonymity of it is perhaps the largest problem There’s no way to tell if something is unpopular generally, or if you’ve just made a rather determined enemy Being able to see who voted would be an improvement, and why facilitate anonymous harassment.
It would also help with the issue that a very controversial post, with a high number of votes in both directions, will appear somewhere near zero, and the vote count won’t distinguish it at all from an uninteresting post that nobody noticed.

At best, i feel this system is a distraction. But worse, it can fuel forum drama and divide people, turning debate into a popularity contest.

I’d like other thoughts on the matter, and on this perspective of things.

While i’m rather expecting this to be my most red-thumbed post of all time, i would kindly ask people to refrain from using that system, in a thread which is specifically about it. I will personally not vote on anything posted in this thread, one way or another.

edited by babelfishwars on 2/8/2016

&quotThumbs down&quot should be Fate-locked - that’s what I think! While &quotthumbs up&quot should be free to play. It would be fun and innovative! Pay-to-hate system!
edited by Happy Londoner on 2/8/2016

I very much doubt that comparing forum-goers to apes is a good start of a civilised discussion.
As to why some people may downvote without leaving comments… I can say, from my limited experience with this forum, this almost exclusively happens to aggressive or condescending comments. And, well, you often leave these – not only inviting to discuss something, but railing at Failbetter or accusing them for doing things their way. It doesn’t surprise me that some users see this as unpleasant and aggravating behavior but don’t want to get involved in an argument where they’ll have to tell you the same things other people have been telling you before.
As for anonymity of votes – it has been said many times before, Failbetter can’t change how this forum works. Maybe when they have free time, they’ll change hosting (or I don’t know what exactly, I’m not a pro), but I believe now they have more pressing matters - like writing content for us.
edited by Valiant on 2/8/2016

I think it’s fine. The point of a community and this game in general is choice. I can try to either post a disagreement/agreement, support your idea or discourage your idea.

In fact, I rarely see thumbs down. When I do, it’s usually because the poster is posting in a rather uncivilized or provocative manner.

For example, calling other people peanut throwing apes isn’t a nice way of being in a civilized discussion.

Hmmm…I really don’t see a lot of thumbs down posts here. The system seems to be mainly used to show your appreciation for posts you think are helpful, interesting or funny. As such, I like it, because it always makes me happy to know someone has enjoyed or appreciated a post I’ve made.

I suppose it’s possible you’ve simply annoyed someone and they’re following you around negging your posts. But I think there’s something more than that going on, personally.

To me, your posts can come across as a bit abrasive. You aren’t shy about identifying things you think are “wrong” about the game or forum and pointing out what you think should be done. And while I’m not saying that’s bad, it can rub people the wrong way when you do it a lot. I know we’ve all complained about stuff at one time or another, but if you do it too much you come across as the Complainer of the forum and and people start to get annoyed.

I think it’s also good to show a bit of humility and appreciation when identifying problems or making suggestions. The people behind the scenes work very hard and it can come across as ungrateful and demanding if you don’t soften your tone a bit. Saying something like “I love Fallen London, but I’ve always been confused about [game mechanic]. Is there a reason it’s like that instead of being [my suggestion]” goes over a bit better than “[game mechanic] makes no sense. We should do it this way instead.” The latter tends to put people off and makes them stop listening to you.

So while I don’t know for sure if this is the case, the constant thumbs down you keep receiving may indicate that there is an issue with how you come across to the rest of the community. So in that way, I suppose it could be considered a useful function, alerting someone to a problem with their posting style that they may not be aware of.

My apologies if I came across as rude. Just trying to help you out by offering another perspective on the situation.

[quote=Happy Londoner]&quotThumbs down&quot should be Fate-locked - that’s what I think! While &quotthumbs up&quot should be free to play. It would be fun and innovative! Pay-to-hate system!
edited by Happy Londoner on 2/8/2016[/quote]
Certainly an interesting proposal.

The Unity Answers system, a community which i frequently use, has a not dissimilar system. It doesn’t require payment exactly, but a minimum reputation level is required to cast negative votes, and doing so costs a little of your own reputation.

It seems to work well for them in reducing issues, the cost means people typically only cast negative votes for somewhat dire situations, like to mark incorrect, and possibly destructive code, that’s posted.

Hey! Somebody has just thrown a peanut at me and I wasn’t even calling them apes! Unfair! Hahahaha:))) See how it works! See!

Seriously: a lot of forums and social networks employ a “like only” model for a reason. And the reason is: the very opportunity to have both pluses and minuses triggers rate wars. Sometimes. And not that it were the only reason for such a thing. But it sort of - asks for it…

That is not strictly true
They may or may not have source code access, jitbit sells that at an additional cost, but the option is certainly there for the administrator to disable the rating system, as noted in the Jitbit FAQ section:

https://demoforum.jitbit.com/forum/faq.aspx

Nanako, I was going to send a reply via social actions but my browser glitched out partway through. You have a message in your forum inbox. :-)
(Putting that here in case you use a mobile browser, because that never shows my Messages when I’m using my phone.)

My thoughts:

First, please always assume that FBG have zero control over the forum SW. It’s presumptuous and condescending to claim you know better than their system administrators, even if you can quote sections from the Jitbit manuals. (And you indeed might be right on the Jitbit options, but it’s not for you to make the call here).

Second, unlike some sites (e.g. reddit), the vote up/down has no mechanical impact. It won’t cause some posts to rise to the top and and hide others. Your messages are still there no matter what voting score they get. Personally, I hardly ever even notice the up/down voting score of any post. I often forget it’s even there.

Third, the only thing which the voting adds is a measure of &quotpopularity&quot to a post. The Internet being the Internet, I can see some people down-voting even neutral posts from a user they perceive to be hostile. This is unfortunate and unfair, but also very natural.

The community at large is mostly anonymous, and this is how it goes for most forums. Most are lurkers, and few contribute. Look at the up/down voting score as a reflection of what some of the audience think of your posts, and do with it as you please (since this doesn’t affect any forum mechanics, visibility, etc.). Remember that there are hundreds (if not thousands) of forum readers who leave no vote at all.

In the end, this is all the voting is: an indication to you that some forum readers don’t like what you said (or how you said it).
Nothing more, nothing less.


edited by dov on 2/8/2016

I agree, but that is exactly why i posted that snippet. It’s not for others to try to preempt discussion on a subject by declaring it to be impossible anyway. We’re here to discuss things as a community, not to decide FBGs responses for them or decree what their options are. I’m very happy to leave technical implementations in their capable hands if others will do likewise

I did actually already point out that this, too is incorrect with the same snippet from the manual, though i didn’t draw attention to that so it’s understandable it’d be missed.

If you look up at the top-right of the forum interface, there’s a little button marked &quotshow rated messages only&quot. This hides all messages in the thread except those with a positive score, and the OP.
Mention of &quothiding noise&quot in the manual, suggests that the rating system was designed to be used in conjunction with this feature
edited by Nanako on 2/8/2016

Hello there.

Like some people here, I think the “peanut throwing apes” part of your comment harms your purpose. I’m pleasantly surprised some persons took some of their time to answer you with a cool attitude instead of reacting with agressivity or disdain.

As I see the current voting system, it just shows (like dov said) how popular a post, an idea, is. That’s all. Nothing less, nothing more.

You seem to consider the act of down-voting as an agression. It’s not. It’s only a quick way of expressing your opinion about it without repeating what someone else already said perfectly (here I am, a perfect example of a user who thinks dov, Kukapetal, Pyrodinium and Valiant said all there is to say. I could have just up-voted them, but since the purpose of your post is to have written answers, I respect that and… say exactly what they already said. Sorry, Ô dear readers, for consuming your time for nothing, but know that I’ll re-use this precious time to create a magical pyramid so that I’ll be able to speak to the stars !).

Well, if you want to read more of my opinion, but written with better quality, just re-read the comments of the people I just talked about.

I agree, but that is exactly why i posted that snippet. It’s not for others to try to preempt discussion on a subject by declaring it to be impossible anyway. We’re here to discuss things as a community, not to decide FBGs responses for them or decree what their options are. I’m very happy to leave technical implementations in their capable hands if others will do likewise

[/quote]
Let’s assume it’s possible, despite staff stating opposite on few occasions. They may have other reasons to not changing anything, like lack of time or desire to change already working system, but this is irrelevant to you, I suppose.

Anonymous vote system is somewhat flawed in it’s core and susceptible to exploits, yes. But on this exact forum, for this exact audience, it works perfectly well, like a way to tell a short &quotthank you&quot or &quotplease don’t do this&quot to poster. You have problems with it, all right. But it seems in this case it’s only your problem - and therefore any changes to system will not benefit the community.

[quote=Kittenpox]Nanako, I was going to send a reply via social actions but my browser glitched out partway through. You have a message in your forum inbox. :-)
(Putting that here in case you use a mobile browser, because that never shows my Messages when I’m using my phone.)[/quote]
Thank you, i got it in both places and responded
PS: You completely thrashed me at chess <3

[quote=Nanako]If you look up at the top-right of the forum interface, there’s a little button marked &quotshow rated messages only&quot. This hides all messages in the thread except those with a positive score, and the OP. [/quote]Interesting. I’ve never noticed this (it is a really well hidden option). Also, as I’ve said, I hardly even notice the up/down voting score anyway.

But regardless, the point stands - the voting score is a reflection of the post’s popularity among the audience (most of whom are naturally anonymous). FBG should indeed intervene if the system is abused, but in years of forum activity this issue doesn’t really come up. Most people seem content with the way that the system operates. And we have very kind and responsive forum admins who can fix things if they feel it gets out of hand (they normally don’t).

So, putting rampant abuse concerns aside, what we’ve left is that some people disliked some of your posts, and your response is to request FBG to not allow anyone to show their dislike of anyone’s posts.

(The thumb up/down is a shortcut - most people won’t bother to go through the trouble of actually writing a text message. It doesn’t mean that their opinion isn’t invalid).

I haven’t actually read the thread, these are just my general thoughts on the matter:

I use both the green and red thumbs regularly, though the general quality of this forum means it’s about 80-90% green ones. Also, I don’t usually downvote a post that is already at -5 or worse. That’d be like kicking someone lying on the ground.

I think the thumbing system has its merits, as long as it isn’t taken too seriously. It is very important to remember that, like having a green +10 doesn’t get you anything special, a red -10 shouldn’t be seen as a personal insult or a &quotget the hell out of this forum&quot message. It just means that most people who’ve read your post didn’t agree with you. Well, that happens. It’s not the end of the world and, hey, maybe your post really wasn’t that good?

But, at the time of my writing this, Nanako’s at a whopping red -94. While I’m not in the habit of checking users’ profiles to see their status in the Thumbs World Ranking, I’ve been active on this forum basically since the day it came into existence and I can’t recall ever seeing anything like that. That’s definitely a tad excessive.

I don’t know whether it’s even feasible, but could the admins take a look at newly registered accounts from the past few weeks to see if there’s any hint of someone opening multiple accounts for the only purpose of downvoting Nanako?

I don’t think this forum ever had an incident of mobbing before (though there apparently was one happening in-game). It’d be very sad if we were finally beginning to attract that sort of people but I guess over time it’s more or less inevitable… in which case the moderators will have more work to do than they used to.

But whether there’s intentional mobbing or not, maybe you might just entertain the notion that your posts really aren’t catching on around here? I’m not saying that’s the case - and it wouldn’t be for me to judge anyway - but these things happen and can’t be helped. Every web community that’s been around for a while has a certain &quotspirit&quot (for lack of a better word), which sometimes makes it hard for newcomers’ ideas to fit it - just like in RL, I guess. If it gets to you, take a step back and let things calm down, nobody will even remember this in two months’ time. If you think you can handle it, however, just ignore the thumbs and go on as if nothing happened – &quotwhat doesn’t kill you makes you stronger&quot and all that. Nobody can prevent you from opening threads and/or stating your opinions, whether they’re majority’s POV or not.

That’s it, I guess. No idea whether it’s of any use, but it’s my POV. Everybody Thumb As You Like! ;)

[quote=Rupho Schartenhauer]my general thoughts on the matter:
[/quote]
Rupho, hello! So glad you could join us.

Your writeup on the licentate was excellent, everyone loved it! I personally liked it so much i felt the need to make a post saying as such
It seems someone had a problem with that though
I guess that was a particularly abrasive post, right?:(

gosh, that’s nice. it was well over 100 yesterday. I guess the removal of a thread deleted the thumb data too. But it’s gone back up to 100 again during the time i’m writing this post.

I’m told i’m not the first actually, someone has passed on an ancient and forgotten name. Von Prabik, ring any bells for any of the veterans?

I’d be curious to know what occasions you feel warrant the usage of red ones x


This seems odd. Why should people who fear having consequences to their actions, be able to heap consequences upon others for THEIR actions?

Surely people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, no?
edited by Nanako on 2/8/2016

I have literally never looked at the accumulated reputation on an individual’s forum profile to form an opinion about them. I am well able to do that on my own.

I find the thumbs up posts useful occasionally, but I’m usually on the mobile view where you can neither see nor give thumbs. So while I do purposefully switch views to check occasionally, it’s not important enough for me to be in that view all the time.

This has been the second or so recent mention of modifying the forum (the other being relating to rated answers, to which I am sympathetic). In other instance, access to the source code would be necessary. That requires a $449 cost per year according to their online pricing, where the money could be better spent elsewhere. Switching software, while perhaps cheaper, might not allow for use of the same database and losing all of the content would be problematic.

[quote=Nanako]

This seems odd. Why should people who fear having consequences to their actions, be able to heap consequences upon others for THEIR actions?

Surely people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, no?
edited by Nanako on 2/8/2016[/quote]

Here’s another question. Why should people who’ve repeatedly shown they don’t care about etiquette here be able to dictate everyone else’s forum etiquette?
edited by Kukapetal on 2/8/2016