What is the 'downvote' button?
16

What should I use it for?
In case of posts - should I downvote things that I don’t agree with? Or things that I don’t want to see in my feed (posts with low amount of votes fell more to the bottom)? Or things that I consider harmful/stupid/younameit?

In case of comments - should I downvote something that I don’t agree with? When should I use this button in case of comments. Or maybe I should not - cause what’s the point, actually?

@Wheeljack
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191Y

Haven’t had much need for it here.

On Reddit, I use it on those things that actively take away from the conversation. Trolling, pushing obviously wrong information, blatant racism/sexism/other-ism.

But, as little as I do use it, I find it supremely important to have. Trolls get downvoted out of the conversation. It’s a way to fight brigading. It’s the only easy/consistent way to give input as to what content doesn’t fit into a particular sub. Downvoting can be problematic, but it’s less problematic than those sites that try to be all warm/fuzzy and only allow positive input.

@AgreeableLandscape
admin
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4
edit-2
1Y

I see websites that only allow positive votes as a form of censoring dissenting opinion. They want to make it hard to disagree with a post and as a result the supporters reign supreme.

My personal theory is this is the reason Facebook is such a cesspool of far right content, conspiracy/antivax content, multilevel marketing, and general stupidity.

@Stoned_Ape
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21Y

It’s a way to fight brigading.

Though the downvote is also a tool for brigading. If a systems uses the downvote button for the “opposite” of the upvote button, it’s the same thing just negative/reverse. You can use either one for brigading.

@kujaw
creator
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11Y

I will direct you to my comment in this post - https://lemmy.ml/post/39710/comment/16690 which may be treated as a response to your comment.

@Wheeljack
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51Y

That’s great, and I disagree with you. I find that a downvote button, even if it’s not frequently used, increases my engagement with a comment section. I’ve consistently preferred those sites that have both positive and negative voting. If you don’t, that’s cool too, but I think you’re wrong :)

Dessalines
admin
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121Y

You can use it however you like, there are no written set of rules for using either the upvote or downvote button.

@Stoned_Ape
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31Y

If everybody uses a system in a different way, how useful is it to display the calculated total of votes?

For example, if people are using the 5 star rating system on Amazon differently, how much worth does it have to the users? What does 3 stars mean? What does 4 stars mean? Is 3 stars a normal and regular product with satisfying quality? Or is anything less than 5 stars bad?

@AgreeableLandscape
admin
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31Y

Even if there were rules for using the voting buttons, it’s impossible to enforce.

@Stoned_Ape
link
11Y

Of course are rules like that not possible to enforce, but that doesn’t mean they’re useless. A community can agree on these things and mostly follow it, even when there is no way to literally and 100% enforce every vote to be exactly how the rules state.

@AgreeableLandscape
admin
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1
edit-2
1Y

Fair point, but I think in practice far too many people would still use the voting buttons however they want for it to work, a problem which scales with the community.

The thing is that a vote is a single binary data point with no additional context, and you can’t determine with complete accuracy what the voter’s intentions from the vote alone.

@Stoned_Ape
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1
edit-2
1Y

Fair point, but I think in practice far too many people would still use the voting buttons however they want for it to work, a problem which scales with the community.

If everyone uses them as they like, and nobody can know how the majority uses them, and nobody can know how the ratios of different usages are for any given post or comment, then what exactly would the votes mean? To phrase it differently: I see that a post has 34 upvotes and 9 downvotes. I have no idea what any of those mean, none of them votes could be done with the same intention. Or all of them are done with the same intention, but which one? I can not know, so what meaning do the votes have? Can I even know that?

If there are no rules, and everyone uses votes differently, in what way are they useful?

The thing is that a vote is a single binary data point with no additional context, and you can’t determine with complete accuracy what the voter’s intentions from the vote alone.

If you have rules, and take care in informing the user, create the UI accordingly to the rules, use tooltips to remind the user about the rules, and so on… there will be a certain percentage of the community doing it in a certain way.

If you have no rules, then the above applies.

@AgreeableLandscape
admin
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2
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1Y

If you have rules, and take care in informing the user, create the UI accordingly to the rules, use tooltips to remind the user about the rules, and so on… there will be a certain percentage of the community doing it in a certain way.

Fair enough, but I still think this depends on the community. A community focused on professional discussion about programming for example would probably have members that follow the voting rules more closely than a humour/meme community.

@Stoned_Ape
link
11Y

I see what you mean, but still… what I said above is still true for both of those communities, and such rules and their implementation would benefit both of them.

Dessalines
admin
link
21Y

Scores aren’t about objective truth, they’re about comparisons. If someone gives less stars than others on amazon, it pushes all the scores down, but the comparisons will still be the same. This is an old and refuted critique of range voting, of which approval voting (which this uses), is a subset.

@work_at_google
link
21Y

That’s a very good point but it assumes that contexts are equal which not true at all. If you compare two identical products that might work but for complex communications to imply that they can be compared on a subjective basis is a bit silly.

@Stoned_Ape
link
21Y

What do you mean with “comparisons”?

If someone gives less stars than others on amazon, it pushes all the scores down

Exactly. That’s the problem at hand. This happens even when the person giving less stars actually intended to rate the item positively, but he simply interpreted the system differently than others. The same applies vice versa.

This is an old and refuted critique of range voting

Can you supply sources for that? The only sources I’ve read a few years back detailed the problems of such systems. Maybe something different was found out since then?

which approval voting (which this uses), is a subset.

And there are many critics of that system. I’ve laid out some arguments against this system in this thread, and the other thread where I’ve asked a similar question a while back. The main argument would be the formation of echo chambers and an erosion of quality contribution.

Maya
admin
link
81Y

Individual communities are free to ask that the buttons be used a certain way, but the ecosystem in general isn’t prescriptive about it. Right now it isn’t super important because everything’s slow enough you can see most things. In general, I’d advocate to at least upvote things you’re glad you saw/read.

Travis Skaalgard
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8
edit-2
1Y

I’ve been using the original Reddit rules: upvote things that contribute meaningfully to the discussion, and downvote things that do not.

EDIT: I probably should have said “downvote things that detract from meaningful discussion.” If it simply doesn’t contribute much, I just don’t interact.

@Stoned_Ape
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3
edit-2
1Y

I can’t help but notice that someone felt the need to downvote you for answering the question. :D

@work_at_google
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21Y

Which was never used that way on reddit. It has always been “I don’t like this” button.

@Stoned_Ape
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11Y

Not true at all. This is how it was written in the Reddiquette from the beginning, and for some time, it was used like that. Today, though, it’s absolutely like you say: It is only used for agreement and disagreement, or “whooo I like that!!1” and “booo I hate that!!1”.

Though they still incorporated these old rules in the new version of the Reddiquette, they do practicall nothing for getting these rules known to the users. If you ask me, they can sell the data they gain from the voting system way better if the data stems from emotional reactions rather than thoughtful analysis.

@kujaw
creator
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11Y

You may be right. I wonder what are exact percentages of ppl using it for those two purposes.

@Stoned_Ape
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2
edit-2
1Y

Reddit has grown considerably. I guess that maybe 2% use it that way.

@kujaw
creator
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11Y

So having in my that Lemmy will also grow, we should have this fact in mind.

@Stoned_Ape
link
21Y

If I understand you correctly, we should have the way on how to use the system in mind before Lemmy grows too big. I agree with that.

I asked about the voting system before on this instance, but most people didn’t care at all. Especially the admins and mods think that anybody should just do whatever they like. They also were not aware of the Reddiquette.

@kujaw
creator
link
21Y

You understood me perfectly.

They also were not aware of the Reddiquette.

Very surprising.

@absolutebeginner
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6M

deleted by creator

@kujaw
creator
link
11Y

I may be wrong, but I think you’re one of the few ppl who don’t use it for disagreement. I see downvote button as a weapon for killing discussion instead of filtering out meaningful comments. Because if someone doesn’t contribute, noone will upvote him, right? So what is the purpose of downvote? I think it is unnecessary addition, whose role is already carried out by upvote button (in case of comments) and hide button (in case of content).

@Stoned_Ape
link
11Y

I may be wrong, but I think you’re one of the few ppl who don’t use it for disagreement.

You’re sadly not wrong about this.

So what is the purpose of downvote?

In case of posts (links/text posts): I upvote posts I found to be interesting and worthwhile. I don’t downvote posts I don’t like or don’t find to be interesting. I downvote posts that don’t belong to that sub.

A note regarding to the last option: The post itself may be very interesting, and I might like the content personally very much, but I will still downvote a post about game programming in a sub about game design. Or a post about my most favorite 16-bit game in a sub about 8-bit games. And so on. The post itself can be great, but it has to fit, otherwise the sub will be diluted with content that is not meant to be there.

@kujaw
creator
link
11Y

If posts don’t belong to the sub, they probably should be reported to moderators. I don’t think it is a responsibility of downvote button. I agree with the rest.

@Stoned_Ape
link
11Y

Imagine the sub is big. Lets say 500,000 users. There are many posts each day. Now you’re not wrong. A sub can decide that users shall never use the downvote button, but always report a post for a mod to decide if the post is allowed to stay, or if a post will be removed.

In that case, the mods have way more work. They have to decide on every reported post, no matter if there is one single report, or hundreds of reports for one post. The mods have to decide if a post will be removed or not. If you ask me, that’s quite a task. You’re deciding this for all of the 500,000 users, after all. It’s not just you and your personal opinion, but you have to think of the whole community. I ask: Is that even possible? What if you can’t help but decide largely based on your personal opinion, even when that doesn’t overlap with the bulk of the community? Or what if a mod loves to be a kind of an dictator and starts to remove posts even without reports - simply because he doesn’t like them?

The other option is to use the system to sort content. Content that most people like will be above, and content that most people find to be off-topic will be below, or even collapsed if enough people found it to be off-topic or inappropriate.

That way, everybody can help just by browsing and using the system. The power of the crowd, so to speak. Why go the problematic and long road to remove posts as a mod, when everybody can help shape the community?

@kujaw
creator
link
11Y

On Lemmy’s main page there’s written

Rules

    No bigotry - including racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, or xenophobia. Code of Conduct.
    Be respectful. Everyone should feel welcome here.
    No porn.
    No Ads / Spamming.

Who do you think will guard those rules to be respected when a big group of people starts to add “wrong” content? I am not so sure that this website will always have only good, well-balanced, polite and wise users. Also people’s minds change, as we can see e.g. in politics nowadays, where more and more conservative views are rising and only people from govt/politicians/judges can stop the madness.
What if people who like Linux memes will start upvoting Linux memes on Linux subreddit. Almost everybody likes memes, right? But, is it a place for memes? I doubt so. However you will see memes upvoted so often, that it will reduce usefulness of reading c/Linux.
Moderators, admins, they are to intervene when something wrong starts to happen. From my personal experience I can tell that lots of people just read&click and don’t really care for quality. The more users will be here, the more often they will upvote offtopic content. When 10/100 users will flag some content as improper or offtopic, then mod can look at it and decide if those users are right and the post should be suspended/deleted. Active users (those who flag content) are usually the first line of taking care of tidiness. Mods are the second line. When there are 500k users, then there should be more mods. I wouldn’t trust so much in users downvoting, cause more and more of them will treat it like nonagreement button. Also - what is the reason of downvoting if you can upvote? If content is relevant, you upvote, thus bring it to the top. If not, you just read next one, and maybe upvote this second content so it goes above the previously seen content you didn’t upvote. That’s unnecessary doubling of same responsibility in two different tools.
I see it like that. That’s why I’m confused by the downvote button.

@Stoned_Ape
link
11Y

Who do you think will guard those rules to be respected when a big group of people starts to add “wrong” content?

Those are the site-wide rules. Posts breaking these rules are never okay, regardless of the sub. That’s a different thing. There is a reason these things are not allowed. For example porn: If you want an instance where you kid doesn’t see porn, you should be able to rely more or less on that. That’s not an opinion a community can discuss or vote on, that’s a hard decision. “No porn.”

I am not so sure that this website will always have only good, well-balanced, polite and wise users.

What is “wise” and “good” depends on the user. What is “wise” and “good” in a sub decides the community. Posting dead cats in a cat sub? Nope. Posting dead cats in a sub for road accidents? Yes, please. Dumb example, but I think you know what I mean.

What if people who like Linux memes will start upvoting Linux memes on Linux subreddit. Almost everybody likes memes, right? But, is it a place for memes? I doubt so. However you will see memes upvoted so often, that it will reduce usefulness of reading c/Linux.

In that case, the community has to discuss this. You can either split the community into “Linux Discussion” and “Linux Memes”, and users can subscribe to both ones, or just one of them. That’s the beauty of the subscription system.

But if the users can’t make up their mind, and most users of the Linux sub don’t want to create a new sub for memes (for whatever reason), the other members have to create a new Linux sub: “Linux Discussion”. They create new rules, state that memes can be posted there, along with a link, and be done with it.

I remember the sub “Roguelikes”. At some point in gaming, the genre “Roguelike” became popular, and players and developers alike used that term without really knowing what it means. The result was that games were posted in that sub that weren’t really roguelikes. The people who knew what it originally meant were upset and tried to change the rules to get this point across, but it was too late: There were already too many people who (for some reason) insisted on their understanding of the term, and the original community had to create a new sub: “Actual Roguelikes”. There even was a sub “Roguelites”, for games that are similar to, but not really roguelikes. But still, the “new crowd” wasn’t having that.

Things like this do happen. It’s not a big deal. That’s the beauty of an open system: Anybody can create any sub they wish. For any reason.

From my personal experience I can tell that lots of people just read&click and don’t really care for quality. The more users will be here, the more often they will upvote offtopic content.

That’s my experience as well. One of the problems is that most mods are way too much into “subscription numbers” and “community size”, as if that’s something to be proud of. In other words: Many mods care more for a “big sub”, than they care for quality. Also, many mods consider the sub they mod “their sub”. That’s also a very dangerous misconception of the position that we call “moderator”.

I wouldn’t trust so much in users downvoting, cause more and more of them will treat it like nonagreement button. Also - what is the reason of downvoting if you can upvote? If content is relevant, you upvote, thus bring it to the top. If not, you just read next one, and maybe upvote this second content so it goes above the previously seen content you didn’t upvote. That’s unnecessary doubling of same responsibility in two different tools.

I absolutely agree. If you ask me, what we right now call “downvote” isn’t at all on the same scale as “upvote”. That’s a visual communication problem, and a general problem with the understanding of the voting system. On this instance, there isn’t even a system. The buttons simply exist, and the calculated number is displayed and used for sorting by default - without any explanation or intention.

Have you read my suggestion here? https://lemmy.ml/post/39710/comment/16708

@Abaaaba
link
71Y

I use it to upvote interesting posts, and downvote all non-interesting posts. These include all reposts & copy paste reply’s. I see it as recommending / not-recommending other people reading a post.

@cvieira
link
61Y

I usually downvote people who aren’t respectful or are taking away from the community. If someone says something I disagree with, but presents their ideas in a civil way, I still upvote them.

@Alex1138
link
21Y

Downvoted.

(Kidding)

@jsgohac
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51Y

Without a downvote button on an open, largely user moderated forum, you may very well start seeing more users appeal to mods. For example: “mods, can you remove/ban any Delete Facebook comments? OP is clearly asking how best to use it privately, not delete it”

@AgreeableLandscape
admin
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3
edit-2
1Y

Not saying this is necessarily good, but in practice it’s a disagree button. It will always be a disagree button. If someone disagrees with you and decides to respond, they will probably downvote you.

There are people on Reddit who generally upvote you just for participating in the discussion even if they disagree (to be fair this is closer to what Reddit intended it for, not for showing agreement or disagreement with the content itself), and I do that sometimes, but that is rare in the grand scheme of things (and again I don’t know if this is a good use for the voting buttons or not). Most debates I have been apart of on Reddit (admittedly not many), people are usually downvoted by the opposition or they don’t vote on you at all.

@cheer
link
31Y

I’ve really only used the downvote button for things like clickbait article titles, though I haven’t used either button all that much.

@kujaw
creator
link
21Y

We should probably have a “hide” button for things that we don’t want to see, I think it’s better solution cause it simply removes the article from your sight of view. If something breaks the rules, on the other hand, it should be reported to mods.

Dessalines
admin
link
31Y

We should probably have a “hide” button for things that we don’t want to see

Its called a downvote, and it also helps “hide” things for others too.

@kujaw
creator
link
11Y

Excatly. “Hide”, not hide. Why cloning same responsibilities in different tools?

@work_at_google
link
21Y

Lets be honest here — it always was and will be the “dislike” button.

If you look at any controversial threads even most polite and objective comments get down voted for “not liking something they like”.

It’s a flawed concept that if anything just drive outrage and toxic fighting. Instead a lot of modern platform migrated away from down vote button that especially serves no meaningful purpose in small administered communities such as this.

@Stoned_Ape
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1
edit-2
1Y

Lets be honest here — it always was and will be the “dislike” button.

It wasn’t always like this. It is however like that right now. Sadly.

But you’re right. The “Up” and “Down” part visually strongly suggests that an upvote is the opposite of a downvote. That’s not true if you ask me. Or better phrased: It shouldn’t be like that. Regarding Reddit, you can read the Reddiquette, and it is layed out that up- and down-vote are to be handled differently.

I suggest something like this: Three options for any user with any posts or comment.

  • A) Not do anything, and passively flagging the content to be appropriate and on topic.
  • B) Mark the content as useful contribution and of high quality, or even simply “I like this!”.
  • C) Mark the content as inappropriate or off-topic.

The important part is that A and B have something in common. Both of these are stating that the content is appropriate and fitting to the sub. Only C is stating that you think this content doesn’t belong to the sub, is off-topic or otherwise inappropriate.

B and C shouldn’t be thought of as “opposites”, because they are not. Maybe we could also think of a system where also A is an active marking, but I don’t think there is a need for that to be active, too. I think how I laid it out would work in a way that encourages quality contributions and useful on-topic content.

@work_at_google
link
31Y

That’s exactly how Lobsters are handling it:

  1. Useful info: upvote
  2. trolling, misleading etc.: flag with reasoning

I feel that so far this has been the best approach to content aggregator voting.

@Stoned_Ape
link
21Y

This sounds like a good thing as well. I was also thinking about tags instead of a singular downvote button for “everything negative”.

@kujaw
creator
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-11Y

This is why I ask about it. Because I don’t see any good use for this button. If I don’t agree, I write a comment saying why I don’t agree. If I think a comment is some bullshit - I write. If it’s purely trolling or abusive comment - I report it to the mods. Additionally, people who get downvoted develop some extent of anger, which does not help anybody, neither downvoter nor downvoted person.
I’ve seen some platforms not having this button and I totally agree with their reasoning. It does not contribute to anything meaningful.

@xvf
link
31Y

Some? Neither Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or tik-tok have it.

If I agree with a comment I can upvote it, why can’t I downvote something I don’t agree with. I don’t always feel like commenting and debating with someone.

@kujaw
creator
link
11Y

Do you know any FLOSS news aggregators that don’t use downvote button?
What I know are - Lobsters, but it’s invite-only.
From other types of websites there’s Diaspora. And Mastodon, which I’ve tried recently, however I feel that microblogging is not for me, too much noise.

@kujaw
creator
link
11Y

Sorry, I don’t use any of them, so I have not idea. However yes, I remember on Facebook it was only “like” button, you couldn’t “dislike”. I only use Reddit and Lobsters and since recently, Lemmy. And I’ve seen some subreddits removed downvote button, also Lobsters did it recently.

@Stoned_Ape
link
11Y

Isn’t the downvote, if used that way, a sort of a “micro comment”?

Dessalines
admin
link
11Y

No, a downvote is not a comment.

@Stoned_Ape
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0
edit-2
1Y

I disagree. If you ask me, it is a comment in form of a data point. Comparable to the “thumbs up” you can do in real life. I think almost all people would say that this is a form of commentary. Or applause, and “booo” on the other hand. They are not literally words, but communication is more than just words. Even on the web. Another examples would be the new kind of emoticons a user can flag a post/comment on Reddit, similar to Discord.

Edit: Or just make a tiny little thought experiment. Lets assume I just downvoted your comment above, for any reason I might have. Is that really no commentary at all?

@kujaw
creator
link
21Y

I think it’s no commentary at all, since there’s no content in your "comment’.

@Stoned_Ape
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01Y

But it is also not nothing, is it? The person using the downvote button has a reason to do so. It’s not purely random. It is a reaction, and it is visible to everyone, including the creator of the comment.

@kujaw
creator
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11Y

Yeah, but what does it mean? What meaning has this downvote?

@Stoned_Ape
link
0
edit-2
1Y

According to most users on Reddit and here, it means the voters disagree with you, and don’t recommend others to read what you wrote.

You are right that a fully detailed explanation is lacking, but it also doesn’t mean literally nothing.

See that someone downvoted my comment above? The person doing thought that my comment wasn’t okay, I guess. Whatever the reason might be, it wasn’t something positive, but something negative.

@kujaw
creator
link
11Y

Wouldn’t you like to know the reason? Wouldn’t this knowledge make discussion worth more?

@Stoned_Ape
link
-11Y

Absolutely! Answering with a text comment is always better than just voting without commenting. Though voting still isn’t literally without meaning, and still is useful.

@jsgohac
link
41Y

Not sure about always. Wouldn’t an attention seeking troll posting something controversial enjoy tons of comments instead of downvotes? I guess a protocol is to upvote your favourite dissent instead of commenting?

@work_at_google
link
01Y

why can’t I downvote something I don’t agree with. I don’t always feel like commenting and debating with someone.

What’s the value in that? Do you think it helps the overall discussion? Because the argument here that down-vote does more harm than good for discussion and community’s sanity.

Maybe if you want to feel good a client-only down-vote button would be more suited for this, so you can unload a bit of frustration and not affect the network negatively.

@developred
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2
edit-2
10M

deleted by creator

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