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I cannot understand the meaning of some downvotes

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In my opinion, downvoting some kinds of posts is meaningless.

For example, why should anyone downvote a bug report, like this post? If someone has the same problem, they can upvote the bug report; otherwise, they can skip it. Quite the contrary, I think bug report posts should be heavily upvoted to encourage other users to report bugs of the system.

Another example, why should anyone downvote a community proposal, like this post? If someone is interested in contributing to such a community, they can upvote the proposal; otherwise, they can skip it. Now, if I dislike a subject (or do not like to contribute to a proposed community) and see that there is some proposal covering the subject, then I should downvote the proposal?!

Why should this post be closed?

3 comments

I think for the community proposal that most of the downvotes originate from the fact that a math community is in its definition phase. Your proposal covers some of the stuff proposed there and I guess most people don't see the need for two too similar communities right now. ‭Zerotime‭ about 2 months ago

@Zerotime Thanks for your comment. However, I think the best choice in such situations is to skip proposals, right? ‭MathPhysics‭ about 2 months ago

Well, I guess that depends on the person in question: If someone is personally bothered by something, they will act on it. If they aren't bothered by it, they most likely just ignore it. If I see a proposal that I think isn't helpful (for the time being) for the Codidact project, I would downvote it and explain why I think so. ‭Zerotime‭ about 2 months ago

3 answers

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Votes on meta supposedly means "agree/don't agree". Which may make sense in some cases, not so much in other cases.

I have argued many times on the Codidact forums/meta that using the same Q&A meta model as SE should be avoided. It is a model that we know is ill-suited both for discussion and support. Specifically:

  • Discussions are hard to follow unless there are collapsible discussion threads (like Reddit etc). The Q&A format and then a bunch of comments is poorly suited particularly for broad discussions.
  • It doesn't make much sense to vote on bug reports. Either something is a bug or it isn't, only the devs can tell.
  • It doesn't make much sense to vote on support requests. You can't agree or disagree with a support request. "No, I don't agree that you are having this problem" doesn't make sense.
  • Support requests are by their very nature highly likely to be duplicates. Closing them as such isn't very helpful - if someone needs help, help them. None except those actually planning to help need to interact with a support request. The rest should ignore such posts.
  • The Q&A model makes it very hard to find relevant policies, FAQs and community consensus. It does in fact make it hard to find things in general, not only on meta. Mixing discussions, support requests and bug reports into one single mess doesn't exactly help.
  • Voting on people's ideas for new features or opinions means needless drama and a negative atmosphere. Everyone should be free to express their opinion without fearing to get down-voted into meta-hell.
  • On that note, voting also tend to lead to bandwagon/sheep behavior, where users stop thinking of what they want themselves and just follow everyone else.
  • When there is an actual need for voting or polls, then invoke a poll. Doesn't even have to be on this site, there's plenty of free external poll sites.

The reason SO went with Q&A format for meta was because that in the early days, they had some irrational belief that the Q&A model was the answer to every problem in the world. 10 years of toxic SO.meta discussions later, we know that it was a design mistake. One we do not need to repeat.

To improve things short term, we could at least have different categories for discussions, feature requests, support requests and bug reports. In the long term, I believe we need an entirely different format for the metas.

3 comments

Voting on people's ideas for new features means you get a consensus of whether the users as a whole would want these new features. That's quite useful. Dev time is limited. It should be spent creating features people actually want. ‭Olin Lathrop‭ about 2 months ago

Thanks for your nice and comprehensive answer. If I had been able to accept your answer, I would certainly have done that. ‭MathPhysics‭ about 2 months ago

@Olin Lathrop In theory yes, but since this is open source, the devs will ultimately focus on features that they themselves believe in. Nobody is going to spend days of their volunteer time designing something popular that they don't believe in - though they might have done so if it was paid work. Voting might be useful for the devs themselves to sanity check their own ideas, I suppose. ‭Lundin‭ about 2 months ago

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why should anyone downvote a community proposal, like this post?

Because they think it's a flawed proposal. That really should have been obvious.

In the particular case you cite, note that you got many responses disagreeing with lumping physics and math together. I didn't vote at all, but if I really cared about a math or physics site, I probably would have downvoted too.

Part of it may also have been frustration with your attitude. When people disagree, you basically repeat the same arguments. While there is nothing wrong with sticking to your original opinion, you seem unable to recognize that others disagree without being stupid. Your post here is another example of that.

why should anyone downvote a bug report, like this post?

That is less clear. I also didn't vote on that post. The downvote may be because someone thinks the issue is poorly described, or that you haven't been very helpful in responding to the devs and helping them track down the problem. Perhaps people are using votes on bug reports to give them a relative sense of priority.

It would probably be helpful if there was site-wide guidance of how voting on bug reports should be used.


In my opinion, people should only upvote site proposals they want to contribute to

Yes, it is clear that is your opinion. My opinion, and apparently those of some others differ. Personally I think a combined math and physics site is a bad idea because it would get in the way of real math and physics sites. I'd rather there not be a math+physics site, even if it takes longer to get both math and physics sites.

Now that I to wrote this down (the rubber duck effect), I'm realizing I really should downvote the math+physics proposal. I'll go do that now.

3 comments

Thanks for your answer. However, although I personally disagree with (or dislike) some proposals (even I disagree with launching any new communities at the present time), I have never downvoted any of them because if I disagree with them I can easily ignore such communities and I am not obliged to contribute to such communities. In my opinion, people should only upvote site proposals they want to contribute to in order that the community team can decide to launch a community or not. ‭MathPhysics‭ about 2 months ago

I posted that site proposal to see whether there exist enough people interested in such a community or not. After deleting my answer from the math community proposal, I did not challenge anyone about their idea. Those people disagreeing with my idea can easily ignore it. ‭MathPhysics‭ about 2 months ago

In my opinion, if anyone report any bug even in poorly-described way, they should be encouraged because finding any bug can help the website to be more functional. By the way, some community developer asked me to add a screenshot of the bug, and I explained to them that I cannot upload any image (another bug), so I sent the image through chat. ‭MathPhysics‭ about 2 months ago

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In an ideal world, bug reports and support requests would be a separate stream from discussions and feature requests. We work with the tools we have, while also working to improve them. (A few people have reported software bugs on GitHub, which is fine too but not something we'd want to require.)

We've discussed a "discussion" post type, which would have different properties from Q&A. It depends on threaded comments (planned, not yet implemented).

It absolutely does make sense to vote on site proposals and feature requests. People who don't care one way or the other can ignore both, but people should be able to express "I think this is a bad idea". In the case of your site proposal, you propose to combine math with one of the several sciences that uses math, and have received feedback from people challenging that grouping. Some people clearly feel that your site proposal is confusing, arbitrary, or otherwise harmful, and have expressed that feeling through votes. Another site proposal, Medical Science, has received downvotes apparently because people are concerned with possibly handing out medical advice on the Internet to unknown patients. People should be able to downvote proposals they object to. Ideally they leave feedback explaining what the issues are, as has happened in these cases.

1 comment

Thanks for your answer. However, although I personally disagree with (or dislike) some proposals (even I disagree with launching any new communities at the present time), I have never downvoted any of them because if I disagree with them I can easily ignore such communities and I am not obliged to contribute to such communities. In my opinion, people should only upvote site proposals they want to contribute to in order that the community team can decide to launch a community or not. ‭MathPhysics‭ about 2 months ago

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