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How does voting on site proposals work?

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I've seen a pattern of certain users downvoting on site proposals, not because they are against the proposal itself but rather against the concept of launching a new community. Without calling out any specific users, they have mentioned in comments and Discord that they'll revoke their downvote if the community proposal gets enough votes.

This doesn't seem right to me. Voting on meta is supposed to be "I agree" or "I disagree," in this case "I (dis)agree that this is a good proposal." Shouldn't votes on site proposals therefore be "I think that this community will/will not be a viable community," and not even "I would/would not be interested in seeing such a community launched," much less "I think/don't think we should be launching new communities"?

Am I interpreting the vote system as applied to site proposals correctly, or should voting on site proposals indeed function as some of the scenarios I've written off above?

Why should this post be closed?

1 comment

People will do what people will do. All you can do is not attach much meaning to the result. Olin Lathrop‭ 25 days ago

1 answer

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I don't understand those voting patterns either. Because people vote for all sorts of reasons, ranging from "I enthusiastically support this" to "that sounds reasonable to me (but I wouldn't participate" to "I think there are serious flaws" to "I am opposed to any site about X regardless of the merits of this proposal", we can't draw many conclusions from votes on the proposals themselves.

In the beginning we read too much signal into proposal votes. This is why we now ask people to indicate their actual interest in being part of the community (and whether they're enthusiastic or more casual). We care much more about answers with concrete suggestions or arguments against, and the voting on them, than votes on the proposal itself. If we see a bunch of enthusiastic would-be participants and low or negative voting on the proposal we'll ask about that, but this hasn't happened yet I don't think.

If someone objects to some aspect of a proposal, we'd like to see an answer explaining the issues. We can evaluate the content of an answer; we can't read the tea leaves of proposal votes.

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