1
   

So why are so many people down neverending/games?

 
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 01:35 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Intellectually I understand what you are saying Robert, but I still don't buy the theory that MOST will EVER understand that a negative vote is anything other than a black mark. When you see really popular and useful threads with a high negative rating just because they are so active and therefore more not participating members vote to collapse them, it has been truly distressing to many. The techies can understand and view it all objectively and think nobody should be getting their feelings hurt. The reality is that most simply aren't seeing it that way and some are getting their feelings hurt.

My point, is that is likely to continue because the misunderstandings seem to be a systemic thing rather than stubbornness or intractibility on the part of the members. I am not one of those who has had his/her feelings hurt by this either. But I am hearing and understanding those who have.

I hope there is a way to find some time in the future to fix it because I think it is not going to be helpful to A2K to leave it as it is.

All that is necessary to fix it I think is to provide a mechanism to move the thread out of your view without down voting it. I don't know how hard that would be or if it would even be possible. But my personal wish is for that to happen.
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 01:38 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I think that sounds good (will have to re-read it at home).

Is there a particular benefit to the thumb count being visible? I understand the overall theory - but wonder if the detail of whether a post has 15 thumbs up v 70 thumbs up matters.

Again, still mulling.

I love the new site, but the thumbs are making me more uneasy day by day. Boomer's posted about no longer referring people to A2K to play word games, as they'd be too hard for a newcomer to find. That really struck a chord.

(and if they arrive, and all the word games are -10/-15, that could be offputting to a newcomer as well)

Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 01:41 pm
@ehBeth,
And like Letty's long running and very popular radio thread--so active that it went negative in a hurry as those who don't play there moved it out of the way. That's just wrong.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 01:47 pm
@ehBeth,
ehbeth, I completely agree, and that is exactly the point I've been trying to make across several threads now.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 01:55 pm
@Foxfyre,
Quote:
I still don't buy the theory that MOST will EVER understand that a negative vote is anything other than a black mark


I've never expressed this theory, but in any case what I just described would likely have the effect of shifting the votes more toward the positive scale and would harness more positive votes.

A couple days ago Nick and I were meeting and the subject came up. I told him that we'd need to do some more tweaking for the psychology of the voting system and explained how some people are taking voting very negatively. His response sums up the psychology pretty simply: "then let's just start everything at 1000 and then it won't be as negative".

He was joking but that's essentially the point. The value of the ratings isn't in the positive or negative numbers, but in the comparison of them. Strangely enough, some people used to tell us we shouldn't use negative numbers because our users would not be able to comprehend them (not the why, but the concept of a negative number itself) but I've always been pretty clear about how well it would be understood and how sensitive it would be.

So the system could be much more valuable, if the system trended more toward positive than negative, and the two improvements I recommended would do a lot to address that. By separating the content more it would mean less friction between, say, trivia and word games users and the politics crowd. After all, the politics guys wouldn't need to see all the trivia threads and wouldn't need to vote on them individually. Then the ratings for those threads would be more of an indication of worth within the microcosm of the community that is actually interested in them. So they'd be rated on the basis of being a good word game or not, and not on the basis of just being a word game.

And the idea to make replies auto vote up (unless the user votes down, of course) is similar to how tagging auto votes up already. The assumption is that if you are tagging (bookmarking) the topic it is one you find more interesting than the average thread. A similar assumption can be made that if you are replying to a post you find it more worthy of a reply than a post that you did not reply to.

So with more separation of the community's microcosms and more positive voting it would be more useful. Then there are cosmetic changes that can make the negative less of a focus for some. For example, only positive votes could be displayed while the conflation of positive and negative votes used for collapsing and positioning.

There are a lot of tweaks for the psychology of the negative voting that can help. The current voting has an imbalance of incentive toward negative voting because negative voting provides an immediate reward to the user (the content collapses) while positive voting does not as often (it makes the post never collapse, but most posts wouldn't have anyway). That alone could trend it positive enough, but there are a lot of other tweaks that can be tried if that's not enough.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 02:00 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Why don't you just get rid of negative voting altogether, and only have positive voting pushing things up, and a 'hide thread' button for the threads you want to see?

The fact is that the word 'negative' DOES have a NEGATIVE connotation in people's minds. How hard is that to understand? So just get rid of it altogether and have varying levels of positivity. It's a simple fix that would help end a lot of people's complaints about having their threads 'voted down.' Nobody likes being voted down. People understand not being voted up.

Cycloptichorn
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 02:01 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I understand Robert's points on page one, at least on my superficial understanding level.
Do think an opening grid thing, rooms, whatever, could be a good thing to see on the home page, along with some elementary explanation about voting, but I've no idea how one could split the voting between rooms there and One Inclusive Topic page.

On the thumbs, I am getting that people are hurt by it in a visceral way that explaining doesn't seem to alleviate for some. And yet, as the internet changes, this may become the standard and people will gradually take it less as a face to face affront. But yes, at this point people are reacting.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 02:02 pm
@ehBeth,
Quote:
Boomer's posted about no longer referring people to A2K to play word games, as they'd be too hard for a newcomer to find. That really struck a chord.

(and if they arrive, and all the word games are -10/-15, that could be offputting to a newcomer as well)


Don't get me wrong, I've been looking at it very closely long before boomer's post. And I've been trying to vote up various groups that aren't being well served by the current voting.

Word games is a big one, but the Lovatts crowd is getting no love, neither are the latin translation questions, and frankly a lot of the question threads overall.

That is what's giving me those ideas. Separating the questions and discussions with no global view would make the questions voted down a lot less often. Most of the current power-users don't like the questions (especially if a similar one has been asked before) and want only the discussions. Separating them would make the downvoting for lacking interest less common. Having replies auto vote up would make positive voting more common (and most of the threads that I am concerned about would come close to fixing themselves with that pattern) and lastly, a cosmetic change to reduce the negative can be used. Like Nick said, if all of them start at 1000 and you are comparing threads with 1099 popularity versus 980 popularity it can do the same thing without the psychological negatives.

All of these kinds of things are the kind of rough edges I'd known we'd need to work out, but we need the use history to make good code to use it. There are also just plain bugs and holes in the code that need to be fixed to make some of the nonsensical tagging abuse not work anymore.
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 02:02 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert I understand what you're saying. I really do. But what you (and the other powers that be) know and understand isn't translating well into the general community. That isn't your fault. The problem comes within the particular technical expertise and environment of the individual member. Someone like you or Craven or Sozobe or others who have high technical skills in this stuff see it much differently than those of us who are barely literate at all in computereze. And unfortunately there are a lot more of us than there are of you.

The fallacy of the current system is that it in fact is the more popular and active threads that are most likely to receive rapid and definitive negative ratings. They pop up quick and are voted down quick to get them out of the way. There has to be some way to remedy that and still maintain the integrity of intent that you board gurus intend. Really popular threads that many many members enjoy using should all have positive ratings.

I hope there is a way to make that happen. If not, I won't be getting my panties in a bunch in any way, but I won't enjoy the board as much as before I don't think.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 02:07 pm
@Robert Gentel,
oy, the latin translations - that was one group I'd been thumbing down and was the one that was making me re-think how I felt about the thumbs

I value what you and Nick are doing - launching , designing and having lives (hopefully you met the girl's timeline).

ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 02:07 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Just read Robert's later posts, no arguments from me, sounds good.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 02:10 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Quote:
Why don't you just get rid of negative voting altogether, and only have positive voting pushing things up, and a 'hide thread' button for the threads you want to see?


The simple answer is because I think my ideas would work a lot better than yours. But if you want to give it more thought here's some reasons why:

At this stage, we are not at the scale we need for the voting to work well. Fracturing the vote would make it doubly hard to do so to provide an option and doing away with the negative votes altogether rids the community of all moderation. Remember, the TOS is different, you are going to have a lot more asses around and the community will need to handle it. The handful of moderators can't scale to maintain community culture and the negative votes will become a valuable tool to the community as they are made more useful and as the community culture starts to drift with growth.

There are a lot of other reasons, but I'd rather not go into them unless people are really interested on the social and technical level and not just trying to make a point about how something sucks. Because I've put thousands of hours more thought into this than most of the people with these ideas, and don't want to get into debating them and arguing over them when I could be just working on the stuff I already have though out that often addresses the same fundamental complaint with a more nuanced and workable technical solution.

Basically, if there are going to be a bunch of armchair cooks, I'm only going to put the time into discussing things in detail if they are willing to put a lot more thought into the problem. Otherwise it's just a waste of my time arguing things and I'm much less likely to get something edifying for myself.
old europe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 02:11 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
By separating the content more it would mean less friction between, say, trivia and word games users and the politics crowd. After all, the politics guys wouldn't need to see all the trivia threads and wouldn't need to vote on them individually. Then the ratings for those threads would be more of an indication of worth within the microcosm of the community that is actually interested in them. So they'd be rated on the basis of being a good word game or not, and not on the basis of just being a word game.


Would it be possibly to "ignore" threads (i.e. hiding them from view) based on how they have been tagged?

For example, hide all the threads that have been tagged (or have been tagged more than x times) "trivia and word games"?

I don't know whether that'd be a feasible way of achieving what I'm getting from what you've said in the bit I've quoted above, but I know that I'd contribute to tagging word game threads appropriately if it would mean that I could hide them consequentially...


(Maybe I'm using a way too mathematical approach, though.)
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 02:11 pm
@Foxfyre,
Quote:
Robert I understand what you're saying. I really do. But what you (and the other powers that be) know and understand isn't translating well into the general community.


Then I'm not sure you really do understand. I'm saying that these specific complaints aren't a matter of the community not understanding the vision, it's a matter of the vision needing more work for the implementation.

This is not a communication issue, this is an unfinished code issue.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 02:12 pm
Yes echoing the positive input into the board. It has so many positives that I am really enjoying--most especially the speed--and I'm not having any trouble with readability either. I just hope some of the wrinkles that most bother folks can be ironed out a bit and then I think everybody can probably relearn what they need to relearn to make it all work. I for one am infinitely grateful to those who are giving of their time and talent to provide me with something pretty great for free.

(And hey Robert. I did admit that I am among the nearly illiterate in this computer stuff. I really REALLY do appreciate your patience in helping us to understand. And I will really REALLY try harder to do so. I don't really care about the technical aspects--never have on anything. I'm most interested in the end effect/results. But I'm wanting to be a help and not a pain in the ass too. And I do have great admiration and appreciation for those who do have the technical interest and skills.)
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 02:13 pm
@old europe,
Quote:
Would it be possibly to "ignore" threads (i.e. hiding them from view) based on how they have been tagged?


It's a complicated change and not one I have planned for the immediate future, but that's essentially what I'm talking about. The home page grid should be a grid that is comprised of the member's favorite tags or of all content minus the member's least favorite tags. That way, you don't need to vote down all the trivia for example, and can just avoid the whole tag.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 02:16 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Your response makes a lot of sense, but it's clear that you think that opinions that negative votes and thumbs down having negative connotations are not worth considering either, and that's sad. It's clear that many users feel that way and that leads me to believe that many new users will feel that way as well. We could have the exact same system, same architecture, everything, and use less pejorative terms, and people wouldn't complain about it. Why not explore that?

Cycloptichorn
old europe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 02:18 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Oh! Cool!

I understand that that wouldn't be implemented in a blink, but I really like that concept! There would be the additional side effect of getting people to label threads they don't want to see as accurate as possible!

Marvellous! Well, thanks for the answer. I got a bit nervous when you mentioned the "bunch of armchair cooks"....

<grins>
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 02:21 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I am wildly interested in the social aspect of your approach to this, but I'm definitely willing to wait for a few months to hear more about your process.

~~~

I guess part of the frustration for some of us is that we're "talk-it-outers/out-loud mullers", while you're more of a "thinker/doer". Stuff just seems to appear out of your brain. Fascinating stuff.

I'm not so much interested in debating what you came up with with (well, a bit, but not tons), as interested in how you got there. If I had the chance, I'd ask you question after question. Annoying. I know.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 02:22 pm
@Robert Gentel,
One more nuance:
In everyday life and here, should there by a difference, a lot of people don't read
directions, trying things first, and get frustrated easily. I'm still trying to put together some damn kitchen cart I bought at Lowe's - I believe I need four hands.

So, there have been threads galore about how to use the new a2k, but a lot venture in, are confused, and reactive, start a new thread about being unhappy without reading a thing. People tire of the explaining. The eventual site will, I hope, side step this by having entry into the rooms and voting and tagging aspects shown graphically and verbally in a simple, clear fashion, with appropriate links for further info. Anyway, the space and (whatever they are called, computer chips) used to do that would seem to be worth it.
 

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