When I see answers like this - low-rep users with uncommented downvotes, I try to address them with a comment. It's my way of trying to gentle the slap in the face from the downvote. A downvote without a comment is fine for an experienced user, but it seems to me, from a citizenship standpoint, that it's the equivalent of saying, "Welcome to our site! EFF YOU!"

But obviously, I can't catch them all, and don't want to.

Is there some measure we can take to help keep us from driving away new users? I thought of a couple of things:

  • Require a comment on a downvote for a user with less than some threshold of rep and / or some threshold of membership duration
  • Instead of requiring a comment (which violates voting anonymity), could the system insert a comment directing the user to the FAQ or even an entry on "So, you've been downvoted, welcome to the site!" automatically?

I like RPG.SE, but it needs to stay the welcoming community it was when I found it or it risks becoming insular and just as bad as any other place on the net.

share
6  
This does seem like an issue worthy of attention although I'm not sure there is a good answer. A FAQ would seem too general for most folks in that sort of situation to get much benefit from. And I wouldn't like to see the anonymity gone in general. However - an exception requiring a comment in this specific circumstance seems reasonable to me. – Gaxx Nov 20 '12 at 22:48
    
Down vote for this above comment. Oh, of course, I can't. That's makes it easy to say things like "This does seem like an issue worthy of attention": some people think it is and that your comment is the problem. – Protonflux Oct 21 '15 at 11:45
up vote 10 down vote accepted

We are happy to say "Hey! With new users especially, please explain downvotes! It's nicer, and helps them improve when they don't know much about the site."

Do not expect any rules mandating that or any technical enforcement whatsoever of that. It won't happen.

There are plenty of pointers to the FAQ for new users, try opening a private browsing window or the like and approach the site like you're a new user. We can only scream the FAQ so loud - people that don't listen and answer anyway will probably pull some downvotes. We rely on the community to reach out to these new users and help them along.

share
    
So, could we add something like "With new users, please explain your downvotes!" to the FAQ or some other "charter" document? Could we add "unexplained downvotes on low-rep / new users answers" to the collection of objects that get reviewed? – gomad Nov 27 '12 at 22:11
1  
Maybe and no respectively. We'll take a look at what's customary on the other sites and work something up. – mxyzplk Nov 28 '12 at 0:03

Personally I did not think the answer was worth a down vote and it was my question. In fact I up voted because Real Life experience for me, as a referee, would have trumped the RAW.

share

Asked to move this to this forum by Hey I Can Chan and SevenSidedDie after an awful, disappointing and avoidable experience of the RolePlaying Games site. The post was deleted (deleted by Miniman, okeefe, SevenSidedDie♦), the cynic in me thinks "conveniently", which really did not go any way to improving the issues I have with the site.

I hope this isn't many people's experience but the existence of this question says otherwise. I've made some edits to make it more what I mean to say, I'm afraid you can't compare to my original post as it has, as already noted, been deleted. I wonder if it will be deleted from here given I don't necessarily answer a question, just express my opinion. Naughty me.


@KorvinStarmast and @SevenSidedDie: I have to say that I don't think I am someone who is going to get anything meaningful from this site, because of the inbuilt attitude to new people. I have been playing RPGs for nearly 40 years, different systems, different people, different styles, different relationships and expectations. Tried all sorts of different formats and ideas, some worked some didn't. We (my gtoup and I) have developed two RPG's of our own and one of us even published an Ars Magica supplement which we playtested. Kinda been there, done that.

While it is useful to have a forum for exploring the rules of systems, for asking specific "fact" based questions only, I think a community that encourages anonymous, data-less criticism, discourages ANY opinion based discussion and the effect this has on anyone new joining ("adapt to our way or go away" is the message I am getting very loud and clear) rather than being accommodating, open and persuasive is not for me. I really was happy to have found a wide reaching open forum for discussion of games. It seems that's not really what it's purpose is. Really had too much of this kind of self-sustaining negative reinforcement behaviour which unfortunately seems strangely endemic to pockets of the gaming community. It's always seemed a bit like bullying to me, power gaming. Perhaps I am wrong.

So I'm not interested, my attention and time has been taken up with this "meta" rubbish rather than actually joining in on informed debate about games. I have no issues with positive criticism, informed disagreement and would have loved to have had discussions with those who had issue with my posts. I had quite a few interesting comments on many posts before they got "meta-ed".

I'm someone who is really open to new ideas and will always change my position if arguments are persuasive. But what has actually happened has really soured my experience. Others who are not so outspoken as I am may feel the same. I hope not. Anyway life is too short (Ha, re-reading this I should have stopped there, I undermine my stated position by carrying on... hey ho).

I've been a school teacher for years and this system would never get near a decent educational environment, which is not a million miles away from what you seem to be trying to achieve here. But your system has a strong bias toward the use of negative reinforcement, even worse without expecting cues as to what is being done "wrong", to produce your outcomes.

The anonymity makes it all too easy to crack the whip without having to justify your position, especially with the little, but highly significant, detail of not being able to down vote comments. This all might be fine as part of a system, except that in this case it is the stated norm, the expected behaviour, rather than something frowned upon! Wow. Disheartened and amazed. I really can't think of anywhere in real life this would be tolerated or thought of as a good idea. Maybe this is a cultural difference between the UK and the US?

I wish you well, but I will be "closing" my account (again I have undermined my stated course of action here by moving this post, but I am really quite angry with the treatment I have had here, in a forum where I expected to feel at home, safe in expressing my opinions based on so many years experience, and be able to make a positive contribution). Shame. I've had to move away from my regular group players and so don't get to have good discussions about games. Oh well.

Protonflux.

ps. @SevenSidedDie thanks for some of your comments.


share
6  
Thank you for posting this here. It sounds like you wanted a forum but got a Q & A site. It also sounds like many of the issues you have are with Stack Exchange concept not necessarily with how you've been treated here. Is that accurate? – Hey I Can Chan Oct 21 '15 at 12:20
3  
"...I think a community that encourages anonymous, data-less criticism, discourages ANY opinion based discussion..." Discouraging opinion-based discussion is, in fact, one of the #1 goals of this site. If that's what you're looking for, then we are not the site for you. We'd be happy to talk with you in chat and help you find a forum that's a better fit for you. – Oblivious Sage Oct 21 '15 at 13:02
1  
I use stack-overflow all the time. Great site. Well implemented. Never seen anything like this there. On this site I asked questions, I wrote answers, I got anonymously down voted without given reason, made comments about how rude it is, then got comments that I could not down vote. So fair and welcoming. When I made comments about that I get told to take a hike, not in so many words, but that's the message. You want a system that is biased towards negativity, well you got it. It would take SO LITTLE to change. Just the expectation of down voting with no comments being the norm. – Protonflux Oct 21 '15 at 13:08
1  
@ObliviousSage: the reason "ANY" was in caps is you can't have a discussion without opinion. It's a cop out reason. Also I am quite capable of navigating the internet thank you for the offer. That's a very passive aggressive way of saying "go away". Which I would have done if I had not discovered this and a couple of other posts on this meta site saying similar things. – Protonflux Oct 21 '15 at 13:09
2  
Just to make my position clear I think that if you down vote a question you should say why otherwise you don't add enough to the community to make the cost worth it. It really isn't difficult and it does not contravene any stack-exchange ethos. Sometimes you have to make the pearl rather than find it. Down voting without reason hampers this process, dramatically with new users or those that find it difficult to conform to societal norms. History shows us that many "pearls" (to use the stack-exchange metaphor) are generated by those who are in that exact position. Your current stance is wrong. – Protonflux Oct 21 '15 at 13:50
1  
That's an issue you can take up here. – Hey I Can Chan Oct 21 '15 at 13:54
3  
I think this would have been more useful to you posted as a new question rather than an answer on another question. We have limited ability to respond to answers due to the limitations of comments. Which is not to say "this has been done wrong", but rather to say that you won't get substantial feedback from the mods or community on this post. – SevenSidedDie Oct 21 '15 at 14:41
3  
That said, a fundamental error I must address: the main site is not a discussion forum (and never will be). You suggest a few times above that you believe it is, or perhaps should be, but that belief will be at best misleading. Your reception has been mostly because you're looking for conversation on the wrong site. There are lots of discussion sites for RPGs already, and RPG.se is not aiming to duplicate them. We're doing something very different here. – SevenSidedDie Oct 21 '15 at 14:54
1  
In particular, if you want discussion, you have enough reputation to use Role-playing Games Chat. If you intend to stay here, I request you take your desire for discussion to the chat rooms and keep it off the main site (where such posts will continue to correctly receive downvotes and deletes). – SevenSidedDie Oct 21 '15 at 15:00
2  
@Protonflux Again, you seem to be under the misconception that this site exists for "discussion". That is not the case. The Stack Exchange format is explicitly designed to minimize discussion, because discussion is not its purpose. We're sorry you're unhappy here, but the site's format is not going to change. If you want discussion you should go to a forum rather than trying to transform RPG.SE, just like if you want a site for fantasy football you should go to FanDuels or a similar site rather than trying to transform Wikipedia. – Oblivious Sage Oct 21 '15 at 15:38
2  
Relevant: Apparently, there's a reminder on the downvote button that asks people to comment on a post that they downvote. meta.stackexchange.com/a/2373/259756 – DuckTapeAl Oct 21 '15 at 16:05
2  
@DuckTapeAl Yes, but it's conditional: “if you think this post can be improved.” The problem I have personally encountered with Protonflux' answers is that they look kind of like answers, but also kind of like attempts at starting a discussion, and it has most often been entirely unclear how the post could be improved. When the intentions behind an answer are so murky, the thesis of the answer itself is often unclear and unhelpable with a comment. Simultaneously though, an unclear and unimprovable answer is usually very obviously not useful and therefore strongly encourages a downvote. – SevenSidedDie Oct 21 '15 at 18:21
3  
The reason I said "relevant" and not "this has already been addressed" is that the post I linked shows that all users that downvote things are already told to comment on fixable answers. I'm not really commenting on Protonflux's answers in specific, I'm just pointing out that we already tell people to comment. I agree that Protonflux's answers were discussion board posts and not real answers. – DuckTapeAl Oct 21 '15 at 18:33
2  
@Protonflux You said earlier that you "use stack-overflow all the time". Your post history there doesn't bear that out. You have 3 posts: 2 answers and 1 question, all with 0 points. Both of your answers are identical answers on different questions critiquing implementation details rather than actually answering the question. I highly suspect that if you posted answers like that to more visible and popular sections of SO, you'd get a similar reaction to the one you have here. – DuckTapeAl Oct 21 '15 at 18:38
4  
@DuckTapeAl I'll just throw in there that I, for years, read lots of Q&A, comments, and meta and considered myself a "user" of various SE's before finally becoming a "contributor" this summer. I don't find anything incongruous about protonflux's self-description and I assume good faith upon reading it. – nitsua60 Oct 21 '15 at 23:11

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .