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There is a post in Meta.SE that is seeking some volunteer sites to test an adjustment of voting privilege (currently set at 15 to upvote and 125 to downvote). There are a few changes, but the highlights are.

What would change for sites participating in this test?

There are three main privilege changes happening here as part of our test:

  • Reputation required to cast upvotes is changing from 15 to 1
  • Reputation required to cast downvotes is changing from 125 to 1
  • The 1 reputation cost to downvote answers will be removed We will notify logged-in users with <125 rep to let them know that they can vote with a popup.

To understand motivations for new downvoters, the first few downvotes from a <125-rep user would require them to explain their downvote - this information will not be posted anywhere, but will instead be collected by our research team and bucketed into categories so that we can better understand reasons people downvote.

Our community's voting behaviour is most likely different from other sites. Even so, we do have many new users who take part in our platform, so the base of contribution here might be big.

Should we volunteer?

  • Upvote = Support this test
  • Downvote = Oppose this test

Also consider adding an answer or comment explaining your motivation.

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  • 17
    I strongly disagree. With only 1 reputation required to cast downvotes, we will have a lot of downvotes by mistake (intended to be upvotes), or fake users that log in only to downvote.
    – CarLaTeX
    Sep 22, 2023 at 6:38
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    @CarLaTeX if the test indeed shows these unwanted behaviors then we could use that as an argument to SE staff that lowering the thresholds is a bad idea. If the test does not show problems then it might even be a good idea (or it could be neutral). I would be interested to see what happens, and if we participate we might have some influence on the policy.
    – Marijn
    Sep 22, 2023 at 13:56
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    I'd be in favor of allowing upvotes sooner, but I already believe that a reason should be given for most downvotes. (Comments asking for downvote reasons are already seen here much too frequently.) So on balance, I'll not vote here, but leave the decision up to other participants. Sep 22, 2023 at 14:46
  • If you haven't done so already, please cast a vote on the post up/down to state whether you support the idea/not.
    – Werner Mod
    Sep 22, 2023 at 15:41
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    I agree with @barbarabeeton about the downvotes. I'm more undecided on the upvotes. I'm not necessarily against, but I suspect it would further accelerate a tendency for some of the best answers to get surprisingly few votes (if any), while some answers collect votes despite giving bad advice. And I really could see it further exaggerating the votes which visually impressive output attracts. Many of those answers are excellent and deserve high scores, but they often get disproportionately many relative to equally good or better answers. (My highest scoring answers are definitely of this kind.)
    – cfr
    Sep 23, 2023 at 2:58
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    I've seen a lot of no-comment downvotes on questions recently, especially those of new users. I worry more downvoting will deter people from posting content.
    – cfr
    Sep 23, 2023 at 3:01
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    I wanted to downvote this, but I couldn't because I don't have reputation. Yes, my opinion about whether my opinion should be considered is that it should be not. Please ignore this comment.
    – radrow
    Sep 23, 2023 at 19:15
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    I'd also encourage community members to post their arguments (for or against TeX-LaTeX SE testing this out) as answers.
    – V2Blast
    Sep 24, 2023 at 21:10
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    I agree with the arguments against it. However, from my point of view, one exception would be pleasant: allowing one to upvote answers to his own question, without the present threshold of reputation. Oct 8, 2023 at 2:24
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    Voting is the major mechanism of StackExchange sites. A lot depends on this mechanism. If you only need to create an account to vote (which is totally free), the door is open for virtually everybody to just vote for whatever reason. The current "hurdle" for voting prevents abuse and I would thus strongly advise against tearing down this protection. Oct 25, 2023 at 8:15

1 Answer 1

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I suggest: Yes, provided StackExchange Inc. promises to help mods clean up the mess in case the experiment goes badly.

My gut feeling is to agree with the major reservations expressed by others. I’d expect this to lead to more “engagement” in the short-term, but to hurt the quality of the community (both content and atmosphere), and hence to hurt all aspects, including engagement, in the longer-term.

However, the proposed experiment is relatively short (1 month), so it seems the worst-case scenario is a big mess of low-quality voting and other activity to clean up. Expecting the mods to deal with this unsupported would be a big ask, but if StackExchange is willing to support the mods with some custom tooling and/or person-hours, then it seems it should be pretty reasonable. Some ideas already proposed in the meta.SE thread: a script to revert votes/activity that wouldn’t have been possible with the existing thresholds; perhaps an “abort button” that the mods can hit to end the experiment early if it’s clearly causing problems — of course, the mods will know best what would be useful.

Finally, I think it’s in our long-term interest to work with StackExchange Inc on things like this. If we’re too conservative about helping them to figure out ways to make the network profitable enough while keeping what makes it good, then they will surely switch back to just imposing changes on us without consultation. I’m skeptical that this particular proposed change would be good, but I think SE’s approach to it is good, and we should reward that.

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    My worry is that one month may not be long enough to see the possible bad effects, so the test will be deemed a success and we will only see the real damage later. And in that case the question remains as to whether this will impose an undue burden on mods.
    – Alan Munn
    Oct 8, 2023 at 14:49

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