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I feel like I’m beating a dead horse, but it seems that new users still can’t figure out how to say “I don’t like this post and I wanted to let you know”. I’m assuming this is true, because I still see downvote reasons that make absolutely no sense. Is there something we can do to help new users understand what these buttons are for?

My idea is to add a “I just don’t like this” downvote option that when you click it says “If you don’t like this post, use the ‘hide’ button”. Kind of like how LinkedIn gives you an “I don’t know this person” option when sending invites that explains what a connection is and why it’s not a good idea to make connections with people you don’t know.

Whatever happens, I think there are definitely things we can embed into the app to help new users integrate into the community faster.

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    What exactly is the ill effect of downvoting an article because one dislikes it? Of course I’m new around here and I haven’t actually downvoted anything, but I seem to have missed this tidbit of information in the new user orientation packet. I would love to have this cleared up, and I reckon others will read this and learn, too.

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      Articles should be downvoted for a concrete reason (e.g. the article is badly-written, incorrect, spam, etc.) This idea is specifically attempting to target downvoting due to the article not being in your taste but otherwise being fine. This latter use of downvote is supposed to instead be covered by article hiding.

      Why should personal preference (instead of concrete fact) not qualify for downvote? The answer is differing preferences. You might like an article that I don’t, but if I downvote it (and prevent it from appearing to you) before you have the chance to see it, then ultimately the voting system has failed as you’ve now lost out on an otherwise-good article, it’s just that I didn’t like it.

      Here’s my understanding on how various opinions on articles are intended to map:

      1. I liked the article => upvote.

      2. I neither liked nor disliked the article => no vote.

      3. I disliked the article => hide.

      4. The submission was spam, inaccurate, or otherwise had severe problems => downvote with appropriate reason.

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        The thing a downvote should should say for “didn’t like reason” is, “I don’t like this, and I want to tell the submitter that AND I don’t think others should see it.”

        Which when I first click downvote, I didn’t realize that was the reason. So I couldn’t in good conscience downvote articles w/o having a non-opinion reason.

        Downvote for “didn’t like” should hide and redirect people to a philosophy page.

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          In this case, the “upvote” and “downvote” paradigm doesn’t seem to fit well. Someone is likely to correctly assume that upvoting means “I like this article”, and then incorrectly assume that downvoting means “I don’t like this article”. This isn’t exactly an unjustified assumption when given what seems to be a binary option.

          Another approach would be to decouple “I like this article” from the voting system. There could be a “star” or “favorite” option next to “hide”, to allow someone to indicate that they liked it. Then, the “upvote” and “downvote” could mean “this belongs here” and “this doesn’t belong here”, respectively.

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            What of discussion comments though? Should the same rules apply to comments in the discussion sections? Of course minus the hide

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              I think the agreement is that it’s okay to downvote comments because you disagree, but it’s not okay to downvote stories. Someone here can probably dig up several comment threads to back that up.

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                Because downvoting a story prevents someone else from gaining new information. Why is that ever a good thing?

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              So conversely, if I like an article, I should therefore not upvote it unless I additionally feel it provides useful content? I know I’m being pedantic here, but I like clarity and it’s my hope others do too.

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            Maybe it’s time to get rid of the downvote altogether, and below the title offer:

            by kellogh about 5 hours ago | hide (hidden by 2 users) | flag | 14 comments

            wherein “flag” is a drop-down with the current downvote options.

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              Don’t make it noop, show it along with other downvote counts while not using it for score.

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                I can make that downvote option just do what ‘hide’ does, which will list it with the ‘hidden by X users’ tally shown next to the real downvote tallies.

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                  Could you elaborate on what the point of displaying it is? I think the point is more that we don’t want to provide people with an outlet for signaling that they don’t like something. There isn’t a clear win from allowing it.

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                    What about just a counter? X amount of users don’t like it?

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                      Could you elaborate on what the point of displaying it is?

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                        Hypothesis: the user who strongly disliked the post will feel better having downvoted it and will thus not stoop to an angry/snarky reply.

                        No idea whether that would actually work, but it’s an interesting theory.

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                  How about adding a real “I don’t like this” option? The article just posted on defensive bash programming is a great example: it’s neither off-topic, nor already-posted, nor poorly tagged, nor poorly titled, nor spam; it’s just of really, really bad quality, to the point that I suspect that it’s written a satire about bad programming articles. Which is to say, I don’t like it, and I don’t think other people will like it either, and the community would be better off if its visibility were reduced.

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                    We used to have a “low quality” downvote but that was also being misused. Maybe it’s time to bring it back.

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                      “Low quality” is really hard to distinguish from “I don’t like this”. Maybe you could ask your friends to decide that it’s not just you. But your friends probably don’t like the same things you don’t like, so it’s not clear it will help.

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                      Yes please. I found myself wanting exactly that option for exactly that article, and was disappointed to find that it didn’t exist (I had never even tried to downvote something before).

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                        This is the perfect place to simply not vote. If something is of low quality, I simply don’t upvote it. If many users agree a resource is of low quality and none upvote it, then it stays at a low vote count and disappears from the page shortly. I think the way the downvote is implemented right now is a very nice idea.

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                        We are in a community, and when another member of the community offers a resource there are only two reasons I would put my hand up to say ‘I don’t think we should collectively consider this’:

                        1) It is outright wrong, or in some way harmful or offensive.

                        2) In the context in which it was presented, I think there is a better resource. E.g. more data is now known about a scientific field which invalidates some old research. Or this is the author’s first draft, the final publication is available elsewhere, etc.

                        There is a separate consideration which is an implicit or explicit agreement: ‘This community mainly wants to consider a particular set of subjects’, which could lead to putting my hand up to say ‘I don’t think this resource is valid because it doesn’t fit the subject of this community’, but I don’t think we’re considering that here?