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It seems that the limited downvote options are very good at preventing superfluous downvoting, and in my opinion the list of options should be kept as short as possible. Any new option must prove to not be a specific case of an existing option.

It seems that the “Parent Misunderstood GP” use case is not currently represented. For instance, see this comment: https://lobste.rs/s/q5xc5y/no_way_prevent_this_says_only_development#c_3xxqbz

I downvoted it as “incorrect” but really, the facts presented in the comment are correct. It is the premise of the comment that is incorrect, because the commenter seems to have misunderstood GP.

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    In this case, isn’t it better to reply to the comment, explaining why you think it’s misunderstood?

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      This seems right to me. If you want to convey something specific to the person you’re downvoting, then reply to them. The categories, as I understand it, exist to curb reflexive downvoting.

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        There are plenty of times I downvote without leaving a comment. Either because I’ve tried leaving a comment before and they were hostile/unreceptive, or because others have tried leaving a comment and failed to make any noticeable impression. It’s much easier to just downvote and move on than it is to engage in a hopeless battle to change someone’s behavior.

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          Regrettably, downvoting without explanation provides very weak signal and as a community norm is toxic.

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            There’s a lot more that’s toxic about this place than downvotes. Other than certain members who continue to be inflammatory (which is not a synonym for “expressing opinions I disagree with,” as so many like to believe), for example, I think a legitimate argument could be made that upvotes are more toxic than downvotes. We continually have short, low-efffort, low-content comments upvoted, usually because they are “clever” or are a “zinger.” The upvotes, at minimum, encourage this type of behavior. If I want that shit, I’ll go to r/programming.

            Either way, one can’t be expected to do battle with folks whose comments are so predictably tired and inflammatory, that I can often say, “oh there’s one comment, and given the title of the post, I can bet that so-and-so said something like such-and-such.” There’s just no point. And then you have other members that just repeatedly grind the same ol’ political axe any chance they get. Nobody has the energy to respond to all of these comments. And even when you do, you’ll invariably be accused of tone policing (or similar) and “shutting down alternative opinions.” So then you have to deal with those folks too.

            So, from my perspective, we have a culture we’ve established here of very light moderation, and a very high tolerance for asinine/unconstructive behavior. Every time I come here, I more and more think about just deleting my account and leaving. I don’t see any of this changing, and my guess is that it’s only going to get worse as the number of members increase.

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              The downvote category I have wished for much more often than the proposed one is “Rude”. Replying to an inflammatory or ad hominem comment often just makes the commenter escalate, and best-case it derails the discussion. “Troll” isn’t right because the commenter isn’t deliberately trolling (at least I’d like to think things aren’t that bad). If someone is being blatantly uncivil I’d like to be able to downvote that behavior, regardless of content.

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                I could go for a category like that. Anything along the lines of: mean, disrespectful, uncharitable.

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                I often get a lot of ‘troll’ down votes mixed with lots of up votes. I don’t think I am a troll, so don’t really know what to do when that happens and nobody says anything. It is just an anonymous ‘fuck you’ from someone out there for some reason I don’t understand.

                One thing I found is If you want to make long form comments and have people see it, you are better off making a submission or blog post than trying to convince a single person of anything via comments.

                anyway, if it was me who annoyed you, sorry about that, its not something I’m doing on purpose.

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                  I hear you. I don’t have an answer - if I did, I’d be doing it.

                  I definitely agree that there’s a trap where short jokes rise to the top. I think upvotes do have some value in letting people feel good for saying something that was received well, but it’s an open question whether the benefits outweigh the costs.

                  I don’t have any special insight to offer on the other issues you mentioned, other than to say that for a place to be a community requires members to be committed to positive engagement. It isn’t easy.

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                    Yeah, indeed, it is quite hard. IMO, probably the only path is to 1) convince existing moderators or new moderators to devote more time to policing this place and 2) shift the culture of the community to welcome stricter moderation of content. That’s… hard for any number of reasons!

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                    We continually have short, low-efffort, low-content comments upvoted, usually because they are “clever” or are a “zinger.” The upvotes, at minimum, encourage this type of behavior.

                    How often does this happen, though? Anecdotally, I only ever see the low-effort comments once in a while - usually on the more popular posts that have been simmering on the front page for more than a day. And usually those replies aren’t ever top-level, usually a reply to something else. In my experience, the vast majority of posts on this site feel thoughtful and sincere. When the “clever” posts happen, I’m actually relieved and reminded, “oh yeah, lobste.rs folks do have a sense of humor”, even if it wasn’t all that clever or funny.

                    Either way, one can’t be expected to do battle with folks whose comments are so predictably tired and inflammatory, that I can often say, “oh there’s one comment, and given the title of the post, I can bet that so-and-so said something like such-and-such.”

                    This is something I endorse. I will often see people attacking other peoples’ opinions directly on this website. I’m sure that a certain subset of folks here toe the line between “strong opinion” and “inflammatory”, and they know they’re toeing the line, but they haven’t done anything technically against the rules - but after reading their comments, there’s a bad taste left in your mouth. They may use harsh language directed at the person they’re replying to, or deliberately insult a piece of what they’re saying in a curt manner, or being just plain rude. Perhaps a “arguing in bad faith” or “rude” downvote option might help, but then again, we already have a “troll” downvote option - so that may just be what we want to use in those situations.

                    I suppose I don’t really browse the site as often as other people here, so my experience may not be in line with yours. Thoughts?

                    (postscript: I’m always worried I’m going to misunderstand someone’s argument and then have a whole thing where it feels like I’m arguing in bad faith when in reality, I’m being confident about the entirely wrong thing because my reading comprehension sucks. When faced with “post opinion” or “delete and avoid possible misunderstanding” I will more often than not choose the latter to avoid uncomfortable confrontation.)

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                      I personally feel like I see those low effort zingers a lot. The linked thread from this meta thread has them, for example. On the one hand, I think humor is good, but on the other, a lot of it that I see here do it at the expense of others. I see a lot of comments in the style of n-gate.com, which I personally think is just a complete and total pile of garbage, although it’s perhaps less on-the-nose in comments here at lobste.rs.

                      But, everyone is likely to have their own standards for what kind of conversations they want to see here. I’d prefer to keep high standards. We already have places on the Internet where the n-gate style of humor is encouraged and accepted. In contrast, we have precious few places where we can expect continued high quality discussion. Lobste.rs is decent in the grand scheme of things; I’m likely a harsh critic because I sense the potential to be something better.

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                      I think a legitimate argument could be made that upvotes are more toxic than downvotes.

                      (my emphasis)

                      Why? A comment with a large number of upvotes is not promoted in any way apart from the small number inside the arrows. There’s no sorting algorithm like on Reddit that promotes this.

                      If you believe that people are changing their commenting style for karma points, thus degrading the site for everyone else, you may have a point. But “toxic” is a very strong word.

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                        I don’t really want to get lost in definitions of words. I used toxic because friendlysock did. If you want to choose a different word for describing both situations that is less strong, then sure, go right ahead. Also, saying it’s about karma kind of undervalues it. Most of us are human, and it’s not unlikely that we get a dopamine hit when we say something that is popularly validated.

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                          There’s a big difference between a forum which is genuinely toxic - where newcomers are looked down upon and insulted, where snark reigns supreme, and trolls run unchecked - and a forum that might tend towards silliness and unseriousness but doesn’t literally make people anxious to visit.

                          I’m fine with zingers and one-liners being downvoted - “me-too” and “off-topic” work for this - if the community feels they have no place here. I don’t see it at this moment in time as a big deal though.

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                      What if a comment couldn’t be downvoted unless it has at least one reply? Or a given person is not allowed to downvote unless they have left a reply?

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                        That would just play into the hands of literal trolls. A downvote is all the response a troll comment deserves.

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                      I’ve done this too. My comment above was solely in the case where it seems as if a commenter has specifically misunderstood a post or a comment. In that case, I believe it’s more constructive to reply and ask for clarification, instead of leaving a hypothetical “misunderstood” downvote.

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                        I’d prefer that the default behavior was moving on with no action.

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                          Oh I don’t mean to suggest anyone has a responsibility to reply whenever they downvote. I think I’ve done the same thing. I only mean to say that if you do want to communicate something specific, they say it.

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                            Aye yeah, that makes sense!

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                        I’m of the opinion that the reply should be in addition to the downvote, to keep the discussion on track. Otherwise the comment will have the same moderation value as other comments, increasing its exposure and causing more confusion.

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                          I would echo this, misunderstandings happen, it doesn’t necessarily warrant a downvote. If you feel like clearing it up, that keeps the conversation going in what is hopefully a constructive way. If you don’t feel like clearing it up, that is also fine.

                          And perhaps I am misunderstanding here, but a downvote says you were wrong to misunderstand and I may or may not clear up the misunderstanding.

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                          “Incorrect” is fine here. Even better if you could leave a clarification, but people don’t always have the time and energy. (And, of course, it’s OK to let someone be wrong on the internet without engaging.)

                          Shamelessly hijacking your meta thread,

                          It seems that the limited downvote options are very good at preventing superfluous downvoting

                          This seems less the case this summer. I haven’t had spare time to run numbers (I’ve been exceptionally busy all of July), but it feels like the mod dashboard has been filled up with people flagging stories and comments they disagree with or apparently want to push down the page. I’ve messaged to ask about some of the really odd ones and mostly gotten what feel like flimsy justifications.

                          Trying to find the minimum effective dose, I’m going to add some more explicit guidance on the flagging reasons to /about. If, like @angersock, you have opinions on this when to and not to use particular reasons, please comment here.

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                            Those guidelines looks pretty decent to me to be honest. Although I do tend to lean more towards the “applied strictly” interpretation.

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                              I have opinions! I don’t personally see the benefit in the “incorrect” category at all. Nothing wrong with making a mistake, and if you see one, post an educational or corrective reply to help everyone out. If you don’t want to reply, just leave it alone without downvoting (that would be like saying “You are wrong!” and walking away - who are you helping?) and let someone else do it. But that’s just my interpretation of the word “incorrect” - I’ll be just as happy if the community agrees on a different interpretation.

                              The other categories serve their purposes well. If anything I’d like upvote categories too, so I can filter out the “funny” or “agreeable” comments and get straight to the “insightful” ones.

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                                I like the metaphor. That article on minimum dose got deleted or something, though. Here’s archived version.

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                                  I stand by my prior analysis. I need to get my blog back online since it also had some writings related to the topic.

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                                  I’ve been using incorrect for that purpose, which is OK to me but might indeed be too vague for the person down voted to understand.

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                                    I don’t know if this whole topic was spawned by that thread, but IMO, a satire article meant to echo a different satire article on a hot-button culture war topic is so massively likely to attract that type of comment that it might be better to flag the entire post as troll/flamebait rather than try to identify downvote reasons for each individual comment that stretches the limits.

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                                      That whole subthread was almost totally useless because of pearl-clutching about what’s good taste and what wasn’t. Such things are the reason people tend to want broader flagging tools–I’d suggest we would be better served trying to tackle the problem at its source.

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                                        I think the person understood the comparison, disagreed with the political philosophy behind the complaint, and then pointed out the comment was incorrect since it was a dual-comparison (problem + parody style). The parody aspect usually cancels out most poor taste aspects since it’s an act of mockery not to be taken too seriously to begin with. Yet, that specific type of far-left politics disagrees with that type of parody increasing the seriousness and outrage of even the most harmless situations.

                                        I saw the comment as a protest to another P.C. sub-thread wasting space on political compliance and virtue signaling (see upvotes) that was meant to address the NPM problem. Now we’re discussing two problems with 27 comments on the politically-incorrect phrasing and thought/speech policing but 7 on NPM situation the article was here for. Only 1 of the 7 suggested a solution.

                                        The problem I’m seeing here is not available downvote options. It’s the number of folks trying to deliver value in their comments on a discussion about improving an ecosystem. If we add a flag, I suggest “Useless” (aka “adds no practical value”) that could clean that thread up a lot. It would leave 1-4 comments. The thread this post is about would be gone, too.