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Recently I caught myself worrying about karma points when submitting a new comment. They seem to induce a state of competitiveness for me, making me come up with things to say that may be popularly received. This is not fully coincidental with the general positive attitude that accompanies the excellent selection of constructive content here, the reason I made this site my new facebook (i.e. the place I go to in a reflex for new input when I want my mind to stop thinking about real issues for a moment).

In short: I would be in favor of an option to turn off the display of karma points next to my user name :)


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    I do this with uBlock Origin. (Right click -> Block element…).



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      That’s a good tip for desktop, thanks! Although it’s actually most prevalent on mobile for me. I know, I should put my phone in a closet and take it out only twice a day.

      Thanks for the link to the other thread. If people think it’s a good idea, I could open an issue.

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        Install firefox on your mobile device and install ublock origin on that.

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      I think displaying the number of points at all is not a good idea. Just sort by points and be done with it. Perhaps some text descriptions such as “well received” or “poorly received” might be okay to get some feedback, but other than that I only see downsides and no real positives.

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        I hadn’t thought about this before but as soon as I read it I realized I think this is a very good idea. It would be a relief to have a gathering place on the internet where nothing is quantified. Points could still be used to counter content marketers etc, but in an invisible fashion.

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          Imageboards aren’t quantified directly quantified, but you still have a number of responses that say something about the post. This became a particular problem when the number of responses to any post were explicitly enumerated, because it incentives being provocative and soliciting the greatest reaction. The results weren’t that pretty.

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        Slashdot initially put users’ karma next to their username. This led to people competing on karma numbers, creating sockpuppets to moderate their comments up to get more karma, and so on. Eventually, they capped karma at 50 and showed only an approximate range. Everyone who wasn’t a blatant troll eventually converged on ‘Excellent’ as their only reported karma level (occasionally people would post something poorly received, dip, and then come back up).

        Slashdot did a lot of work to try to have a manageable reputation system, which was largely ignored by later platforms:

        • Things could be moderated up and down and the maxima in each direction were capped. With the lobste.rs system, you can’t differentiate between ‘most people who read this found it interesting’ and ‘everyone read this and a few found it interesting’. +8 can mean 8 people read it and they all liked it or 1,000 people read it and 0.8% liked it.
        • Moderation points were limited. You would get 5 mod points at a time and they would expire. With the lobste.rs system, a +1 from someone who clicks the up-arrow on every post is weighted exactly the same as a +1 from someone who clicks on that button once a week.
        • You couldn’t moderate in discussions that you posted in. This was intended to prevent people using down moderations to mean ‘this person disagreed with me’.
        • No one could moderate until they were in the oldest 90% of the established userbase. This gave people a chance to understand community norms before they were allowed to moderate (which also promoted groupthink).
        • There was a metamoderation system, where users were shown a random set of comments and their moderation and were able to say whether they agreed or not. If everyone disagreed, moderations would be undone, if a lot of people agreed or disagreed that would influence the likelihood of the user being selected to moderate again. This largely failed because few users participated in metamoderation.
        • Users had to pick a reason for moderating. This was intended to let users filter ‘funny’ vs ‘factually interesting’, but was largely broken because there was no ‘just plain wrong’, no one new the difference between ‘troll’ and ‘flamebait’ or ‘informative’ and ‘insightful’ and as a result of introducing ‘underrated’ and ‘overrated’ (which were largely used to mean ‘I agree’ and ‘I disagree’.

        A lot of the problems with these mechanisms are addressed by the invitation mechanism. If I create a load of sock-puppet accounts, I need to either invite them all myself (easy to track) or persuade others to invite them (harder to do), and you can’t invite until you’ve been around for a while (I can’t yet).

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          Don’t worry, I’ve upvoted this for you. :)

          Jokes aside, this would be a nice feature, sometimes I also get into a similar state, I think, but not about the point, but the discussion itself. The current isolation made me crave it even more.

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            not about the point, but the discussion itself

            True, it’s probably a mix with wanting to prevent people from being wrong on the internet.

            Don’t worry, I’ve upvoted this for you. :)

            Naiss ;)