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Why not get rid of down voting altogether? In reality, and has happened, someone could down vote out of malice, or because they don't know what they are talking about. Also, perhaps complaints could be dealt with in a separate forum?

In the early days of the 'net, typically the only ones you would find using it would be those who knew what they were doing and talking about, having an interest in the in's and out's of computing, geeks. Well, they were very much in the majority, at least. I'm not saying that Daniweb is behind the times at all, because it isn't, but its ever growing user base is of a different techno-generation.

These days the 'net is not only a communication tool, it's an education tool to a greater extent than it ever has been in the past. Computers and computing is now intertwined with every walk of life, and software development and the hardware it controls is bringing these people from all those walks of life to Daniweb. It's clearly evident that for whatever good purpose down-voting was originally introduced, something has changed and it's now being used as a virtual slap. Nothing stifles communication and learning better than a good slap, and a slap from some hidden, cloak & dagger, slapper.

Why not have a complaints forum, with a moderator that deals with situations in a sincere manner. It has to be sincere too, because if it isn't then there will be a real loss of face and credibility, and more cross-forum "bar brawls". If a user Complains in any forum other than the 'complaints forum, their post can be moved to it and be dealt with suitably. People who have a genuine complaint are looking for a peaceful resolution, and don't mind where it is done as longas justice is seen to be done, or whatever. Trolls would just want to make personal attacks, which is bad enough, but they also do it without any justifiable reason.

In the past I was a mod for many years, (in a different forum) and I never want to be a mod again, so I admire you, and thank you for all of your hard wonk. With 1 million people signed up to these forums, and however many there are that actively use them, any professional looking method of dealing with these situations can only be good for Daniweb's image.

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Last Post by happygeek
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Why not get rid of down voting altogether? In reality, and has happened, someone could down vote out of malice, or because they don't know what they are talking about.

Any feature can be abused. Should we punish everyone for the actions of one or two outliers? Concerning the type of abuse you're thinking of, I can remember less than five instances of the same behavior for both voting and reputation in the last seven or eight years. While it's painful for the victims, the number of abuses of the system are vanishingly small compared to the number of legitimate uses.

Why not have a complaints forum, with a moderator that deals with situations in a sincere manner. It has to be sincere too, because if it isn't then there will be a real loss of face and credibility, and more cross-forum "bar brawls". If a user Complains in any forum other than the 'complaints forum, their post can be moved to it and be dealt with suitably. People who have a genuine complaint are looking for a peaceful resolution, and don't mind where it is done as longas justice is seen to be done, or whatever. Trolls would just want to make personal attacks, which is bad enough, but they also do it without any justifiable reason.

I'm not sure I see the benefit of that. If the "complaint" is about a suspected rule violation the post should be reported using our reporting system. If the "complaint" is about the quality of a post then that's exactly what the voting and reputation systems are for. If it's an argument then ideally it would be taken to private messages, and if it's out in the open then eventually it'll be reported and handled by a moderator as a flame war.

Ultimately Daniweb is a community. It's not just a forum for technical Q&A, it's a place where everyone who has any kind of interest in technology or the internet, regardless of knowledge or experience, can get together with like minded folks. As a community, arguments are expected. The only way to avoid drama is to live your life alone, after all. ;)

I don't think that a publicly visible human aspect of our community damages Daniweb's image in the slightest. In fact, I think it makes us more accessible to those who don't consider themselves experts.

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I don't know what the exact numbers are, but one thing is for sure, if you were to compile a sum of all the down-votes versus up-votes found throughout the database, you'd get an overwhelmingly positive count at the end. That speaks to the fact that we, human beings, prefer positive reinforcement as the main mechanism for learning to live in a community. That's great, but it doesn't mean that there's no place for the opposite mechanism too, i.e., the occasional slap on the wrist. I think that down-voting does have its place, because at times it is useful in ways that can't be substituted by other mechanisms. If I want to convey messages like "I strongly disagree with that", or "this post is a nuisance or useless", without necessarily demanding a ban or infraction or deletion of the post or anything that harsh, and without creating a flame war with the poster, then the down voting works well.

And down-votes do convey a message. I, like many other veteran posters, have an overwhelming amount of up-votes, but also a number of down-votes. A few times, I've looked through my list of "down-voted posts", and what I see there is usually two things: people who down-voted because they didn't like to be told that they needed to show some effort/work towards solving their problem and that we wouldn't just give them homework solutions; and a number of posts that I have made in the past when I was in a bad mood or something, and reading them again, I totally agree with the down-votes I got on those, and I learned from that. So, the feature can be useful to members that are concerned about making positive contributions to the community. At least, that's how I see it.

Of course the feature can be abused, but the damage is usually minimal. Except for the very rare case of a maniacal down-voting vendetta (like the recent xbat vs. LastMitch episode), there isn't much abuse going on. Of course, you are going to get several down-votes that you didn't deserve (e.g., the newbie poster that didn't like your answer), but these usually get drowned in a sea of up-votes.

I really don't see any reason to replace the down-voting system with some complicated formal complaint system or whatever. Moderators have enough work with spam posts and rule violations, they don't need to be evaluating peoples minor grievances (which is what down-votes are for) about other people's posts. And also, forcing people to respond to "formal" complaints about their posts would be a terrible deterrent to allowing people to post at will and without restraints. So, at the end of the day, this is really just a matter of leaving a zone of free-speech, where people can approve or disapprove of what you say (rightfully or maliciously). I think it would hurt Daniweb a lot more if you were to narrow that zone of free-speech by replacing down-voting with some complaint mechanism. If you compare to stackoverflow, which is much more heavily and intrusively moderated, with a lot more scrutany on every word you say, it creates a very competitive environment full of barracudas, and I make very few posts there for that very reason. If I make a post to help someone out, I don't want to deal with a whole bunch of complaints nit-picking everything I said.

"Bar-brawls" are not so common in real life communities because most people are reasonable people and find other ways to resolve / stay away from fist-fights (figuratively-speaking). And that's exactly what we see here: reasonable people having mostly (not always) reasonable interactions.

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I've not been around these forums long enough to comment really, have I?

As the saying goes, don't plough in another person's field. :)

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I've not been around these forums long enough to comment really, have I?

Suggestions and comments are always welcome.

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We do, sort of, already have a complaints system: it's called members who are pissed off sending me a PM or email and asking me to put the world to rights, send another member to the naughty step or take a contract out on the life of a sarky moderator. More often than not this system works quite well, with a rational conversation sorting things out.

Sometimes though, and it is thankfully very rare, we get someone without any hint of maturity who deals with any issue by throwing his (and it is almost always a him) toys out of the pram and then throwing the pram at the community. Those folk there is no talking to, and they will almost always find themselves on the wrong end of my wrath and with a ban stuffed where the sun don't shine... :)

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