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RFC: Policy regarding abuses of the voting system

by jdporter (Chancellor)
on Jun 09, 2022 at 13:38 UTC ( #11144556=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I submit for your consideration:

Policy regarding abuses of the voting system

The following behaviors are counter to the spirit of PerlMonks and are considered abuses of the voting system:
  1. Massive downvoting of nodes belonging some specific user.
  2. The use of vote-bots for any reason.
  3. Voting on nodes you (the human) wrote.
Any violation of this policy will result in a suspension of your voting privileges, and may result in having your XP reduced by an amount we deem appropriate.

If you suspect you have been the target of a malicious downvoting campaign, please /msg [gods]. We will look into it.

References:
  1. History now influences voting
  2. All your Votebots are belong to us
  3. Site Rules Governing User Accounts

  • Comment on RFC: Policy regarding abuses of the voting system

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: RFC: Policy regarding abuses of the voting system
by marto (Cardinal) on Jun 09, 2022 at 13:45 UTC

    Points 2 and 3 I have no problem with. Point 1 I would query. Suppose I was a user who continually, despite being corrected or called out, posted garbage again and again for years. If people keep downvoting my posts, could they be punished?

      Clearly there have been users whose posts have been overwhelmingly bad. Downvoting a bad post when it's posted isn't a problem. The problem we've seen is when someone decides to carpet-bomb all of a user's past posts, indiscriminately, in order to make some kind of "statement" against that user. Please read reference 1: History now influences voting. I should note that tye's changes to address the problem don't work 100%, as we still get users who mass-downvote another user, deciding to just suck up the negative consequences from tye's changes. tye also said "administrative intervention sucks" but I have no problem manually intervening to address the corner cases.

      "massive" downvoting, I presume, would be if I find all the nodes from a particular user, and use up more or less all my votes to downvote these.

        If all my posts are garbage that could be considered dangerous or detrimental to ones sanity/task/career, wouldn't each merit a legitimate downvote? Surely it's my fault that they all suck?

      IIRC was sundial corrected and warned over and over again about the bad quality of his posts.

      Massive downvoting started afterwards and was done openly and often with explanation.

        Indeed, and rather than quality of contribution improve things got worse.

      IMHO the OP means voting by sympathy, you mean voting by quality. Of course there are overlaps.

      Certainly this could be better worded.

      Anyway I don't think this case is about sundial.

      Is this an actual change to policy? Dog votes were a shit move, but thats as far as "down voting" penalties should go
        Is this an actual change to policy?

        No. I'm merely codifying existing ad hoc policy. See the references I linked. There have been a few cases in the past, including one where a user was locked out for a while for voting abuse, and another had his voting privileges suspended for two years.

Re: RFC: Policy regarding abuses of the voting system
by haukex (Archbishop) on Jun 09, 2022 at 13:54 UTC

    I strongly agree with points 2 and 3*, but I strongly disagree with point 1 as written, because it is much too vauge and leaves too many questions open. For example, knowing the history of Worst Nodes, if you were to implement this policy retroactively, you'd have to revoke the voting privileges of a significant number of users.

    * Point 3 could perhaps be more simply worded as "voting on your own nodes, for example through a second account" (similar to what is explained Site Rules Governing User Accounts).

      Good points, thank you. It would certainly not be my intent to revoke the voting privileges of a user for something they did a long time ago — say, more than a month ago.

      Can you suggest alternative wording for #1?

      I think your concern about #3 is null, since there's no way to vote on your own nodes from the same account.

        Don't know if it's perfect but I think the phrasing you'd used downthread "Downvoting all of a user's nodes with prejudice" would read as clearer / less vague than just "Massive downvoting" (and then giving e.g. "Exclusively downvoting a given user across multiple days" as an explicit example of "with prejudice"). Then again I might could see just "Massive downvoting" so long as there were a couple of clear, tangible examples provided afterwards as to what's considered such an abuse.

        The cake is a lie.
        The cake is a lie.
        The cake is a lie.

        I will think about how #1 could be worded better, but I also think it might suffer from overcomplexity if one tried to cover every case. Plus, I have a dim memory of reading of a existing policy that already states basically the same thing as #1, but I'm having trouble finding it right now.

        For #3, I meant what is described in that Site Rules link, plus for example posting something anonymously, then logging in and upvoting it.

        > I think your concern about #3 is null, since there's no way to vote on your own nodes from the same account.

        well ... there is an edge case! :)

        I'll rather send you a /msg ...

        Cheers Rolf
        (addicted to the Perl Programming Language :)
        Wikisyntax for the Monastery

Re: RFC: Policy regarding abuses of the voting system
by hv (Parson) on Jun 09, 2022 at 14:55 UTC

    I also have a problem with item 1.

    I feel that if someone has earned the right to cast votes, they should be allowed to use those as they see fit.

    I think PerlMonks works best when most votes are upvotes. If that's what you want to achieve, it's fine to state that and encourage it - for example using $vtavg not only to give the voter a risk of XP loss, but also to reduce the number of votes they can cast in the future (as was proposed in History now influences voting).

    There is no need to attempt to infer malicious intent, and characterize a perceived pattern as abuse.

    When I cast a vote, I want to be free to do so without having to worry whether I risk triggering an opaque pattern recognition system. I would rather not vote at all than risk jail for having voted in ways someone in retrospect decided was the wrong way.

      It's not so much that we want to encourage upvoting specifically; voting on the substance of a node is always fine. Downvoting all of a user's nodes with prejudice is different.

      Don't worry about triggering an automated detector; there is no such thing. Every now and then, or upon request, we can run a query which finds recent voting patterns. That's all.

      Also, we would not take any action without first discussing it with the monk.

        In that case it sounds like no change in policy is needed in the first place.

        I do not believe you can divine motivation from behaviour, and I think it is really unwise to try.

        I do not believe you can force voters to make their choices based on the criteria you deem acceptable, and I think it is really unwise to try.

      if the majority here decides the systematic downvoting by sympathy is OK, this would consequently mean that systematic revenge downvoting is also acceptable.

      welcome in the world of vote wars ... :)

      Designing on a fair algorithm wouldn't be easy, it would involve measuring the deviation from mainstream voting.

Re: RFC: Policy regarding abuses of the voting system
by Fletch (Bishop) on Jun 09, 2022 at 13:59 UTC

    The first point seems to directly contradict this (along with the explanation given in its footnote (omitted)) from your first reference:

    Once in a while we get a monk in a fit of pique or dudgeon decide to punish another monk or just vent their feelings by systematically down-voting every node by that monk. This is not something that we feel we can outright ban, for several reasons.

    Why is what once was innocuous now a firing suspending offense?

    Also that would raise the question of what's "Massive" downvoting? There's some persistent neens (of whom it shouldn't be necessary to name the various and sun-dry parties) that pretty much deserve all the derision and downvotes they get. There's also the random white dwarf density questioner that refuses to read what they've been given, persists in trying to bang their head through the wall, and keeps posting terrible code. If one downvotes everything in a thread from such (being frank) a clueless idiot is that "massive", or just an understandable response to the idiocy therein? Or is it only someone (automated, or close enough) going back and willy-nilly dinking everything from said neen indiscriminately?

    Second and third points however sound completely reasonable.

    Edit: Tl;dr with the explanations given downthread here clarifying "massive" I'm now less disinclined on point one were it similarly clarified.

    The cake is a lie.
    The cake is a lie.
    The cake is a lie.

      Please read the rest of this thread. And note that tye also said — right after the bit that you quoted — "But it also is easy to characterize as an abuse of the PerlMonks voting system." Easy and correct, I say.

        An abuse which he also says in said post should be allowed as a mechanism to vent (albeit with the implemented negative consequences). Again, what's now changed that this formerly allowed venting mechanism is no longer to be allowed?

        Slightly advocatus diaboli here, but how do you know any given chunk of downvoting is indiscriminate? How do you know they don't think that the nodes in question truly don't merit the downvote? There's the existing penalties for such behavior and they're still willing to plink things doesn't that mean that they truly think they're worthy of the reputational plink? I'm sure there's not a time or seven that in the past I've gone and looked at a poster's past output and found real junk in there that I've then --'d because it's worthy of it (with the full knowledge what that's doing to my fake internet points).

        An obvious automated plinking of everything from a singular poster done in one swell foop? Yes, that I could see sanctioning. But beyond that it feels like attempting to mind read and assign intent that you can't ensure is there.

        The cake is a lie.
        The cake is a lie.
        The cake is a lie.

Re: RFC: Policy regarding abuses of the voting system
by haj (Priest) on Jun 09, 2022 at 16:18 UTC

    I agree that every vote against a node which isn't based on that node's content is an abuse of the voting system. But does this really need a policy? In my opinion our simple voting system seems to be quite robust against abuse. Every monk can vote on every node just once, so there's an upper limit of "massive" downvoting, whereas nodes worth reading usually accumulate dozens of upvotes quite fast, even with the small community we have as of 2022. I wonder if I'd even notice if someone downvotes every node I ever wrote.

    So I'd rather not grant the gods the permanent power to decide on users' XP. This will bring eventually up the question of Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? which I find problematic for a culture run entirely by volunteers.

    I do appreciate the availability of the gods to receive complaints about a suspected malicious downvoting campaign, and whenever they find an abuse (any type of abuse) I'm ready to support their decisions to stop it. But trying to enumerate all possible ways of abuse in advance seems to be a waste of effort.

      I wonder if I'd even notice if someone downvotes every node I ever wrote.
      we do have lists sorted by reps, not only best nodes but also the order of replies are effected.

      and authors will start to question their motivation to participate if they repeatedly experience immediate downvotes as first reaction.

        and authors will start to question their motivation to participate if they repeatedly experience immediate downvotes as first reaction.

        what authors? New seekers don't see negative voting. Older seekers value replies more than side nodelet noise

Re: RFC: Policy regarding abuses of the voting system
by Your Mother (Archbishop) on Jun 09, 2022 at 15:43 UTC

    Confessional

    For transparency’s sake, the tale. (Though I have a vague memory of talking about this previously.)

    The monk who shall not be named *always* rubbed me wrong. Because he seemed senior in credentials and standing I didn’t say much of anything for years. Neither did I downvote because it felt purely personal at the time and I downvoted infrequently in that era anyway.

    When it slowly evolved into acrimony, wasted chances, abuse, lies, and I had evolved my chops to know what was what, *and* years of conversation and warnings went unheeded… I wrote a bot to find every post from that monk which I had not voted on. This was years ago. It was something like 1,400 as I recall. The bot was well behaved.

    I used the list to visit batches of posts in the browser from time to time. I downvoted 99+% of them. I upvoted some as I recall but, as I had long warned, only posts that were as good as anything top monks write daily. That was maybe two or three of them.

    I try to downvote for purely professional reasons but will sometimes downvote for personality and tone if it isn’t accompanied by technical merit; this confession covers both because the monk’s older posts often had undeserved high-ish reputation points. I consider downvotes one of the better features in any social/forum platform. Side note: I generally upvote even poor nodes of newer users to encourage participation.

Re: RFC: Policy regarding abuses of the voting system
by Discipulus (Abbot) on Jun 10, 2022 at 14:37 UTC
    Hello jdporter,

    > 1. Massive downvoting of nodes belonging some specific user.

    This is quite difficult to spot and you got already replies with many shades. There are things ragarding this that can be added: dogvotes are already taken in count by the system, so theorically you can match dogvotes by user against user per day.

    Anyway if a user posts many bad quality nodes in the same day leave us the possibility to downvote them all.

    Another thing worth to consider is the ratio XP gained from upvotes received / XP gained voting and relating this with the dogvotes used.

    > 2. The use of vote-bots for any reason.

    > 3. Voting on nodes you (the human) wrote.

    These are quite plain: they are already prohibited and rare dual accounts are granted by gods for particular purposes. I think these accounts are already blocked in the voting system, no?

    As side note consider the following:

    perl -MLWP::UserAgent -e "print LWP::UserAgent->new->get('http://perlm +onks.org/index.pl')->header('x-meta-keywords')" perl, mod_perl, regular expressions, regexp, xp whoring, CGI, programming, learning, tutorials, questions, answers, examples, vroom, tim, node, experience, votes, code

    Is true that x-meta-keywords are no longer used by search engine (having them wrong is still wrong btw) but xp whoring surprised me :)

    Can you consider updating them? With modern web frameworks, Tk, Raku etc..

    L*

    There are no rules, there are no thumbs..
    Reinvent the wheel, then learn The Wheel; may be one day you reinvent one of THE WHEELS.

      Yow. That's in the very earliest version of the page — the one uploaded to here from the Everything Development Corp dev machine on 1999-11-03 — before the site even opened to the public.
      I believe it is a vestige (one of many) of vroom's "sense of humor".
      I will remove it. And also the keywords "vroom, tim".

      > xp whoring

      LOL =D

      I'm pretty sure that's unredacted input from the keyword nodelet.

      Tho from another node or a leftover from an older version of this one:

      Keyword Nodelet Top keywords for this node: perl home homepage temple entrance Portal welcome

      Cheers Rolf
      (addicted to the Perl Programming Language :)
      Wikisyntax for the Monastery

Re: RFC: Policy regarding abuses of the voting system
by kcott (Archbishop) on Jun 09, 2022 at 22:25 UTC

    G'day jdporter,

    I have similar concerns regarding Point 1 that others have raised.

    If a specific user posted many "offensive" posts in a single thread, downvoting these should be acceptable; subsequently downvoting many posts by the same user in other threads (perhaps as a form of punishment) should be unacceptable.

    If you downvote many nodes, you eventually get "dog votes" messages in the XP Nodelet. Would it be possible to also have something similar (perhaps with "policy violation" messages) for Point 1 infringements?

    You've addressed "massive downvoting"; what about "massive upvoting"? Giving all votes to a single user (perhaps to help out a friend) is probably also an abuse of the voting system.

    I agree with Points 2 & 3 — no issues there.

    The "Any violation of this policy ..." statement comes across as dictatorial. I'd suggest toning this down: s/will result/may result/ would be a good start. I see "way down in the thread" you've moderated this with "Also, we would not take any action without first discussing it with the monk." — I think that should be part of the policy, not hidden away in a side note.

    — Ken

      If a specific user posted many "offensive" posts in a single thread, downvoting these should be acceptable; subsequently downvoting many posts by the same user in other threads (perhaps as a form of punishment) should be unacceptable.

      That is precisely my position. I just want everyone to be clear: you know very well when you go on a downvoting campaign against a user; and it will be very clear to us as well. There is no cover of darkness.

      Thank you for your good suggestions!

Re: RFC: Policy regarding abuses of the voting system
by harangzsolt33 (Friar) on Jun 14, 2022 at 03:07 UTC
    1. Massive downvoting of nodes belonging some specific user.
    2. The use of vote-bots for any reason.
    3. Voting on nodes you (the human) wrote.

    Okay, I haven't done any of that, and I don't plan to, so... :)

Re: RFC: Policy regarding abuses of the voting system
by 1nickt (Canon) on Jun 14, 2022 at 15:52 UTC

    I wonder if this is because I routinely downvote most nodes by Lanx that I read, because I find them lacking in practical help, all noise to signal, and therefore a negative contribution to the threads they spam. I do that with other authors too but none has the verbosity of Lanx. I consider it my earned right. I also rarely use more than a handful of my votes.

    The way forward always starts with a minimal test.

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