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Stupid mass-downvoting ...

by Anonymous Monk
on Dec 07, 2003 at 09:02 UTC ( #312885=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

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Re: Stupid mass-downvoting ...
by allolex (Curate) on Dec 07, 2003 at 12:29 UTC
    Stupid mass-downvoting ... made ptkdb go away from this site.
    Unfortunately he accidentally touched blacklist subject (like I currently do) and, after he was very supportive and full of bright ideas person, author of famous ptkdb module, with a plenty of usefull tips like Inline Breakpoints for ptkdb, those plenty '--' made him go away.

    Instead of downvoting this node, I'll say something for the record. Here is a reconstruction of the narrative.

    ptkdb wrote a node which got criticized for some pretty good reasons. Instead of acknowledging a mistake (or several mistakes) or just letting the thread stand, ptkdb then posted another node which seemed to be *very* negative. The monks like it when people graciously accept criticism; the monks even upvote people for this sort of behavior. They like to see people learn.

    Instead of accepting responsibility for his originally simple mistake (What's so hard with "Oh, yeah. You're right. I was being sloppy because I just wanted to sketch an idea in pseudo-code"?), ptkdb then posted another node with an idea that did not go over very well in the Monastery for two reasons:

    1. It would be technically difficult, if not impossible
    2. Many people thought that it was just a whiney reaction to being downvoted earlier. In other words, the pseudo-code was a pseudo-problem.
    I noticed that it is quite often even pumpkings do not have proper "fined" respect here.

    I would like to think that status outside of the Monastery has little to do with individual evaluation of nodes; I hope they are judged on their own merit.

    I know that XP does not matter, but this really forces people go away, unfortunately...

    People go away by their own choice.

    PM must be much more forgiving to novice's errors! I only do not know what to suggest to made it so... But certainly people should use downvote feature quite rarely, and may be always describe a reason of downvoting.

    Basically, ptkdb looks like he was downvoted mainly because of his personality, not technical problems. Just compare the (currently) -7 original post to the -12 reaction to his correction. That's only five people, but it says something.

    I agree that /msg'ing or posting a correction is better than a simple downvote, but some people like their criticism to remain anonymous because many take XP seriously and might retaliate. I don't think I've ever seen a post that got more than -10 on technical "merit" alone.

    BTW, I upvoted those nodes to determine the community reaction to them.

    Update: I've just reread this node for the fifth time and think it comes out too negative. I stand by the analysis, but I would like to add that ptkdb could easily recover from this. I think all the monks have good intentions in this regard and downvoting a person in a particular node does not mean that the community hates him/her. I also looked at ptkdb's positive contributions and feel much as ysth expresses in the first paragraph of his post in this thread.


      In defense of the original criticism, it wasn't done in haste, nor in retaliation or disrespect.

      Remember that the original question was posted by someone who was having difficulty at every step, even after several good answers were posted. Later it was responded to by ptkdb with an answer that was, in fact, incorrect on several points, and might have further confused the original poster.

      Via the /msg system, ptkdb was alerted to the mistakes so that he could correct them. They were errors that could have been corrected in a minute or two of typing. ptkdb expressed a disinterest in changing anything, and instead, became somewhat irritated at someone noticing problems. Because of the level of help the original poster was requiring at every step, I followed up to ptkdb's post to point out its technically erroneous points, for the benefit of the OP. The OP was even having difficulty opening files and actually running scripts. Pseudo-code wouldn't help him.

      It was only after my followup that ptkdb edited his node. But rather than editing the node to fix the problem, he added the line, "Just tossing some pseudocode out there:", and then went on to take the time to post a flaming response to my call-out.

      A few hours later, he also went on to post the Code Blocks node, obviously still hot under the collar for what transpired a few hours earlier.


        Via the /msg system, ptkdb was alerted to the mistakes so that he could correct them. They were errors that could have been corrected in a minute or two of typing. ptkdb expressed a disinterest in changing anything, and instead, became somewhat irritated at someone noticing problems.

        Since it was "via the /msg system", it isn't available for peer review. I see your interpretation of what happened here, but without ptkdb's, that's pretty useless. In light of that, it's only fair to give him the benefit of the doubt...

        You call the holes in his response "mistakes" but he claims he was just sketching the approach out. You say he was "somewhat irritated at someone noticing problems" but I wonder if he might not have actually been irritated at someone suggesting he should write the OP's code for him. I probably wouldn't have been, but I can understand why someone might've, and I wouldn't hold it against ptkdb if he were.

        It was only after my followup that ptkdb edited his node. But rather than editing the node to fix the problem, he added the line, "Just tossing some pseudocode out there:", and then went on to take the time to post a flaming response to my call-out.

        After reviewing his response, I see nothing in it that should be construed as a flame. He was explanatory ("just trying to put the basic structure out there"); he suggested the OP needed to at least have a minimal skillset to complete his task; he highlighted a difference between his and your styles of helping ("if everything has to be perfect for you before posting, forget it"); and he asked you a question about the correctness of the logic of his approach. A question to which you never responded, by the way.

        I also disagree with your addendum. By calling it "pseudo code", ptkdb called attention to the fact that the code was not complete and, insofar as there are no logic errors, it does fix the mistakes of omission simply by allowing that they exist.

        You tried to hold the help he offered up to your standards for helping. That's fine, right up until he tells you that you can shove your standards, at which point that's what you should do.

        He wasn't wrong no matter how hard you tried to make him wrong. He was offering different help in a different style based on his interpretation of the OP. Whether or not your help is better or worse than his isn't at all relevant. Helping is not a competition. Or, if it is, then it needs to stop being one the moment it becomes unfriendly. Bickering over who helped more or less isn't going to make this site better. Diversity in the help offered, on the other hand, does.

        I've upvoted both ptkdb's original response in that thread as well as response to you. I've downvoted your response to him. I also upvoted the Anonymous Monk response to you. As that one was posted today, I guess I'm not the only one that feels this way about this fiasco. I hope other monks here will review the original thread and vote their opinions as well.

        "My two cents aren't worth a dime.";
        I see. Well, how is anyone reading your criticism now supposed to know that? You should update your criticism to clearly point out that ptkdb updated his node after your criticism with the pseudocode part.
      I can't believe people downvoted him for that. I also can't believe davido responded to nitpick. ptkdb was just sketching out the general steps, there was nothing wrong with leaving a few out. Anyway, I really doubt that's why ptkdb left (if in fact he's gone).
        One thing that's wrong was that he chose to have use strict and use warnings, making it look like real code. If he really wanted to post "pseudo code" and not be misunderstood, he should have made it not look like real Perl so much.

        I'm not saying that it was wrong for him to post what he did, it's just quite reasonable that the inconsistency of posting "psuedo-code" with use strict would cause some people to criticize. It was mainly his poor reaction to that criticism that seems to have offended some people.

Re: Stupid mass-downvoting ...
by jdtoronto (Prior) on Dec 07, 2003 at 13:31 UTC
    Well, mass down-voting? I don't see it! HE got criticised, sure. But I would say that his attitude in repsonding to a post was not helpful either.

    Nobody deserves respect, they earn it. I have had posts downvoted. In retrospect, I earned the downvote. Some people don't like what merlyn has to say at times, they say so, downvote him and life goes on. Abigail-II can be a crusty curmudgeon, but also delivers some of the most concise and insightful answers on the site. Does the criticism send them away? No!

    If a monk wants adoration he can either earn it or go somewhere else in search of it. The XP system does nothing to force anyone away. People make their own determinations on where to hang out.


Re: Stupid mass-downvoting ...
by CountZero (Bishop) on Dec 07, 2003 at 09:21 UTC
    Some may be put of by the XP-system, others may be attracted by it.

    I personally find it a good system, not in an absolute sense but relatively speaking. It gives some idea how your node was received by the community.

    But I agree that if you downvote a node, it is best to give a reason for it, so the "beneficiary" of your downvotes can learn from it.

    That being said, nobody gets any better by artificially withholding downvotes, because it is the "politically correct thing to do" and since each monk can only downvote each node once, there is little risk of indvidually breaking the reputation of a monk.


    "If you have four groups working on a compiler, you'll get a 4-pass compiler." - Conway's Law

      In the case in question, I saw a comment in the chatterbox that indicated he was being punished for "whining" about XP in the CB. It made me go and upvote some of his good nodes. It's a shame to have lost him.

      Update: Just to clarify, I don't believe there was any conspiracy, nor is there any mechanism for such. And if you post an idea to Perl Monks Discussion, you have to be prepared to receive downvotes even from those who respectfully disagree (update: I'm referring to his -57 for a self-described request for discussion). But I think (without actual evidence) that there was an attitude by some of "let's teach him not to care so much about XP" that was a source of some of the downvoting, and that I find disturbing.

      Update: I see comments saying a friar should know how the system works better. I'd like to point out that you can become a friar in a very short period of time. He had been a user for just 40 days.

      But I agree that if you downvote a node, it is best to give a reason for it, so the "beneficiary" of your downvotes can learn from it.

      If I can find an email address for a monk whose node I am downvoting then sure, I'll let them know why. But I'm not going to pollute the thread with an explanatory message every time I downvote.

        Indeed, but that was not the idea. I meant to say that we can all learn form each others mistakes. Sometimes it is best done in the thread (to educate all), sometimes it is more appropriate to do this through the /msg system. Personally, I would not do so through e-mail. Monks-business should remain within the walls of the Monastery.


        "If you have four groups working on a compiler, you'll get a 4-pass compiler." - Conway's Law

Re: Stupid mass-downvoting ...
by rinceWind (Monsignor) on Dec 07, 2003 at 12:45 UTC
    I presume you are referring to the node Code Blocks. I think you are being overly paranoid. Some observations:

    1. Was there evidence of a conspiracy for mass downvotes? Even if some were tuned in to the CB at the time, this would not account for the number of votes.
    2. The votes occurred against a single node. Conducting a vendetta against a person would involve a spread of downvotes against all their writeups, and I don't see evidence of this happening.
    3. What kind of vote do you give to a node that you don't agree with? In my case, especially with monkdiscuss nodes, I downvote if I think that the poster has missed the point. This is where I believe the bulk of the downvotes have come from, not some ritualistic cabal.
    4. ptkdb is a Friar, not a spring chicken. As such, he should understand the finer points of the monastery and should not get upset if an idea on PM Discuss is shot down in flames (and downvotes). I would still be very surprised if he stays away from the monastery.
    5. I notice that many people on this thread are posting as anonymonks. Perhaps, is this an indication of paranoia?

    Come back paco, all is forgiven :).

    I'm Not Just Another Perl Hacker
Re: Stupid mass-downvoting ...
by Anonymous Monk on Dec 07, 2003 at 11:41 UTC

    XP may force you to go away if you consider XP more important than what you do.

    One of the puroposes of the XP system is to feel the pulse of the Monastery. If you got -10 on your node, perhaps you've said something that you shouldn't have. In the specific case, ptkdb was blaming the system for his own mistakes.

    Now, you can take it like a man, learn your lesson and continue, or you can boast in the chatterbox that the system is wrong, that people are abusing you and that you are right and the others are wrong.

    In the first case, you know what to do next time, and you go on being a respected member of the community. But if you don't show respect for the community, it will let you know that it is displeased. -59 in a node means to me that a lot of people disagreed on ptkdb's behavior. If he didn't feel at home here, he has only himself to blame.

      I agree with you wholehartedly, but still it looks to me that adding Perlish value is more important than adding "behaviourial" value, and community should be more forgiving for those people.

      Also, I remember Chip Salzenberg also was punished for (almost) nothing; he is (ex)pumpking, and we must have the "proper fined respect" for those people.

      PSThe only reason I am acting as AnonyMonk here - I do not want harm them even more by showing who I am; I am not great XP collector, (although have 6000+ and will happily share some of those with someone who needs them more than I).

Re: Stupid mass-downvoting ...
by shockme (Chaplain) on Dec 07, 2003 at 18:42 UTC
    Well, if he's gone, he's gone. It is unfortunate, but it's ultimately his choice. Like "they" say, if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

    I'm normally one of the early adopters of conspiracy theories, but at -12, I don't see it. -50? Yeah, that's a conspiracy. -12 is just a poorly received node.

    I've had plenty of nodes fall negative, but over time, they've all crawled back into the positive. That speaks well of the overall community.

    Some people are put off by my personality. Some don't like my occasional use of ... colorful ... adjectives and adverbs. Do I sometimes get my feelings hurt by /msg's, etc.? Hell yes. I'm only human. But I don't let it rule my life, either. There's always tomorrow.

    Others, rightly so, are drawn to me like a magnet ...

    What it comes down to is why you're here. I'm not here to gain a reputation or be seen as some god-like programmer. I'm here to learn, and help others learn. I'm glad to be a member of this community, and more than happy to help build it. If I suffer a few downvotes along the way, so be it.

    The bottom line is that you can't actively participate in life without suffering a few bumps and bruises along the way. That's life. Get over it and get moving.

    Update: ysth politely pointed out in a private /msg that Code Blocks was the node that really got nailed. At -56, maybe there was a "conspiracy". However it's more likely that most of those who voted the thread realized what was going on. As I've already mentioned, the real question is why are you here? If it's to learn and help build the community, downvotes and reputations won't matter enough to drive you away.

    If things get any worse, I'll have to ask you to stop helping me.

Re: Stupid mass-downvoting ...
by etcshadow (Priest) on Dec 08, 2003 at 04:41 UTC
    I don't want to get too mixed up in any sort of brawl here but I have two things to say (and I know that others have basically said the same sorts of things already):
    • When someone posts something on the PM Discussion page to the effect of "Let's change the PM code thusly", monks who strongly disagree tend to downvote the node. It's sort of a form of voting on the idea. A lot of monks (although I'm sure not all) tend to do it.
    • You can't see a node's rep until after you vote on it. I'm sure that a lot of the monks who downvoted it might not have burned the vote if they reallized it was already extremely negative... it's not a matter of conspiracy, it's just a bunch of individual reactions in a blind vote.
    Last of all... look at what he was actually proposing in that node: it was silly, and obviously ill-thought-out. I hate to say it, but it also sounded whiny and bratty. (It was very obviously written by someone while they were in the midst of a temper tantrum.) I downvoted that node on the merits of that node, and nothing else. I've had nodes of mine downvoted before, and I didn't throw a hissy fit.

    Anyway, I really, really don't intend this to sound inflamatory (not because I don't want to piss people off... but because that's just not what I'm trying to say), but the point is: downvotes happen. It's a shame if someone feels chased away by them, but they happen. It is seriously sad if ptkdb decided to leave over this, but I don't feel guilty about it, and I don't think that the community should, either.

    Not an editor command: Wq
Re: Stupid mass-downvoting ...
by Aristotle (Chancellor) on Dec 08, 2003 at 13:21 UTC
    I downvoted Code Blocks, and I did so purely on my own judgement and purely on its own merit. I found the proposal not even barely thought through. If I felt strongly enough to downvote, then it's likely enough I wasn't the only one. In other words, there was no conspiracy: the node got its massive negative rep because it deserved it. It is only in tune with the tone of that node that ptkdb would leave the site in a huff over this. Sorry, but I have no pity for such childish foot-stomping and tantrum throwing.

    Makeshifts last the longest.

Re: Stupid mass-downvoting ...
by Anonymous Monk on Dec 07, 2003 at 10:32 UTC
    If it is really true that a bunch of boneheads got together and mass-downvoted the guy, that is a real shame. Reminds me of a place I once worked that hired a cabal of low-level hackers who all knew each other from fantasy RPG game playing. They would gang up on other employees and do some real damage. Company soon went out of business for that and other bad judgment on the part of newly-minted amateur "management". Long blond hair does not make you an elf, nor does having a fscking claymore (enormous sword) in your cubicle make you a warrior. Nor does ganging up on somebody just because you can make more potent.
Re: Stupid mass-downvoting ...
by Anonymous Monk on Dec 07, 2003 at 15:23 UTC
    After receiving plenty of thoughtfull reasonable answers I realized that I do not possess 1/10th part of small piece of wisdom than should normally have.

    Ok, I will go, think for a while,
    for I must learn from reasonings and hopefully will become smarter.

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