Sharing my experience on the EA forum
On Saturday I submitted something to the forum. I think this post here can be read without knowing what the original submission was, but if not feel free to go to my profile to find the submission in question.
I posted the thread on Saturday. It got a few votes, and I think was at something like 8 net votes on Sat, from 8 votes.
The post is now at 4 net votes from 14 votes, so presumably majority downvotes. I just know that it’s been downvoted by most, and I’m not confident as to why. I think it’s easier to accept downvotes when you understand the reason, so that you know how to avoid being substantially downvoted in the future.
I’ve studied animal training in the past, and one of the most powerful concepts is positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. This experience felt negatively reinforcing: I was somewhat hesitant to post something, I spent time writing and revising my post, then I posted it, and then it got some upvotes, then a number of downvotes came through, for reasons that I don’t confidently understand.
I don’t really know if this (helping new contributors get more constructive comments vs downvotes) is something worth addressing, but I think the EA community is good at getting useful information from data points. So I wanted to offer this data point in case it’s useful to people in the EA community.
Perhaps an idea could be that if the user hasn’t contributed much on the EA forum, e.g. less than 10 of whatever type of thing it is (post or comment), then the downvote button could be preceded by a notification like “hey, this person hasn’t posted much, can you please consider writing a comment offering constructive criticism in addition to downvoting, or ideally, instead of downvoting?” That’s just a thought. Maybe this isn’t a problem worth addressing or maybe it is not a problem at all—I don’t feel I know enough to have a sense of that.