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.

Thanks, all!