I’m concerned with the plans to make voting/karma more significant; I would prefer to make them less significant than the status quo rather than more. Voting allows everyone’s biases to influence discussion in bad ways. For example, people’s votes tend to favor:
things they agree with over things they disagree with, which makes it harder to voice dissenting opinions
entertaining content over important but less-entertaining content
agreeable content without much substance over niche or disagreeable content with lots of substance
posts that raise easy questions and give strong answers over posts that raise hard questions and give weak answers
Sorting the front page by votes, and giving high-karma users more voting power, only does more to incentivize bad habits. I think the current voting system is more suited to something like reddit which is meant for entertainment, so it’s reasonable for the most popular posts to appear first. If the idea is to have “all of EA’s top researchers posting and commenting regularly”, I don’t think votes should be such a strong driver of the UX.
About a year ago I essentially stopped making top-level posts on the EA Forum because the voting system bothers me too much, and the proposed change sounds even worse. Maybe I’m an outlier, but I’d prefer a system that more closely resembled a traditional forum without voting where all posts have equal status. That’s probably not optimal and it has its own problems (the most obvious being that low-quality content doesn’t get filtered out), but I’d prefer it to the current or proposed system.
I just commented to SamDeere’s comment above about having multiple types of votes. One indicating agreement and one indicating “helpfulness”. Then you can sort by both, but the forum is sorted by default by “helpfulness”. Do you think this would fix some of your issues with a voting system?
Arbital uses a system where you can separately “upvote” things based on how much you like them, and give an estimate of how much probability you assign to claims. I like this system, and have recommended it be added to LW too. Among other things, I think it has a positive effect on people’s mindsets if they practice keeping separate mental accounts of those two quantities.
I think there’s another downside there: we should be wary of implementing a system that doesn’t have a track record. There are lots of forums that don’t have voting, and reddit-style voting has a long track record as well (plus Hacker News-style, which is similar but not quite the same as reddit-style). As you start introducing extra complexity, you don’t know what’s going to happen. Most possible designs are bad, and most designs we come up with a priori will probably be bad, so my inclination would be to stick close to a system that has a proven track record.
That said, having multiple types of upvotes could look something like Facebook which now has multiple types of likes, and we have at least some idea of what that would look like. So it might be a good idea.
I agree with this concern.
Even with some weighting for ‘long-timers’, 16x seems excessive.
The concern seems exacerbated by the idea of more active modeation
I’m not convinced that a forum being having diverse viewpoints already represented suffices to counteract this.
The distinction between modearting based on content and procedure (‘good discussion’) might be hard to uphold: disagreement on what constitutes a good argument is also important, for example.
The concern seems also exacerbated by a worry (which I tried to articulate elsewhere) of people established within the community possibly giving too much epistemic weight to someone being thus embedded.