Using the Karma system to call for a show of hands - profitable?

by [anonymous] 1 min read5th Mar 201129 comments


Not saying its a efficient use of time for the Karma hoarder, but I do wonder if it generally is a reliable way to gain karma. We sometimes see a call for a show of hands here where a comment is up voted by those that agree and a later comment is down voted for balance.

This is purely anecdotal but it seems to me most of the time down-votes don't balance out the up-votes. Does anyone else have this experience? This seems a question we can answer approximately by having a bot mine the text of the archives. I feel that making the bot would be made easier if we had as many samples of such use of the Karma system as possible. However if I'm the only one with this observation or if those with this observation are in the minority its probably not worth the effort (at least for someone with my skill set) .

Some LWers may be relying on others who don't agree with the motion but want to be "fair" when it comes to Karma to down vote the balance. Perhaps there are just fewever people who don't agree with the motion but down vote the balance post, because it contributes to enforcing norms of how they think the Karma system should be used, than there are people who agree with the motion but don't down vote.


As to explanations, off the top of my head:

  • Selection bias.
  • Trivial inconvenience to access the down voted balance
  • A fraction of posters simply forgets to down-vote
  • Some posters might up-vote unthinkingly because they like the suggestion not because they agree with the motion.
  • People don't see a problem with a slightly positive imbalance if they think asking for the call was a good idea. If they think its a bad idea they are due to LW norms farm less likley to down-vote. Especially if this particular pair of posts is balanced.


It appears I was ignorant of the implicitly accepted social convention that bascially amounts to downvoting the balance being optional for those who don't want to reward the person making taking the poll (or perhaps don't want to reward him beyond the current imbalance).

I'm still interested in what factors do or don't play a role in up and down voting such pairs of posts and how they compare to other form of participating Karma-wise.