I'd rather kill karma entirely than refactor it into an upvote-only system. If you're trying to do anything more controversial than deciding which cat picture is the best, upvote-only systems encourage nasty factional behavior that I don't want to see here: it doesn't matter how many people you piss off as long as you're getting strong positive reactions, so it's in your interests to post divisive content. That in turn leads to cliques and one-upmanship and other unpleasantness. It's a common pattern on social media, for example.

The other failure mode you get from it is lots of content-free feel-good nonsense, but we have strong enough norms against that that I don't think it'd be a problem in the short term.

I'd be fine with that. I feel a bit silly repeating the same arguments, but we're supposed to be striving to be, like, the most rational humans as a community, yet the social feedback system we are using was chosen ... because it came packaged with Reddit and Reddit is what was chosen as the LessWrong platform because it was the hot thing of its day. There was no clever Quirrell-esque design behind our karma system designed to bring out the best in us or protect us from the worst in us. It's a relic. Let's be rid of it.

No Karma 2014

[meta] Policy for dealing with users suspected/guilty of mass-downvote harassment?

by Kaj_Sotala 1 min read6th Jun 2014241 comments


Below is a message I just got from jackk. Some specifics have been redacted 1) so that we can discuss general policy rather than the details of this specific case 2) because presumption of innocence, just in case there happens to be an innocuous explanation to this.

Hi Kaj_Sotala,

I'm Jack, one of the Trike devs. I'm messaging you because you're the moderator who commented most recently. A while back the user [REDACTED 1] asked if Trike could look into retributive downvoting against his account. I've done that, and it looks like [REDACTED 2] has downvoted at least [over half of REDACTED 1's comments, amounting to hundreds of downvotes] ([REDACTED 1]'s next-largest downvoter is [REDACTED 3] at -15).

What action to take is a community problem, not a technical one, so we'd rather leave that up to the moderators. Some options:

1. Ask [REDACTED 2] for the story behind these votes
2. Use the "admin" account (which exists for sending scripted messages, &c.) to apply an upvote to each downvoted post
3. Apply a karma award to [REDACTED 1]'s account. This would fix the karma damage but not the sorting of individual comments
4. Apply a negative karma award to [REDACTED 2]'s account. This makes him pay for false downvotes twice over. This isn't possible in the current code, but it's an easy fix
5. Ban [REDACTED 2]

For future reference, it's very easy for Trike to look at who downvoted someone's account, so if you get questions about downvoting in the future I can run the same report.

If you need to verify my identity before you take action, let me know and we'll work something out.

-- Jack

So... thoughts? I have mod powers, but when I was granted them I was basically just told to use them to fight spam; there was never any discussion of any other policy, and I don't feel like I have the authority to decide on the suitable course of action without consulting the rest of the community.