One of the distinguishing features of LW 2.0 is Voting Weight. People with more karma will be able to give higher-weighted upvotes and downvotes.
This is part of an overall plan to make it better at sorting signal-from noise. But it's a major change to the system and seemed worthy of a dedicated-discussion thread.
There are roughly three goals for the improved karma system:
I. A reasonable pace of quality content on the front page, which is the single conversation locus. (We're aiming for about 3-7 featured posts per week)
II. A reasonable opportunity for people (newcomers and otherwise) to get their ideas seen, receive feedback. (The front page involves an inherently limited supply of attention, so not everything can go there. But good posts should at least stick around on the Recent Posts page for awhile)
III. Implement goals I and II in a way that is (and feels) fair.
Current Implementation of Voting Weight
The problem is that LessWrong is an oddly specific community, and it won't be necessarily obvious to a newcomer what are the sorts of post we want to incentivize. So we want more experienced users who have a proven track epistemic record to be able to draw attention to posts more easily.
In light of Goal III, we don't want a high-karma user's vote to be overwhelming. So the current mathematical implementation is:
What this means in non-math-speak is that is that your voting weight looks something like:
0 karma: 1 voting weight
5 karma: 2 voting weight
25 karma: 3 voting weight
125 karma: 4 voting weight
625 karma: 5 voting weight
... roughly capping out for practical purposes at approximately:
400,000 karma: 9 voting weight (currently no users are near this level)
You may have noticed that when you upvote or downvote a post, it changes by more than 1 point. This is why.
New posts also start with their user having upvoted them once, so if you have 25 karma, you'll start with 3 points. This is to reflect that people who've been around longer are more likely to be writing things that are worth paying attention to. (Although note that this initial upvote doesn't count towards their overall karma score)
Shifting to a voting-weight based system also makes it easier to notice people who are abusing the system and nullify their votes (preventing mass-downvote attacks)
The LW 2.0 team has some thoughts about how to refine the voting system into something more fine-grained. But before sharing those ideas it seemed good to solicit a more general discussion. (Some of us might share our thoughts in the comments, but those thoughts will be from our perspectives as users rather than site developers)