Posting is now enabled with a minimum karma required of 20 - that is, you must have gotten at least 20 upvotes on your comments in order to publish a post.  Or an adminstrator such as myself or Robin (by default you should bother me) can temporarily bless you with posting ability - in the long run this shouldn't happen much.

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Voting on comments creates some interesting dynamics. Previously, I noticed that there was a comment with a relatively high score, which I was then driven to vote up. This despite the fact that I didn't find the comment itself all that special - somehow, "peer pressure" affected me enough for me to upvote the comment, even though nobody would likely notice.

I'd like to say I cancelled my upvote after realizing this, but I honestly can't remember if I did. I was left torn between the impulse to upvote it and the impulse to correct for the irrationality, and I'm not sure which choice I ended up with. I'd go back and check, but due to the fact that I found the comment itself pretty bland, I have no memory of where it was or what it was about...

On the other hand, after karma became actually meaningful, with the 20-point threshold for posting instated, I suddenly became a lot more careful about whether I'd vote comments up. Previously I'd been doing it pretty loosely, but now I find myself not voting on comments that I previously would have.

Just some more examples of human bias...


20 points is utterly trivial

Why can't posts be downvoted into negative rating? I tried (only for the sake of experiment) downvoting Marshal's post, but it stayed at 0. Or is there a hidden variable rating R that visualizes as max(R,0)?

Or is there a hidden variable rating R that visualizes as max(R,0)?

That's how things work on reddit, so my guess is that's how it is here too.

Edit: What's up with Marshall's karma score? Perhaps karma is being stored as an unsigned integer?

See this thread about the problem with Karma underflow.

Do we have guidelines yet for on-topic posts? Are there going to be any? Will that simply be decided by the market (up/down voting)?

Specifically, should posts be about rationality, or can they be "mere" applications of rationalist insights to specific topics?

The latter is a dangerous path to go down, at least for now. But if an application has something new to say about rationality and it's something that our already iconoclastic readers haven't heard before - i.e., not the standard arguments for libertarianism or whatever - then I guess so...

Though I suppose I should be ready to lower my standards somewhat from OB-level advance screening; that which ends up annoying here can just be downvoted into oblivion or not promoted.

So to some extent... let the market decide; but you are the market, and you should be very wary of people arguing "rational" arguments for their pet topics that aren't genuinely enlightening but happen to agree with one of your own. Aside from that... knock yourself out?

The further off-topic something is, the more enlightenment you should demand from it, and the readier you should be to downvote if not satisfied?

We'll just see how it goes in practice, I guess.

What are the guidelines for a post?

Is this site restricted to posts with at least a few paragraphs or is link sharing acceptable?

Link sharing's fine, it just might not get promoted. Quickie description of what to find there would be good (as opposed to a raw link a la Reddit).

What effect do down votes have on karma? For instance, before writing this I'm at 19 points. This post should then, I think, put me at 20. But if people believe (arguably correctly) that this post is an attempt to game the system, will I instead of ending up at 20, end up at 17 or 15 or 3 or something?

Poor guy. It was a reasonable comment... I upvoted you out of sympathy.

I think blatant attempts that /admit/ they're trying to game the system shouldn't be voted down. After all, they help the rest of us become more aware of the different ways to game the system, and therefore help refine it to avoid such ways.

Strictly speaking, is the potential for gaming the system even really a problem? Someone who is successful in doing so gains nothing other than the ability to post, and as Kaj posted out, gaming the system is likely to be more difficult the more important the "reward" of posting is considered to be. Further, Eliezer mentioned that the free karma for posting is unintentional but low-priority, implying that people getting free karma isn't exactly a big deal here.

Heh. No need. Even I voted it down! (It was an experiment to see if one is allowed to vote on one's own posts. It seems we are.)


Hah! Crazy

I am replying to my own post here, because I've been fascinated how the score on this post keeps changing. It was at +1 immediately after I posted it, then dropped to -2 within seconds. The next time I checked it was at +1 and I voted it down to -1. Now its back up at +1. There may well have been intermediate ups and downs I missed. To bad I can't see a history of the voting.


Fascinating. I wonder. Do people who see a '-1' on a good post feel more inclined to upvote... if you have the patience...

OK, so as an ardent game player and natural pedant, I need the rules and scoring sysem of this 'karma' thing explained to me - can I find it on the site somewhere?

To start with: I seem to get a karma point just for making a comment.. is that right?

(or is my mum on-line here upvoting my every post)

It's the vote total of all your comments & posts. Lots of info and opinion on it is here.

is my mum on-line here upvoting my every post

No, you are. It upvotes on your behalf.

You currently get a karma point just for automatically upvoting your own comment. This is scheduled to be fixed, but it's low-priority.

I also tried manually upvoting my own post - just t see what would happen.

Never never do that.

======== More seriously - shouldn't you get Karma from people REPLYING to your comments? Lots of Karma - I mean: someone upvotes me - that's nice - but someone actually REPLIES to me - wo hoo!

Your own comments have an automatic upvote applied to them - this works like any other upvote. If you click "Vote up" after you've already voted something up, it cancels the upvote. You can (potentially) determine whether you've currently voted a comment up or down based on whether "Vote up" or "Vote down" is in boldface.

Trolls and flamebait get lots of replies too, and that shouldn't count towards karma.


Never never do that

Or, do it twice.