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Reducing Reputation


malign
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I feel a need to express my outrage at the emerging practice of using the site's reputation system to disapprove of a post, purely on philosophical grounds.

We are not a popularity contest. The sole reason that the reputation is in existence is to provide a way to examine posts for potential spam sources.

It has subsequently been used as an anonymous way to encourage fellow posters, and that's fine. But I find it to be completely against our mission as a support site to indicate disapproval in this way, especially anonymously. Posts that are, in fact, in violation of the Terms of Service of the site should be reported to the administrators/moderators using the button for that purpose. We will take appropriate action to protect our members.

However, that protection does not extend to removing opinions you'd simply rather not hear. Life doesn't work that way. Moreover, the fact that the only two people I have seen with reputations lower than 5 happen to be on the same side in a certain ongoing debate which shall remain nameless is just deplorable. "Deplorable" means that I can't think of a printable word strong enough at the moment.

I'm still shaking my head in disbelief.

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Got to agree with you there Mark, I know the threads that you are on about and personally think it is out of order that this behavior has started up. Ive only been here a while and have always felt welcome here and have tried to be conciderate of peoples experiences and values.

I hope that this kind of thing stops, this is a safe community and I dont like that it is becoming judgemental in this way :(

And for the two people you are on about .........

Keep your chins up and well thankyou for your insightful posts, they have helped many people I am sure :)

Hope that we can all just get along with each other and respect everyones experience and oppinions :)

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i agree and it's very wrong and unfair to send a bad rep simply because you disagree with somebody, but it might be that sometimes people are hitting the wrong button sometimes as well?

funnily enough today ive had two bad reps sent but they both came with nice comments and with my intro post i got a bad rep as well as a good one,but i dont think that post would have deserved a bad rep, it was just a regular intro.

i think i know what thread you're talking about and if so then one of the contributors to that thread sent me the nice comment along with the 'bad rep' lol so i guess it can easily be done.

im probably confusing everything sorry!

Edited by Donna
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Guest GingerSnap

It took me the longest time to figure out what you all were talking about. I have given reputation points and never even noticed you could disapprove. As you all know, if I disapprove I don't do it hiding behind a reputation thingy. I am generally annoyed with people who don't have backbone and makes me want to stick a broom handle up their fanny so they can sit upright.:( If someone doesn't step forward and make a case for disagreement, they do nothing but waste my time with their opinion. Yes, I suppose that is rude and harsh.

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Thanks Mark for that explanation. The title "Reputation" implies that there is a socially transmitted belief or value regarding a specific behavior from a poster.

Despite this definition (from my view) I've been the culprit in some regards, based on what you've explained, giving points not to people I agree with, but to those whose post provides remarkable insights, helps others substantively, or contributes to the health of the community significantly, thereby encouraging constructive posting.

Likewise I've been guilty of giving negative reputation points 2-3 times, not b/c I disagreed with a poster's philosophic stance, but b/c the poster repeatedly used language or put forth ideas (e.g., referring to members they disagree with by using insulting comments, language or inflammatory statements) that hurt other members despite attempts via pm's and on the forum to have them show respect for fellow members.

Thanks Mark for the brief tutorial and clarification.

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Okay, David, I can agree with the reasons you give.

I think what's happening is that we need clarification on what disciplinary actions we can take in the situations you describe. That will probably have to come from the admins.

It's possible that the reputation system will end up being that action, I don't know. I know that moderators have a capability to "ban" people for variable lengths of time, but that seems to me to be a fairly extreme step. Yet I can see that people have at times ignored requests to be more civil.

Unfortunately, the reputation system does not have very many safeguards: anyone, not just moderators, can use it, and its use is anonymous, which prevents auditing of the actions. I see those as huge drawbacks in using it as a general purpose disciplinary system

I think we have to run this issue past the administration, and see what they think.

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We already have a "Report Post" button, it's the exclamation point right next to the Reputation button. Any member can report a post in that fashion.

The problem is that it still takes a moderator or admin reading their e-mail and coming to remove the spam. A dedicated spammer can make quite a mess in just a few minutes. The New User thing at least limits them to messing up just one forum.

That said, I don't personally believe it's buying us very much, either. :-)

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ok just a quick thought, not sure if any of you guys have already suggested this coz well im too lazy to read the whole thread :)

Is it possible that there could be a way that when you add rep or take it away that your user name automatically gets recorded , like it does when you post a thread or comment ?

That way if someone is offensive toward another member it will be recorded as to who the culprit is.

Just a idea, probably already been mentioned, :(

thats it really

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No, your idea is a new one, Sue.

We'll have to ask 'Mark' what the software is capable of. I thought there was some value to giving positive reputation, as encouragement, anonymously, because it might make people more willing to do it. But it doesn't seem right to allow it to be taken away anonymously. But then, it doesn't seem right to me that it should be taken away, unless that's how we decide to discipline unruly members. And then, it should be done by admins.

Or, we could run it as a popularity contest, but then it shouldn't restrict where people can post. And we'd have to decide what to do about negative numbers. ;-)

Ah well, that's why 'Mark' gets paid the big bucks. :-)

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I feel a need to express my outrage at the emerging practice of using the site's reputation system to disapprove of a post, purely on philosophical grounds.

We are not a popularity contest. The sole reason that the reputation is in existence is to provide a way to examine posts for potential spam sources.

It has subsequently been used as an anonymous way to encourage fellow posters, and that's fine. But I find it to be completely against our mission as a support site to indicate disapproval in this way, especially anonymously. Posts that are, in fact, in violation of the Terms of Service of the site should be reported to the administrators/moderators using the button for that purpose. We will take appropriate action to protect our members.

However, that protection does not extend to removing opinions you'd simply rather not hear. Life doesn't work that way. Moreover, the fact that the only two people I have seen with reputations lower than 5 happen to be on the same side in a certain ongoing debate which shall remain nameless is just deplorable. "Deplorable" means that I can't think of a printable word strong enough at the moment.

I'm still shaking my head in disbelief.

... I think that you are confusing the issue. It is not a matter of disagreeing with the line taken in certain posts, and by certain posters. It is, actually, a matter of the view taken of the motivation and methodology of certain posters. I do realise that in a certain area, it may be difficult to distinguish. Not impossible, however. Moderators may have this difficulty - fine. They may have difficulty making the distinction - fine. However, denigrating those who have used the reputation system to signal disapproval of suspect posters - that is, with respect, somewhat simplistic, inappropriate, and rather insulting. You may disagree - but there it is.

By the way - I freely confess that I am a "guilty party" in this regard. In return, I request that you delete my 25 reputation points - in view of recent events In Here, they mean little to me anyway. Please do it.

Best regards,

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Everyone,

I agree with both JR and Malign as both of you make valid points. Part of what is happening, I believe, is that some of the issues being discussed and argued, arouse a huge amount of emotional heat. In that heated atmosphere, some of us boil over and say things that are uncalled. I am referring to statements that insult, curse, denigrate and attempt to reduce others.

I do not believe anyone involved in this is "bad" or evil. Rather, and I will repeat, I think it has to do with the heat, with losing tempers, something I can be guilty of.......yes, even me :eek:

I am not joking to make light of things but to try to demonstrate my belief that humor can defuse tense situations.

Anyway, my position is that we need to tone down the rhetoric. By tone down, I do not mean agree with or go along with. What I mean is, avoid using offensive language and avoid using statements that are accusatory or demeaning.

I would rather see everyone express their disagreement in words rather than using the "rep" button. The rep button was started as a way to reinforce those who are active in the community and not to punish. Actually, I did not realize, until the other day, that the rep can be used to criticize.

Can't we have debate and heated debate but without insult??

Allan

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... you are a voice of reason and balance In Here. I might remark that one post in the "dead zone" that gave rise to this discussion raises serious doubt, to say the least, as to whether the reports under the reputation reporting system are actually confidential, as Malign suggests in an earlier post in this thread. Anybody interested in the matter can examine, and draw their own conclusions.

Beyond that - I renew my request to Malign for the erasure of my 25 reputation points. Since I have sinned to the extent suggested in Malign's initial post in this thread, this course of action seems appropriate. Nothing else occurs at this time.

Edited by John Rutledge
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John,

This is actually part of what concerns me about the atmosphere of tension that the AA debate has caused on the site: you felt insulted by what I said, but you don't expect me to consider your feelings respectfully when you express them in return. But that's the minimum we owe our fellow human beings, in my opinion. I regret that the tone of the ongoing debate has strayed so far from that premise.

I'm sorry if what I said insulted you. I was, as I noted in the post itself, somewhat upset, and I apologize. I may still disagree with you about the use of the reputation system, but I'd rather discuss it and come to a consensus of the membership. That's the actual reason for me beginning a thread, though I can see that my emotions were still somewhat too evident.

My only goal for being here as a person, for being here as a moderator, and for bringing up this particular subject, is to make this place as safe as I can for people to talk about mental health issues. I believe that, in your own way, that was also your intent, so in the end, we have only to discuss implementation. Could we do that without either of us needing to vacate the premises?

I'm certainly not interested in holding your sword while you fall on it. I'd rather put the swords away and talk this thing out.

Please?

Mark

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John,

This is actually part of what concerns me about the atmosphere of tension that the AA debate has caused on the site: you felt insulted by what I said, but you don't expect me to consider your feelings respectfully when you express them in return. But that's the minimum we owe our fellow human beings, in my opinion. I regret that the tone of the ongoing debate has strayed so far from that premise.

I'm sorry if what I said insulted you. I was, as I noted in the post itself, somewhat upset, and I apologize. I may still disagree with you about the use of the reputation system, but I'd rather discuss it and come to a consensus of the membership. That's the actual reason for me beginning a thread, though I can see that my emotions were still somewhat too evident.

My only goal for being here as a person, for being here as a moderator, and for bringing up this particular subject, is to make this place as safe as I can for people to talk about mental health issues. I believe that, in your own way, that was also your intent, so in the end, we have only to discuss implementation. Could we do that without either of us needing to vacate the premises?

I'm certainly not interested in holding your sword while you fall on it. I'd rather put the swords away and talk this thing out.

Please?

Mark

Hello, Malign,

Thank you for the considered response. Actually, I regret, and apologise for, my use of the reputation system in this respect. I can offer no excuse, other than that even I have my "inflamed" moments. In this instance, I thought it better to express my unease about certain tendencies In Here in this particular way, rather than feeding the flames through a post. This was a mistake. As my old Irish granny (Gods rest her !) used to say, "If you have nothing good to say - say nothing". I concede that doing nothing would also have been better in this case. My views in the substantive matter, however, have not changed.

It may also be noted that I have not been slow to add reputation liberally - my sin in this case is balanced against many, many increases in reputation to posters in various areas of the Forum. McGowdog may be amused to note that I added reputation on his first post!

Reading Claire's comments, I am moved myself to wonder about the utility of the reputation as it is currently constituted. While the New Members' "reservation" attempts to address a serious problem with potential spam, the apparent link with reputation points when it comes to "escaping" is less than clear, and may be causing problems for new and potential posters. In the instant matter, it seems unfortunate that this matter has come to attention in this particular way, opening the danger of a sort of alternative flame war - precisely the sort of thing I would want to avoid. One adjustment might simply be to make the reputation system an "add-only" function ? No doubt, administrators and moderators will be considering such options.

Finally, as to helping a person fall on his sword, you will no doubt recall that, in societies in which this was practiced, it was deemed an honourable office.

Thanks again for your response, and best regards,

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I am wondering how a point system of any kind assists with the spam problem. Isn't spam a yes/no thing? Wouldn't the "new members" section alone be enough to identify it?

Claire

You may recall that the introduction of the New Members' "reservation" followed a particularly unpleasant occurrance, in which a first (and only) time poster spread a set of blatantly pornographic images liberally around the forum. I have my problems with the "reservation" - but I suppose that it means at least that any new spam poster (and such entities are generally once-off posters) will be confined to posting in the "reservation", where they can be swiftly identified, Deleted and, if appropriate, banned. Not a complete answer but, at least, I can understand it.

On the more general point of the utility of the reputation system, another thought occurred to me. Perhaps, as you say, most people don't really notice reputation ratings (better that nobody did, perhaps, in view of recent events) but they are there, so we should consider what it is that they actually amount to. I am not sure how many people bother to give reputation ratings, but I suspect it is a distinct minority. This means that ratings are appearing that are the result of contributions of a small number of members (like me) which may not remotely resemble the feelings of the membership in general. If, as appears from this recent controversy, there is not a clear understanding of the reputation system even among those of us who bother to use it, and if the results are not really representative of the general view In Here as regards the merit of particular posts and posters, perhaps we would be better off without it.

With best regards,

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Damn, I was almost down to zero. I wanted to see what would happen......;)

I noticed right away that I was loosing points. In fact another poster pm'ed me to give me a little support. But, other than the amusment factor and the curiosity or what would happen if I got to zero, I can't say I care in the least.

My self image is in no way connected to this forum, let alone any rep points I may or may not get on it.

I say, it's a non issue. Let people run around and delete each other's rep points if they want too.

A safe environment is a good thing, but uber control issues can squash communication.

I feel a need to express my outrage at the emerging practice of using the site's reputation system to disapprove of a post, purely on philosophical grounds.

We are not a popularity contest. The sole reason that the reputation is in existence is to provide a way to examine posts for potential spam sources.

It has subsequently been used as an anonymous way to encourage fellow posters, and that's fine. But I find it to be completely against our mission as a support site to indicate disapproval in this way, especially anonymously. Posts that are, in fact, in violation of the Terms of Service of the site should be reported to the administrators/moderators using the button for that purpose. We will take appropriate action to protect our members.

However, that protection does not extend to removing opinions you'd simply rather not hear. Life doesn't work that way. Moreover, the fact that the only two people I have seen with reputations lower than 5 happen to be on the same side in a certain ongoing debate which shall remain nameless is just deplorable. "Deplorable" means that I can't think of a printable word strong enough at the moment.

I'm still shaking my head in disbelief.

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I would suggest any of the 4 options:

  • we keep the existing system and that we educate newcomers/ everyone on the proper use of it
  • that it be eliminated completely
  • that members be allowed only to give points but not take away
  • that it be used as the first level spam filter as initially designed, but once a member has reached a certain point level that suggests they're not spammers (e.g., 10 or 12 points) that the points cap out and are no longer accessible to "voting" by others
  • ++ any other solutions may create more problems than they solve.

My 2ȼ!

Edited by David O
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