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Changes to Voting (Opinions Please)

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Re: Changes to Voting (Opinions Please)

Postby Scott » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:24 pm

Fact: any voting system is prone to some abuse.


True.

Truthfully, how many people deal with "fake" or "revenge" voting on a regular basis? I say the percentage is small enough to be negligible.


When it was anonymous, it was actually a lot. Certainly not negligible. It was enough to drive the previous owners away for a while, or at least to make them ask not to be emailed anymore.

Comments and corrections are more useful, if the page owner actually pays any attention to them.


True. Also, the "Needs Major Updates" button is very important.

Most votes are actually pretty meaningless. With non-anonymous voting, even more so people vote 10/10 on everything including almost completely blank pages and spam photos. Usually it’s the same members doing it over and over again. Perhaps I shouldn’t list them by name though. For the offenders, their vote weight can be manually adjusted, but this presents other ethical issues, such as who gets to decide if a vote is dumb or mindless.

To me, votes shouldn’t be only some kind of “award”, but are truly needed to flag the bad stuff out there. There are a lot of mountain, route, and/or area/range pages seriously either lacking in details or inaccurate. Accuracy is better than pretty pictures.

Make sure to use the “Needs Major Updates” as well as the comments section.

If you see a page that is lacking or inaccurate, please flag it regardless of its score. Also, don't be afraid to use the comments section for constructive criticism.

As for things like photo voting, to me this isn't so important. Page owners can detach whatever photos they find meaningless anyway.

Here's an idea that might actually help with these voting "problems": Use the number of votes an item gets divided by the number of unique views (or member views) as a factor in determining it's score. That way the non-votes count against it; sort of a way of anonymous down-voting that shouldn't get abused.


This has been looked at and discussed. It has its own problems such as with adopted pages, et al, as well as pages that are linked to other sites and used by the news media. For example, if someone gets rescued on so and so mountain and the news story mentions the mountain's name, SP hits typically skyrocket, all the hits from non members. Also, some members have their pages linked to other sites, whether they did so or not. I know the Nepalese Government, for example has links to some SP pages, and UFO sites link one mountain in Nevada (just a few examples). It was and is an interesting idea, but it does present some real problems.
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Re: Changes to Voting (Opinions Please)

Postby Alpinist » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:07 pm

Buz Groshong wrote:
surgent wrote:I recall the old 4-star system from the olden days, then the 10-point system, and now this presumed 5-star system. I don't stay awake nights worrying about the difference between a 9 and a 10, or 4 stars vs 5. It only interests me from the "voting theory", both mathematical and psychological, aspects.

Fact: any voting system imposed relies on subjective criteria, unique to everyone individually. So saying 4 stars should be "Very Good" or 4 stars should be "Good" is cutting hairs. Four or five stars is what you feel it should be at that moment. That being said, the fewer choices (5 stars vs 10 pts) the better, in my opinion.

Fact: any voting system is prone to some abuse. Truthfully, how many people deal with "fake" or "revenge" voting on a regular basis? I say the percentage is small enough to be negligible. Most people here vote generally in the same broadest terms so that it works, although never as finely as we may like.

I put up a few pages on rocky Arizona desert peaks and am lucky to get 10 votes (thank you to those who do), while someone puts up a snowy, pointy Alps summit and boom, 30 votes. So yes, mountaineering favors the snowier, pointier "traditional" peaks. It's just a fact, and I am fine with that. I like good useful information and appreciate it when I see it from someone else who took the time to include it for a peak, and I try to do the same in return. I really don't care if I get x or 2x or x^2 or even x^2 + 2x votes, as long as the info is solid.

So I'll go with whatever system is imposed. If someone has a beef with me and my pages or photos and votes me 1 point or 1 star, so be it. I really don't care, and I just move on to the next task.


Excellent comments (and excellent attitude). By the way don't complain about the few votes your AZ peaks get; except for the few exceptional peaks, those here in VA probably get fewer votes than those in AZ.

Here's an idea that might actually help with these voting "problems": Use the number of votes an item gets divided by the number of unique views (or member views) as a factor in determining it's score. That way the non-votes count against it; sort of a way of anonymous down-voting that shouldn't get abused.

I don't agree with lowering an object's score based on how many hits it has as a ratio of the number of votes. IMO, an object with a huge number of hits regardless of the number of votes has more value than an object with a small number of hits. If something about the object prompted a lot of people to click on it, then it should be rewarded not penalized. Many people don't vote on anything and the object should not be penalized for that. If you think an object is unworthy of its current rating, then there's a clear and simple solution; vote it down.

The best way to score objects is to use a weighted average based on members' power ranking, as we do now. That prevents voting by fake avatars...
Last edited by Alpinist on Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Changes to Voting (Opinions Please)

Postby Josh Lewis » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:11 pm

Wasn't power points introduced in SP Version 2? If I recall right it's intentions were to fight off fake accounts with voters. So why not take advantage of the power point system to scare off fake users in the scenario of anonymous voting? Elves should be able to review votes no matter what to see evidence of certain members getting suspicious votes.

There are two potential issues with this theory that I foresee. New members won't see their vote mean much and determined cheaters could make their avatars powerful enough to do something. I'm not entirely sure how the system is currently designed if a member has 5-10 power points if their vote really does much. My brother in the past had around 20 or so which I believe was "weak". What I'm getting at is that even a determined cheater wouldn't really get that much out of it in terms of score boosts unless they went way out of their way to make the avatars have lots of power points. In my opinion this is an unlikely scenario.

I have some method ideas of making the current elf tools better to make tracking cheaters much easier! :D It could help with other various characters (Scott, you know who I'm talking about). Only the really slick sophisticated cheaters would escape the methods I have in mind, even then it would be risky for them. :wink: I know elf tools were low on the to do list, but once the other major features are added I have ideas of how to fight SP crime. 8)
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Re: Changes to Voting (Opinions Please)

Postby Josh Lewis » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:20 pm

Alpinist wrote:I don't agree with lowering an object's score based on how many hits it has as a ratio of the number of votes.


I agree with this. Even obscure stuff builds up hits after a long time. Part of the voting issue also stems from the fact that people don't vote on pages they are not familiar with or have no plans on climbing that peak. My brother votes like this which is why he specifically doesn't vote on some of my best pages.

Alpinist wrote:If something about the object prompted a lot of people to click on it, then it should be rewarded not penalized.


I actually disagree with this. There are plenty of examples of very famous pages here on SP that are poor quality and are abandoned by "determined to hold on to them authors". Should these people really be rewarded? I really don't believe so. Why should hits determine the quality of a page? Maybe more useful to more number of peoples as a result of it's fame but it says nothing for the pages actual quality. Should we reward celebrities for being famous?
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Re: Changes to Voting (Opinions Please)

Postby MarkDidier » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:20 pm

Josh Lewis wrote:
Alpinist wrote:I don't agree with lowering an object's score based on how many hits it has as a ratio of the number of votes.


I agree with this. Even obscure stuff builds up hits after a long time. Part of the voting issue also stems from the fact that people don't vote on pages they are not familiar with or have no plans on climbing that peak. My brother votes like this which is why he specifically doesn't vote on some of my best pages.


I agree with Alpinist and Josh on this. Pages should not be penalized based on a hits to votes ratio.

Particularly for the meat of the site (Area/Range, Mountain and Route pages) the ratio of votes to hits is at its highest while the object is on the What' New page and then the ratio slowly drops over time as the page ends up in the myriad of beta on SP, only to be looked at by those looking for beta on that Area or Mountain, etc. It's almost as if the Polls close after the object exits What's New - and since it isn't new it doesn't need a vote.

As for not voting on pages "they are not familiar with", I definitely fall into this category. Right or wrong, I rarely vote for new Mountain or Route pages when they are first submitted. The vast majority of my votes on these pages come when I go hunting for somewhere to go hiking or "climbing". (My apologies to those of you who do submit some really outstanding stuff!)
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Re: Changes to Voting (Opinions Please)

Postby Scott » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:35 pm

Wasn't power points introduced in SP Version 2?


No. It was always present. It was called power, then changed to points, and then back to power. Vote weight based on power was introduced in SPv2 though.
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Re: Changes to Voting (Opinions Please)

Postby lcarreau » Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:44 am

Josh Lewis wrote: Should we reward celebrities for being famous?



NO ---- but this reminds me of a perfect Lady Gaga quote :


"What I've learned is that you really don't need to be a celebrity or have money or have the paparazzi following you around to be famous."

- Lady Gaga
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Re: Changes to Voting (Opinions Please)

Postby MoapaPk » Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:02 am

What is the actual purpose of the voting system? From the descriptions of SP, it seems the voting system had two intents: 1) to help users identify good pages, in the sense that the bad would "sink" out of sight; and 2) to discourage the submission of crap. I think the voting system is pretty successful at (2), but possibly discourages submission in general. I don't think the system is very successful with (1).

I realize that spurious or revenge voting is a big problem with anonymity -- especially on the information highway, where road rage is so common.

But I'll repeat an over-worn story. We had a rating system (at our company) that used to give five categories, from "excellent" ... to "bad." Unionized employees were particularly keen to have the ratings changed. Before the freedom of information act (FOIA), the average rating was something like "average;" after FOIA, it was "excellent." It became impossible to tell who was actually good or bad, and less aggressive people often got just "good" ratings, because their bosses knew they were less likely to complain. "Good" began to mean "less than average," and ironically, was often applied to quiet but hard-working types. If a worker did something absolutely outrageous (slept on the job and refused to do actual work), the legal recourse would turn up that the worker had gotten 5 "excellent" reviews, so the case would be thrown out.

But moderate success with (2) is possibly justification for any system, because many SP articles are really discovered with Google searches.
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Re: Changes to Voting (Opinions Please)

Postby Josh Lewis » Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:31 am

MoapaPk wrote:What is the actual purpose of the voting system?


The biggest reason I can personally find is to show appreciation and criticism in a speedy fashion. The sorting is an extra perk that some what works. But I must say that voters did a fine job on choosing my top 27 images. :) So we know it at least some what works on photos. Sometimes my best well drawn out maps would get zero votes which would be disappointing because they are both high resolution and very useful for mountain climbing.

Voting/commentary here I feel sets SummitPost apart from other sites like MountainProject and such. It feels a bit more social here. Yes the other climber sites have a forum, but it's not the same in terms of getting the feeling like people here actually appreciate one's work. I do believe that the voting system helps create that atmosphere which is definitely a good thing for SP and the contributors. It can of course go the other way.

Regarding the worker case, because the voting algorithm is not an average, even a 3/5 will appear good with everyone else voting 5/5's. At the very least it should boost the score.
Last edited by Josh Lewis on Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Changes to Voting (Opinions Please)

Postby lcarreau » Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:12 am

Josh Lewis wrote: It feels a bit more social here.



That's what I like MOST about SP ... the social interaction which exists in a Society that is for the most part SICK.

(I guess) I could get more kicks on another site such as Facebook, but I choose not to do that for reasons beyond my control.

Back on subject ... I favor the five-star system, but let's not let all that STARDOM go to our heads.
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Re: Changes to Voting (Opinions Please)

Postby peterbud » Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:58 am

As for the offered choices, I'd prefer the 5-star (no half stars) system, for reasons already mentioned here by others.

On the other hand, I think the most effective way of translating the voters' will would be to implement a "thumbs up"/"thumbs down" + neutral option (which would be the default). Perhaps in SP v5... ;-)
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Re: Changes to Voting (Opinions Please)

Postby Bob Sihler » Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:14 pm

As I see it, the changed voting system has two goals:

1. A simplified system will probably not encourage much more "honest" voting but may encourage more people to vote, which is a good thing.

2. The on-page voting system for images will hopefully put more emphasis on the types of photos that are indicative of the site's true purpose, not the latest study in contrast due to a low angle of light and a polarizing filter. Since I like to view mountain and route pages, I would like to show appreciation for the efforts people make using pictures to enhance such pages. However, clicking on individual pictures in order to view and vote is marvelously inefficient.

I would do away with photo voting entirely and just vote on entire pages, but there is just about no interest in that on the site, most importantly not among management.
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Re: Changes to Voting (Opinions Please)

Postby Alpinist » Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:04 pm

Josh Lewis wrote:
Alpinist wrote:If something about the object prompted a lot of people to click on it, then it should be rewarded not penalized.


I actually disagree with this. There are plenty of examples of very famous pages here on SP that are poor quality and are abandoned by "determined to hold on to them authors". Should these people really be rewarded? I really don't believe so.

Good point.
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Re: Changes to Voting (Opinions Please)

Postby yatsek » Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:21 pm

Bob Sihler wrote:I would do away with photo voting entirely and just vote on entire pages

What exactly do you mean by "entire pages"? Would the images embedded in a page be voted on or all attached pix, also those attached by others?

As to photo voting, I wonder if it would be possible to organize contests with a limited number of photos (1-3) submitted by the willing, instead of what we have now. Each voter would have just one or perhaps three votes, sort of what's on "Help Improve SP!"
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Re: Changes to Voting (Opinions Please)

Postby Bob Sihler » Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:02 pm

yatsek wrote:
Bob Sihler wrote:I would do away with photo voting entirely and just vote on entire pages

What exactly do you mean by "entire pages"? Would the images embedded in a page be voted on or all attached pix, also those attached by others?

As to photo voting, I wonder if it would be possible to organize contests with a limited number of photos (1-3) submitted by the willing, instead of what we have now. Each voter would have just one or perhaps three votes, sort of what's on "Help Improve SP!"


I just mean vote on pages and not on pictures. If something like that had been in place all along, do you think we'd have seen anywhere close to the silliness here that we have regarding photos?
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