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It would be neat to see which answers have the largest divide over up-votes/down-votes. Sorting them by their controversial status, that is.

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Has anyone asked the data dump have common this is? –  dmckee Jul 27 '09 at 22:39
    
Greasemonkey script, Jonathan? –  deleted Jul 27 '09 at 23:08
    
@Isaac, I would take care of it if they served up the number of upvotes to downvotes. But unfortunately we only get to see the resulting value. –  Jonathan Sampson Jul 27 '09 at 23:47
    
You can view all votes from the dump, would be slightly outdated for somethings but should be effective for most of the large wikis. –  Ian Elliott Jul 28 '09 at 0:08

6 Answers 6

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Sorting for this would be easy. Sort order would be the minimum of up votes and down votes (highest to lowest).

I don't think that's such a bad idea actually. But I do think if we had it we would need to be able to see upvotes and downvotes, not just net votes, even if it was just via a tooltip.

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I agree - we would definitely need to see the two values. –  Jonathan Sampson Jul 28 '09 at 1:10

A simple formula would enable us to calculate the controversy percentage of one question:

(MIN(UpVotes,DownVotes)+1)/(MAX(UpVotes,DownVotes)+1)

Of course, one question would need over 4 votes or something similar in order to be eligible.

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This would be cool to see for questions and answers. This is a possible badge idea too. "controversial question" and "controversial answer" for like 10 up and 10 down votes.

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This has been shot down several time and for good reason: it would encourage trolling. –  dmckee Jul 27 '09 at 23:28
    
I guess the more I think about it, you are right. Sometime you really got to make sure to think about your ideas from every single angle good and bad. –  Troggy Jul 27 '09 at 23:46
    
Well, 'ya know: it sounds good at first. And if you managed it with a serious answer it would be an accomplishment. –  dmckee Jul 28 '09 at 1:29

I'm not sure how your algorithm would work exactly...

If you imagine the "divide" in terms of a number line:

<----------------------DOWN------0----------------UP-------------------->

You could see that the "divide" could be the total number of votes (say 4 downs and 5 ups = 9 votes)

But, in theory something with 0 down votes and 10 upvotes would rank higher because the total would be 10. The same could be said for something voted down 10 times and upvoted 0.

How would you reconcile this in your idea of great "divide?"

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Digg currently has an algorithm for this. Without much thought, I'm not immediately sure how it would be best acheived. I'll give it some thought :) –  Jonathan Sampson Jul 27 '09 at 23:49
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ABS(UpVotes-DownVotes), closer to zero, the more controversial. –  Ian Elliott Jul 28 '09 at 0:08
    
@Ian Elliott: I'm more tempted to use (UpVotes+1)/(DownVotes+1)... [The plus one to remove the possibility of Div Per 0). That way the number of votes doesn't affect the score it gets. Closer to zero, more controversial. –  Andrew Moore Jul 28 '09 at 0:29
    
@Andrew: That won't work, putting a divisor in the mix will skew the values as x/y approaches 1 . 40/30 > 35/35 > 30/40 , but 35/35 is clearly more controversial. Albeit my formula isn't perfect either, but it's the best you can get with a simple equation. I may be interested in formulating something more accurate later. –  Ian Elliott Jul 28 '09 at 0:53
    
@Ian Elliott: I meant closer to one is more controversial. The zero was a typo. Actually, to improve a bit on my previous statement: (MIN(UpVotes,DownVotes)+1)/(MAX(UpVotes,DownVotes)+1). That way, you always have a value between 0 and 1... See it as the controversy percentage. –  Andrew Moore Jul 28 '09 at 1:26
    
Of course, you want a minimum number of votes to be eligible. –  Andrew Moore Jul 28 '09 at 1:29

As controversial posts aren't seen as good, I don't think there's going to be an option to sort by controversy.

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I sort of touched on this on the blog; reddit changed their sorts to partially disable the effect of controversial posts.

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/10/alternate-sorting-orders/

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