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I have noticed something with the /review page, that I assume is happening due to the related badges. At first I was bothered by it, but I don't know if it's such a huge deal at all. I tag this as "discussion", therefore.

It seems that there are folks who are going through the /review "First Questions" tab, and up-voting every single question they find there. Too many times, I have gone there and seen a nice, pretty pattern - every single question on that page is up-voted a single time. Or, the first x questions are up-voted twice, and then the following y are up-voted once.

Of course, there are random, odd questions that are up- or down-voted independently, but the pattern is clear enough that I think it's safe to take a stab at guessing why this pattern exists: because someone wants the Reviewer badge, and has decided to spread some up-voting goodness as part of one way to get it.

(I do note that voting is not at all required to get the badge in question; they may be seeking another badge, instead. But the fact that they are doing it on the questions under /review "First Question" when listed in order seems to suggest a multi-tiered approach here.)

Initially, this bothered me an awful lot. It still bothers me a bit. Why does it bother me? Because it seems people are being careless about their up-votes, and may be encouraging bad questions as a result. I can see refraining from down-voting a newbie's borderline question, definitely. But I think up-voting bad content is detrimental.

But then I thought a little bit more; this kind of voting happens, anyway. I noted that there are other badges people could be going for. Without the /review pages, they would just randomly vote on questions, and perhaps an equal percentage of those would be bad ones.

But the /review pages also give those of us who want to vote more thoughtfully a chance to counter those votes, and also to leave comments on the posts where some improvement could come.

Meanwhile, the page I'm talking about only lists a person's first question. So, for someone using this as a quick, easy way to one or more badges - at least their 'damage' is limited to just first-time-questions. If they stick to doing it this way, they'll never issue those 'bad' votes on second or subsequent questions.

Ultimately, my own conclusion here is that it may be drawing a focus (even if just my own) onto a mildly bad practice, but I think it's also focusing that mildly bad practice, when so used, in a place where the 'bad' is restricted a bit. If someone's first 'bad question' gets an up-vote or two, but their second and subsequent ones never do, I don't think the overall effect is that horrible.


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If such questions are upvoted only 1 or two times, there is no so many such folks ;) – om-nom-nom Mar 30 '12 at 20:57
"I can see refraining from down-voting a newbie's borderline question, definitely." Really? I can't. Also, are you sure that votes count towards the Reviewer badge? – Cody Gray Mar 30 '12 at 20:57
@om-nom-nom But it's been regular that I've seen this solid line of up-votes. – Andrew Barber Mar 30 '12 at 20:57
@TheEstablishment I didn't mean that I would always (or ever) refrain from it - I just mean that I can at least understand the reasoning behind it, as opposed to a veteran user's bad question. – Andrew Barber Mar 30 '12 at 20:58
@TheEstablishment The votes don't count toward that badge; it's the simple act of clicking the "review" link that does. But voting is easily done from that page, and counts toward the voting-related badges. – Andrew Barber Mar 30 '12 at 20:59
@AndrewBarber You need to do something on at least 200 of your 1000 reviews, voting is one thing, commenting and editing others. – Daniel Fischer Mar 30 '12 at 21:00
@DanielFischer Oh, right; good point. I'd completely forgotten about the "action on 200" requirement, too. (I've had the badge for a bit myself, and probably "Acted" on close to 800 or more) – Andrew Barber Mar 30 '12 at 21:01
@AndrewBarber there is also Electorate badge. I guess that's why people vote, not for the Reviewer. – om-nom-nom Mar 30 '12 at 21:02
@om-nom-nom two birds with one stone – Daniel Fischer Mar 30 '12 at 21:03
@TheEstab: I definitely choose to hand out more comments than down votes to folks who are brand new. I like to think a kind word with reprimand goes further than just a whack with a stick. – sarnold Mar 31 '12 at 1:57

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

If I understand you correctly you believe that the existence of the Reviewer badge is driving First Time questions to be voted on more often than they were before.

I decided to look at the data and see if that what I could do to determine if this was true or false. So I wrote a query that gets the average and standard deviation of votes counts for

  • First Questions Only
  • Questions that are only twice as old the reviewer badge or younger. So we get comparable questions before and after the reviewer badge/
  • Looks at votes for only the first 30 days after the question was asked (removing money from jam)
  • Ignore posts from the last 30 days because of the previous restriction.

The results are

Type                Avg# Votes Standard deviation        
-----------------   ---------  ----------------------- 
Post Reviewer Badge 1.731929   1.38239657740628 
Pre Reviewer Badge  1.813401   2.34092128285291 

I would say that there's little compelling evidence for your claim in the data.

However I would note that when you disable random ordering &no-random=1 it does seem to order by vote descending . Could that be the explanation for what you're seeing?

share|improve this answer
It is also possible to order them by age. – om-nom-nom Mar 31 '12 at 0:08
I'm viewing the sort by age. i.e. top post is always the most recent. – Andrew Barber Mar 31 '12 at 0:47
Here's the link of what I'm viewing As I enter this, displaying 50-per page, the entire first page are all 1 score, and some of the second page. Yesterday it was the first two pages, plus some. Incidentally, I am going to refine my conclusions about this a bit; your data seem to back up my mitigating feelings: That people were doing this voting anyway, so it's not a big deal. – Andrew Barber Apr 1 '12 at 1:54
@AndrewBarber the link you provided doesn't have &customsort=newestfirst I hate to ask this but are you sure you're not just looking at it in the default sort (Highest voted first) – Some Helpful Commenter Apr 4 '12 at 15:09
I was completely misunderstanding the sorting on that page; my bad. I actually don't even see an option to sort by time; Only by votes (I presume - it doesn't say what it is sorted by) or "random". – Andrew Barber Apr 5 '12 at 6:36
@AndrewBarber Its hard to find its between the Tag Summary and Favorite tags. When you sort that way you'll see a mix of upvotes, novotes and downvotes. – Some Helpful Commenter Apr 5 '12 at 15:28

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