Seeing the recent discussions on the voting system (too many to link them all here), I think I've found the main source of confusion here: mixing the quality of a question with its "on-topic" or "off-topic" status. While in a real, live SE site off-topic questions would by definition be "bad" and thus they would be downvoted and/or closed, this is not the case for Area 51, where off-topic examples are as important as on-topic ones, if not even more. I think these two concepts, relevance and on-topicness, should be decoupled.
The Area 51 site is the only known (for now) Stack Exchange site whose voting systems works differently from the other ones, as a question can be voted in two different ways (on-topic or off-topic), but both kind of votes will give it (and its author) a score boost; this is not the most intuitive way for it to work, as people will tend to mark it as "on topic" or "off topic", but will often neglect the fact that by the very act of doing this they'll be raising the question's relevance as an exemplary question for the proposed site, and the author's reputation at the same time.
In order to make things more clear and usable, ease finding good and relevant questions and have users' reputation actually reflect their contribution to the community, I thus propose the following voting system for Area 51 questions (which are actually answers to site proposals, but let's not dwelve in this too deeply, as there lies madness):
Any submitted example question will have, besides its present on-topic/off-topic voting options, an upvote/downvote option similar to those already used on all other SE sites.
The on-topic/off-topic votes will tell what the proposal followers think about the question's role, while the actual votes will tell if they judge it a good or bad question.
On-topic/off-topic votes will NOT affect the reputation of the question author; only actual question votes will.
Any user will be free to vote as many times as it wants for on-topic/off-topic statuses. I don't think it will be needed to limit upvotes/downvotes, as this has never been a problem on other sites; but, should this be needed, it could be done easily and without limiting the "brainstorming" phase of site proposals.
I think this could totally solve the problems we've been experiencing.
Here's a preview of how this voting system would look like:
I feel it's a lot more intuitive than the current one.
I feel it's a lot more intuitive than the now current one, too.
The original voting system has been changed, and I just feel the new one is a turn for the worse; and, judging by comments and discussions all over this Meta site, looks like I'm not the only one with this feeling. I still strongly believe the system I'm proposing here would be a better way to manage Area 51 voting, for three main reasons:
- Up/down voting would work exactly like it does in the real, live SE sites; people already used to them would immediately know what upvoting and downvoting mean.
- It would make absolutely clear whether you are expressing your thoughts about the on-topic/off-topic status of a question or its quality and relevance as an example for the proposed site.
- It wouldn't limit people's ability to classify questions as on- or off-topic, thus helping in the definition of which questions a site should allow or not.
Another one of the many problems this voting system would solve is also the "vote on your own question" one; the question author could freely state if s/he thinks the question is on- or off-topic, without of course being able to upvote it.