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So, I have a proposal Arts and Crafts in Area51.

I noticed that out of many users that have followed it, some haven't used their votes at all or have used few of them (talking about 5 up votes here). I noticed this by looking at their profiles.

My guess is that they may not be aware of the importance of voting during the first phase of the proposal. So, I tried to talk to one of the users through chat:

@XX I recently noticed that you have followed Arts and Crafts proposal but haven't used your votes. I request you to use your votes on that proposal since it will help the proposal to move to the commitment phase. That proposal still needs 7 more questions with 10 votes to move forward. Thanks.

I want to know whether this kind of behavior from my side can be regarded as annoying?

If yes,

What is a better way to enlighten users then?

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  • I don't know that it will do much... I don't think they'll get the ping if they've never been in the Chat before... I mean, unless you can superping people... and, fortunately, I'm not a target but you can test it on me if you want to see if it will work. I've used my votes already and would love to see the project get continued but I don't know this is the best way to go about it.
    – Catija StaffMod
    Jun 12, 2015 at 7:36
  • I have wondered, with such specialty sites as Ravelry (for knit/crochet), whether this SE would be successful. There's such a wealth of resources out there for help with this sort of thing.
    – Catija StaffMod
    Jun 12, 2015 at 7:39
  • @Catija knit and crochet are just the small subsets of the ocean called Arts and Crafts, so I think the site would succeed if ever it starts. :) Jun 12, 2015 at 8:57

3 Answers 3

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+100

tl;dr

Approaching people in chat to talk about Area51 proposals is fine. But you need to turn your message around and focus on education and taking ownership of the proposal, and not blaming them for not voting.

The problem with your idea

Your choice of phrasing could be interpreted as borderline annoying and approaching rude. From your example (emphasis mine):

@XX I recently noticed that you have followed Arts and Crafts proposal but haven't used your votes. I request you to use your votes on that proposal since it will help the proposal to move to the commitment phase. That proposal still needs 7 more questions with 10 votes to move forward. Thanks.

The 2 bolded items are what I have an issue with.

I request you to use your votes - You should not be telling people where and how to vote. It is possible they voted to abstain from further voting, which is a vote in of itself. Also, I know you said "request" here, but it comes of in a very commanding way, so it seems like a directive.

That proposal still needs 7 more questions with 10 votes - While you don't say this explicitly, by focusing on the number of examples that still need 10 votes, you come off as you are encouraging people to vote up questions just to get the proposal to move to the next stage.

The entire message also comes across a very accusatory because you are putting some level of "blame" on them for not voting.


A potential solution for new users

Rather than focusing on telling the user what to do, you could think of a better way to approach this. Education is a good start, especially if the user appears to be new to Stack Exchange and to the Area51 process.

@XX I recently noticed that you have followed Arts and Crafts proposal but haven't used your votes. Did you know that you can freely change your vote without any issues, so it isn't necessary to "save" your votes for later questions. If newer questions come in, you can just unvote a previous question to vote for the new one. The proposal is getting close to the next stage of the evaluation process, so you won't be able to vote once we get there, and using your votes is critical to getting to that next stage.

I actually started with the idea of being able to freely change your votes because I was lightly watching 2 or 3 proposals before I realized that I could change my vote without it getting locked in after 5 minutes. Once I learned that, I tended to vote more freely. I also focused on the voting being crucial to moving to the next phase without harping on the number of posts that need votes.


A potential solution for experienced users

The other thing to keep in mine here is you want to pay attention to the user's level of activity on Area51. If they are involved in other proposals and have been through the entire commitment process a couple of times, it is likely that your original message (and even my suggested message) would come off extremely rude since they should know how the process works. So for the experienced user, I'd think you should have another different message, focusing on the questions rather than the votes:

@XX I recently noticed that you have followed Arts and Crafts proposal but haven't used your votes. Are there questions or topics you would hope to see on this site that have not been posed as examples yet? I am trying to move this proposal forward, so if there are topics missing that you'd like to see, I can help with putting some more example questions out there.

Now you've turned this into a "what can I do to make it easier for your to use your votes" rather than blaming them for not voting.


Final option for everyone

Rather than one or 2 canned messages, Lance's point is a very good option - just approach it more informally. Talk to them about the proposal in general. See what they want from it and why they are following. Talk about the example questions and the idea of voting can come up naturally in the discussion.

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Of course it's fine if you ask. It's not force, and chat is made for chatting, though I think I'd approach it a little more informally.

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I don't think so.

I noticed that out of many users that have followed it, some haven't used their votes at all or have used few of them (talking about 5 up votes here). I noticed this by looking at their profiles.

Wait. What! Whether what they vote on is their business and you can't know whether they voted on your proposal questions other than they have used less that 5 votes. Users don't need to know that there are users who track and watch others just to see what they voted or whether they voted at all. That's their problem not yours.

Is it acceptable to request (through chat) a user to use his votes on an Area51 proposal?

No, absolutely not at all. That just games the system. Anyways, aren't you afraid that they might downvote instead? Questions can be voted on by any Area51 user with sufficient rep to vote. So, you might as well ask everyone in the Area51 community. Questions will have to deserve those votes in order for the followers to vote on. You can't force them.

Anyways, we need to know whether the site can provide good questions. If everyone just upvotes until the criteria is met to go on the next stage. Then maybe the proposal might supposedly be just kicked onto the next stage without question. Interested? Join and upvote! That is NOT what you do to help make sites. You vote when you want to vote. Not because some other person is pushing and bothering you to vote so the site can continue!

Requesting through chat is very, very annoying. So you should try other tactics instead...

What is a better way to enlighten users then?

Well, just hope that other followers will post upvote-worthy questions and that they try to help the site. With that many followers and 10+ vote questions, you should be fine for now... Just post good questions and let the community do the rest for you. Of course, you can get more traffic by having an ad in your profile.

If you still want to call them out, just comment on their questions (if they have any)/top voted questions:

@user's_name, please vote to help this site succeed!

or something like:

Hey, can the users who haven't voted yet vote to help support the site?

Calling them out from chat can be pretty annoying as chat users will have no idea why you just "blurted" that out of nowhere. And it can be irritating having to go to chat hundreds of times just to persuade them to vote.

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  • 1
    You can actually tell to some degree whether someone's cast votes on Area 51... It's on the user's profile. If they have voted, you can't definitively tell which proposal they've voted on but you can still see they have 0 votes used if they haven't voted on any proposals at all.
    – Catija StaffMod
    Jun 15, 2015 at 1:02
  • I did say that in my answer. Jun 15, 2015 at 1:08
  • Oh, I must have missed it or misunderstood.
    – Catija StaffMod
    Jun 15, 2015 at 1:10
  • This is what I said about that: Whether what they vote on is their business and you can't know whether they voted on your proposal questions other than they have used less that 5 votes. Jun 15, 2015 at 1:12
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    Reading publicly available information on someone else's profile is not spying on them
    – 410 gone
    Jun 15, 2015 at 11:14
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    Explaining to someone how the game works and that they should play it is not "gaming the system", it's disseminating it. That person may not realize the significance of voting and may take the suggestion to heart generally, which is a good thing in the long run. I do think telling someone specifically to upvote and not downvote, which is implied ("needs 7 more questions with 10 votes") is crossing a line slightly. But only slightly, and in this case it is just to point out the obvious (people who want to see a proposal go through should make an effort to read questions and upvote them).
    – goldilocks
    Jun 15, 2015 at 11:45
  • Okay, changed my post a bit @Catija Jun 18, 2015 at 21:49

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