The recent license posts The MIT License – Clarity on Using Code on Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange and A New Code License: The MIT, this time with Attribution Required generated some confusion over the interpretation of the voting under the first feedback question, resulting in some potential misunderstandings complained by this and this answers, requiring this and this reviews.

I am not a licensing expert, so, personally, I upvoted the question at first because I thought it was a good change (and a good topic to discuss), but after reading the answers disagreeing with the proposal, I changed my opinion, and wanted to disagree and downvote it, but I couldn't change my vote right after that since I had already voted and the question hadn't changed.

Moreover, I thought it wouldn't matter much, since I still agreed that the question was important regardless of my agreement with the proposal, so the upvote would still represent my intent. Many of others also thought that way, and it kind of created a false-positive voting feedback.

That's reasonable, because our current guideline leaves two open interpretations: vote for well-written, and vote for agreement or disagreement, as we can see in the Tour page (italic emphasis mine):

Voting is different on meta sites

Your Meta Stack Exchange account functions like an account on any other Stack Exchange Q&A site: your reputation score goes up when others vote up your questions and answers, and you earn badges for your activity here.

For most posts, votes reflect the perceived usefulness: well-written, well-reasoned, and well-researched posts tend to get more attention and more upvotes.

Unlike normal Stack Exchange sites, meta invites the community to discuss, debate, and propose changes to the way the community itself behaves, as well as how the software works. On posts tagged , voting can indicate agreement or disagreement with the proposed change rather than just the quality or usefulness of the post itself.

Another point is that the first post was actually migrated from meta.stackoverflow.com, which allowed anyone to give a real feedback regardless of reputation, but the migration prevented a lot of users to give a negative feedback properly (or, as you possibly were expecting), as we can notice here, here (deleted), and here.

Those are just examples of how the feedback questions have currently a bad mechanism. It should be clearer if the question voting represents or not the voter acceptance and agreement. I guess that the default behavior is that is doesn't, and if it actually does, we are not aware of it! And worst: we can't freely vote in it, since it requires 125 of reputation here (and not in any of the network-wide sites), blocking users to demonstrate their feedback (such issue is well discussed at Change rep required to downvote on MSE).

We know that something simple like the community wiki checkbox that changes some behaviors or something separated like the elections were successful enhancements for their unique needs.

I guess we have solid indicators that it is time for to enhance the voting mechanism intended for getting community feedback. Just to explore some possible solutions:

  • implementing a new way to vote;
  • tuning Meta's privileges reputation;
  • updating Meta's Tour and other guidelines to be clearer;
  • other.

What do you think?

  • 1
    We should also make voting obligatory for all SE users. Yes, no, don't care. Jan 15, 2016 at 13:53
  • 3
    @DeerHunter Obligatory voting = uninformed voting. I probably care but I don't feel knowledgeable enough to weigh in. Strongly disagree with requiring votes.
    – Catija
    Feb 1, 2016 at 19:26
  • Related: meta.stackexchange.com/q/273000/284991
    – falsarella
    Feb 18, 2016 at 12:00


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