In Reddit, there is a section for posts that are heavily down/upvoted, making them "controversial." Why might this be a bad idea?

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    Why might this be a good idea? – Oded Aug 9 '16 at 16:31
  • Users with +10k have such special tabs with highest/lowest voted, with answers with extreme votes and posts with notable activity. Not exactly controversial, but this may help. – kenorb Aug 9 '16 at 16:33
  • ^^^ status-completed. Don't pay attention that these are only upvoted, there is enough trash over there, in full accordance with ideas laid out in The Trouble With Popularity article: "it's too addictive and too easy, and in the absence of any moderation, the community would do nothing but add and upvote the easy, fun stuff..." – gnat Aug 9 '16 at 21:16
  • I think this is a pretty terrible idea for main. For meta sites on the other hand it might not be that bad of an idea. – Seth Aug 10 '16 at 12:46
  • I fail to see why the "Hot Network Questions" is related to the "Controversial question list" the OP is proposing. After all, the Hot Network Question list does not contain " posts that are heavily down and upvoted" afaik. Maybe I am missing to see something in the dupe closure proposal? – SPArcheon Aug 10 '16 at 16:24
  • @SPArchaeologist Exactly. This has nothing to do with that question. – nelomad Aug 10 '16 at 16:30
  • @SPArchaeologist you probably miss this comment explaining why absence of downvotes doesn't matter in this case - "there is enough trash over there..." The fundamental difference with Reddit is that at SE many users simply can't downvote even when they want, see Users arriving at a bad Hot Network Question should be able to express their dislike – gnat Aug 10 '16 at 19:12
  • @gnat - I don't think so. While it may be a funny joke, I don't see why the Hot Question list - which should somehow measure question "popularity" can be compared to something that want to measure "Controversial questions". Now, don't get me wrong, it is not like I think that one can easily define what a controversial question is in the first place, nor I really feel the need for a list of those... but I sure prefer the newer "New Answer Sorting, “Controversial”? " dupe original post to the old "Hot Question List" proposed one. – SPArcheon Aug 11 '16 at 8:50
  • @SPArchaeologist consider taking a look at this meta discussion - if a hot question referred in there isn't controversial then I don't know what is. Once again, controversial topics at SE really find their way into HNQ, that's just how the system is designed to work. The only difference with Reddit you observe is because system allows visitors to only vote them up, not down – gnat Aug 11 '16 at 8:59
  • @gnat - the point is that to my experience while controversial post may end up in the HNQ list, not every post in the HNQ list is controversial, while this user is explicitly asking for a feature that just list controversial questions. Again, I don't really know how the feature may define a controversial question in the first place, since votes don't seem to be a good indication alone, nor I really feel the urge to have this list at hand any time soon... but no need to actually discuss this now, I am perfectly fine with the current dupe links ^_^ – SPArcheon Aug 11 '16 at 9:11
  • @SPArchaeologist all right I see, there is yet another difference with Reddit that SE "hot" questions mix controversial ones with those that look popular but are non-controversial. I doubt that it matters much as long as popular controversial questions get into the list (and they do) – gnat Aug 11 '16 at 9:19

Once you have earned 1000 points on a Stack Exchange site, you can see the vote counts. You can click on the score of a post, and see how many upvotes and how many downvotes the post has.
The reason that this is a privilege, is that it was (and probably still is) a somewhat expensive database query. So Stack Overflow (the company) tries to limit its use a little. Similarly, this "controversial" tab would probably cost a bit in terms of database usage.

More important, however, is a practical side. Sites like Reddit benefit from controversy. They are about discussion.
Stack Exchange, on the other hand, discourages discussion. It is about getting objective answers to objectively answerable questions. Controversial posts aren't helping the mission. Drawing extra attention to them just draws in even more people to add to the controversy, rather than resolve it.


I don't think the use case behind why a post might warrant an up-vote or down-vote is consistent enough to necessarily call the underlying issue "controversial".

Sometimes a down-voted post can be fixed and the voting turns to the upside. Sometimes the voting is split between "this question is poorly asked" versus "I'd just like to know the answer". Sometimes communities simply disagree about what is on topic, and then there's the old guard who may have become weary of seeing the same issues come up again and again; those are just aggravated down-votes for the lack of research effort.

But that doesn't necessarily make any of these questions controversial. And I'm not sure what folks would do with that information necessitating that we call them out in a separate tab.

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