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Consider...

  • A "downvote" will move an answer farther down the page, (an upvote, vice versa).
  • According to the instructors of this Udemy course, internal social media research found that posts are more likely to get more engagement the higher up they appear in lists.

So... A post is new, it has one other "zero-rated" answer, post an answer yourself, vote down another answer, you get prime real estate... That smells like a conflict of interest.

It wouldn't fly for an athlete to sit on a judges' panel while also playing in the same game. Should that principle apply here?

I'm sure there are algorithms and system checks on people who do this. But, frankly it shouldn't be allowed at all, unless there is a good reason, which I would sincerely invite (honestly).

Ideally, all voting "should" be disabled when answering, including up/down-voting on the OP itself. But, the world isn't perfect, I respect that there may be lots of snags with that, and it might be under discussion already.

I'm just a new guy looking for wisdom from the high-reps. Teach me and teach us all...

Should voting—on other answers or on the question itself or at least down-voting—be disabled or automatically retracted on a question that a user answers?

It would solve this issue: If you just witnessed tactical downvoting, is it a reportable offense?

And addresses in more detail this: The answer to tactical downvoting problem?


After 20 downvotes, I have decided to keep this question up without regret because the discussion and answers show that many users on SE want to be both plaintiff and juror, athlete and ref, explaining why they believe this to be fair, and knowing that is very useful.


After this question was closed: This is indeed above my head, though I hold that this is a unique question because it addresses the larger matter of "conflict of interest" in having a say in too many spheres; it's not a "pure dup", only a "near dup". BUT as the user who asked, I now see that this may be a "bad" question for two reasons: 1. It heavily is subjective, depending on an individual's view of "fairness" and how many spheres/means of influence are "too many". We humans don't seem to agree on what "justice" even is, so we can't act as though we discuss "justice and fairness" objectively. 2. The matter really can only be answered with a clear yes or no by an employee who sees the algorithms and also is a mod who has dealt with the problems; that's a tall order. As the new guy, while I indeed feel this needs to be at least discussed directly, I also think I deserve the downvotes merely on account of having so much to learn.

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    Somewhat relevant answer discusses vote locking – Super Jade Jan 3 at 7:34
  • The comments under this answer might explain why preventing down-voting on other answers to questions you've answered hasn't been implemented. – Super Jade Jan 3 at 7:40
  • What if you see the Q&A in review, with a horribly-wrong/dangerous answer, and you also know an actual functional solution? Do you then have to decide whether you should downvote the bad answer or help the OP and future users? – TheWanderer Jan 3 at 11:56
  • The order you describe is only one of three possible sorting methods. I believe it's only applicable if you vote by the number of votes an answer has received. – Ramhound Jan 3 at 13:51
  • @TheWanderer Offer comments and do the adult, responsible thing—not be a judge over a trial in which you are a member, be impartial, know that you can't have your cake and eat it too, be constructive and useful, and choose whether you will help by voting-down and commenting or providing an answer. – Jesse Steele Jan 3 at 14:04
  • @Ramhound, it can make a difference any which way. – Jesse Steele Jan 3 at 14:04
  • @JesseSteele that's not how this website works. Comments can be easily deleted. If an answer is bad, it's bad. The adult thing would be to not treat posts differently based on your personal interest. – TheWanderer Jan 3 at 14:05
  • @TheWanderer "Personal", where did that come from? But, being constructive by silently downvoting and being constructive by answering are both good; yet done together there remains a conflict of interest. You still didn't address that. – Jesse Steele Jan 3 at 14:07
  • @TheWanderer I should ask... You do comment when you downvote, right? ...So as to be helpful and useful, right? – Jesse Steele Jan 3 at 14:09
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    It's not a conflict of interest. The other answer is bad, dangerous or wrong. It deserves to be downvoted whether or not you also answer. Not downvoting would be a conflict of interest, as you are treating the post differently because of your involvement. – TheWanderer Jan 3 at 14:09
  • @TheWanderer So, you're saying that you think all answers but your own should be down-voted? That's what I gather from what you posted; is that correct? – Jesse Steele Jan 3 at 14:10
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    @JesseSteele most of the time, no. It's almost universally recommended that you do NOT comment when you downvote, as fairly often, it leads the OP to "take revenge" and either downvote your posts or become hostile and argumentative. – TheWanderer Jan 3 at 14:11
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    @JesseSteele no, I said an answer that should be downvoted should be downvoted whether or not you post an answer. – TheWanderer Jan 3 at 14:11
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    This isn't basketball. – TheWanderer Jan 3 at 14:13
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    I'm not totally sure how to phrase this in a way that doesn't accidentally sound sarcastic or passive-aggressive or something, but I really appreciate your willingness to consider the broader picture when you get pushback on an FR. That's not nearly as common as it should be. – Nathan Tuggy Jan 6 at 23:37
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So... A post is new, it has one other "zero-rated" answer, post an answer yourself, vote down another answer, you get prime real estate... That smells like a conflict of interest.

Well, one of the reasons downvoting an answer costing one reputation is to prevent the Slowest Cheater In The East effect. That is Stack Exchange's remedy against what you're describing, and it's working quite well so far.

On the other hand, upvoting competing answers is actively encouraged; there's even a badge for it.

As for voting on the question, I usually vote up any question I've answered*. Any question good enough to be answered is good enough to be upvoted. From time to time, you see featured posts on per-site metas with a similar call; questions get voted on less than answers, in general. Preventing answerers from voting would be a step in the wrong direction, if you ask me.

*: unfortunately for you, feature requests and discussions I disagree with are the exception... Why? Voting is different on Meta.

  • I'm downvoting because your last paragraph and final note contradict the rest of your reasoning, demonstrating my concern. Remove, upvote my question as you think is normal, that would show an impartial, fair standard on your part, then I will upvote your answer. – Jesse Steele Jan 3 at 7:49
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    Voting is different on Meta. (and I didn't downvote your question, FWIW) – Glorfindel Jan 3 at 7:51
  • I will say, upvoting other answers is great and should always be allowed. Yes, that much is great! Thanks for that. I think that is your real answer. ;-) – Jesse Steele Jan 3 at 7:52
  • Cool, I removed my downvote! I really appreciate this candid discussion, thank you for engaging! – Jesse Steele Jan 3 at 7:53
  • ...I stand on this, I humbly ask you to reconsider your last paragraph. I often felt the urge to do the same, but I don't let myself because that would be a double standard. – Jesse Steele Jan 3 at 7:54
  • @francescalus Yes, we should need to choose, as inconvenient as it is. It's about a basic understanding of what is fair. – Jesse Steele Jan 3 at 8:14
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    @JesseSteele - Why should the rules be different for an upvote? Downvotes are equally as important as an upvote. – Ramhound Jan 3 at 13:54
  • @Ramhound, but a downvote can put you more ahead in and of itself; upvoting others won't. – Jesse Steele Jan 3 at 14:06
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    @JesseSteele - If I sort answers by the number of votes they have received, the answers with the most votes, appear the top of the list. You indicate it won't "put you ahead" but you are mistaken. The order in which an answer appears does not have any determination if I will vote on it. If an answer is incorrect or otherwise unhelpful I issue a downvote, if it's helpful I will upvote it. – Ramhound Jan 3 at 14:29
  • @Ramhound there is research contrary to that for most users, as I already addressed in the OP. – Jesse Steele Jan 3 at 14:40
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    @JesseSteele: "Cool, I removed my downvote!" I think this partially shows your problem. You see downvotes as something to be used as punishment or sanctioning of some sort. That you only rescinded the downvote of this answer because the poster clarified that they didn't downvote your question. That is not how votes should be used. – Nicol Bolas Jan 3 at 18:08
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    @JesseSteele: "a downvote can put you more ahead in and of itself; upvoting others won't." And what if that answer deserves a downvote? Maybe it's a bad answer that provides misinformation. You're basically saying that you can either downvote bad content or write better content, but not both. That's not useful towards the goal of this site. – Nicol Bolas Jan 3 at 18:10
  • Reducing rep is indeed a kind of "discouragement", but "punishment" was a word Nicol chose – Jesse Steele Jan 4 at 8:41
  • Also, to clarify my Glorfindel vote, I could not believe that an answer so openly defended a double standard. There is no word in Elfish or Entish to describe my spite for double standards. But, his answer provides useful information, which I likewise can't not respect. But, that valuable info wasn't enough to vote up, as much as I wanted to. – Jesse Steele Jan 4 at 9:20
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OK, let us consider the consequences of what you suggest.

Let's say that I'm in a low-traffic tag, so it doesn't get a lot of views or a lot of experts. Someone has asked a question, and someone has provided an answer. However, that answer is wrong; maybe it's even actively dangerous due to a security flaw. And I know what the right answer is.

Under your rules, I have two, mutually exclusive, choices:

  1. Write a correct answer.

  2. Identify the incorrect answer as being incorrect by downvoting it.

Now I'm sure you can say that you could just comment on the wrong answer and explain why it is wrong. But the whole point of having voting of any sort on answers is so that there is an immediate identifier on them as to whether the community sees it as a good idea or not. Voting is a vital part of making good information identifiable and bad information easily recognized as such.

So your question ultimately boils down to this. Which is more important: that users are free to vote on bad content appropriately, so that it can be scored as such? Or that there remains a possibility for people to abuse that right for their own ends?

Do you see enough people doing the latter to make up for the former? I rather suspect not.

  • At the heart, here, is one's confidence in the community to identify problems without help. I believe in the community to see problems without any one person's help, including someone who contributed via answer. – Jesse Steele Jan 4 at 8:44
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    @JesseSteele: The community is made of a large number of "one persons". If each individual "one person" doesn't act, then the community doesn't act. And as I pointed out, the problem is more pernicious on low-traffic tags, where "the community" is not very large to begin with. I simply don't see the risk/reward for your proposal. – Nicol Bolas Jan 4 at 14:20
  • Yeah, the users answering and discussing on this question are convinced that they are really needed, and they have their reasons. I get it. – Jesse Steele Jan 4 at 16:36

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