At the very least make the voting limit a function of the number of questions on the topic.

I can't think if any good reason why posting questions is limited as well. The whole point of SO is that good content gets floated to the top. Your reset basically says:

  • We users are not to be allowed to go out and play without adult supervision
  • We are too stupid to figure out how to make good use of the site
  • We users should do all the work in making the metrics easy to understand
  • The SE/SO platform doesn't really do what it claims (make good content bubble up)

I may have more later.

I actually decided to give this new set of rules a try - but I can't get over the fact that votes and questions are a scarce resource so I am not going to bother. Based on the history of the SE platform and the "do-overs" I don't really trust the process enough to spend more time and effort in something that seems like it just keeps getting moved and taken away.

I tried it. I didn't like it. I can't get past the fact that it now all seems like a waste of my time.


The new voting limits are meant to encourage people to ONLY vote for the very best on and off topic questions.

By limiting people to only the best example questions, one has to think very carefully about what the site should be about, and be very picky with questions that are very good at defining the boundaries.

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    Right, but then we should not be able to vote until ALL the questions are available to compare. I understand the intent, but SO has shown that this is how people behave but yet there is no limit on votes on SO. It is having the opposite effect on me - I am just not voting or wasting votes. They can rationalize it all they want - it just doesn't work for me. Not only that - is it even necessary at all? I would think that it can evolve as we go along - why is this so important in the first place? It seems to be a bit of a waste of time... – tim Jun 8 '10 at 18:46
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    "...think very carefully about what the site should be about..." I would imagine that it is pretty simple to tell what a site should be about without all this limited voting and metrics and restarts, etc. – tim Jun 8 '10 at 18:49
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    @tim: Feel free to switch your votes as often as you like. – Gnome Jun 8 '10 at 18:50
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    @The Cat - that's a nice sentiment but what a major pain in the ass that would be. Now instead of just identifying a new question I want to vote for I have to go through all my past votes and figure out which ones to change. That is totally backwards. I can't think of many more ways to annoy users and make a voting site impractical. Again - I am going to sit this out - it is just not worth my time - not even for a super duper awesome badge thingy that the SO team thinks motivates people. – tim Jun 8 '10 at 19:00
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    "All your past votes" is only 5, since you only have to consider the questions you might unvote in order to reapply that vote elsewhere. As always, don't spend more time than you want to. – Gnome Jun 8 '10 at 19:12
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    @The Cat - so you are saying do this for every proposed site and on every new question I should reevaluate? That sounds like an incredible inefficient thing to do. I understand 5 is a low number, but it is silly to make me do the work when the software is there to allow it all to magically happen. It is ironic that the makers of SO - the engine that claims to make the internet better - have to resort to vote limiting. – tim Jun 8 '10 at 19:49
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    @tim: No, only pay attention to the proposed sites you care about enough to want to get them started. Software cannot magically figure out which 5 of your votes are the most important to you. – Gnome Jun 8 '10 at 19:58
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    @Cat - yes - I am talking about the set of sites I am interested in participating in. – tim Jun 8 '10 at 20:03
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    @tim - So you don't disagree with voting limits in principle, you merely have difficulty maintaining your list of five questions you've voted on so you can review new questions and replace those on your list as needed? In that case, let me introduce you to the "My Votes" tab, under the proposal. It sorts all the questions with the ones you've voted on or off topic first, then those you haven't voted on, then those you've voted "meh" (or off the island, as I like to think) last. It makes it trivial to compare the newest questions with your existing list and maintain your 5 on and 5 off votes – Pollyanna Jun 8 '10 at 20:29
  • @tim - Unfortunately your solution of unlimited votes does NOT give the intended results regarding the site definition and progress towards creation. You may need to more carefully think about the intent of voting, and come up with another solution if you still cannot maintain a limit number of votes. A good solution that meets your needs, as well as the site goals will probably be seriously considered. They've already tried unlimited votes, though, and found it lacking, so I doubt they are simply going to go back, especially since they've provided ways to easily manage one's votes. – Pollyanna Jun 8 '10 at 20:32
  • They found it lacking because they had a sorted list by time... Not my fault. Rather than fix that bug they switched to limiting votes and questions. I don't see how a smaller set of data is any better than a larger set. If the total set is so small that a few users skew it because they vote a lot then the metrics are still broken since there are not enough samples to outweigh a few active people. – tim Jun 8 '10 at 20:37
  • @tim - A smaller set of data is better because it's easier to understand and grasp in a limited amount of time, and is not overly broad. Keep in mind that these proposals must eventually be understood by people who will moderate in the new sites. If they are 200 questions long, then they will be difficult to understand as a whole, and utterly too broad to deal with effectively. Further, the limit puts everyone on the same ground in terms of time. The person who spends an hour voting and commenting on all the questions does not have a disproportionate level of control over the proposal. – Pollyanna Jun 8 '10 at 20:47
  • @Polly All best are off anyway when the sites are running. It is not like the original questions and the votes are going to be used for a long period of time as some holy relics that define everything about the site. This is just all a bunch of nonsense IMO. The sites will evolve and the original off and on topic questions will be long-forgotten. If a moderator is going to be dedicated to the site I would hope that they had time to read 200 questions. No one has to memorize everything - both situations will reveal patterns. – tim Jun 8 '10 at 20:52
  • I understand that unlimited voting gives some people more "say" on the site - but perhaps those are the same people with more interest and more time to devote later. (the new skeets if you will) Is it really that bad for people to have unlimited votes? Any decent statistical analysis would be able to normalize the data and fiddle with it so that one could see trends and patterns (removing some sets of voters for example or skewing or weighting them). The answer is not to change our behavior - but to fix the way the data is used. – tim Jun 8 '10 at 20:55
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    Haven't you read "Don't Make Me Think?" Let the system do the thinking. Sorting is a computer's job, not a human's. – Aarobot Jun 9 '10 at 14:23

If you don't feel strongly enough about the new site to help define it, that's fine. Just hit the follow button and we'll get back to you when it gets to the next phase. It's reasonable to expect that communities follow a power law... for every 10 people that want to define a given site, there might be 100 who are willing to commit to it, 1000 who are willing to hang out and answer questions once the site is open, 10,000 who might ask questions on the site, and 100,000 who will be happy to find answers via Google without even noticing what site they found the answers on. The definition phase is for the crazies, the super-fans, the people who WILL NOT REST until there is a Michael Bolton Stack Exchange, even if we force them to COUNT BACKWARDS from 100 to 1 in ROMAN NUMERALS.


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    Personally i am very happy to help define a new site, but once my votes are cast i am not going to go back in and change them - i don't have time for that crap, especially with the number of questions some proposals have accumulated. Why can't we have an initial 5 votes, then get an extra vote or two per day thereafter? I don't want to vote for my top 5 questions, i want to have the ability to vote for all questions i think are on/off topic. Because of this limitation a lot of questions can end up without votes. – slugster Jun 9 '10 at 0:49
  • I'd be happy to help define a site, but fighting people about fabricated and often foolish questions does not help define any sites. – delete Jun 9 '10 at 1:00
  • On the contrary - I was willing to do the work for helping launch a site. Now? Not so much. – tim Jun 9 '10 at 2:46
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    surely you meant Stack Exchange, yes? Not STACKEXCHANGE – Jeff Atwood Jun 9 '10 at 3:50
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    @Lance - that is exactly my problem. And just with the sheer number of questions some of them will remain ungraded because people have run out of votes. (And do you have any idea how hard it was to pick the top 5 raptor/zombie questions on Apocalyptic Defense? – slugster Jun 9 '10 at 7:15
  • @Jeff, You are probably correct. (And stop calling (me/him/her) Shirley. – tim Jun 9 '10 at 13:52
  • +1 for Michael Bolton Stack Exchange – Nifle Jun 9 '10 at 14:47
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    shouldn't "xcxviii" and "xcxvii" be "xcviii" and "xcvii" respectively? – Kyle Cronin Jun 9 '10 at 15:31

I'm with the questioner here. Consider the GIS proposal. Due to the enthusiastic mob, there are a vast number of really good questions. Even if I was willing to run around moving my votes, I would have to split tiny hairs to distinguish between many questions, all of which are more than good enough to do the job.

My suggestion is that the proposer (or any follower?) should be able to select a proposed set of defining question from the mob, and then we should vote on the entire slate.

GIS may yet succeed because there are so many people involved that 'monkeys on typewriters' may eventually vote enough questions up far enough. Essentially, the more people are interested, the more questions you get, and the less likely that votes will focus on a defining set.

In my opinion, deferring the FAQ until after the question voting is backwards. How can people judge what is a good example when the guidelines have to be written on the side of a grain of rice?

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