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Reputation System

reputation system

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Poll: Vote On Our Reputation System Implementation (47 member(s) have cast votes)

Which implementation do you prefer for post voting? (post voting is done by ticking on the red or green button in the lower right of another member's post. This is done to either support/thank or refute/deplore said member's post)

  1. A positive-only "post-voting" (thank) system, where only opportunity for support/thanks is possible. (22 votes [46.81%])

    Percentage of vote: 46.81%

  2. A positive & negative "post-voting" (reputation) system (our curent implementation), where members can choose to either up or down vote another member's post. (16 votes [34.04%])

    Percentage of vote: 34.04%

  3. No "post voting" at all. Up & down voting posts serves no purpose at all. (7 votes [14.89%])

    Percentage of vote: 14.89%

  4. I couldn't care less either way. (2 votes [4.26%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.26%

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#16 z929669


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Posted 07 April 2015 - 10:20 PM

I got to admit that I do not see it as "definitely encouraging civil posting". Did we make a detailed investigation into this at some point that I missed ? 


As a matter of fact, I have been keeping track of the rep system for quite some time, and I have noted that we have a large preponderance of posters with positive marks, a giant number with neutral or no marks, and a scant few with negative marks (all of which are quite low).


Since there is no easy way to get aggregated stats via the boards, I checked using SQL ...


Across all posts:

  • Total positive (thanks) ticks = 2497
  • Total negative (sod off) ticks = 345 (nearly one third given by a single member, whom will be addressed elsewhere)
  • # members gave at least one positive vote = 304
  • # members gave at least one negative vote = 42
  • member with highest # positive votes given = 323
  • member with highest # negative votes given = 100
  • rounded average # positive votes per positive-voting members = 8
  • rounded average # negative votes per negative-voting members = 8 (just coincidence that they are the same)

As you can see, these numbers do not bespeak any flagrant issues other than the single poster that attributed 100 -1 votes across 100 posts (probably all in one day, as the limit is 100 votes per member per day). Many active members vote at some frequency, and the evidence is consistent with 'good' use of the system overall. This means that rep rating (as seen on ones profile page) is probably a fair indicator of the contributions of the individual as 'good', 'neutral', or 'bad'.



Don't forget that administrators around here think differently than members. We look at everybody as more-or-less 'members' and put out fires here and there ... we administrate. Members look over their own and others' profiles much more frequently. They look at member actions and stats at a much more granular level than we do.


The persons with positive numbers both give and receive post votes (both good and bad) more frequently than other members (<-- this is very important to the success of the system), which is good positive reinforcement that does actually modulate general behavior and the community. Naysayers don't stick around, and the rep system mitigates their 'lowly' contributions.

#17 Aiyen


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Posted 08 April 2015 - 05:24 PM

Ah behind the scenes statistics! Thanks for sharing! :) 


As a moderator I only really tend to see the bad votes and how they influence the discussions sometimes. Since good votes tend to be "thank you" votes, they do not really influence what I tend to see. 


But when put up like that and with some numbers I guess I can agree that your interpretation of the data. But I still think that a positive only system would be better, since the negative part of the system is not really saying or promoting much at all... like your data also show, at least to me. 

#18 GrantSP


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Posted 08 April 2015 - 05:34 PM

I voted a 'positive only system' for this reason:

It is the simplest way to say 'I agree with that comment or that the comment answered the question in the best manner' without having to post a new comment with just: +1 or Agree! in it.

For the same reason, removing the 'quick and dirty' option of disagreeing with that comment, forces the user to stop and actually formulate their reason in words and then post that, which in itself may incur some response. We are encouraged to take a break before posting something we are probably aware we shouldn't. Removing the quick -1 button makes each user evaluate whether what they want to say actually needs to be said.

In short if the intention is to be spiteful then removing the negative action may encourage a rethink on the part of that user.

#19 hishutup


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Posted 08 April 2015 - 05:51 PM

100% agree with grant.


The first time I posted it was something idiotic but someone -1 and I was stuck with that on my profile for several months. It shouldn't have bothered me but it did.

Make it a positive only environment.

#20 keithinhanoi



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Posted 08 April 2015 - 06:02 PM

Since we're being asked - I support the idea of a positive only system, as long as clearer definitions are given on what the "promotion" button means, and actually, if it can't be split into two kinds of positives - helpful and I agree, then I think the system should be removed completely.


I'll just point out a few other examples and how promotion buttons for user posts work well or not to me:

  • Reddit's Up/Down Vote: I really hate the up vote / down vote post system, because it just turns things into a popularity / personality contest. People may argue that over time / on the whole it works, but I disagree, and to me it often just becomes a reflection of the nasty nature of humans overall.
  • Nexus Mod's Endorsement: I think Nexus' mod endorsement system is fundamentally flawed due to it being so open to interpretation. Some people hand them out like candy to kids, and others hold on to them bitterly, even telling mod authors no endorsement will be given if X is not done. An insane thing in my mind, treating an endorsement like currency. As a result some of the most amazing mods or mods with an incredible amount of work and love put into them receive a very small number of endorsements, and are sometimes as a result overlooked, as many users seem to use number of endorsements as a method for deciding what mods they should use. A very sad situation.
  • Nexus Mods' Kudos: This system I actually quite appreciate, because they are tied to a single user, and you can either give it or take it away. I'm not sure how many people even realize there's a user kudos system on Nexus, but I honestly consider them to be some kind of measure of helpfulness or generosity of the user. I'm quite proud to have 50 of those, and do realize that people can decide to take the kudos away if they change their mind. I myself have considered doing this for one user who has started to become something of a real jerk, but for most people I've given a kudos, I really felt strongly about it before clicking that button.
  • Facebook's Like: Ridiculous finger-twitching, worthless in its meaning and the way its used. Somebody posts about a persons' horrible death, and it receives Likes? But, for some reason, it's apparently a big part of FB's success, so they just won't get rid of / change it.

Right now, STEP's up button does not have a clear definition of what it should be used for, so I really have no idea what my reputation points represent (despite my appreciation for having received them.) I also wish there was a way help users to know in general which posts in long threads are considered the most helpful, especially in threads where it wasn't a problem / solution situation (which would get a "best answer" selected, that most people would read first and maybe never get past reading to other helpful posts).


So, I'll return to my two (positive) button suggestion, to give definitions, because as you could guess from my rants above, definitions are really important:

  • Helpful button: click this if you strongly feel the post had genuinely helpful information, or you learned something new that will be helpful in future
  • I agree button: basically, a button to replace those silly "+1" posts, already mentioned in this comments thread. But I don't think there should be a disagree button, because if people disagree, they should be typing a post to explain why they disagree, with their counterargument or different point of view.

EDIT: I've reorganized my points above for easier reading, and below are some additional thoughts...


I realized that I didn't mention why I don't think an unhelpful button would not be a good idea. As some people have already stated, the STEP moderators already do a very good job of addressing posts which are of an unconstructive or personally critical nature, so an unhelpful button would only be used to indicate a post with misinformation or incorrect information / conclusions. But like with my idea above about users expressing their disagreement in words rather than button clicks, I think the same is true of posts with incorrect information / conclusions.


In sum, I think having an unhelpful or down vote button only serves to punish users for positing what they may have believed was correct information, or in the least make them feel bad for attempting to contribute.


If a user makes a personal attack, posts spam, or otherwise violates the charter of the STEP forums, then we've already got the button for that: Report


Lastly, I didn't say anything about whether I think users should be able to click the Helpful or I agree buttons I've suggested on posts made by STEP Moderators. If there are only these "positive" feedback buttons, then I think it would be fair to open up moderators to receiving that sort of feedback as well. If anyone has issues with a moderator or a particular exchange with a moderator, then they would need to take it up privately with Z.


I think that about covers it. Apologies for a small wall of text.

Edited by keithinhanoi, 08 April 2015 - 09:50 PM.

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#21 TechAngel85



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Posted 08 April 2015 - 09:30 PM



It's always a pleasure reading your incites. Before reading your post, I had decided to hold off on my vote. But I completely agree with every word of your post so I'll vote now.

#22 z929669


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Posted 08 April 2015 - 10:10 PM

I like the idea of up votes = "informative post" (as opposed to "I agree with this post"), or up vote = "thanks for posting this". However, remember that people will often vote emotionally or abstain emotionally ... rather than objectively. So any system will ultimately be contaminated to some extent by +1 votes and abstinence non-votes, regardless of definitions. There is also the point about being able to remove a positive vote, which is same as current system without allowing a negative result (hard limit at zero), unless one can only remove one's own vote if previously voted (which makes no sense at all, unless it is emotionally driven based on something unrelated to the post in question).


I will look and see if there is an easy way to change the messaging and the definitions in an obvious way and to what extent the built-in system can be configured.


I'd like to see more votes/opinions though, so let's see what happens over the next day or two.



EDIT: I also forgot to mention that you can see any member's reputation details from their profile page (see left nav bar: Reputation). This will list each post that has a vote up/down, and the total equals their reputation as seen when hovering over their user name anywhere on the boards or at top of their profile. This alone is useful for finding potentially useful content (or poking around to find drama).


The IPB reputation system is either positive only, negative only, both, or the 'like' system (as FB, which I agree rather 'sucks'). What I cannot determine without making the change is if up voting under the positive only system allows removal of one's own up vote, removal of anyone's up vote or no removal at all. The current system does not allow removal, but it does effectively allow cancelling out of up votes (one reason I like having negative myself). I assume that vote removal is not possible, but I am also afraid that if I change the system, I could wipe out whatever polarity of votes are no longer allowed in the event I want to switch back (need to test in my VM if I can get it up and running). Here is some info on the built-in system.



EDIT2: I also forgot to mention that one can see rep posts for given and received from the user profile.


Also, I did lower the number of post up votes required to highlight the post with a tag (see example from our most splendorous member), so this addresses one of Keith's wants, I think. I also turned on the display for number of votes a post has recieved, so a bit more informative.


There is no simple way to change the definitions or behavior of up/down voting though (besides up/down versus 'like' system). I could change the hover-over popup text though with some minor annoyance by changing the built-in template, but that is less than ideal.

#23 keithinhanoi



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Posted 09 April 2015 - 12:03 AM

Hmm. I see the choices are limited. As much as I hate FB's Like button, I'd prefer the use of that here rather than the up/down vote system, if those are the only options.


I'm not fond of the "Popular" star label for posts that have gone past the threshold. Can that image can be changed to say something else, yes?

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#24 Xaviien



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Posted 09 April 2015 - 12:20 AM

I personally like the system as it stands.

As Z points out, from your profile you can easily see which recent posts have added/subtracted your rep, but you can also see a users rep by hovering your mouse over their name right here in the thread.

I think it encourages people to behave in a certain way, without requiring mod intervention.
There was a case in the last few weeks of a new member making some suggestions, then receiving constructive feedback, who then started calling those that gave feedback idiots etc. A mod warned him, to which he started arguing, and I believe it was the mass of negative rep on his flame posts that made him decide to leave.
If he had wanted to become a trusted member of the community, he would fairly easily have been able to overcome the negative feedback, as others have done, and can come back and do so at any time, unless he has been banned with no public mention of this happening. I feel that this is better than being warned or banned by mods only, as the warning didn't seem to work, and a ban is very final.

Just my 2 cents, and as Z mentioned already, I'm biased as I do have a positive rep, which encourages me to be helpful, while trying not to be sarcastic or rude to the many new users who don't bother to read.

tl;dr I like the system as it is. Maybe make things a little clearer ie bigger or more prominent buttons to encourage more users to participate.
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#25 GrantSP


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Posted 09 April 2015 - 01:26 AM

@Xaviien, you're on a roll today. That's two things I've learnt from you about what is and isn't available in the forum software. Well done.

#26 z929669


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Posted 09 April 2015 - 09:49 AM

Hmm. I see the choices are limited. As much as I hate FB's Like button, I'd prefer the use of that here rather than the up/down vote system, if those are the only options.


I'm not fond of the "Popular" star label for posts that have gone past the threshold. Can that image can be changed to say something else, yes?

I abhor the 'like' system, as it does not provide the functionality that the other system provides (no member reputation perk, no thread highlight), and it is more akin to a popularity contest. I am actually leaning towards either a less abuse-prone version of the current system (daily voting caps) or a positive-only system.


The image and phrase on the thread highlight can and should be changed, but that is a nice feature that visually flags posts of particular interest in all forums in addition to best answer, etc. This is nice for those browsing the forums. I enabled this feature to provide an example and will see about changing the image.



EDIT: I changed the post highlight using CSS. Would rather not fret about the image or the text, but could be done as well. The important thing is that it stands out without looking gaudy or 'busy'


... also, we can certainly consider opening up the system to staff; however, keep in mind that our staff do a lot of 'work' around here in addition to 'play' and 'fun', so keeping the staff morale up as much as possible is important. Adding staff to any rep system (positive or both), might be depressing ... just in terms of not having positive ratings as high as other staff or certain other members. It could also bias staff behavior to be more lenient in moderation, and we are already pretty lenient around here.

#27 Aiyen


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Posted 09 April 2015 - 12:03 PM

I do think that staff should remain neutral. I can only imagine that it will cause more issues down the road, for the reasons you already stated. 

Never was a fan of "employee of the month" kinda deals... I have never seen it actually contribute anything positive in the work environment. I have only seen it implemented decently when it involved entire groups... to help foster up some healthy competition in project work. 


Note: Not saying that this place is like work, just an analogy! :P 

#28 Nozzer66


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Posted 09 April 2015 - 03:51 PM

Having recently copped a pasting of negs from some annoyed joker and a sock account...


I'd be happy if it was positives only, stays the same or removed altogether.


Whether I have a plus number or not isn't really an issue for me.

Edited by Nozzer66, 09 April 2015 - 03:53 PM.

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#29 crime_syndicate



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Posted 09 April 2015 - 04:17 PM

Bring the upvotes to the staff, most of the stuff I want to upvote is posted by STEP staff members and I can't do it, this is a real scandal :D

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#30 Gekko64



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Posted 09 April 2015 - 06:39 PM

I frequent a forum that uses a reputation system similar to the current one here, with a few differences, and it works very well. the likes/negs are called "cookies" there, and it "feels" right to give cookies to people who post useful info XD


differences with current step forum are:


1) a user's cookies are shown below the total nr. of posts each time the user posts


2) the ability to give cookies is only unlocked for a  new user after someone gives them a ( positive ) cookie 


3) each user can only give one cookie per day

Edited by Gekko64, 09 April 2015 - 06:43 PM.

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