What's your take on downvotes? | Voting all meaningful comments with 100% weight.

in #askhivelast year

Have you ever wondered why is it that, every time there is a Flag (Downvote) war, or when a well known Hive user starts receiving downvotes, a big chunk of the community goes down the rabbit hole and begins - yet again - to try to explain to the receiving end of the downvotes, why they are positive, how do they help the community overall, and how a downvote doesn't equal censorship?

It happens. It's happened tens if not hundreds of times since Hive was created 4 years ago.

Most of the times, the receiving end of the downvotes ends up leaving Hive, taking a break, or starts endlessly ranting until finally, they understand the nature of DPoS and why downvotes are necessary or ultimately, they resign to posting content on our Blockchain.

It's funny. I've never been on the receiving end of a downvote war. I've received several from big staked users but eventually they stop if you just let them be, ignore them or change your ways that, in their eyes, deserves a downvote. I've been on the giving side of downvotes most of the time, using a huge staked account and gave them only to blatant abusive posting/voting behaviour.

I've been in countless arguments and discussions about this topic and I would like to think I understand all the points of view there are about downvotes on Hive and yet, I still believe that we definitely need the existence of downvotes and I think there is probably no argument whatsoever that could change my mind, but I'm open to discussion.

What do you think of Downvotes? How could you try and fix a system that some call broken, without removing downvotes nor adding a censorship layer on the main frontends of our chain?

I'd like to read your opinion on the topic, let's do some philosophy on how we could strengthen Hive's downvoting system :)


I think they're necessary, and I think the place is better off for having free downvotes. That said, I'm interested to see how Blurt goes. I'll hodl for 12 months and revisit.

Downvotes are totally necessary. As we know, without them there would be nothing to counter abusive spamming and scamming of the reward pool.

There is no denying though that the way the UI is designed there is an emotional impact to those who receive downvotes, particularly large ones. Users see a post of theirs go from several dollars to less than a dollar or even zero and they think someone has taken my money!?

And people know this and some users use downvotes to cause this effect.

It's a tricky one. A very minor thing would be a simple UI change to emphasise the not definite-ness of the payout. You know, like on Hive.blog just now it says Pending payout amount on peakd it says payout will occur in x days even if these were tweaked to emphasise something like Potential payout amount then it would give more reinforcement to the idea that it ispotential and not just pending or happening for definite. When people see pending they think that's what's coming.

It wouldn't fix it but it might help people realise that that number they see is not set in stone and can go up or down.

Very true, potential payout is a great way to phrase it! That way people don’t assume they are making that money no matter what.

Yeah, something simple just to plant that seed that it might not be that amount

@anomadsoul, it's one of those issues that has no clear cut lines.

Years back, I remember the first post I made that finally got some substantial upvotes suddenly got severely trimmed by a major flag over "disagreement with rewards." At the time it felt like a case of someone with a lot of voting power looking at my post and deciding "This guy usually makes about $2.00 on his posts, so he shouldn't make more than $2.00 for a post." In FACT, it was part of the now infamous "Whale Experiment" on Steem in pre-HF-16 days.

Since then, I have been on the receiving end of an automated downvote trail that decided that every time I get upvoted by a particular account that had an upvote bot service on Steem * a couple of years ago*, but now manually curates on Hive... I should have my rewards trimmed by $8.00. That I just find annoying, because it's based on laziness and ignorance... a failure to realize things have changed and not reprogramming your bot.

I did get on the edge of a downvote war once because someone "volatile" declared that I was "a retard" for suggesting people might step back and consider alternative solutions (to fighting and dropping flags on everyone) to solve their differences.

I agree that we need downvotes. I have no idea how to remove the "grade school playground battles" from the equation. The whole "I'm going to flag all YOUR posts because you upvoted so-and-so's post and if you like someone I hate, I hate you, too!" IS bad for the community... because it definitely does discourage engagement by less experienced users. In a reasonably sane world, people outgrow that level of bullshit when they graduate high school, but we don't have a "reasonably sane" microcosm here.

Free Speech venues attract people who tend to be outspoken. If all you talk about is growing roses and how cute kittens are , you don't NEED a place like Hive. You might like it, but you don't need it. You can say that stuff anywhere, but you're still welcome to say it here.

Answers? I've considered whether instituting a code change where any downvote above a certain threshold (0.05? 0.10?) MUST be given manually and accompanied by a written explanation? It's a psychological thing... if you want to "kill" your enemy, you don't get to take a sniper shot from a mile away, you HAVE to walk up to them with a knife, look them in the eyes and cut their throat. Of course, some will say "I can just create 1000 accounts and downvote someone 1000 times!"

Seriously? If anyone is that worked up, get some psychiatric help!

Of course, the problem is that it would make it a lot of work to manually contain someone who (for example) is peppering $20 upvotes on their own 1-word comments, added to 3-year old posts everyone has forgotten about...

Philosophically speaking, it's a really tricky area. We deal a lot with freedom and free speech and censorship issues here because of the lack of a central authority. And yet, the topics typically posted by people seeking freedom from censorship also tends to be on "hot button" issues that bring out strong feelings. Perhaps what it really points to is society's general lack of skills/tools in having actual problem solving dialogue rather than just an angry exchange of insults... and downvotes.

To end this... a dear friend is 40-year free speech activist, and one of his wise observations from "the battlefield" was always that "people forget that having the right to FREE SPEECH does not grant you the right to not suffer the CONSEQUENCES of speaking your position freely, nor the guarantee that people will AGREE with you."


Great response.

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Not sure if I have any idea on how to fix it.
But I do like it when its used for spammy shitty post or plagiarism.

But downvote someone who has another opinion than you just stupid and the people that do it will never learn anything from others of another opinion x)

Eg. I dont like anything to do with religion. I am never going to upvote it or engage simply because I do not care.
But that doesn't mean it deserves a downvote, it can be well written and others find it helpful.
My opinion is just different and I wont downvote for that.

I think downvotes will help in regulating in terms of quality post but it also gets abused sometimes.

I feel there should be a body that will be allowed to doenvote instead of every user. A body that will prevent abuse of hive power.

A lot of downvote battles have been going on already on hive

But then, that body would be centralized. Centralized parties follow agendas, and agendas have proven to, most of the times, follow the interest of the few against the interest of the many.

How could we regulate such a centralized body?

Well, i feel there should be a criteria and then something like May be different witnesses or different users who will agree for the post to be downvoted.

This is just a suggestion

In my own opinion, downvotes are very much different from censorship. The downvotes are actually the voice of someone or a group speaking against another. The problem though is how it works. That is the problem that the democracy of the designated proof of stake faces.
Technically it is fair as a larger stake warrants a larger voice. In most cases though, it turns out to be unfair as this larger stake is controlled by a person or a group with their own interests.

If only it were possible for downvotes to be more equal amongst members. But then again, that would generate a different kind of abuse.

After reading a lot on downvotes and witnessing the voting wars I have come to see them as important in order to represent both sides of the social media discourse.
Much like the voting power keeps the amount of Hive in check that someone can be rewarded, so the downvotes keep trash from becoming trending posts.

That said, I still find rather often that the most active downvoters I come across never publish anything themselves. It's weird that someone can dish out downvotes per automation tools and reblogs (spams) only drugwars fights all the time yet can't be downvoted for it, simply because he never originates anything.

It's not that I would want to start a voting war punishing him for his decision, it's just that his reputation never gets a scratch this way despite the fact that all he does is downvoting actual meaningful and valuable content because he can. Guess what I am looking for is some sort of accountability. If the community is fed up with the dude and his abuse of downvotes to great content, why can't we scratch his reputation accordingly?

His unscathed reputation suggests to newcomers that he is a responsible member of the community when provably he is anything but.

Downvotes have their place indeed but when you have particularly aggressive and quick-to-fight people on here who just use their stake to intimidate others, it’s a bit of a fucked up situation. Many who have been on here long enough probably know who the worst one is but I just don’t get the need to go around, searching for people to downvote when their own reward abuse is just as bad, if not worse.

I do tend to let most people go on their posts before I use my own downvotes. I give them a heads up of the issue and often they talk back and I don’t do it. I have seen lots of bots though, posting the same crap across 10 accounts so I just downvote them. It’s thankfully been over a week where I needed to issue any.

I was tossing around the idea of a separate voting stake for downvotes as a suggestion but that same person above will get so much of what’s supposed to be a rarely used thing, that it would be more obnoxious than it is now.

The problem isn't the down votes themselves in theory. The problem is distribution of stake and people themselves. Whatever we like to think about hive the reality is that we have a few very large stakeholders with a massive say that can influence how the platform operates and what is allowed. There is censorship. If you get on the wrong side of a whale, they can drive you off the platform. Until stake is more spread out and we no longer have whales there will be no real decentralisation. Not until things are decided by the crowd rather than one big account.

For the most part it's not a huge problem other than some authors getting huge payouts for crap content if they are autovoted and again this will balance out with more users and better distribution of stake.

It's only a problem when you get one of the large stake holders with an agenda. It's a shame that some of them can be so short sighted and selfish that they feel the need to use their stake as a weapon to target other users instead of a tool to help the system grow. Most whales are either helpful or indifferent to the platform but there are a few like bernie that are entirely toxic. I have personally seen him drive away hundreds of users never mind the knock on effect that has on others. This cryptofinally incident is only the latest of many and disgusting to watch.

Unfortunately we will never attract a large number of users while some of our biggest stakeholders can act in this way and even worse think that its acceptable to attack other users like this. With stake comes responsibility as their voice counts for so much more than a minnow.

Just like freedom of speech, downvotes can be abused (I made a video discussing this not too long ago). I have been on the receiving end of downvotes and I know how painful it can be, but it plays an important function in curtailing the activities of bad actors on the chain( well, depending on the size of the fish). And like you pointed out, often than not they are discontinued.

I see downvote as a necessary evil. A tool in the hands of huge stakeholder to curtail abuse of the reward pool. The issue has been about defining what is downvote worthy or just plain malicious behaviour and who defines it.

One of the fundamental flaws of dpos is that numbers or should I say individual voice don't matter (that much)--stake does. One person by the virtue of the stake they hold can have the voice of a thousand persons. Most of us from a democratic background consider this as unfair. But on the flip side, we also need to take account that without major stakeholders the hive token would be worth nothing. so if you want better representation you should buy your stake. the system isn't necessarily designed to be fair. freedom isn't cheap. I know in modern times we are made to think otherwise but it isn't.

how can this be fixed?

  1. With a stronger middle class we can be able to offset malicious downvotes;
  2. The community can set up a (conflict resolution) counsel of some sort to look into supposed bad actors and resolving issues of this nature;

In conclusion, I don't think downvote is something we should do away with. For those of us who have been here long enough, we can attest to the fact that its merits overweight its demerits

Depending on the size of the fish indeed! Kind of sad how that’s an asterisk to this whole thing.

I don't like them, as they rarely seem to be used for reason they were meant to be used - to help stop abuse. Hive Watchers has that role. I get them occasionally on my posts but as you say, ignoring and not responding usually has them go away. Trolls will be trolls.. give them a reason to BE a pest and they generally will be. Downvote wars are pathetic, vindictive, cruel and petty. They just make this place a sad place to be when it should be a haven. I find gentle comments help judge poor posts in my community to lift their game, otherwise muting is an option. Better than downvoting. And downvoting because you simply DON'T LIKE the content is subjective - what gives people the right to take away the rewards of someone else?? Saying all of this, it's not the tool per se - it's the users..

It's a really complex question isn't it? I mean, we can shout out all of the logic behind the reason for downvotes to exist, and as you say, we've been over them over and over again through the years.

For most of us, getting a payout of anything over 5 Hive on a single post is still something that eludes us, even when we collect 100s of little upvotes, so to have one big stakeholder able to come in and nullify the entire payout with one click can be really disappointing. It gets a little more unnerving when those stake holders only turn up in your posts to downvote, and you never see an upvote from them on good content. It can certainly feel like bullying.

But when you look at it analytically and recognize that the prime driver for a downvote is a "dispute over reward value" and you truly understand the DPOS system and that this is a part of making it work, then you have to accept the possibility that your content just isn't good enough.

I spent a whole lot of time in my early days trying to get the attention of big stake holders and earning some good upvotes, it is really disheartening to come up with content every day trying to show you bring value to the chain only to have some young woman posting suggestive pictures of herself getting $45 payouts versus my short story that took me hours to compose and edit earning $2-3. That's part of the reason I gave up posting for the most part.

This is a whole lot of rambling to say I see both sides of the issue. It is an imperfect system right? Every vote, up or down, is generated by a human account, and humans by our very nature are flawed. So the reward system really won't ever be perfect.

I do see how downvotes can be a hinderance to adoption. People don't like being downvoted, and could leave the platform, and spread the word to their social network not to join. That matters a lot more for people who "influence" thousands of people versus people who influence a dozenish.

My son follows that "Ninja" dude, imagine getting him on Hive, bringing his hundreds of thousands of followers with him to the platform, only to leave after a week because someone downvoted him. There are some major stakeholders on the platform that I could see running someone like Ninja off with downvotes and comment bullying. I would not compare the current downvote situation to a Ninja level influencer, but I can see disturbing parallels.

If the platform wants to grow, and bring more value to the Hive token, then we need to encourage new users, not bully them off the platform. Downvoting plays a big role in that. They need to be used with a level of wisdom that we may not have at the moment.

I hear you and know exactly what you’re talking about. Thankfully I’ve never been the subject of a significant downvote but it is indeed a bit of a crazy system where people post pictures of small things and get big upvotes but people who put hours of effort into theirs, get almost nothing. I’ve put more of my energies in commenting and looking for new people to the platform and getting them situated and familiar with some of this stuff. No one likes getting downvoted away but if someone who’s been here for a long time can at least explain it to them, and what to do differently, they have a chance of making it longer on here.

One of my least favorite things lately is this kind of bogus ‘decentralized blacklist’ feature that’s been started. I get the purpose of it but I feel like this will be extensively abused by some and that’s sad.

It's a pretty difficult subject to put in black and white. It depends on how you handle the vote, if you are the affected or not, that's when your opinions may vary about it.

Negative votes are good to have because he limits himself to abusive users who intend to profit from the platform without morally correct restrictions. But then we fall to the point that not all downvote users do them with the right intention.

For example, in the past you have been the victim of countless downvotes due to an error you make on the platform, since I have poems created from all my life that I am spending clean too, supporting the ones on these crypto platforms. One day I took one of my poems that I had not marked as what I had transcribed and republished it making the modifications that I considered necessary in the text (I am not the same writer that I was a few years ago). They told me that the content was duplicated and after reviewing it, I corrected the detail. From there they tried to give a negative vote to all my publications, at that time I had more than 2300 publications in which I had not made mistakes... The unfair thing that I was branded as an infringer just because of that mistake.

But actually I think the downvote is not bad, which is kind of weird how to apply it. It's fair to vote for a publication that infringed copyrights or plagiarism but why start the fourth world war?

For the record, it is my humble opinion, from the experience you have seen.

What do you think about publishing your content today in Spanish and in a month the English version by placing the link of the publication in Spanish?


Es un tema bastante difícil de poner en blanco y negro. Depende de cómo maneje el voto, si eres el afectado o no, allí es cuando tus opiniones pueden variar al respecto.

Los votos negativos son buenos de tener porque él limitan a los usuarios abusivos que pretenden lucrarse de la plataforma sin respetar parámetro moralmente correctos. Pero luego caemos en el punto de que no todos los usuarios quedan downvote los hacen con la intención correcta.

Por ejemplo en el pasado ha sido víctima de un sin número de downvotes por un error que cometí en la plataforma, ya que tengo poemas creados de toda la vida que estoy pasando en limpio también, respaldando los en estas cripto plataformas. un día tome uno de mis poemas que no tenía marcado como que ya lo había transcrito y lo volví a publicar haciendo las modificaciones que considere necesarias en el texto (yo no soy la misma escritora que era hace algunos años). Me dijeron que el contido estaba duplicado y luego de revisarlo pues corregi el detalle. A partir de allí pretendieron darle voto negativo a todas mis publicaciones,para ese momento yo tenía más de 2300 posts en los que no había cometido errores... Lo injusto que se me tildara de infractora sólo por ese error.

Pero en realidad pienso que el downvote no es malo, lo que está un poco raro la manera de aplicarlo. Es justo votar una publicación que infringió con derechos de autor o plagio pero ¿por qué iniciar la cuarta guerra mundial?

Conste que es mi humilde opinión, por la experiencia que he visto.

¿Qué opinas tú de publicar tu contenido hoy en español y en un mes la versión en inglés colocando el link de la publicación en español?

There's a very simple way to view a downvote, in my opinion. The full strength of your downvote removes rewards from one post - but the consequence of this is that it increases the reward for every single other post which has pending rewards on the blockchain.

By downvoting something you feel is being rewarded too much, you're rewarding everyone else with a tiny bit more (Eventual) stake.

I don't know I think downvoting is necessary to flat what needs to be flagged, copyright infringement, hate speech, stalking and such, but it's been misused and though I do not believe in censorship maybe perse I believe in community consensus that community should be able to point downvotes as non legit and maybe nulify them... I don't know. I've been sometimes in the middle of wars that I've not been even aware of, like I come here and post (I am a slow creaaaaator, sloowwwww but steady) and at least when on "steemit" I was caught in the middle of a few with a big discouraging downvote out of nowhere simply because another had voted for me or reposted.
I think free of speech also has a limit (sorry, unpopular opinion I guess) when it's HARMFUL or DECEIVING or with the intention to scam, harass, etc. Let it be used for what it should be used, maybe there should be a FIELD on downvotes to VALIDATE the reason TO DOWNVOTE, like picking (copyright theft, harassment, etc) and it would force you to pick a field to cast it

I think we should not vote in a post, but say how much it worths, from zero to infinity. And your hive power stake only translates the weight of your price opinion.