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  Did any moderator/administrator un-vote a down-vote for my nomination of Dilaton as a moderator?

+ 2 like - 2 dislike
449 views

As explained in a previous question, I've been getting multiple notifications of down-votes being un-voted within the hour for an old answer of mine where I nominated Dilaton as a moderator.

I still feel very suspicious about all of this, and can't help considering the possibility that a moderator, not necessarily Dilaton, deliberately un-voted down-votes to save Dilaton ending up with a very negative score that would look very embarrassing for him and the site in general.

Therefore, I would like Roger Cattin aka Polarkernel to have a look at the log file. I believe he is someone I and the rest of the community can trust, given his previous academic background requiring an exceptional trustworthy character, to answer these two questions honestly:

1. Did any moderator un-vote a down-vote of another user for my answer nominating Dilaton as a moderator?

2. If yes, who did it and why?

asked Feb 5, 2015 in Conflict Resolution by physicsnewbie (-20 points) [ revision history ]
recategorized Apr 2, 2015 by dimension10

I don't think moderators can reverse a downvote--- there might be a plugin for this but I never used it (edit: there is such a plugin, probably never yet used). The number of downvotes is consistent with the voting community on meta, I think I know everyone's vote personally. Nobody complained of a vote disappearing, and since the up/down vote counts are displayed, it is difficult to hide a decreasing vote count from an individual user, who would see when revisiting the page that the vote count went down. Your confusion is possibly due to me, as I reversed myself several times, downvoting, undownvoting, upvoting, unupvoting, staying neutral, all because I was conflicted. If there is someone outside the list of <500 usual suspects (myself, Dim10, Dilaton, Jia, drake) who voted, I would be surprised, and I think you can figure out which way everyone voted from the public comments. If you would like to send messages to the <500 users asking them if they voted, that might help to put your mind at ease. I know the "user paranoia" feeling that the votes are not being recorded fairly, but it's usually easy to catch this.

Please don't use the "community moderation" category for support questions. Community moderation is for official moderation threads.

2 Answers

+ 2 like - 0 dislike
@physicsnewbie There have been 10 votes by users to this answer this year. Voting on PhysicsOverflow is done as user and is strictly anonymous. To disclose the sources of these votes I would require a community decision.
answered Feb 5, 2015 by polarkernel (0 points) [ no revision ]
You don't need community decision to say whether the plugin for removing votes was used.
Can you tell when the vote adjustment plugin is used?
I answered the first question and I was not willing to tell, if a moderator was among the voters, because tis would breach anonymity. The recorded votes were all given the ordinary way and sum up exactly to the displayed result. The plugin was not used.
@polarkernel: The question was badly phrased--- it wasn't asking you to reveal admin votes, it was asking if an admin took away someone else's vote (which of course is absurd thing to do, but it is the type of thing people genuinely get suspicious about). The comment above is a full answer, of course. The question itself is silly and paranoid given the situation, but the concern of vote fraud is really common among forum users.
@RonMaimon I suppose physicsnewbie is talking about you unvoting your own downvote (like any normal user can). He thinks Dilaton removed your downvote.

@Dimension10: Yes, I did this a half dozen times (including misclicks), and I was pretty sure that's what happened too. But it's still true that users really get paranoid, as they don't know anything about the site administration, and there must be a way to reassure them, especially when it isn't some stupid administrative vote (which we can indepently check), but a controversial scientific article for review. (Edit: Dilaton, please stop serial downvoting every comment on meta. It's annoying as all heck, it encourages me to write more to counteract your annoying habit, it doesn't build trust, and these are totally neutral comments and I can't see what there could possibly be to disagree with).

@polarkernel I don't think that community consensus is enough or required is that the voters themselves are fine with it. By the way, I think that it is, actually possible, to find out if the plugin has been used. See my answer.

@RonMaimon see my answer - it can be verified anyway. Regarding "serial voting", I think you do that... 

Thanks for your answer. I only want to know if a moderator/admin un-voted another user's down-vote to my answer, something the rest of the community has a right to know since this involves voting for a moderator in this case. How other users, including moderators/admins, voted/un-voted their own vote should rightly be kept anonymous.

Also, it should be classified that the plugin undoes all votes by the user in the past 224 hours (customisable), so other reversals would have been recorded as well, if this were the case. 

@dilaton in this case it's me who's a little paranoid, after receiving 5 unvotes for 5 downvotes to my nomination of you as a moderator.over a 2 day period. Can you blame me? It's beginning to look as if Ron and maybe another person were constantly changing their mind over your nomination, since Polarkernel has stated that no one used the plug-in to unvote votes to my answer.

I've had a look at Ron's history in his profile, and even his nomination has received one unvote.

@Dilaton: I am not paranoid regarding this particular vote, or any vote on this site, or anything at all anymore. I know that I reversed myself again and again on this question (including misclicks) and I suspect Drake did too, because I would update him on the moderator rumor-mill.

The paranoia on sites like this is not a character defect in me, it happens because there is an asymmetric access to information--- the person who gets paranoid is the one who can't see certain information. In this case it was physicsnewbie, who can't see the page. I think that page should be public for all, just to allow users to trust the site. But you will probably knee jerk oppose it because I am saying it. Each thing that is hidden from users leads them to get cumulatively more suspicious, and there is absolutely nothing that ever needs to get hidden on this site. The private moderator discussions leads to all sorts of coordinate actions that make people wonder what the heck is being said.

I became paranoid due to missing information regarding you. The other mods all knew everything, and didn't get paranoid. I have full enough information now (I still don't remember who the heck you are, but really don't need to know and neither does anyone else) but it means that I'm not at all paranoid.

These asymmetric information issues are the source of the rampant internet paranoia, it happens to everyone online, and it is the reason that it is important to not just be honest, but be pathlogically honest, revealing all sorts of seemingly irrelevant information without too much respect for confidentiality, because this is the cure; it makes users trust the site, and it makes people trust you, really. When you are online and don't have full access to information behind the scenes, you don't know why things happen the way they do. For an obvious example, my "fake spam" issue (which was simply due to you honestly trying to collectively remember what the spam said, and then not pathologically honestly talking about this process, and me not being able to see what you are doing). If a user sees fake spam, or something else, without seeing the process behind it, this naturally creates wild ideas, you need to squash this with honesty before it becomes a ridiculous rumor and mistrust.

I know for sure that everyone here is honest, but questioning the honesty constantly is not a personal accusation of bad character, it's just probing and checking and double-checking and reassuring to users that it's really true that everyone is honest. You can't get offended by this, it's natural. It is not sufficient to be honest to reassure users, it really, really requires pathological honesty.

+ 1 like - 0 dislike

It's actually possible to find out if a moderator unvotes any votes. Because plugin - based unvoting is not recorded, it's possible to see if the recorded votes tally with the actual score of the post. 

I could do that if you like, but you'd first need to give me permission to access your user history page (which also contains information like what you voted on, etc.)  

Actuall, you can do that yourself, too, if you like.  

answered Feb 6, 2015 by dimension10 (1,975 points) [ revision history ]

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