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  Do we need the vote-cutting formula to be modified a bit?

+ 2 like - 0 dislike

Currently, our solution to posts imported from Stack Exchange being too highly represented compared to natively posted posts is a vote-cut algorithm based on community voting, documented here. What I (and a number of other people) first thought to be a well-thought-out algorithm, however, ended up being a very arbitrary algorithm based on what threads that are one day unearthed and found to have a high number of votes. @ArnoldNeumaier proposed a modification to the algorithm, which I initially ridiculed, but now find to be a step in the right direction. Here are the problems with the existing method:

  • The process requires someone to nominate the post for a vote cut. This happens highly arbitrarily, and actually dependent on whether the post gets bumped to the main page after being imported (which happens usually because of the automatic tag-edits). This results in a lot of overrated posts which didn't get their votes cut.
  • The score depends on how many people agree with the vote cut, rather than the score people agree to cut the vote to. There should be a difference between 5 people saying "this is vastly overrated, the post's score should be brought from +284 to +2" and 5 people saying "yeah, this is somewhat overrated, the post's score should be brought from +284 to +200". However, in both cases, the current formula brings the score to 57, in both cases.
  • Because of the above, I found myself abstaining from voting on some nominations, because I felt the existing number of votes is enough, even if I agreed that the post is overrated. However, not everyone does this, and this results in a lot of confusion and badly done vote cuts (and people thinking "well, a lot of people might agree with me, so I won't vote", and then tragedy of the commons).
  • The process has often resulted in the order of answers changing, because the vote cuts resulted in the post actually getting underrated, rather than appropriately rated.
  • Related to the three above, the votes are reduced too much if a lot of voters agree that it's overrated.
  • The OP could deliberately disagree with having their own post's score cut for frivolous reasons.
  • The formula is still quite arbitrary.
  • Etc.

Please propose alternatives, or vote for the existing algorithm, in separate answers. Write the new algorithm in an objective way, perhaps using "pseudo-code" or in the basic syntax of a well-known programming language (you can use an esoteric language exactly one week from now)

The steps to go about now, would be as follows:

  • Revert all changes done to scores with the previous "Not-so-high-quality" queue.
  • Cut all existing votes with the successful vote-cut algorithm.
  • Modify the import plugin to auto-cut imported votes.
  • Create a new queue for further manual changes
  • Close the Not-so-high queue and move it
asked Mar 24, 2015 in Feature Request by dimension10 (1,955 points) [ revision history ]
recategorized Apr 2, 2015 by dimension10

4 Answers

+ 2 like - 0 dislike

A perhaps better possibility is to agree on an automatic vote adjustment without voting, that creates in adjusted cases a remark 

''vote count 99 in SE upon import automatically adjusted to 12; see <link>"

on the page of the question. The link should lead to the manual adjustment page where anyone unhappy with the automatic adjustment can propose a sensible alternative which would be accepted upon getting +2 net votes. In this case an appropriate formula would be round(k*n./(k+n)) where k=45 or k=28, or even less.

This could probably be applied even retrospectively.

answered Mar 24, 2015 by Arnold Neumaier (12,640 points) [ revision history ]
edited Mar 24, 2015 by Arnold Neumaier

I agree with the general idea of preserving the manual adjustment page in addition to an automatic adjustment - it would especially be necessary for incorrect answers and silly questions imported from Stack Exchange.

Ok, upon further thought, I completely agree with this. This is more fair to imported posts than my suggestion below.

I know this doesn't have the required number of votes, but because it has more votes than the vote for preserving the existing one, perhaps we could go ahead with this one (?)

Perhaps this could be a possible solution to avoid duplication - the answer defines a range of scores, and in comments below the answer, there are comments for each proposed score (all other comments go as edits in the post itself), which can be voted on. The highest voted proposed score goes through.

+ 0 like - 0 dislike

A modification of Arnold's proposal:

If score > 6 
  Then score = ceiling(5 + sqrt(12*score)/5) 
  Else score = score
End If

I think this is slightly better than Arnold's proposal, for higher-voted posts, because his proposal still does over-represent their scores.

You can see the difference on Wolfram Alpha (purple line is his, blue line is this).

comparison of vote cut schemes

answered Mar 24, 2015 by dimension10 (1,955 points) [ revision history ]

The formula confuses me a bit: is "score" there always the original score of the post, or does the score of the answer still influence the final score the post will have?

If the integer 6 is meant to correspond to the mean number of upvotes a good post usually obtains, if might have to change in the future, when the community hopefully starts to significatnly grow...

@Dilaton Which "answer"? I'm proposing that this be made as a rule for all imported posts, without nomination (which is heavily skewed).

Of course the formula can be changed in future when the community grows - we can cross that bridge when we come to it. "12" is the average original score of posts nominated for vote cuts currently, by my observation, the first "5" is a number that depends on the size of our community, the second "5" is the most appropriate number I found there, and "6" is the number that ensures that no post's score ever increases.

+ 1 like - 1 dislike

I personally think the existing formula is not that bad.

But maybe it should be made more clear and be better explained in the body of the question, that answers should only be upvoted, if one wants to reduce the score of the post further, instead of upvoting to agree that the score was initionally too inflated?

To decide to vote or not to vote, one should  think about the targetted final score one would like the post to have. This is exactly what I did so far.

answered Mar 24, 2015 by Dilaton (4,305 points) [ no revision ]

I know you would do that because you'd care about the exact post scores being accurate a lot. I do that too, but it's sometimes confusing, and you can't really stop you're subconscious from saying "that's overrated! go upvote this vote-cut entry!". The current formula really messes up answer orders a lot, and there are a ton of overrated posts out there, and those that get attention are just very unfortunate. It's really necessary to change this.

Consider, say, a 200+ voted answer. Even if 5 people upvote the nomination to cut votes (which has never happened, and is very unlikely), the answer will just receive a score of 40, which is still very unfair to posts posted here on this small community.

I agree with Dilaton, because the cut can be made stronger by more attention, and people only check that thread when they want to nominate something for being too upvoted, and if they already find it, they upvote it again, diluting the score further. It's a pretty good system, and you can end up importing questions with ridiculous scores.

There are no posts with +200 on physics.stackexchange, certainly no high-level ones. We import the high-level ones, and the highest I ever saw a high-level post at is around 40.

@RonMaimon That's not right - did you read the details in my question? There are hundreds of posts which go unnoticed, and have high scores, especially old ones, and this makes them lucky because nobody really votes to cut their scores. There could also be problems like the OP not wanting to have the score of their post cut, etc. and thus it's best to have an objective formula to cut votes in general.

I agree with preserving the existing thread too, but only to cut votes further for wrong answers or silly questions highly upvoted on SE.

@Dilaton @RonMaimon It's also worth saying, that most of the attention that imported posts get is from bumps by the tagging tools plugin. I.e. if the post has a blacklisted tag, it gets its vote cut. That's terrible, and needs to be fixed.

@Dimension10 ok.

BTW I have noted that the SE tag Homework-and-Exercises, which is often incorrectly attached to for PO on-topic and high-level enough questions, should be black-listed too. I always have to remove it manually ...

@Dilaton It seems that rather than blacklisting it, it was synonymised to homework. I suspect that because the homework tag itself is blacklisted, this resulted in the synonymisation being rejected. I'm only guessing. Fixed it.

+ 0 like - 0 dislike

I propose to limit newly imported vote counts to 4+floor(n/5) if n votes were received on SE, and the proposal to cut the vote number gets at least 2 positive votes more than negative votes. This means that up to 5 votes are accepted on good faith. (In my post mentioned by dimension10 there was an unintended mistake.) Note that 2 positive votes mean 3 people since who writes the request is obviously for a cut but cannot vote.

If someone thinks more or fewer votes are appropriate, links from the default answer to a second (or even third) answer in the thread with a proposed vote count, and this answer gets at least 2 net positive votes, the proposed vote count should substitute the default number of 4+floor(n/5).

A minor nuisance of this is that if the original proposer thinks a higher number is appropriate, two answers must be written for consistency, but this is not inappropriate in view of the high reputation gained by the author in such cases.

answered Mar 24, 2015 by Arnold Neumaier (12,640 points) [ no revision ]

The problem with this, like the existing method, is that only those posts which are unlucky enough to attract attention will get their votes cut, and the remaining ones are still overrated. This is especially annoying when it upsets the answer ordering on a specific thread.

Therefore I think it's better to have a hard cap, rather than something based on nomination (if the post has a score higher than 10 or something, it's overrated compared to PO standards anyway, and there is no need for agreement on that anyway).

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