# How many points should one lose for being downvoted?

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How many points should one lose for being downvoted on a question or answer? On Stack Exchange, it is -2 for both, but on our blog we have also discussed higher values such as -5. What do people here think?

retagged Apr 6, 2014

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It should cost just as much as upvotes gain.

I see absolutely no reason why a downvote should cost less than how much an upvote provides. A common argument, on SE, for example, is that users can be victim to malicious serial-downvoting attacks. However, the same applies to serial upvoting. I see no reason why it is ok for someone's reputation to look huger than it is, but it is not for someone's reputation to look smaller than it really is!

Lee Smolin  looking like a physicist is no less dangerous than a physicist looking like a crackpot. I don't see why the same logic couldn't apply here. Sure, it may be painful, but isn't it equally painful to see Lee Smolin being celebrated ? .

answered Feb 20, 2014 by (1,985 points)
edited Feb 21, 2014

The problem with this is that a person who has 10 upvotes and 10 downvotes has contributed the most important thing to the site--- controversial content. All correct original content will get downvoted, even if it is 100% correct, just because originality sounds wrong regardless of correctness. Usually content is unoriginal, and then it is either purely downvoted (because it is wrong) or purely upvoted (because it is right), but the most important content is original, and then it is controversial for a while, because it is teaching someone something. This happens a lot--- a person who writes "Pauli exclusion is the major reason for the stability of matter, not repulsion" will get an equal number of upvotes and downvotes, despite being right. The same for a person who writes "oil is produced from the mantle, not from biological residue". It is important to reward controversial content, by making sure it is not ignored. But this can also be gamed, through cliques that upvote each other on nonsense. I think that it is good to have the downvotes be about half the upvote in value, but perhaps it should be tallied differently, because the scoring system is not useful. A person who says 10 wrong things, and then 1 original correct thing is someone who is doing original research, and originality must not be punished. This is what happens when you have a voting system, you reward political conformity. So I think this is a bad idea. Remember, you are constructing a political system, first and foremost, and one must be careful to avoid conformity diseases of political systems.

It may be useful then to have different rep systems for refreeing and the rest of the site, but I'm not sure if this is possible.

I think it is still OK to have the same rep change for upvotes and downvotes up to the absolute value, since  reputation is supposed to measure the amount  of trust other users have in them, of course the real measure of this stuff is very complicated and difficult to measure, but I think reputation can be used merely as a n approximate hand - waving way to get an idea of their actual reputation.

I don't agree that reputation points are not useful, it helps people judge how much a user is trusted.

@dimension10 yes, it would be nice to have the possibility to set the rep changes for different categories, such as Meta(stuff concerning the site itself), Main (all the physics stuff), and Refereeing(to review ongoing work), differently ...

Lee Smolin is a physicist, although he makes mistakes with regard to this or that, he has some research in the past which is significant and mathematically correct, and he is original in his ideas, although not very honest in killing them off. In this regard he is no worse than Nathan Rosen. Your original example, Woit, is correct, as Woit is not really a physicist. But this is not how you go about criticizing ideas, maybe Woit will produce a major breakthrough next year, who can predict? Just leave personal things out of it.

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It is not clear that points are so useful, as they creates the atmosphere of a social game with reputation, rather than a serious site for doing science. The game aspects can draw in many users quickly, that's for sure, but serious content draws in the users of the kind you want.

A simple idea is that the reputation for the answer is by the difficulty of the question, so that it is the product of the upvotes on the question, times the upvotes on the answer.

The idea is that there is a "difficulty" rating for the question--- generally, you upvote questions which you think are interesting, but perhapsnot difficult. A difficulty rating is useful too, so that people can upvote interesting but easy questions, so as to say that they are interesting pedagogically, without saying that they are difficult research-wise.

Then the up and downvote can be weighted by the difficulty. So that a +84 upvoted question (which is certainly difficult to answer) with an answer that is correct with (+40 upvotes) can give a reputation equal to the product of the difficulty times the accuracy. You can also increase the difficulty automatically depending on how long the question goes without an answer, by an upvoting bot which +1's the question every day, so long as no upvoted answer is present.

There should be a way of certifying an answer is correct and complete which is not dependent on the original person asking.

answered Feb 20, 2014 by (7,720 points)

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