Lets add the downvote reason field to Low Quality voting, too

Product: Narrative

This may feel like a familiar suggestion: previously this field was requested in a suggestion, for AUP violations.  Almost immediately in the comments of that older suggestion, people chimed in that this reason field would be very helpful for Low Quality downvotes also.  The Team has since implemented the field for AUP downvotes only.  In order for the Low Quality downvote reason field to remain in the ticket queue, this ticket is probably necessary explicitly for that functionality.

There has been a lot of support in community discussions for requiring a typed reason for Low Quality downvoting.  Just a simple text field in the current downvote popup, where people have to provide a comment, and a means for the Community to see the reasons, but not the identity of the voters, of course.

There are several advantages to this.

First, it would discourage abusive downvotes because leaving a phony or gibberish reason is actually leaving a trace in the system that the downvote was illegitimate.  There will always be the spectre of the system detecting this in some way, and applying a penalty for it, so people will think twice.

Second, it leaves the door open to devising ways in which phoney or gibberish downvote reasons can result in a penalty for the downvoter, and/or can be ignored in the computation of quality.

This can happen through moderation and/or automation.

When moderation goes live, the moderator will read a piece before approving it as on topic for the niche.  If any downvotes applied to that piece are forwarded to this same moderator, they are in a good position to determine, with very minimal effort, whether the reason given is in good faith or not.

In terms of automation - a dictionary check with a little bit of smarts for accepting misspelled words, would be able to ignore downvote reasons that consist of "sdc QNocnds sdav r", and even stock non-responses such as 'this sucks', or 'this is crap'.

Even without involving moderators or developing more automation, people going on record with their reason such as it is, will serve as a powerful deterrent. 

First, it forces the introspection: "what is my reason?"  That alone will cause many to realise they actually disagree, rather than thinking the post is actually low quality. 

Second, if they want to proceed with the low quality downvote despite that not being why they are downvoting, it forces them to try to come up with a credible reason.  Many people won't bother: malicious downvote prevented!  And those who do will find the Community is probably much better at detecting BS reasons then they imagined.

Third, everyone will know that even if moderators aren't officially tasked for the duty of checking downvote reasons, they, or the Tribunal, may still investigate and take action against abuses, and with this reason field measure, they will have a trail of evidence to support their decisions.

Three deterrents, with one simple measure.

 People being able to see these reasons would remove the suspicions and doubts about why downvotes are landing on their posts, especially when those votes are from high rep narrators.  @freedomexists recently described how his post announcing the winner of his Narrative Story Chain contest got downvoted.  It had 6 upvotes and was at 100 percent.  Then one single downvote brought it down to 75 percent, removing its blue star.   


It is a recurring source of concern in the Community, with the latest wave occurring right now.  Many very well thought out posts with constructive intent for the platform are receiving a lot of downvoting flack, some of it from high rep Narrators.

In some instances, the fear of abuse might reveal itself to be unfounded with the reason provided making sense.  In others we will know abuse has taken place and be in a position to repel it. 

Added bonus - in the case of genuine downvotes, Narrators will be able to understand why the downvote was made, giving them an opportunity to improve their content creation.  In the current climate of paranoia caused by the current downvote paradigm, most people don't comment to express even constructive criticism out of fear that their own materials will be stalked and downvoted in retaliation.  This measure would allow constructive criticism anonymously.

In any event, this sort of transparency is compatible with Narrative's claims to offering transparency in governance, and has strong support in the Community.  If there is no plan to implement it, I think the Community would deserve to know why.

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And the comment has to be required or it will serve no purpose.  The malicious downvoter could just opt not to respond and that would be the same thing we have now.   I also think that this comment for a downvote will be USEFUL to a narrator to see a legitimate reason as to why the person downvoted you.   Most people don't want to leave the reason in comments because then it would no longer be anonymous.  And I also thought this has already been suggested, but it doesn't hurt to show support again because it was not implemented.

 People being able to see these reasons would remove the suspicions and doubts about why downvotes are landing on their posts, especially when those votes are from high rep narrators.  

I'd also like to add that, since April 2, the launch of beta, there has been chatter about why people are downvoting posts. Whether justified or not, a reason for downvotes has been an interest from every corner of Narrative. People generally ask for downvoters to make their reasons known in the comments, but, as @Malkazoid pointed out, people are reluctant to do that because it takes away their anonymity. On the other hand, a text box will allow downvoters a way to let content creators know why they downvoted a post without sacrificing their anonymity.

Secondly, in the case of gibberish or nonsense answers, if that happens--and it likely will--that should be a reputation hit. The more often someone leaves a gibberish nonsense answer, the more reputation points they should lose. Comments in the field need to be helpful.

Thirdly, we have already lost good Narrators to this issue. More than one have quit the platform, at least temporarily, over the downvote issue. Consider this post, which doesn't explicitly discuss malicious downvoting but does touch upon it as a general problem within the scope of the Narrative culture:


Excellent content creators are leaving the platform while low-octane drop-and-run content producers are filling the Discover channel with mobile photos, which are then upvoted in droves while the great content (and I've noticed anything that is even remotely critical of Narrative) gets massive downvotes. I'd love to see the reasons people give for downvoting well thought out posts that discuss ways to improve the platform. 


I'm not a fan of this but, at the same time, I'm not against, especially if not mandatory.

I get that downvotes are a much more controversial topic, still, upvotes given for no reason out of voting circles are MUCH more. If those upvotes are not called abusive, then also downvotes shouldn't be a matter of discussion, in my opinion.

Anyway, "it forces the introspection" is a valid point, for me. But I also like the suggestion from @Garden Gnome Publications, of the option to let the author know (anonymously, of course). With this latter option, I would certainly be more favorable.

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