Stop abusive downvoting: announce future measures now

Product: Narrative

Problem

Right now, the only tool we have against abusive downvoting, is the higher weight given to high rep voters.  We are observing this is not sufficient against abusive downvoting circles, who seem to carry enough weight to cause real, malicious damage.  If you require explicit examples, I can provide them privately.

The influence of rep on voting weights is not linear at all, but seems to be quite exponential.  While this could be pushed further and further, we also could run into the problem of high rep individuals becoming too powerful.

Not only is that bad for our democratic aspirations, but It is quite apparent that at least one high rep individual is engaged in abusive downvoting.  Further empowering abusive high rep votes can invalidate all our efforts, since one abusive high rep vote becomes worth so many low rep honest ones.  

 

Solution

I think the only real solutions involve the Narrative Company announcing that Narrators will soon be able to lodge complaints for abusive downvoting, and such complaints will allow the Tribunal to view the votes for a post, and gain access to relevant voting data of accounts involved in the downvoting.

There should be a statute of limitations on this, of something like 6 months - in any event, long enough so that the functionality arrives in time for people to lodge complaints about violations that occurred this month.  The knowledge that abuse carried out now will have consequences in the near future will have an immediate and beneficially cooling effect.

To reduce frivolous complaints and to fund the work this creates, there should be a NRVE fee involved in lodging a complaint.  If the Tribunal finds there has been abusive downvoting, the abusers could then be made to cover the fee, and to pay penalties on top of the fee, in the form of docked earnings.  Significant reputation penalties should be possible as well.

The complaint process should involve an opportunity for the downvoters to explain their downvotes - these explanations would aid in a determination.

Within the course of a complaint, it should be part of the scope to determine whether there might be voting circle downvoting involved.  Once abuse is found to have been committed by several accounts on one post, if it is found that these same accounts have acted in concert, abusively, elsewhere, a new level of more severe penalties should be considered.

These measures will be effective because abusive downvoting only works if the voters have enough rep to do damage.  The mere threat of removing the rep that gives them their power, will stop most of the activity, and will effectively neutralise the power of those who persevere.  Add to this the penalties that limit rewards for infractions, and you have a serious incentive to vote honestly.

Original Post

Activity Stream

If the Tribunal finds there has been abusive downvoting, the abusers could then be made to cover the fee, and to pay penalties on top of the fee, in the form of docked earnings.  Significant reputation penalties should be possible as well.

I like the idea of a fine for certain violations. If Narrators lose rewards and rep for certain AUP violations, plagiarism, and abusive behavior on the platform, they'll think twice before engaging in such behavior.

Garden Gnome Publications posted:

If the Tribunal finds there has been abusive downvoting, the abusers could then be made to cover the fee, and to pay penalties on top of the fee, in the form of docked earnings.  Significant reputation penalties should be possible as well.

I like the idea of a fine for certain violations. If Narrators lose rewards and rep for certain AUP violations, plagiarism, and abusive behavior on the platform, they'll think twice before engaging in such behavior.

Agreed.  The design of the platform means we don't have many measures to ensure a good environment.  The design choices are sound in many respects but they do cause limitations.  Reputation and Narrative Rewards are probably our best incentives both to reward network-positive actions, and to address network-negative actions.

As in any economy, if we don't make bad actors pay for the damage they cause, we will operate at a deficit.

The first issue we have, in my opinion, is that reputation has now little to do with good conduct, nor with quality metrics. So, it's easy to have high rep actors who are not just contributing with real value and willing attitude. If reputation is our first tool to fight abuses, it should be better designed (it's on the roadmap, but it should be urgent).

The second issue is that we should want to stop abusive voting, and this should be clear in communication. Abusive voting (both up and down) should be fought, and it can be.

The solution @Malkazoid proposes is one of the possible, even if I'd prefer that prevention would be there before the need for a "process".

Vico Biscotti posted:

The first issue we have, in my opinion, is that reputation has now little to do with good conduct, nor with quality metrics. So, it's easy to have high rep actors who are not just contributing with real value and willing attitude. If reputation is our first tool to fight abuses, it should be better designed (it's on the roadmap, but it should be urgent).

The second issue is that we should want to stop abusive voting, and this should be clear in communication. Abusive voting (both up and down) should be fought, and it can be.

The solution @Malkazoid proposes is one of the possible, even I'd prefer that prevention would be there before the need for a "process".

I'd love to see more ways in which we can address this - I don't doubt that there are others.

Prevention is important... but in this instance, I believe having a process to address the abuses is a very significant part of prevention.  Every society contains elements who only behave appropriately because there are negative consequences for them if they don't.

I completely agree that our current system of reputation does not adequately include all facets of network-positive behaviour, and does not provide for an adequate modelling of network-negative behaviours.  It is also extremely vulnerable to artificial boosting via upvotes unrelated to quality.  I agree there are ways to mitigate these problems.

 

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