[Ask the Gulch] Gulch points, one more time. Can anyone help clarify?

Posted by Bethesda-gal 3 years, 11 months ago to Ask the Gulch
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Since the recent post about points I've been trying to understand better, so I read the FAQ page and it doesn't look like people are following the FAQ guidelines re: voting things up or down. Can anyone help clarify?


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    Posted by  $  richrobinson 3 years, 11 months ago
    First post and a good question. Most of the replies I have read concerning voting are similar. Most Gulchers up vote interesting comments that are relevant and on message. I, and others, regularly up vote comments we don't agree with but we believe they added to the discussion. I have also noticed Gulchers are. reluctant to use the down vote. It's like we are saving them for something. Most down votes are cast for personal attacks or comments way off topic. Hope this helps.
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    • Posted by 3 years, 11 months ago
      Thanks Rich. Yes, the FAQ suggests up voting replies that add to the discussion even if not agreed with, but that is not what I have noticed. Perhaps it's a case of "you find what you are looking for" but I'd be curious if you or anyone would take a moment to randomly scan the new or hot topics and look at the points and see if you see more plusses or minuses. I'm seeing a lot of down votes, that I can't figure out why, or how they're different from posts that are up-voted. Plus, the FAQ suggests that down votes are accompanied by a comment explaining the basis for the down vote which I'm not sure consistently happens. A recent discussion in the politics category, which generated a huge number of replies, including some from me which were down-voted (I don't believe my comments were attacks or off-topic) and now I can't seem to access that discussion at all and still wondering the how and the why. I'm definitely still trying to crack this Gulch code... :)
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      • Posted by nsnelson 3 years, 11 months ago
        I've noticed the same thing. It is painfully obvious when people bring up topics unpopular here in the Gulch (e.g., religion, abortion, etc.). These type of comments are very quickly down-voted, even if the comment makes a point constructive to the debate at hand.

        Generally, I like to think that Objectivists are interested in pursuing the truth, wherever that may lead them, even being patient to deal with people's ignorance, even being willing to look past arrogance and rudeness. Objectivists should have a thick skin, being able to see through the crap and cut to the issue. But that is not always the case.

        That said, I think the system described in the FAQ is good, and is followed (except in a relatively few hot-topic exceptions). Regardless of what others do, I encourage you to be pro-active in following the system. Up-vote comments you find constructive. Use the down-vote not just from things you don't like, or from things you wish you hadn't seen, but in particular for comments that distract from the real issue. When you down-vote, it may be helpful to indicate why you did that.
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        • Posted by  $  sjatkins 3 years, 11 months ago
          Pursuing the truth does not mean upvoting a well represented argument for what one is sure is quite wrong. Telling people they are doing it wrong for providing honesty feedback itself deserves a down vote.
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          • Posted by nsnelson 3 years, 11 months ago
            Did I understand you correctly: you down-voted my answer because you disagree? Too bad you can't down-vote the FAQ that explains the same thing.

            But I don't think you understood me. Of course I encourage you to give honest feedback. I just don't think that up/down-voting is always the proper way to do this. The best way is to leave a comment expressing your feedback, engaging in the discussion, like you did here. But voting should be reserved for questions like: is this worth seeing? is it constructive to the topic at hand? I suggest that if you found it worth engaging in discussion, then it is worth other people seeing too. There have been many times that I answered in disagreement but up-voted, because I want other people to see it and engage in it too. This is an example (I up-voted your comment).

            I've seen too many constructive comments buried way down at the end of a post, just because people didn't like it. I might not agree with them either, but I don't come to this forum to be cuddled and only see things that I agree with, or to protect others from seeing them. I come here to learn, to be challenged, to stretch my mind, and come to a better understanding of what I believe and how to state it. But more and more people here just want a one-sided debate, and so vote-down anything they dislike or disagree with, or even worse, they've been spending too much time on Facebook and treat this like a popularity contest.

            I've seen lots of name-calling up-voted. Comments like, "I agree," should not be up-voted to the top of a discussion, but that happens. Rather than such juvenile and trite additions being the first thing on the list, I'd rather see substance. I want to see both sides of an issue, but often times this is difficult.

            You may be "sure" something "is quite wrong," but some of us are still interested in learning new ideas, seeking to understand other arguments. Your method of voting makes this harder.
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            • Posted by IndianaGary 3 years, 11 months ago
              If I'm sure something is wrong, I comment on it. Voting a comment is not the proper way to make your point as it doesn't add anything to the discussion. I occasionally upvote a comment if I think it adds materially to the discussion at hand. I rarely downvote; mostly if the comment is a) far afield or b) obnoxious.
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            • Posted by mdant 3 years, 11 months ago
              Regarding your comment "But more and more people here just want a one-sided debate". I agree, though maybe not in the way you meant it.

              I do not make a ton of comments on this site. In part because I am busy working most of the time, but also because when I do many of the responses indicate that ideas are not welcome on this site unless they fit in with the established doctrines of Objectivism. It is like newcomers are expected to accept something because it is the Objectivist view.

              I came to this site because I read Atlas Shrugged and thought it was one of, if not the most, important book I have read. There are so many things that were great illustrations of our current problems. I wanted to be connected to people that had that same basic view.

              I am happy to say that not all of my interactions here have been bad...far from it. However, I think there are to many people here that trying to make this a very narrow community where you have to be sold on the entire objectivist philosophy, or at least interested in possibly being "all in".

              There are a ton of people out there that agree with 80% of what objectivist believe in. I whish everyone on the site was eager to welcome those like minded people rather than thinking newcomers have to be converted, or interested in converting, into a die hard objectivist before they find a home here.

              I guess my problem is that I thought most (not all) of the ideas in Atlas Shrugged were incredible. Then I came here and was exposed to something called Objectivism which goes far beyond the things I agreed with in Atlas Shrugged. I am not at all sold on objectivism as a perfect philosophy. But then again, no philosophy is perfect.
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        • Posted by TheRealBill 3 years, 11 months ago
          With regards to hot-button topics it may be affected by there being a lack of a purely objective solution. Religion is by definition not an objective topic and among the highly religious it can overwhelm one's objectivity.

          If we accept the premise that an Objectivist is more intelligent than not we could hypothesize he or she is capable of holding conflicting notions in their mind at the same time. For example one could see that objectively speaking a fetus is not a born human being but personally and emotionally believe they should be treated as such. These are objectively conflicting notions at their core, but an intelligent person is able to know the former while believing the latter. They are conflicting but not mutually exclusive. Alternatively there is no objective evidence for the god of today's religions yet Objectivists may still want to believe in one and hold a religious belief of such.

          However, even keeping conflicting notions in the same mind, where one is kept by emotional causes, management of the dissonance produced by this can slip and result in emotion winning out in the case of argumentation. We certainly should be abel to have thick skin (I personally spent a long time investing in such), but that doesn't mean we have to tolerate blatantly insulting or ignorant behavior, hence down voting under such circumstances is appropriate.

          Ultimately even Objectivists are human. ;)
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          • Posted by IndianaGary 3 years, 11 months ago
            One cannot be an Objectivist and hold any religious view. A religious Objectivist is a contradiction in terms.
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            • Posted by  $  jlc 3 years, 11 months ago
              Then many who are present in this virtual Gulch are not Objectivists, but they are here all the same. Their views are worth listening to and I observe that, other than religion, their approach to life is rational. Most of these people willingly state that they consider their religion to be outside of Objectivism. Perhaps "Objectivist other than belief in religion" is the correct term for these people, but that is a bit unhandy.

              I do not happen to be religious, but I do sometimes disagree with other statements that are tagged as cannon Objectivist, so I do not call myself "Objectivist" on this list.

              Jan
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              • Posted by IndianaGary 3 years, 11 months ago
                I wasn't arguing that non-Objectivist didn't have something valuable to say. I was simply refuting the conjecture that a religious person could be an Objectivist. The nature of Objectivism precludes it.
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                • Posted by  $  jlc 3 years, 11 months ago
                  Sorry, Gary. I read too much into your remark.

                  Since I am in the class of non-Objectivists, I will say that I am closer to being an Objectivist than any other pigeonhole; when not in the Gulch, I have referred to myself by that tag. So: What do YOU call someone who is in general an Objectivist, but who deviates from defined parameters in some respect, such as religion?

                  Jan
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                  • Posted by IndianaGary 3 years, 11 months ago
                    An Objectivist-in-training.
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                    • Posted by ewv 3 years, 11 months ago
                      The goal is to understand, not to "train" for an intellectual position not understood in advance. No one should be calling himself 'Objectivists in' anything. Some are trying to understand more and don't even know the major clashes with traditionally establishment views or why and don't even know what the philosophical issues are; others (who also have revealed they don't understand) are militantly opposed to Ayn Rand and obnoxiously exploiting the forum to push their attacks. But no one can be an Objectivist 'other than' something that fundamentally contradicts it, like religion. It's an outright contradiction in term.
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                      • Posted by IndianaGary 3 years, 11 months ago
                        I believe I said above, "A religious Objectivist is a contradiction in terms" so in retrospect, I agree with you. I'm struggling for an appropriate term for someone who understands the bulk of Objectivism but because of a misunderstanding or through ignorance of a key element, has difficulty with the philosophy. At one time the common term was "a student of Objectivism"; for that matter, we are all students of Objectivism to the extent we focus on understanding the philosophy. On the other hand, someone who does understand, but chooses to accept religious tenets anyway, has headed down an evil path. ED for clarity.
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      • Posted by TheRealBill 3 years, 11 months ago
        Honestly sometimes, when on a mobile, it is easy - too easy - to tap either vote button while scrolling and not realize it. I know I've barely caught it a few times myself, so I can imagine I've missed a few and that others have as well.

        That said for blatantly bad posts such as name calling or doing the same to entire groups I've no qualm down voting without commentary. I feel it should be obvious under such circumstances. Personally that is what I "save" down voting for: outright asshattery. Everything above that line gets nothing or if particularly insightful (I have a pretty high bar for that though - Slashdot taught me that) a thumbs up.
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        • Posted by 3 years, 11 months ago
          Yes, Bill, even though I'm still a flip-phone gal and thus don't text, I can understand fat-fingering it sometimes. But if you look just at this thread, you can see all the down votes that its already accumulated, which - to me - make no sense. Sjatkins suggests that telling people what they are doing wrong itself deserves a down vote, which directly contradicts the guidelines. And I've observed what nsnelson says seems accurate; that socially unpopular topics get down voted. That is the opposite of what I picture the Gulch characters in A.S. would support. My interest in this forum was to find thinking that maybe is enlightened and more evolved and in contrast to the frequently snarky, petty mainstream thinking. But Bill I do agree with you that grade inflation of easy up-votes is not desirable either. It's the down votes that seem too often to be unilluminating. I assume that AR resonates with people who prefer to think outside the box and do not feel obligated to enlighten anyone else. I agree with that concept from AS. But isn't it modulated at all by the continual desire to move thinking and dialog to a higher level ? If someone continually demonstrates they are obtuse beyond redemption, sure, it's throwing effort away to enlighten the enlighten-able. But to assume that that is the default seems unproductive.
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          • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 11 months ago
            In Spanish the word for my fingers is salchichas meaning sausages. texting may be preferable and locally it is but it's not convenient except providing a written record. Some of the time. i tried voice to text and that was a disaster. So far the standard telephone talk to talk is unusable. Of course with no instructions provided other than Android for dummies.....it's a race between considering it an exploring adventure or reverting the older style cell phones which did their job perfectly and nothing else.

            Some of the best comments in the Gulch are found in the different category groups listed at the top Hot Now and by type.....That's worth exploring.
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      • Posted by  $  richrobinson 3 years, 11 months ago
        I think you are referring to the post about Ben Carson creating a religious theocracy. Religion is not a subject I know a lot about and I generally avoid commenting on those posts. It brings out some very strong emotions and the voting reflects that. I do feel that some Gulchers go outside the guidelines when it comes to posts about religion. We have had discussions in the past about requiring a reply in order to down vote but it is still up to the individual.
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  • Posted by khalling 3 years, 11 months ago
    I rarely down-vote. In fact, if I want my comment to be "heard" I upvote a comment I am responding to, even if I disagree. My husband loves to down vote. We are all individuals here :)
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  • Posted by  $  ObjectiveAnalyst 3 years, 11 months ago
    Hello Bethesda-gal,

    I generally vote using the same criteria as richrobinson. I do occasionally down-vote things based on two criteria. 1. The comment is rude and/or adds nothing constructive to the discussion or 2. I disagree strongly with the comment and have nothing more to add. In this fashion it is simply shorthand. If I have something to add I will do that also.
    I do try to avoid down-votes as much as possible and will also up-vote things I believe deserve attention even when I disagree. It is a mixed bag, but I also feel that there is sometimes too much made of the vote count; it is a sum of several factors. so it is not just a reflection of the popularity of your comments. It also reflects your total output and participation.

    Some let emotion rule and give too much weight to these numbers when it is clear that some of the best comments and most profound observations sometimes come from those with lower total points. A poor score on any particular comment should not be thought of as a general personal attack. If you stick with it and avoid ad-hominem your score will reflect your efforts over time and commitment, more than anything else.

    Respectfully,
    O.A.
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  • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years, 11 months ago
    I save my down votes for people who are being intentionally antagonistic. One can have a rational debate about a lot of things and remain objective even while debating both sides. What unfortunately seems to happen on some topics (religion, abortion, atheism vs theism, etc.) is that people claiming to be "objective" about the matter instead resort to ad hominem attacks (name-calling) and other logical fallacies.

    People are going to disagree in matter of philosophy. And that's because no one has a perfect knowledge - supposition is the prime ingredient to scientific inquiry. I don't typically down vote people for disagreeing, however, but for being disagreeable.
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  • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 11 months ago
    I have a high number thus far. I am on the side of no ups or downs at all nor numbers of posts . But I'm in a minority. I either debate or argue the point with facts. and reason or if that isn't working walk away....that's what ignore is for. I'm sure I'm on some or more than somes ignore list as well. Side issues are the realm of private message to the hosts or an individual. Recently I quit receiving comment email... nothing seemed to work but I disconnected the What's up on my new cell phone and a few other new features. Notified one individual I was not ignoring but not receiving his comments. Turned out to my personal chagrin they had migrated themselves to Spam Land with Fire Foxes new system...All 455 of them. I was trying to track down the source of the claim on Rand's lying to get visa extensions..Each article referred to another and all promised documentation. So far zilch...one referred to a taped conversation which magically cannot be produced but blame was laid at the door of the Rand Foundation. So far without documentation. My response is....not enough evidence in fact to warrant an arrest or a trial. No Probable Cause shown. I do not subscribe to the Patriot Act version which allows 'mere suspicion.' It became a non-starter pending cites and some sort of documentation. The articles by the way are in a website that allows no contact with the authors.....That IS curious.

    The ignores are due to boredom and cutting down on useless commentary. Without Exception.

    I haven't flagged anyone.

    I suppose the system is useful. No doubt. But it introduces a bit of game playing with restart buttons and subtracts from thoughtful commentary.. NOW to 'fess up that does not include Bidenesque Hillary jokes. So I'm tarred with my own brush. Thus the first stone is cast at myself. i am not completely without sin.
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  • Posted by  $  JCLanier 3 years, 11 months ago
    Bethesda-gal: I am so used to seeing the (-) next to my comments as well as many of the others that I quit trying to understand the why. At first I went by exclusion using different parameters but nothing held true. The popular got down voted, the constants got down voted, obvious objectivist responses got down voted, and even pertinent Rand quotes got down voted... I call it the "Holy Gulch Ghost". If the majority comments on any given post are always down voted then it either should mean something (what?) or it means nothing (with exception to those who down vote and state why). In the case of a "fire storm" on a hot posting where positions are taken based on fundamental objectivist reasoning then up and down votes do indicate that purpose and is understandable.
    That being said, and the few times I have seen it, I certainly respect those that have "owned" their down vote and given their reasons. This is positive feedback (even if a down vote) and creates an atmosphere for growth and sharing of ideas.
    Stay the Course Bethesda-gal! It's definitely worth it.
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    • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 11 months ago
      You have two? Down is less than zero.
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      • Posted by  $  JCLanier 3 years, 11 months ago
        MichaelA: Not sure if I understand your comment.
        Let's see- if you have "1" point and I down vote you you go to "0". If, however, you have "3" up votes and I down vote you you go to "2" up votes losing a point. Am I missing something? Let me know.
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        • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 11 months ago
          You had one from some unknown source. To make a good teaching poinit I added one that made two. In my drive bys you never had less than one. But if two other people had given you one each for three then two additional would have been able to bring it down one.I see you are still at two. Successful lesson. Kind of small d democratic now that I think of it. Not allowable on campus's but useful in real life.
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  • Posted by jimjamesjames 3 years, 11 months ago
    I've changed my mind. And since I'm so special (gay, transgendered, confused gendered, multiracial, short, underprivileged, white privileged, black disprivilged, bald and have only one eye), I should get all the votes because I was told I was special and deserve all the votes. So there!!!
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