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We should aim for meritocracy but encourage participation and discourage demeaning action (downvotes) which drives away participants.

Those voting 68.26% or more in either direction should be discouraged from further voting as incentive to balance once's voting. Answer votes, up or down, must be explained with no less than, say 12 characters - e.g. "+1 for clarity" or "minus one because your premise is an assumption"? A warning prior to disincentive (minus points) seems a good idea.

Likewise, those providing 68.26% or more questions than answers (and vice versa) should be discouraged from further questions or answers depending on how their actions are skewed. After all, what philosopher out there provides answers only? None.

Just an idea to pose to the community. I truly enjoy much of the discussion here but recognize a need to rein in some members.

standard deviation

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We should aim for meritocracy but encourage participation and discourage demeaning action (downvotes) which drives away participants.

Downvotes are a feature that was added for a reason: the same reason as why we have upvotes: good content is voted to the top. Votes are a privilege reserved for users who have been around for a bit (15 rep for upvotes, 125 for downvotes). This helps making votecounts reliable.

Those voting 68.26% or more in either direction should be discouraged from further voting as incentive to balance once's voting.

There already is a limit to how much you can vote on a day (40, I believe). There is no need for a further limit.

Answer votes, up or down, must be explained with no less than, say 12 characters - e.g. "+1 for clarity" or "minus one because your premise is an assumption"? A warning prior to disincentive (minus points) seems a good idea.

This has been suggested many times for downvotes: 1, 2, 3, ... I will not repeat the reasons for why this has been declined here. I will add though, that often enough reasons are given.

For upvotes, I don't see the point: first of all, justifying upvotes will give too many comments and that will just clutter up the page. Secondly, the reasons won't be very inspiring. People will just add "+1 because it's true.".

I don't see why we should warn first and then downvote. When the post is edited, the downvote can be undone anyway.

Likewise, those providing 68.26% or more questions than answers (and vice versa) should be discouraged from further questions or answers depending on how their actions are skewed. After all, what philosopher out there provides answers only? None.

You seem to miss the point that the users here are not philosophers here. They may be somewhere else, here they are people discussing philosophy and well known philosophers (possibly including themselves). Would you suggest that Jon Skeet can't add answers anymore, because he doesn't ask many questions? We'd miss a lot of good content.

Stack Exchange is a good platform, but you need to learn how it works. For this, the Tour was designed for new users. Please go through it, because it will help you understand why the suggestions you made don't fit in. A more extensive help source is the help center, and ultimately you can ask questions here on Meta.

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Voting is anonymous and completely up to the user. We do a few things to encourage voting and downvoting on questions, but we generally don't worry about the ratio of upvotes to downvotes. Downvoting answers carries as small reputation penalty, so we find the voting on sites (including Philosophy) skews positive:

Post score distribution

(The graph includes deleted posts. I linked to a query that excludes them, which skews the results even more.)

This isn't a normal distribution. It's more like back-to-back Poisson distributions. The way this is accomplished is that some users tend to downvote a lot, others tend to upvote and yet others are balanced between the extremes. Statistically speaking, the current situation on the site means that, all other factors being equal, a new post is more likely to be upvoted than downvoted. This is by design.

If we were to limit people to voting in a more balanced way, it's likely that would encourage more downvoting on the whole. For instance, 90% of my votes are upvotes. In order to get that down to ~70%, I'd need to downvote over a hundred posts without upvoting any. Many other users would be in the same predicament.

  • Got it. Thanks for reviewing my idea and responding. Do you recognize a problem with overzealous participants acting in a manner that discourages participation? What measures are in place to discourage demeaning action by participants? – Ron Royston Apr 6 '15 at 20:42
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    @RonnieRoyston: I... don't know if there is a problem. Without investigating I can say that most of the time people mentioning "overzealous moderation" tend to have misunderstood what the community is all about. If you have a specific example, it might be worth editing into the question. – Jon Ericson Apr 6 '15 at 21:17
  • I may have been overzealous myself but rarely get downvoted. Nor do I downote myself ( as far as I remember, 4-5 times? ) but upvote more. Because there is no reason so much for me to downvote here since this site is kind of a-----anything can go in a way. So compared with Japanese language site, where I got downvoted so much, this site is difficult but looks quiet enough to me ( if you can understand me ). – Kentaro Tomono Apr 7 '15 at 10:34
  • So the questioner himself dowovoted me having given no reason at all! Well, thanks for your productive proposal! – Kentaro Tomono Apr 7 '15 at 12:35
  • But just let me say Holy cow! --God-- let see there is a disguise in the world! man! hehe – Kentaro Tomono Apr 7 '15 at 12:59

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