I’ve compiled five academic research papers revealing the flaws of down-votes. Findings are summarized in bullet points for easy reading. Literature download link provided via WeTransfer for each.
In case their scientific merits are in question. These academic research papers are conducted/written by a team of postdoctoral scholars in computer science from Stanford University, in collaboration with Cornell University or Max Planck Institute. Their data-driven research via machine learning algorithms is supported and funded by their Stanford Graduate Fellowship and a Google Faculty Research Award, in cooperation with Disqus, Twitter, among many major commenting systems.
Studies such as these hark back to why major social sites across the field in the U.S. and China have abandoned the down-voting system, particularly the type used by our GoK.
How Community Feedback Shapes User Behavior
- “We find that negative feedback leads to significant behavioral changes that are detrimental to the community”
- down-voting (negative evaluations) can “cause users to post lower quality contents,” or worse comments… and are perceived by the community as such, hence “valued less by others…”
- down-voted victims are more likely to subsequently evaluate their fellow users negatively by down-voting others, “perpetuating a negative feedback loop… a vicious spiral of increasingly negative behavior that is exactly the opposite of the intended effect.”
Antisocial Behavior in Online Discussion Communities
- “Studying the evolution of these users from the moment they join a community up to when they get banned, we find that not only do they write worse than other users over time, but they also become increasingly less tolerated by the community. Further, we discover that antisocial behavior is exacerbated when community feedback is overly harsh.”
A few bad votes too many?: towards robust ranking in social media
- Susceptibility of down-vote abuse where increasingly, a “small fraction of malicious users are trying to game the system by selectively promoting or demoting content for proﬁt, or fun.”
Social Influence Bias A Randomized Experiment
- Downsides of early down-voting by result in “snowball effect” of “irrational herding,” a “hive-mind” “mob mentality” of negative reinforcement.
Anyone Can Become a Troll: Causes of Trolling Behavior in Online Discussions
- “ignoring bad behavior is an effective way of discouraging it, and one that social network sites might profitably explore. But at the same time, these sites will need a way to step in and actively prevent certain types of behavior when necessary.”... Permanent banning recommended, not negative reinforcing down-voting.