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Data Mining Shows How Down-Voting Leads To Vicious Circle of Negative Feedback 293

KentuckyFC writes: "In behavioral psychology, the theory of operant conditioning is the notion that an individual's future behavior is determined by the punishments and rewards he or she has received in the past. It means that specific patterns of behavior can be induced by punishing unwanted actions while rewarding others. While the theory is more than 80 years old, it is hard at work in the 21st century in the form of up- and down-votes — or likes and dislikes — on social networks. But does this form of reward and punishment actually deter unwanted actions while encouraging good behavior? Now a new study of the way voting influences online behavior has revealed the answer. The conclusion: negative feedback leads to behavioral changes that are hugely detrimental to the community. Not only do authors of negatively-evaluated content contribute more but their future posts are of lower quality and are perceived by the community as such. What's more, these authors are more likely to evaluate fellow users negatively in future, creating a vicious circle of negative feedback. By contrast, positive feedback does not influence authors much at all. That's exactly the opposite of what operant conditioning theory predicts. The researchers have a better suggestion for social networks: 'Given that users who receive no feedback post less frequently, a potentially effective strategy could be to ignore undesired behavior and provide no feedback at all.' Would Slashdotters agree?"
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Data Mining Shows How Down-Voting Leads To Vicious Circle of Negative Feedback

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  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Saturday May 17, 2014 @05:10PM (#47027769)
    On slashdot, downmodding trolls serves the purpose of filtering out the messages you they are mostly invisible if you don't want to see them. I call that a benefit.
  • Re:BS (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zamphatta ( 1760346 ) on Saturday May 17, 2014 @06:59PM (#47028361) Homepage

    I totally agree. I was getting 15 mod points every 3 days or so. I generally upvote stuff that I find worthy of it, and ignore comments "bad" comments unless they were seriously bad/trollish/obvious flambaiting. Recently, somebody down voted all of my comments in one thread so they were 0'd, and then /. suddenly decided that I'll only deserve 5 mod points every few days. That, to me, is obviously weird. I thought my comments weren't that bad, even if they weren't great. This is the 2nd time this has happened to me, and it happens far too easily. So I just stop commenting 'cause I don't want to risk losing all my karma over 1 comment just because somebody might not agree with my viewpoint.

    For the record, I'm hesitating to submit this comment. I could do it anon, but, I'd like my thoughts to be attached to my identity..... otherwise it just feels like free speech is really dead around in this community.

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.