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Karma Discussion

Last posted Aug 28, 2019 at 09:20AM EDT. Added Mar 28, 2017 at 04:15PM EDT
15 posts from 12 users

Karma, that weird set of numbers on your profile that most of KYM finds useless but drives the forums mad. Whether it's mad with rage or mad with karma-lust, it drives forum-goers mad. It has been the subject of many different discussions about what should be done with it, if anything. The ideas have stretched a wide span, covering removal from profiles, a complete overhaul with new buttons, removal from the site, and leaving it as-is. This thread is to centralize this discussion, as it keeps coming up.


Some suggested reading before posting, laid out chronologically:

  • Karma Overhaul – Discussion about the various ways karma could be redone.

As you can see, we've discussed a lot of things over the years. If you have a new idea, please share it, as it feels like we've kind of covered everything at this point.

From my perspective, the biggest issue with removing karma is that it's just now worth it. The few people who get upset over it on the forums make up such an incredibly tiny part of KYM that the effort that would go into removing or replacing it probably would be better spent elsewhere. When you add in the opposition factor – that some people like karma – it really does not seem worth it to me.

Let's say we get past that issue. The next problem is that there isn't a strong consensus on what to do if it is to be removed or changed. What is preferable to the current system, if it's worth the effort to change it?

I am of the opinion that karma should stay as-is. There's no strong consensus and there isn't enough reward for replacing it – most people live with the karma system just fine.

I think the karma system is alright as it is now. If any change is implemented to it, it should be asking if one is sure in the case of downvoting (it's easy to give a downvote by mistake, specially from the phone).
I, personally, am happy with the current karma system.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-surveillance-big-data-score-censorship-a7375221.html

Here is my guess since I don't really know any website that does this to their forums outside of comment sections. Scoring people based on how "likable" they are is going to only serve to make people constantly self-conscious about what other people think about them and make them go quiet if they aren't popular in any given discussion where they are downvoted. That's why other websites do this in comment sections since those aren't personal, while forums are personal and meant to be for free discussion.

That's my two cents. I've spoken enough on this. I'll be going back to enjoying the fun topics now.

The Dungeon Master wrote:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-surveillance-big-data-score-censorship-a7375221.html

Here is my guess since I don't really know any website that does this to their forums outside of comment sections. Scoring people based on how "likable" they are is going to only serve to make people constantly self-conscious about what other people think about them and make them go quiet if they aren't popular in any given discussion where they are downvoted. That's why other websites do this in comment sections since those aren't personal, while forums are personal and meant to be for free discussion.

That's my two cents. I've spoken enough on this. I'll be going back to enjoying the fun topics now.

Reddit has karma if that counts as a forum and that's more important than our site's karma.

The Dungeon Master wrote:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-surveillance-big-data-score-censorship-a7375221.html

Here is my guess since I don't really know any website that does this to their forums outside of comment sections. Scoring people based on how "likable" they are is going to only serve to make people constantly self-conscious about what other people think about them and make them go quiet if they aren't popular in any given discussion where they are downvoted. That's why other websites do this in comment sections since those aren't personal, while forums are personal and meant to be for free discussion.

That's my two cents. I've spoken enough on this. I'll be going back to enjoying the fun topics now.

Comparing an internet meme site forum's vote system to a mandatory government implemented system where you are pressured into not doing anything the government likes or even being friends with people the government doesn't like is stupid.

Also you still fail to get around the two problems I mentioned in the OP, so, good job.

Last edited Mar 28, 2017 at 08:30PM EDT

Mom Rivers wrote:

Comparing an internet meme site forum's vote system to a mandatory government implemented system where you are pressured into not doing anything the government likes or even being friends with people the government doesn't like is stupid.

Also you still fail to get around the two problems I mentioned in the OP, so, good job.

Web coder can delete the karma system code I doubt it'd take longer than a minute.

People can move on posting in a karmaless forum that everyone else on the Internet is familiar with.

I didn't say that before because I thought it went without saying.

This wouldn't happen in an instant like you think it would. Like, "Yes, hello, Don, we want karma removed" "Oh ok it'll be gone tomorrow" doesn't happen in reality. The admins take days, if not weeks for rule changes that the mods really want to be considered, let alone a change to a feature that affects only a tiny portion of KYM's community.

You also missed the entire purpose of the second problem – it doesn't seem there's much of a care to remove karma. I straight up made a thread on changing karma majorly and there was like, one guy who wanted to remove it. I make this thread and so far you are the only one who wants to remove it. Your solution to this problem seems to be "they'll get over it, I'm right".

Last edited Mar 29, 2017 at 01:13AM EDT

Karma is useful if you want to get a grasp on what people around you feel and what ideas are popular, as well as letting you know how many people enjoyed your joke (which is really the only time I ever care about upvotes is to let me know when I managed to amuse people enough to upvote me)

All downvoting does it let you know if your opinion is unpopular or if your joke is unfunny, it doesn't actually hurt your account in anyway. I can see a case being made about removing the Karma score counter on peoples pages and the bury function, but even those don't actually effect you or your account. If you are downvoted enough that it appears strikingly on your Karma counter, people are going to know about you regardless, and I personally always unbury comments to read them so I'm impartial to that.

Also, if you are scared enough of a red number next to your opinion, you should be more scared to the people who are going to dispute you, more so if they can't simply downvote you and move on.

ill just toss in a few dollars more

uhhhhhhhhhhh okay firstly there's a few problems with karma removal entirely
one of them being that some site based events (such as the "new login images" from 2015 and weekly photoshop contests) were based on the karma system in order to determine who the winner would/shall be

so, if karma were to be removed entirely (site wide), we'll need to find a replacement for that, a poll system for such events could work, or just a system that can be customized easily by mods to tally votes; idk though, seems like it would require a lot of upkeep, can't be stressing out our boy james with semi-arbitrary stuff like that haha

secondly, this might just be pure cyncism but let's not deny it lads; a lot of discussion on the forums, and who is considered "good" on this here sticky-ma-thig, is influenced by who gets the most up- (and down-) bananas, plus it allows people to easily disagree and dismiss someone's argument without actually providing anything as a counterpoint or analysis as to why they disagree. sure, it saves time in the long run for people, and allows discussions to flow more easier and quicker (since all it would take to refute someone is just a simple mouse click), but at cost of encouraging forum discussion and debate from a wide variety of users due to its simple nature of allowing someone to "state" how they feel. it also encourages a particular mindset within the forum itself, and how the general forum-goer should react or feel about something based on previous experiences (circle- cough cough cough). for a somewhat related example, here's an experiment i did on riff-raff ages ago relating to how karma enables a certain view of what is acceptable and what isn't without really explaining why this view is the norm.

tho it is riff-raff so feel free 2 ignore, ladies

this can be a good thing tho, it encourages and perhaps, can't believe i'm gonna type this, even motivate users to act in a particular way which can be beneficial to the site itself and allow it to be more accessible to newcomers, plus it allows users to have an easy "say" in the handling of community matters and discussions.

another point i wanna bring up: karma and its technical issues, the most common motive for the removal of the karma system. i've heard from multiple people, mods and regular users who wish to remain anonymous like taryn, doeoeod and archaicex, that simply giving karma somewhat rapidly on the forum causes a lot of stress on the server. i can't fathom why since i'm not too technically literate, but i guess it's because it's a variable in the coding used for the function that's easily altered? idk i'm throwing my shit at the wall

this point i can't really counter-argue without knowledge as to how much pressure karma puts on kym's data server, and if it really is that bothersome to warrant its removal.

if it is too much of an issue, i'd vote for its removal; if not, i'd say keep it, or preferably rework it, since karma does have its benefits of encouraging potentially helpful standards, but in its current form it's a bit too easy to manipulate to help foster a circle- dies

and the comment section? outside of image/video comments, i don't really see the point of having karma on entry comments as well, since majority of the website's traffic comes here just to shitpost and get some cool memes from the image galleries, which i'm all up for

Last edited Apr 04, 2017 at 06:37PM EDT

I think the problem lies not within Karma itself but the bury function. Recently this post, and I'm not condemning/endorsing it just pointing it out as the source of my train of thought, was posted as a warning to avoid burying opposing viewpoints to help encourage discussion.

I personally think that allowing individuals to vote silently on their opinion of the quality of a post is what helps this site form sub-communities and foster a communal metric of quality for both research and discussion purposes. I and many other users do not have the time or experience in researching topics like some of our pundits do but the contributions they make to this site are as important as any art submission or video submission. The exchange of opinions is what builds this social media site, and upboats/downboats are the metric by which this community builds its standards.

That being said, I think the bury function is the antithesis to that. Forcing a user's opinion to be buried simply because it is unpopular enough is what diminishes ideas, not upvotes/downvotes. I see a collection of downvotes as "this many individuals disagree with this opinion/research" while a bury is "we shall not have this opinion/research here". If that's the case, a buried comment is what prevents discussion while downvotes themselves ARE a part of discussion. Downvoting is voicing your opinion not through a lengthy solliloquy but through a quick yet effective jab; burying is actively preventing opinions from reaching others.

I see the need for burying, or something LIKE it; we have the NSFW and Spoiler tags in comments after all. But I do not see the use for it as a means of hiding unpopular opinions, and I think that is more the source of issues. It prevents users from voting because "oh he's buried so there's no point in exacerbating it further" and prevents opinions from reaching people from them being hidden and the fear of them being hidden.

I believe for these reasons removing the bury feature of downvoting will aid the perceived karma problem. I think if an alternative to the buried feature were introduced, like say a spam flag, it could be used to block out the truly unnecessary messages like bots and trolls while allowing unpopular opinions to still be seen for the sake of strengthening discourse.

How about moving the moving the bury threshold up, from 5 down votes to 10?

The only place I'm seeing what I consider an issue is in Politics General, and I am considering it an issue there because there are one only one or two liberal posters who post there with any regularity, and they're usually getting 1-2 likes and about 6-8 down votes with every post. (For what it's worth, the conservative posts generally get 5-5 likes and 1-2 down votes)

Seems like any easy solution to the issue there would be moving up the threshold, but I'm not sure how that would play out in the other sections of the forums and/or the comments section.

The only place I’m seeing what I consider an issue is in Politics General

What you are suggesting is akin to emptying a septic tank with some sponges and a squeegee. If anything, karma should just be disabled on these huge, flamebait-y discussion threads, which are begging for trouble to begin with. An instant "I agree/I disagree" type of voting system has no place in a thread where the average post length is 25 lines. The only reasonable reason for a comment to be buried in a thread whose sole purpose is to promote serious, fact-based discussion is that it is either off-topic, intentionally erroneous, or not serious in nature. All of which are grounds for having the post removed entirely.

In the thread you describe, karma has become the de-facto moderation system for killing posts that a majority of people disagree with. Political discussion and similar modes are also the most frequently-cited cases for why karma should be removed – something I'm inclined to agree with in these specific instances. If this isn't the opposite of what "discussion" means, I don't know what is.

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