Potentially malicious downvoting on the “fix the code” exercises... | SoloLearn: Learn to code for FREE!

+17

Potentially malicious downvoting on the “fix the code” exercises...

Since SoloLearn started having its “fix the code” exercises, I’ve noticed an increase in seemingly malicious downvoting. Comments with answers are downvoted with no comment explaining why, even though they’re correct. Is there any way to report this behavior? Downvotes can’t be viewed, so I’m not sure which user or users is doing this. It seems like the same behavior that happens on contests where people downvote others to push their own comment/code up by comparison. It’s an unfair use of the downvoting privilege. It could really discourage new users from posting answers and code, which would be a shame. Just an idea to consider: perhaps users who submit a high number of downvotes should be automatically flagged to be investigated. Users abusing the privilege should be warned and/or have their downvote ability limited or disabled. This abuse of downvoting makes SoloLearn a less enjoyable, productive place to learn, so I hope something is done on the backend of things.

2/3/2019 7:30:50 PM

sky_blue02

19 Answers

New Answer

+17

Honestly great suggestion, I'll forward it to some other mods to see what they think of it 👍 As for the downvote abuse, it is against the guidelines to downvote people for no real reason, and they're usually warned by the mods (who can see that they've been downvoting) to stop. Do you know any specific post you've seen this happening in? I can't exactly do much about it, but letting some platinum mods know might help with the situation, and having a source would just make it easier to find who might be downvoting everyone else's codes/posts.

+8

Faisal Thank you for your reply. Here is one of the recent ones: https://code.sololearn.com/cA9g8ijuJu84/?ref=app There was another obvious one, but I don’t recall which post it was in (there have been a lot of “fix the code” exercises lately). Should I add other links here when they come up? Just let me know. I’d like to help stop this problem. Thank you for passing on my suggestion!

+6

sky_blue02 Yeah I just took a look at the code and there does seem to be a lot of comments with 1 or 2 dislikes that really aren't necessary :/ Thanks for letting me know though 👍 Lucky Luke Assignments and contests seem to be a popular place for people to barrage others with downvotes for some reason, so I'll definitely forward that too to some other mods

+6

sky_blue02 Yeah, i support your idea

+5

No problem! d: If you ever see anything you think might be downvote abuse, the best thing you could do would be to report it to the mods, so it would definitely help to link to the posts/codes you find have some sort of suspicious thing going on in.

+5

Two legitimate uses of downvotes that come to my mind are for spam/ads in q&a or bad and misleading answers. Lucky Luke, 6 downvotes, that's harsh! Seems like you attracted some attention with your code (seeing it got 80+) - also of the bad kind.

+5

I absolutely agree with Shtisim Lukshen. Why downvote at all? If someone's code is not very advanced, you don't have to upvote it. Maybe leave a suggestion how to improve it. If you don't agree with a post, leave a constructive comment. If the post is too political or extreme, report it. I really don't understand why it's possible to downvote anonymously. If you want to criticize someone, tell him or her why and show your face! There should not be room for spineless anonymous haters.

+5

sky_blue02 Lucky Luke Sorry to get back so late! After bringing this up to the other mods, they said that they've been trying for a while now to get rid of this issue, but there hasn't been too much luck with that. Although they can see downvotes, the platinum mods can't exactly remove them, and banning or warning the user generally does nothing. They are working on different ways to get rid of it, but for now the best thing I could do is to say that although you guys might've gotten hit pretty hard, no one seems to be targeting you directly and have been hitting everyone else with downvotes too. Sorry we couldn't do too much else 🤷‍♂️

+5

Personally I think that downvotes (DV) should not exist. The point of the platform is to help each other learn...how exactly do DV contribute to learning? To me, a DV is the attribution of bad motive, as if to scolded one. I assume everyone on the platform wants to learn, so rather than a DV, why not give a reply and help the person with an explanation (of course that assumes that you want to help people learn rather than brag about yourself). Bragging builds one up and pushes others down. That is what a DV does as well...just saying. So why not eliminate the DV, it will make SoloLearn a better platform for learning. If a comment is spam it can be reported. If you don't like a comment or code, don't upvote it. If an answer is wrong or off the mark why not reply and explain why. If someone's comments are abusive or unkind, report it. That's my two cents. I have determined that I will not use the DV functionality of the app as I feel it misses the mark on the spirit of the platform.

+4

Also, assignment comments get a lot of downvotes. Here is one. https://www.sololearn.com/learn/5676/?ref=app My own comment in this assignment got 6 downvotes without reason. Implementing a downvote limit or something similar is necessary, in my opinion.

+4

sky_blue02 you are talking about, establishing a limit number of downvotes a user can post, if exceeded, then that user should be investigated?

+4

Lito Delcid Yes, a limit of a certain number of downvotes within a certain period of time. I’m sure if those who abuse downvoting have their logs looked at, it could be seen that they downvote more than average and in bursts (against competitors on a contest thread, for example). By setting notifications for when this behavior occurs, downvote abuse could be more easily stopped. Those who abuse the priviledge could have their downvote ability throttled or temporarily, or even permanently disabled (for serious offenders). Someone else had mentioned disallowing downvotes until someone reaches a certain level. I think this would be a good idea, not because new users downvote inappropriately, but because it would make it harder for those who maliciously downvote to create a dummy account just for downvoting others. These are just some ideas I had (and others shared or expanded upon). I had started this thread out of concern for malicious downvoting and to see who to notify. But the replies have been great in terms of ideas for stopping it. I hope SoloLearn will consider these suggestions. I think we have a great community here and it is important to keep that intact by combatting malicious behavior. 😊

+3

I should really downvote this thread, just to demonstrate the urgency of the matter... 😂 In all seriousness, I don't quite understand why the downvote option exists altogether. You don't like someone's post? Just don't upvote it! That simple! I would dare to say that 95-98% of downvotes are cast not to voice disapproval, but to promote self-interests, thus defeating the whole purpose of the button. P.S. I also see no purpose in one's ability to upvote their own posts. I guess that's for another discussion, though.

+3

sky_blue02, I think the mere number of downvotes can be misleading: Someone might read a few days of q&a and downvote every spam post that was missed by the mods, in order to mark it as bad content. Another person might be careful with the downvotes and use them only to harm a certain person. Numerically better, ethically worse. I like the idea of blocking downvotes for low-levelled accounts for the dummy-account reason. Another problem I saw in the past: Even when there was malicious downvoting going on, the downvotes were never revoked. Maybe the accounts were silently banned, but if the downvotes stay, the harm will still be done. And that especially hits people who are new and don't have many followers, because you quickly shoot down their codes or posts if you get them into the negatives. That visible minus is like a stink: People will stay away from it.

+3

HonFu That is why I said that accounts would be marked for investigation, not throttled or stopped from downvoting automatically. This would allow a person to verify whether someone was flagged for the right reason and to act accordingly (with a warning, throttling, etc.). It is true that some users might target someone specific, and downvoting one user over and over could be added into the filter to flag a user for investigation. It is also true that some users might downvote spam (though the report/flag function is more appropriate for that). This wasn’t an idea to fix all malicious downvoting. It was just an idea to help stop some of the worst offenders. Some may have different behavior patterns. But if people pay attention to what those patterns are, they can be added to the filter as well. Removing downvotes after a user is banned should be automatic, if it isn’t already being done — particularly if they were banned for malicious downvoting and other such behavior. It is strange if they would keep such downvotes intact.

+2

Faisal Thank you again! I just wanted to mention, there are a lot of posts on that exercise now, but initially, there were just a few with all but one or two downvoted to -1. So it had been pretty obvious to start.

+2

Faisal Thank you very much!

+2

HonFu I agree about the legitimate uses of downvotes under certain circumstances. I think spam/ads could be reported instead of downvoted if there were some desire to get rid of downvoting. For bad or misleading answers, I think a comment is more useful as it helps to teach/inform so that the mistake is not made again. The only time I think I have downvoted (I rarely downvote anyone) is when a user is coming off as cruel or unreasonable and it feels like their comment hurts the SoloLearn community. If they are very inappropriate, I report them. But, sometimes a comment skates the line, so I just downvote. Also, sometimes in suggestion threads, people downvote to disagree with a suggestion that a user made. I would consider this a very neutral use of downvoting, as it is really not against the user. It is just a matter of putting weight behind the ideas one wants or does not want. (For example, when suggestions for SoloLearn were discussed.)

+1

HonFu Well put!