The Reddit Down Vote: What's Up With That?
I've got a question, I'm hoping that you can help me with the answer, and I'll get right to it: What makes a redditor down-mod a submission? I'll tell you right now that I've Google'd many articles on this particular subject and most of them didn't make any sense to me. There is, for instance, the classic high-and-mighty "yeah, right" that says that an article should only be down-modded if it's written poorly. The theory maintains that a well-written article should be left happily alone - even if one disagrees with its content. Yeah, that all sounds grand and noble, but it's so much twaddle as far as I'm concerned. An exquisitely-written article that provides instruction on baby harp seal killing is destined for a date with the down arrow as far as I'm concerned. Let's face it: Sometimes, content trumps style. But what about other articles? What about submissions that are from all appearances interesting, timely, and even helpful? Why do they get voted down? Case in point: A little while ago, I ran across an article discussing a gene therapy that had been used to successfully reverse sickle cell anemia. Sicle cell anemia! That's a serious problem that is probably faced by millions of people, and here a poster had discovered an article that offered a little beacon of hope. Hope that perhaps many people didn't even know existed. The article had a score of 1. Included in that score was a single down vote. Now, not even dealing with the paltry number of up-votes, how could someone vote something like that down? I mean, that's like voting down a post that announces the discovery of a cure for cancer. What's up with that? I felt sorry for the post and modded it up to protest the injustice - at the same time, asking myself: What in the world goes through people's minds? And here's the kicker: Today I ran across an article that asked readers to download an engine that would allow their computer power to aid in cancer research. That article had a more respectable 4 points (still with 2 down votes, though!). So why was this submission more worthy than the other? And for that matter, what was behind those 2 down votes? Is there a disturbance in the force that I am unaware of? Someone give me a clue, here, because I sure can't beg, borrow or steal a decent one for myself. I got nothin' but the few clues that I've run across in my reading, and they are listed below. Do any of these make sense? Are there reasons that I haven't thought of?
- No matter what the content, new articles get voted down because they are competing with someone else's submission. For the post from user "itsallaboutme" to live, the competition must die.
- The article touches on a personal pet peeve. I've down-modded one or two submissions that committed this sin, myself, but I can't see how the two above examples apply.
- Users check out another person's karma to help them make a decision about upping or downing an article. Good is up, bad is down. If this is the case, what's the magic karma threshold?
- The article is a dupe, and so must die no matter how excruciatingly exquisite the content.