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Subject: Eliminate thumbs! (and other thumb related ideas) rss

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Jason Reid
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
sgosaric wrote:
Probably. I'm a professor of philosophy by education, science is a recent fad, hasn't been around even for a millennia. And the way science works is that one needs 50 years of research for what a common sense could have told you yesterday. But common sense can be confronted by another common sense and that's why I love well argumented statements.


It's even worse than that in any sort of study involving psychology or other human behavior sciences. Some of these disciplines are barely a century old, and already their ethical guidelines have evolved to the point where it's extremely expensive and difficult to scientifically "prove" things in this domain. Real, controlled experiments that attempt to manipulate the significant behaviors of human subjects have become (justifiably) taboo.

We can probably get more from common sense, anecdotes, and proverbs than we can from behavioral science research these days. Not that the science is valueless...just limited.

Quote:
New proposal:
What about a day without thumbs?
(once per year)


Clever.
 
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Russ Williams
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
sgosaric wrote:
Example:

I post a reasonable (meaning backed up with reasoning and arguments) critique of this or that gaming phenomenon. I don't say it's the universal truth, but it's my statement and am willing to debate it.
But what can I do when somebody posts "hater's gonna hate" pic?

I'm with you on that. Such blithe and shallow meme-ish dismissals of carefully written comments can be annoying.

But I believe I often see that at many places on the internet, whether or not the place has thumbs (or some equivalent). Heck, forget the Internet: it happens frequently in real life too. It just seems part of human nature and society to some degree, doesn't it?

I'm not convinced thumbs increase that phenomenon of facile mocking dismissals. But I'm not saying they don't; just that I'm not convinced. It would be interesting to see some actual attempt to objectively measure it somehow. (I guess you might mock that as science slowly confirming something that your common sense says is true? But common sense is often wrong, and different people's common sense often says different things...)
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David Oldster
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
This has been an intriguing discussion. Thanks for starting it.
 
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Daniel Kearns
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
hskrfn822 wrote:
sgosaric wrote:
clearclaw wrote:
Leonithic wrote:
The easiest solution is for the individual reading the forums to ignore thumbs and any affect they might raise in them. Then they can judge each thread on its perceived value to them and have a more enjoyable time here.


That assumes that thumbs do not change the content that others generate and thus change what they have available to read -- which is false.


Agree on this one.

Certain kind of comments won't get posted with thumb system as they'll get ignored (in partical the longer ones that take more effort). I'm still sticking with my statement of thumbing encourages trolling.

But the biggest issue is this: if you rely on other people crowds to direct you to a worthwhile content you might miss the rest. For instance reading only highly thumbed posts to understand a lionger thread, you won't read the best posts, you'll read what people before you found as interesting. Now if you'll lucky you were of the same page as them, if you're not so lucky you are now. Yes, every group and every community is subject to groupthink, but why should we encourage it?



Please explain how thumbing encourages trolling.


I'm not sure I can explain it but there are lots of examples.

Here's one:

Why Kingdom Builder Sucks

On page 3, the OP cops to why the title was written so provocatively (advertising) and there's the implicit statement that the more thumbs you have earned historically is proportional to the quality of your opinion and hence your value on the site.

Subsequently, thumbs are discussed.

I guess you have to decide whether the review I linked above constitutes trolling but it reminded me of the present conversation anyway.
 
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Samo Gosaric
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
russ wrote:
It would be interesting to see some actual attempt to objectively measure it somehow.

Day without thumbs perhaps?

I'm not quite sure how to approach it.

I guess the best way would be to just hide all thumbs so that you don't see them, if its possible (Because if we just blocked giving thumbs for one day, thumbs would still remain form previous days).
 
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J C Lawrence
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
sgosaric wrote:
And there's also the agenda that J C has been pushing for: as protocols will shape the discussion - if a protocol is designed in a way to enhance emotional response, content will be more emotional (or "funny") as a result. Which has it's (+) and (-) sides, of course.
...
I post a reasonable (meaning backed up with reasoning and arguments) critique of this or that gaming phenomenon. I don't say it's the universal truth, but it's my statement and am willing to debate it.
But what can I do when somebody posts "hater's gonna hate" pic?


My largest beef, and this is not constrained to BGG, is the move in 'net communications and behavior to a modern re-casting of "social behavior" in terms of tribal formation instead of civic behaviour. Bluntly, this bugs the crap out of me near to the point of automatic allergic reaction. The haters-gotta-hate picture is a fairly direct outcome of this shift, or at least a direct expression of it in terms the THEMs-vs-USss along a nicely unexaminable gut-reaction line with no nuance, detail or shades of gray.

Ptui.

Quote:
So what do you do?


By default I decline to react, externally or internally.
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J C Lawrence
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
russ wrote:
I'm not convinced thumbs increase that phenomenon of facile mocking dismissals. But I'm not saying they don't; just that I'm not convinced.


The most I'd say is that the presence of a thumb-system ala BGG's encourages a social formation which allows such responses.

 
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Samo Gosaric
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
dkearns wrote:
I'm not sure I can explain it but there are lots of examples.

Here's one:

Why Kingdom Builder Sucks


Sweet Jesus Mary...

This was approved by geekmod as a review?
goo
Maybe that old idea of mine to start reviewing would actually be valuable for a boardgaming community given the current state of affairs and the level "reviewing" is at.

Now this:

Tygo wrote:
Trent, you may disagree with my opinion, and that is fine, but saying I have nothing of merit to contribute to the discussion is pretty ludicrous.

How many reviews do you have with more than 60 thumbs? Zero. You're 0/6.

How many do I have? Eight. 8/30. That's over 26% of the reviews that I've put pen to paper. Four of those are over 100, including this one.

Call me when you have something interesting to say.


Crossing the egocentric horizon and accelerating.

One thing is the personal attack, which borders on ad personam (which can give you serious trouble on some sites). Another thing is thinking that thumbs represent value to the community. Of course they do, of a sort. The question is what king of value. Zhe value this particular "review" has to the community is one of comedy at best and an excuse at game bashing at worse. Sure either way, it's fun. For some anyhow, for a minute at least. Now check how many thumbs many Matt Thrower's texts have, maybe not many, though his contribution to the community in sense of new ideas and putting a new light on old one is priceless and beyond doubt. And this is what a valuable contribution is: changing the set of knowledge and values a community has by multiplying and influencing what other people think.

I think the mods have to think of a new punishment: for a month you can't get any new thumbs.

Question: Should I be that reckless to post this on the mentioned thread? whistle
 
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Samo Gosaric
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
clearclaw wrote:
The most I'd say is that the presence of a thumb-system ala BGG's encourages a social formation which allows such responses.

A nice formulation I'd agree with as well.

For instance the "kingdom builder guy's" response wouldn't happen if it wasn't for the thumb system. Wouldn't change him, but wouldn't provide him with justification.

clearclaw wrote:
Quote:
So what do you do?


By default I decline to react, externally or internally.

What kind of reactions do you practice or would recommend?

 
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J C Lawrence
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
sgosaric wrote:
Wouldn't change him, but wouldn't provide him with justification.


Quite. I don't see it as causal, merely supporting.

Quote:
clearclaw wrote:
Quote:
So what do you do?


By default I decline to react, externally or internally.


What kind of reactions do you practice or would recommend?


Mostly I don't deign to respond to such inanity. I see no reason to legitemise or validate it either with a response or reaction. Encouraging the callow and inane is not going to improve matters. If the conversation does break down so far that a response seems needed, I pick one of the more abject textual responses and simply work through it phrase by phrase, sentence by sentence, dissecting and rendering its irrelevance. The post mind you, never the poster, and never emotionally -- just and only the objective content. I demolish just the objective content of the post and thus the things the post espouses directly or indirectly, point by point, nail by nail, and that's usually enough.
 
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
dkearns wrote:
hskrfn822 wrote:
sgosaric wrote:
clearclaw wrote:
Leonithic wrote:
The easiest solution is for the individual reading the forums to ignore thumbs and any affect they might raise in them. Then they can judge each thread on its perceived value to them and have a more enjoyable time here.


That assumes that thumbs do not change the content that others generate and thus change what they have available to read -- which is false.


Agree on this one.

Certain kind of comments won't get posted with thumb system as they'll get ignored (in partical the longer ones that take more effort). I'm still sticking with my statement of thumbing encourages trolling.

But the biggest issue is this: if you rely on other people crowds to direct you to a worthwhile content you might miss the rest. For instance reading only highly thumbed posts to understand a lionger thread, you won't read the best posts, you'll read what people before you found as interesting. Now if you'll lucky you were of the same page as them, if you're not so lucky you are now. Yes, every group and every community is subject to groupthink, but why should we encourage it?



Please explain how thumbing encourages trolling.


I'm not sure I can explain it but there are lots of examples.

Here's one:

Why Kingdom Builder Sucks

On page 3, the OP cops to why the title was written so provocatively (advertising) and there's the implicit statement that the more thumbs you have earned historically is proportional to the quality of your opinion and hence your value on the site.

Subsequently, thumbs are discussed.

I guess you have to decide whether the review I linked above constitutes trolling but it reminded me of the present conversation anyway.


Without a doubt that example is what I would call trolling. My question was "how do thumbs encourage trolling?" I'm not certain what role thumbs played in this example. Without a doubt he used inflammatory language to draw attention, but I believe it was the title itself that drew people into the thread and compelled them to post replies, not thumbs or lack thereof. So assuming my belief is correct, what role did the thumb system play in regards to the original poster's intent? Is it your belief that a certain amount of thumbs acquired was sufficient enough to corroborate the poster's supposed belief that his thread was not only accepted, but desirable and appreciated? If so, what behavior are thumbs actually reinforcing? Also, what would the removal of the thumb system actually do in this instance? I find it hard to believe that he did what he did for thumb accumulation. His motivation was surely something other than acquiring thumbs, for as others have pointed out, this kind of behavior stirs a hornet's nest, but doesn't exactly elicit warm, fuzzy love, or thumbs, from others.
 
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J C Lawrence
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
hskrfn822 wrote:
If so, what behavior are thumbs actually reinforcing?


The posting of emotive participatory drama or that which encourages such.
 
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
clearclaw wrote:
hskrfn822 wrote:
If so, what behavior are thumbs actually reinforcing?


The posting of emotive participatory drama or that which encourages such.


Blanket statements like this are absurd. Sometimes people thumb things because it is a very good contribution - even without "emotive participatory drama."
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Daniel Kearns
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
hskrfn822 wrote:

If so, what behavior are thumbs actually reinforcing?


In that case? Low-content base grandstanding? Not sure.

I'm okay with the thumb system but I feel it does have negative consequences.

What answer you are looking for?
 
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J C Lawrence
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
wifwendell wrote:
clearclaw wrote:
hskrfn822 wrote:
If so, what behavior are thumbs actually reinforcing?


The posting of emotive participatory drama or that which encourages such.


Blanket statements like this are absurd. Sometimes people thumb things because it is a very good contribution - even without "emotive participatory drama."


Which doesn't negate my response. That thumbs encourage such behaviour doesn't prevent them from also encouraging other behaviours or of other behaviours also occurring in the presence of thumbs.
 
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
dkearns wrote:
hskrfn822 wrote:

If so, what behavior are thumbs actually reinforcing?


In that case? Low-content base grandstanding? Not sure.

I'm okay with the thumb system but I feel it does have negative consequences.

What answer you are looking for?


Whatever insight you might have felt willing to provide.

I can how some might find the thumb system to be at best, superfluous and at worst, conducive to behavior that should be discouraged, such as trolling. It is my observation that these phenomena occur even in forums with complete anonymity and lack of any thumb-type system. Thus, I don't see the logic in the removal of the system if some have found practical uses for it, just because I haven't.

I asked some of the questions I did to encourage others to voice their opinions, allowing me to gain some sort of insight into their own unique perspective. I'm seeking further understanding.
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Daniel Kearns
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
hskrfn822 wrote:
I'm seeking further understanding.


Yeah, beats me. I tend to think that the thumb system is more positive than negative, and to be clear, I wasn't advocating for them to be eliminated.

Who knows why people do what they do, I'm not even sure what motivates me on this site.

That said, I feel that the case I cited was one where someone clearly placed a high value on their thumb count and that this motivated them to either write the negative review in the first place or at very least caused them to grossly exaggerate a viewpoint to get the thumb count they wanted.

I won't say it happens all the time, but it wasn't hard for me to dig up that example either.
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Jason Reid
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
hskrfn822 wrote:
It is my observation that these phenomena occur even in forums with complete anonymity and lack of any thumb-type system. Thus, I don't see the logic in the removal of the system if some have found practical uses for it, just because I haven't.


The supposition is that the thumb-type system amplifies the frequency and magnitude of these phenomena. The logic of eliminating the thumbs is not to eliminate the phenomena (impossible), but to eliminate that amplification.

Without the thumbs providing the fertilizer that enables that kind of discourse to flourish, it's hoped that other forms may thrive.

That's the logic, anyway. One can disagree with the facts in whole or in part, but those are the dynamics that some people are observing.
 
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
clearclaw wrote:
russ wrote:
I'm not convinced thumbs increase that phenomenon of facile mocking dismissals. But I'm not saying they don't; just that I'm not convinced.


The most I'd say is that the presence of a thumb-system ala BGG's encourages a social formation which allows such responses.

Would stackoverflow.com therefore be better without its voting system?

It seems to me that the voting system is a positive constructive system there.

It still seems to me that the determining factor is not the presence or absence of a voting system (nor the distinction between a voting system with only + votes and a voting system which permits both + and - votes), but simply a conscious decision by the site as to what kind of forum policy it wants.

I see "stay focused, no stupid meme jokes" sites with and without voting systems, and I see "fluffy random tangent" sites with and without voting systems. The far more important determining factor seems to me to be the site's stated forum policy (and whether/how the stated policy is enforced).
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J C Lawrence
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
russ wrote:
Would stackoverflow.com therefore be better without its voting system?

It seems to me that the voting system is a positive constructive system there.


Stack Overflow has the significant difference of an external and objective arbiter (reality & code working or not). BGG has no such luxury.
 
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
clearclaw wrote:
russ wrote:
Would stackoverflow.com therefore be better without its voting system?

It seems to me that the voting system is a positive constructive system there.


Stack Overflow has the significant difference of an external and objective arbiter (reality & code working or not). BGG has no such luxury.

A good point in many cases, and I agree that this is helpful... but it's not quite so black and white as you suggest: certainly "reality" is often just as objective at BGG as well (e.g. rules questions, questions about whether a given game is designed for a certain number of players, questions about whether a given game includes randomness or hidden information, information about who did the art in a game's specific edition, certain mathematical analyses of games, etc etc.)

Conversely, plenty of subjective/recommendation type questions appear at stackoverflow just like at BGG (e.g. "what's the best way to do task X" or "what's a good library with blah-blah functionality" or "is it better to send a link to a page for password reset or to send an email with a new random password?" etc).

E.g. I have seen discussion groups about subjects that don't have as many objective methods of establish truth where nonetheless there is not a lot of joke/meme noise and the discussions stay on track. So it's not clear to me that having relatively objective "hard" subject matter is the primary factor here, instead of simply having an intentional policy.

... which also seems arguably the most obvious factor by Occam's razor, i.e. "Why does forum X stay on track? Is it because of the presence or absence of thumbs, or of the specific subject matter being more objectively analyzable, or some other such indirect reason? Hmm, wait, maybe it's simply because Forum X has an explicitly stated policy goal of staying on track!"

Hmm, the more I think about it, the more searching for indirect causes of a forum staying seriously on track or wandering frivolously (by considering thumbs and such) reminds me of a (quite possibly apocryphal) anecdote I read about the US army in World War II trying to develop a sophisticated test to determine by various factors (e.g. where someone was born, what their education and professional training was, their physical body type and condition, etc etc) whether they would perform better in the often cold European theater or in the often hot Pacific theater... after looking for all kinds of subtle correlations between various such factors and the soldier's actual performance in the cold or hot theaters of war, they eventually discovered that simply asking "do you prefer cold weather or hot weather?" was the most reliable predictor.
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
I've only read the last couple pages but I get the impression that its the group of serious people on BGG complaining about how the group of fluffy people act on BGG. Honestly I think removing the thumbs would do little to affect this situation aside from causing the fluffy people to spew a bunch more "+1" type thread responses.

I say subscribing to the people you like and ignoring the rest is the best way to shape one's BGG experience.
 
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BoardGameGeek » Forums » BoardGameGeek Related » BGG General
Re: Eliminate thumbs!
russ wrote:
Would stackoverflow.com therefore be better without its voting system?

It seems to me that the voting system is a positive constructive system there.

It still seems to me that the determining factor is not the presence or absence of a voting system (nor the distinction between a voting system with only + votes and a voting system which permits both + and - votes)...

You can't really compare the SE system with BGG's. BGG's is a + only popularity contest. SE's is a complete reputation system that consists of a true rating system for determining reputation, involving both up and down votes (the latter costing reputation to make), and privileges (such as the ability to edit posts, remove posts, retag, close threads, etc) accruing to reputation. If you spend any time on any of the reasonably well established SE sites, you'll see that the effect is stunning. (For example if you have a Mac question, don't bother with Apple's support forums, don't bother with any of the sites that have been around for decades, but try SE's site.)


 
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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
If the goal is to eliminate trolling, the best way to do so is to not allow users to comment, or tag other peoples submissions.

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Re: Eliminate thumbs!
aaarg_ink wrote:
I've only read the last couple pages but I get the impression that its the group of serious people on BGG complaining about how the group of fluffy people act on BGG. Honestly I think removing the thumbs would do little to affect this situation aside from causing the fluffy people to spew a bunch more "+1" type thread responses.

I say subscribing to the people you like and ignoring the rest is the best way to shape one's BGG experience.


It's funny how many people think that everyone should use BGG the same way they do, rate games the same way they do, thumb the same way they do...
And then they get all worked up that there are people who have different opinions than them.
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