EA Forum readers should arguably vote such that the comments/posts/tags which have more karma, thus being more visible, are also the ones which deserve more attention. I wonder what this implies in terms of voting norms. Should one vote based on:

  • Value?
    • Do not vote if the comment/post/tag is roughly neutral.
    • Upvote (downvote) if the comment/post/tag is good (bad).
    • Strongly upvote (downvote) if the comment/post/tag is very good (bad).
  • Difference between current and desired karma?
    • Do not vote if the comment/post/tag has roughly as much karma as desired.
    • Upvote (downvote) if the comment/post/tag has less (more) karma than desired.
    • Strongly upvote (downvote) if the comment/post/tag has much less (more) karma than desired.
  • Confidence about the sign of the difference between current and desired karma?
    • Do not vote if not confident the comment/post/tag should have more or less karma.
    • Upvote (downvote) if confident the comment/post/tag should have more (less) karma.
    • Strongly upvote (downvote) if very confident the comment/post/tag should have more (less) karma.
  • Other?
  • A combination of the above?

My question is about voting under the current voting system. However, there is also the option of changing it, as discussed here by Nathan Young.




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I prefer voting based on value. The other two voting strategies strike me as uncooperative. If you only downvote when you think a score is too high / upvote when you think it's too low, then you're canceling out someone else's vote. And if you don't vote when you think a score is good, then you're causing someone else's vote to have zero counterfactual value (because you will upvote if and only if someone else doesn't upvote).

Thanks for commenting, Michael!

I share your concerns, and historically I have been voting based solely on the 1st approach. However, I have recently started to think about the 2nd and 3rd, as I think neglectedness considerations should have some weight. If I see 2 posts which (to me) are roughly equally valuable, one has 20 karma, and the other has 200, it seems that upvoting the former is more pressing than upvoting the latter.

It is true that votes are fungible in the 2nd and 3rd approaches. However, that also applies to donations to different charities.

Is there really a tradeoff? Once you've read a post/comment and thought about what its karma should be, it takes hardly any time to click the button! I agree it might be altruistic of you to read low-karma posts sometimes and upvote them if they're good, but I don't think "selecting what to read" is what's being described here
Vasco Grilo
I did not mean to suggest the time to vote was an important factor. I agree. My comment above was not clear, but with "if I see 2 posts" I did not mean "if I see 2 posts on the frontpage, and I am deciding on which to click". I meant that if I happen to read 2 recent posts at roughly the same time (often I am checking the posts from the EA Forum Digest), and they feel similarly good to me, I would be more likely to upvote the one with less karma. For tags, I give more weight to the 3rd method. For example, if I only know a little about a topic, I will not strongly upvote/downvote the tag on a given post, because I do not feel confident about its value relative to other posts with the same tag.
I'm the same way with tags, I like posts to be accurately placed within the tag

I vote mainly based on the first

Personally, I vote according to a combination of the 3 norms described above, but wonder about the weight I should give to each one.