Do the "upvote" and "downvote" features as well as "agree" and "disagree" for comments contribute to a groupthink mentality?I have been actively using the forum for only a few days (though I have been familiar with it for a while) and I can't help but feel it has the same dog-pile, group think mentality as other social media platforms such as twitter (which I now avoid for this very reason). People are a) more likely to comment what they think the status quo will agree with because there are clear incentives to do so and b) unlikely to say what they really think because they might get downvoted to oblivion (is that really necessary)? I also think this sort of platform may be even worse than twitter because you can upvote and downvote without actually having to say why, or attach your name to doing so. It makes it so you can "disagree" with people without actually substantiating why you disagree.It seems like this platform would be just as good if you could only upvote and downvote the actual post itself, rather than comments too. Is it really so difficult to just respond to someone and say why you disagree, rather than just hitting a button that requires no mental work or justification at all?EDIT: Someone shared that you can hide the karma scores of comments by clicking the eye on the bottom right
Regardless of deeper issues, I don't think it would be a good idea to remove votes on comments. Many popular EA posts can have dozens or hundreds of comments, and despite the risk of groupthink, I do believe it's helpful for highly-upvoted comments to rise to the top of comment threads. It might not be maximally helpful, but it seems more helpful to read the top N comments of a popular post than reading through a subsection of the newest comments of that post, provided those top N comments are at least mostly correlated with what they should be.
Thanks, that's a helpful response and gives me some reason to believe that the "upvote" function is useful, despite the negative consequence of group-think. I wonder if it would be possible to have a feature like this, where things can get upvoted, and thus moved up on the list of comments displayed, without the number of upvotes being there. While it would still be obvious that comments at the top are the most popular, I still think our monkey brains would be less likely to register it as "oh, this is something I should like". Do you think the "downvote" is useful?
Strongly agree about the vote counts, I've been using a browser plugin to hide them for a couple months now. I think it should be a forum option and probably the default.
I like the idea of trying this as an optional feature, either on a user opt-in level, or a thread opt-in level similar to how agreement voting started out. I think that would provide a lot of the value of upvotes in a comment thread and potentially remove a lot of the downsides, and I think that's definitely worth exploring - you should submit the idea! (Maybe after figuring out whether user-level or thread-level would fit better)I do think the downvote is useful as well. While you can again get cascading effects (Something gets downvoted, people are predisposed to think negatively of it, people are more likely to downvote) I think it's a good thing for people to be able to downvote things they disagree with. One major benefit of this is that new people to the forum can see when an idea doesn't match the EA consensus on an issue. This is a good thing, for non-groupthink reasons. Some ideas, for instance, are just really bad internet-crackpot takes, and I wouldn't want someone new to the forum to think that we agreed with them. Other ideas are not internet-crackpot tier, but EA's disagree with them generally - I think it's helpful for people to know that too, so they can understand what EA's generally believe, whether they then agree with those views or not. (If not, it would be a good signal that better arguments for this idea would be a worthy use of time!)That said, I think there should be a general norm of explaining a downvote if you're downvoting something which doesn't already have one attached, so people don't just get downvoted with no idea why. I think EA does better about this than most places but is not perfect.
I think someone made an internet plugin once that hides the karma score of each comment... But not sure what it's called or whether it's kept up to date!
https://ea.greaterwrong.com/ has a feature which does this; it's an eye on the bottom right.
That said, I think there should be a general norm of explaining a downvote if you're downvoting something which doesn't already have one attached, so people don't just get downvoted with no idea why. I think EA does better about this than most places but is not perfect.
Yes I agree.