Originally posted by divegeester
I think this subject should be revisited. The thumbing system is a nice idea but is currently wasted as anonymous thumbing encourages the system to be used as a popularity platform for the posters rather than the posts.
I motion that thumbs are no longer anonymous.
And others would wish to control others' expression of free speech.
Secret ballots work on the same principle. In countries with a repressive regime, the government, knowing your vote, could elect to punish you for your vote. Some countries might have powerful cartels that could "send over some visitors" to your house to convince you to vote for them. And even online forums have groups of users who could make life difficult for those who disagree with them, to the point of making their online time just not worth the hassle they get every day for daring to show their disagreement. And this is why any votes on posts should remain anonymous, to protect those who dare to disagree.
Rather than ask that thumbs be taken away, certain cliques would wish that you be "enabled" to thumb them down, but they know that by moving to strip the thumbs of their secrecy, they strip away the freedom to vote against them. And then they would point to still having the "ability" to thumb down as somehow "proof" that people are agreeing with whatever nastiness they post. Secret agendas are often the worst kind.
"anonymous thumbing encourages the system to be used as a popularity platform for the posters rather than the posts"
This argument is specious in the extreme. It presupposes that people who get thumbed down are really actually writing "great" posts, and they therefore "must" be getting thumbed down because "someone" doesn't "like" them. Certain people get a high percentage of thumbs down on their posts simply because people disagree with those posts. When nasty people write nasty posts, this should be expected. Perhaps those who receive a high percentage of thumbs down should re-evaluate their posting here.
And that is the easy solution to this non-problem. If you're getting a lot of thumbs down, perhaps you're writing nasty posts that people disagree with. This is the reason for the thumbs system in the first place. For users to police their own forums. If someone writes posts with a nasty attitude, the forum will let them know with thumbs down. I realize that some people just cannot handle criticism of any kind. But this is no reason to remove the free speech of everyone in that forum, just because some cannot handle criticism.
I remember when there were no thumbs down. Only "recs", for "recommendations". This is what caused the forums to be used as a popularity contest. Those with the most "recs" often claimed they were the best posters, but this was a ridiculous claim, as there was no tally of those who disagreed. Some online forums still handle the issue in this way, all in the name of being "Politically Correct". People don't like being disagreed with and so some online forums still refuse to allow a tally of those who disagree. Most forums, at least those who aren't afraid of letting people exercise their free speech right to disagree, do keep a tally of "up" or "down" votes.
Remove the ability of online forums to police themselves and moderators would have to pick up the slack. Moderators typically aren't as invested in online forums as the users are. And more recently, the lack of good moderation has shown that some people are having their voices heard by the moderators, and some others aren't; simply because those whom the moderators choose to hear don't like the others because those others disagree with them. Eventually, the forums end up with one unified nasty voice, driving even new users from the forum. Anonymous votes on posts give everyone the exact same level playing field, the voice of diversity, where new ideas are explored and the site gets better over time. Anonymous votes allow those who disagree with the nasty voices room to disagree without reprisal, to make their voice heard above those who would silence them.
The thumbs system can only work if it IS anonymous. Take away that anonymity and you might as well take the system away completely, because having a thumb system *without* anonymity creates a true popularity contest and separates posters into "sides". Those people who can't handle the criticism of getting thumbed down because they write crap posts know that keeping a thumbs system in place but removing the anonymity factor artificially removes some of those annoying down thumbs, while doing nothing to reduce their up thumbs, allowing them their dream of acceptance by the masses. Think about it. Only those who get thumbed down now want the anonymity removed. They cannot handle the criticism of down thumbs. They'll do anything to satisfy their desire for acceptance, even if they have to resort to artificial measures. Because they know that they can reduce the down thumbs by creating a "shame" list of those who thumb their posts down.
This cannot be the intention of those who put the thumbs system in place.