Stack Exchange is currently looking for volunteers for their 1 reputation voting test. The Arqade mod team has decided that we’re fine with opting into this experiment, but we believe it’s a decision that should be made with input from the entire Arqade community.
What’s 1 reputation voting?
The short version is that 1 reputation voting means that any registered user would be allowed to vote on posts, both up (normally requires 15 rep) and down (normally requires 125 rep), and downvoting answers will be made free (it normally costs 1 rep to downvote answers). Stack Exchange believes that this change will improve the user experience, which will make it more likely that new users will become regular users of the site. They also believe this increased engagement will assist long term users as well, since their posts will see more engagement. For more details, I encourage you to read the original meta post.
What’s the experiment?
Stack Exchange has spent many months behind the scenes planning, and doing research, and they’re now at the point that they need to move beyond theory and start getting real-world feedback on 1-reputation voting. To that end, they want to implement the change on a few sites so they can start collecting data on how effective the change is at improving the user experience. They also plan to collect data and feedback on the downsides to the change as well, such as if it leads to a misuse in voting by spam accounts.
The data and feedback collected will be used to determine if:
- The change has the desired effect
- If any new community and mod tools will be required if the change is made permanent
- If the pros outweigh the cons
When would the experiment start?
Assuming we opt-in and are selected, then the experiment would start sometime within the next few weeks to a couple of months. The vague timeline is because Stack Exchange plans to do data collection before the experiment starts so they can set some baseline statistics on the things they’re testing.
Why does the mod team want to opt-in to the experiment?
The mod team believes that if the change is successful in improving the user experience, then that’s fantastic, and that it’s something we should consider implementing permanently. Do we have doubts and concerns that it’ll work? Absolutely. It’s entirely possible this whole thing will blow up in our faces. However, we can’t know for certain which way the change will go until we actually try it out. In other words, in order to know what the outcome of this change will be, we need to conduct SCIENCE!.
Could this result in a bunch of extra work for the mod team?
Absolutely. We fully expect to see an increase in our workload while this experiment is in effect, but we have a fairly large team, and we believe we have more than enough capacity to handle the increased workload. In fact, one of the things being tested is just how much this changes increases the workload of the mod team. If it’s too large, then SE may decide that either additional moderation tools or moderators may be needed if this change was made permanent.
What if this turns out to be a total disaster?
If this whole thing blows up in our faces, then the CM Team has assured us that we can roll back the change fairly quickly. They plan to work very closely with the mod team to assist us with any problems that may arise, and they’ve told us they will prioritize improving tools/settings quickly to combat any issues.
So what are you looking for from the community?
The main thing we’re turning to the community for is to determine if Arqade wants to take part in the experiment. We’d also like to hear any concerns and questions you have, but the main thing we’re wondering is if the community thinks we should participate in this experiment.