I wish dev.to had downvoting because there it would make it easier to wade through what is mostly useless content.
If you feel like the content is useless you may only have a few choices to deal with it:
Down voting is not a totally stupid idea but I would change the UX. If you actively down vote a post you need to write why. This might also help improve the community in the process: "I disagree with you because..." or "I think you should have googled a little bit more because the answer is the third result on a normal google search"
+1 on this, I never really understood the reason for downvoting. If you don't agree with something you can just ignore it, if you feel it's in some way offensive you should be able to report it.
It's not like if you don't like something in google's search you can 'downvote it' out of the search results.
I guess an equivalent instead of 'downvoting' would be to be able to ban certain people's replies so you don't see them unless you want to.
I think there's a purpose for downvoting but it should be the equivalent of saying in real life: "I disagree with you for this reason or that reason".
Simple downvoting is a catalyst for "anonymous" disagreement. It lets the downvoter feel good because they said "no" and it lets the poster feel dismayed because they'll not know what they did wrong.
As you said abuse can simply be reported, disagreement should be explicit or, in fact, can be let unexpressed.
Hiding other people's content or replies is just a mean of organizing your own feed a-la-Facebook, I don't know how I feel about it. It's a means of survival in a generalist social network like FB but I wouldn't instinctively put it in dev.to
I think my biggest issue with downvoting is that an 'outside the norm' idea that might be 'against' a community will be downvoted into irelevance. Maybe downvoting, but keeping the same design ?
Yes it's true. The risk of creating a crowd mentality is not insignificant.
"I'm downvoting you because you're not allowed to post something I deem irrelevant with the spirit of this website or with my own preferences".
It's a slippery slope.
I would make it very hard to downvote someone. As I said, you want to downvote? Ok, you need to tell the author why at least :-D
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