39 Replies Latest reply on Nov 18, 2019 9:34 PM by phoenixcomm

    Could points for Helpful and Likes be Driving Wrong Behaviors?

    sjmill01

      I often am happy to see my inbox summary showing a lot of messages available to read, but then I often get disappointed because the majority of them are folks marking "helpful" in discussions I was part of. 

      The reason its disappointing is that it looks like they are nuking the entire discussion.  Every single person that commented is tagged with a like and helpful.  Even posts that are just saying "thanks for posting" are tagged as helpful or liked.  Total dilution of the purpose of the button.

       

      At first, I thought - well that's super friendly.  Then I dug a little further and looked at profiles of the users doing the nuking and I saw that what is happening is they are scoring 10 points per click.

       

      To me, this seems like the points rewards are driving the wrong behavior here.  A behavior that actually doesn't boost one's reputation in the real world - particularly, because it clutters my inbox with bogus helpful tags. Also, the person that took 3 hours to blog on something is getting less points than the guy nuking every comment as helpful.

       

      So, my feedback is, do we really need to reward for clicking like or helpful?  When someone is helpful, I'm compelled to click it anyway without the expectation of getting rewarded.  I know they'll get points and its a good virtual way to express thanks.

       

      Or, best yet, can I suppress the "helpful" notifications from my inbox?

       

      -Sean

        • Re: Could points for Helpful and Likes be Driving Wrong Behaviors?
          jw0752

          Hi Sean,

           

          I have always thought that a Like or a Helpful should confer points to the receiver and give no points to the actor. This would add meaning to the points. Unfortunately the system as it is set up generates a lot of activity and the fact that we reward ourselves at the same time as we compliment the receiver detracts from the meaning of what we are doing. I also think that notifications of who liked or found something helpful are not necessary. A long time ago when the system was first adopted I decided to participate with the Likes and Helpfuls but always read the posts and try to be supportive of the efforts of the authors. In the final analysis the only people who look at the points a person has and think they mean much may be that person. As I look at the top points people they all seem to belong at the top except me. While my age and time working in the field as a technician has given me life experience which I share, my actual knowledge and skill level in electronics is well below the exceptional members whose point totals do not properly reflect their knowledge and skills. My postings tend to the simple and I am not ashamed to ask questions that bespeak my lack of knowledge. This site is a wonderful place as people of every level of expertise are accepted and respected by the members. The members are the best of the best and when new people join they are quick to realize that snarky behavior is frowned upon. I wish the points situation more accurately reflected actual skills and performance but I believe the Platform of the site itself was designed to spark activity and perhaps competitiveness in a commercial enterprise and our Web Masters have been forced to use what has been provided as far as structure. We have actually had similar discussions about the points in the past. The best policy is to participate in anyway that you are comfortable with and be as helpful to others as your skill set will allow. Do not get preoccupied with those who seem to be gaming the points system as they are the ones that are being harmed by not taking the time to mine the wealth of knowledge that is daily offered here free of charge. The volume and quality of the posts that are made by a given member are what is respected by the members not the points attached to that members name.

           

          John

          7 of 7 people found this helpful
          • Re: Could points for Helpful and Likes be Driving Wrong Behaviors?
            lui_gough

            There are a few names that come to mind when it comes to Like/Helpful "bombing". It can be especially annoying when older threads suddenly seemingly get revived by a few liked/helpfuls for the sake of point collecting. There's probably a daily limit on those actions, but those who are point-hoarders will probably end up doing it consistently. Part of the reason is that unless you look at a thread in the inbox, the number of "helpfuls" is displayed, but the actual person that conferred the helpful rating is not, and I suspect some people might be hoping to hide their point-rigging behind this.

             

            In some senses, I would agree with your sentiment that it seems to be abused for point-gathering, but at the same point in time, it forms a game that results in people engaging with the forum in the sense that they come back to scroll through the threads to click the buttons. Whether they read the threads or not is another thing ... but the whole reputation centre was an engagement-driving feature, so I'm not sure how keen they would be to make changes. Perhaps as suggested by jw0752, it should not confer points to the person clicking helpful ... combined with stricter daily caps on points for helpfuls ...

             

            Other sites seem to do things a little differently - some call it "karma" but ultimately, you collect points from when others mark your posts helpful, which you can then dole out to other posts which you find helpful, starting with a limited budget of course. This perhaps inspires people to be a little more selective about handing out "helpfuls" only when it's genuinely deserved.

             

            - Gough

            4 of 4 people found this helpful
            • Re: Could points for Helpful and Likes be Driving Wrong Behaviors?
              neilk

              I agree. I don't see why you should get 15 points for clicking  "helpful", or 5 points for clicking "like" on someone else's post. Perhaps you need to get something as an incentive to support them, but I'm not totally sure about that. The only person who should definitely get points is the person who wrote the post.

               

              I also think that only getting 5 points for posting a reply often does not reflect the amount of work involved in composing the reply.

               

              Similarly (and I have said this before in another thread!) !5 points for a blog post frequently does not reflect the effort involved; however, a significant increase in this "reward" could easily lead to gamification by some unscrupulous members posting 1 line blogs!

               

              Neil

              • Re: Could points for Helpful and Likes be Driving Wrong Behaviors?
                Fred27

                As the points don't actually mean anything I think there's limited harm in over-eager like and helpful clicking. People are definitely engaged here, so it seems it's doing its job.

                 

                Maybe reducing the points to the person who clicked to one point would be a good balance? There's still some inventive to mark stuff you genuinely think it's good, but not enough to be worth carpet bombing.

                3 of 3 people found this helpful
                • Re: Could points for Helpful and Likes be Driving Wrong Behaviors?
                  neuromodulator

                  Or maybe add an option to disable the notification of helpful and likes while keeping notification of replies?

                  1 of 2 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Could points for Helpful and Likes be Driving Wrong Behaviors?
                    shabaz

                    Hi Sean,

                     

                    I hope (guessing) the abuse of people over-clicking so frequently is tiny, it is likely just a handful of people, so I agree with Fred27 there's limited harm, it seems not worthwhile to expend much effort, except the minor tweak here or there, like altering number of points etc. Also, I wonder if changing stuff could cause more harm than good, because maybe new multiple-clickers are just dipping their toe to get to do some interaction, and they are just waiting to take the next step and participate in discussions in written form. Some people might be auto-translating into their language or are for other reasons uncomfortable replying (e.g. kids), or may not have enough time, but still want to participate perhaps. I only suggest this because sometimes I may need some tech information from China sites, using auto-translate, but I never respond (and I couldn't even if I wanted too, since I do not have accounts with those sites). Anyway I'm only speculating : (

                    You're right it would be good to suppress it if it is getting in the way. So far it has not got in the way for me, it could be my settings (I see it in the 'Inbox' but I think I don't see Helpful's in my e-mails, I think I only see comments in the e-mails but I could be wrong).

                     

                    On the site I don't mind seeing likes or helpful because it is feedback to me what to read when I've not had a chance to go through everything. I can't say that I have set criteria for deciding when to click like or helpful, sometimes I'll do it when I like what I'm seeing but don't have anything immediately to add that is extra to the blog or discussion or if I might come back later to read it more fully (the bookmark is used for this, but if I'm going to click bookmark then I'm going to also click Like, it wouldn't make sense for me to bookmark stuff I hate).

                     

                    I am conscious that Helpful's will push stuff to the top, which sometimes has positives but also has negatives - a hard balance I guess : (

                    3 of 3 people found this helpful
                      • Re: Could points for Helpful and Likes be Driving Wrong Behaviors?
                        sjmill01

                        For me the harm is to all the people following good posts that every couple of hours have to clear the carpet bombing from their inbox.  It's essentially spam.  More than I get in email.

                         

                        I do like to know when I have a post of mine marked helpful, but I don't need to know about other people's posts being marked helpful in my inbox.  I'd prefer that stay between that poster and the person marking it.

                         

                        I did see "rules" in my profile, but no buttons around it.  I wonder if it possible to set up a rule to suppress them as neuromodulator suggests above.

                         

                        -Sean

                          • Re: Could points for Helpful and Likes be Driving Wrong Behaviors?
                            shabaz

                            I think I've possibly got the same settings as you. I too have lots in that inbox. My actual e-mail receives a lot less.

                            My element14 inbox is permanently at the 50+ setting:

                            I agree that should be changed, to make the inbox more useful.

                            I was just responding to the discussion about wrong behavior from people (i.e. the "So, my feedback is, do we really need to reward for clicking like or helpful?" bit), I hadn't noticed people excessively trying to 'game' the system, apart from a few individuals from time to time.

                        • Re: Could points for Helpful and Likes be Driving Wrong Behaviors?
                          dougw

                          The points system has issues with not reflecting effort or merit etc. which many of us have lamented on and proposed alternatives, but even with its downsides it is still a pretty positive aspect of the forum.

                          I never used to click on "like" at all, and I don't on other forums.

                          But on element14, I now click on a "like" a lot. I do this to encourage participation by indicating I appreciate the effort involved in making comments and participating.

                          I definitely do not need more points and they don't lead to anything if I do get more points. I wouldn't change my behavior if clicking on "Like" resulted in 1 point, 10 points or no points. I might change if someone proved that clicking was detrimental to the forum.

                          It takes effort to read all the comments and click on a lot of "Like" buttons and deal with tons of email notifications, but if it helps to keep participation levels up and keep the forum vibrant, I think it is worth the effort. I get a lot out of the forum.

                          5 of 5 people found this helpful
                          • Re: Could points for Helpful and Likes be Driving Wrong Behaviors?
                            Christopher Stanton

                            > Or, best yet, can I suppress the "helpful" notifications from my inbox?

                             

                            We've tried. I don't believe we can.

                            1 of 1 people found this helpful
                            • Re: Could points for Helpful and Likes be Driving Wrong Behaviors?
                              colporteur

                              Hello member of the same name spelling.

                               

                              I am one of the people that score very low on using the Helpful or Like buttons provided in posts. I am not a social media participants therefore I think I lack the conditioning. I did discover the points anomaly you pointed out and thought, I could pad my scoring with that feature. It appears that goal didn't motivate me in the end.

                               

                              I have thought, I need to make more of an effort to participate in the click ritual, if I hope to improve my selection for some Element14 activity that requires an application that looks at activity. Again this didn't motivate me to click.

                               

                              I am a frequent visitors to the site. I read lots of posts and make comments when the urge strikes me. It seems I have developed a routine that spariingly doles out clicks..

                               

                              I take my dog for a walks and it pees on everything. The animal must have a bladder the size of a football in order to have the capacity to leave the number of marks it does. I on the other hand have a very small click bladder it appears. The anomaly has the potential to be abused. I hope to never have the reputational score earned by having marked posts with clicks as much as my dog marks fence posts.

                               

                              Sean

                              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                • Re: Could points for Helpful and Likes be Driving Wrong Behaviors?
                                  sjmill01

                                  After your dog marks each time, be sure to text anyone that ever drove on that street that he did it  :-)

                                   

                                  Joking aside, after reading all the posts, I realize the biggest negative behavior it drives is folks turning off following.  Perhaps just this thread will calibrate the forum use of the feature back to its original purpose and it’ll line out.

                                   

                                  Sean ya,

                                  other Sean

                                    • Re: Could points for Helpful and Likes be Driving Wrong Behaviors?
                                      shabaz

                                      sjmill01  wrote:

                                       

                                       

                                      Joking aside, after reading all the posts, I realize the biggest negative behavior it drives is folks turning off following.  Perhaps just this thread will calibrate the forum use of the feature back to its original purpose and it’ll line out.

                                       

                                      Hi Sean,

                                       

                                      I don't get this. What are you saying, that people are not using it as intended?

                                      I think it's just a tiny fraction of users that might click a lot.

                                      Now I'm getting sensitive to the fact that maybe I should _not_ click Helpful...

                                       

                                      Your title to this post suggests people have 'wrong' behavior.. but surely the majority of people _are_ using the Like button correctly, i.e. when they find stuff (subjectively I know) helpful to them?

                                      I can't recall seeing it used wrongly for a very long time.. occasionally there might be some user but they don't tend to stay long after they've discovered it is a useless endeavour to do it purely for points and for no other reason.

                                        • Re: Could points for Helpful and Likes be Driving Wrong Behaviors?
                                          jw0752

                                          Hi Shabaz,

                                           

                                          I too, like to have the convenience of the like button and the helpful button as it is the only way I can indicate that i have read and understood the posting of another member. If I feel that the information posted has provided helpful information to me or to the author of the original posting I will also click the helpful. Since the points award is equal for all members I have stopped worrying about the points that i may accumulate for just clicking. The purpose is to support the people that are doing a good job participating. As far as whether some members may be focused on some other objective like being the guy with the most points or gaming the system I feel that it is best to just ignore this activity. Even if I notice some one who appears to be clicking for points it is probable that I have misinterpreted their motivations The other thing I like to do when I see someone with clear thought and good posts is to request to follow that person. It is another way to complement them on their competence and participation. As far as the times I have seen that someone has liked or found helpful their own post I have to laugh as I remember my panic when I accidentally clicked my own posting. How humiliating. Fortunately I think I was the only one who noticed my mistake. I always feel that these self "likes" and self "helpfuls" are either an accident or a misunderstanding of how the system works. In any case the best approach is to give the  other person the benefit of the doubt.

                                           

                                          Learning new things and new environments always results in embarrassing mistakes. When I was learning a foreign language I had an occasion where I was talking to a room of Catholic Nuns in a foreign country. It was my intention to tell the Nuns that I found the people in general of the country very charming. Unfortunately my choice of an "a" at the end of a word instead of an "o" said that I found the Women of the country charming. At moment I did not catch my mistake but I did immediately learn that Nuns know how to snicker.

                                           

                                          John

                                          • Re: Could points for Helpful and Likes be Driving Wrong Behaviors?
                                            14rhb

                                            Now I'm getting sensitive to the fact that maybe I should _not_ click Helpful...

                                            Just carry on exactly as you have been. Everyone is different. There are no set rules for when members should be using like or helpful, so we have all created our own idea of when they should be used - some are probably just more generous than others.

                                            • Re: Could points for Helpful and Likes be Driving Wrong Behaviors?
                                              sjmill01

                                              I like the helpful button, don't get me wrong - whenever anyone sees a post that was helpful, they should click it.  The person will appreciate it.

                                               

                                              I'm referring to the action of marking every comment down the line as helpful.  One example over the weekend was a reply that effectively said "I don't know" in as few words and it was marked helpful along with 4 other comments.  It led me to dig deeper to see what was motivating it.  Having assumed there would never be a reward for just clicking, I clicked reputation and there was the howdy-do.  Points and points and points from clicks.  Maybe its just the shock of it after this many years not knowing.

                                               

                                              I agree and find that it's just a handful of folks in this category, at least that run in my circle.

                                               

                                              One other thought, for me - actually, I did enjoy seeing my points and level climb even though it doesn't get me anything.  I thought it was a measure of my content and participation in the badge system - and, in turn, a reflection of my mojo.  I now know - points and level just reflect my engagement on the web site - nothing more without running some serious reports.

                                               

                                              Regardless, I do find e14 a great and helpful forum, just wish I could suppress the helpful from logging to my inbox.

                                               

                                              See ya',

                                              Sean

                                              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                        • Re: Could points for Helpful and Likes be Driving Wrong Behaviors?
                                          BigG

                                          I see this post has invoked plenty of responses, which I've only glanced at - so maybe my comment is already addressed.

                                           

                                          The curious thing I've noticed is that there are actually two options provided to the question "Helpful": YES and NO.

                                           

                                          However, I've yet to see any NO's used (is there an embarrassment factor perhaps with a "NO").

                                           

                                          Maybe if NO's could be used to downgrade the YES's, as intended (I believe the "is it helpful" option is supposed to rank responses so that a reader can quickly get to the best answers), then we would have a better system - is that not how stack overflow works (vote based). Then, just a suggestion, but if a NO could also be used to subtract/reduce the 10 points given to those trigger happy folk then it might solve the issue.

                                          2 of 2 people found this helpful
                                            • Re: Could points for Helpful and Likes be Driving Wrong Behaviors?
                                              jw0752

                                              Hi BigG,

                                               

                                              I believe that clicking the unhelpful will produce a report like:  5 of 6 found this helpful

                                               

                                              If you have marked something Helpful and then change your mind you can reverse your Helpful by Clicking Helpful again. However the accounting of points that you and the author received initially does not seem to be reversed.

                                               

                                              John

                                                • Re: Could points for Helpful and Likes be Driving Wrong Behaviors?
                                                  BigG

                                                  Hi John

                                                   

                                                  Not sure now if to "Like" or say "Helpful" or do both so thought to reply instead

                                                   

                                                  So, thanks for elaborating.

                                                   

                                                  And then I think I will test all this by clicking my own comment as "unhelpful", just to see what happens next (points wise etc.)....

                                                   

                                                  Ok, I now see how it works. It works as you say and you get no points for saying something is unhelpful vs. 10 points for saying something is helpful...

                                                   

                                                  hmmm, actually that is good because it should then hopefully prompt you to explain why through a reply (and then earn the points).

                                                   

                                                  G://

                                              • Re: Could points for Helpful and Likes be Driving Wrong Behaviors?
                                                genebren

                                                I think it is easy to label things as either 'wrong' or 'correct' behaviors, but in reality these things are very blurry.  While I do agree that there might be good reasons to tweak or tune the points aspect of the system, I do think that the system as it stands is way more right than it is wrong.  This site has been one of the most friendly and lively communities that I have seen (and I have seen and participated in other sites that are mostly dead now).  I think that encouragements like 'like' and 'helpful' are one way that keeps such a friendly tone here.  It is clear that there have been limits placed on the rewarding for overuse of the 'like' and 'helpful' clicks, which speaks well for administration of this site.

                                                 

                                                A lot of notifications are placed into the message system, but I feel that the reporting of like/helpful has my brought attention to many threads that I initially missed.  I do agree that I ignore a lot of the messages, just clicking on them and then moving on, but I gladly do that, to find the ones that I am interested in reading.

                                                 

                                                Hopefully you have found a suitable method to limit the messages to your own inbox.

                                                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                • Re: Could points for Helpful and Likes be Driving Wrong Behaviors?
                                                  phoenixcomm

                                                  sjmill01 Sean I also agree with Gough Lee on this subject.

                                                  Member as clicking Helpfull when a member says "Good Quiz" or "Good Review"  excuse me but WTF???? this is not helpful although you might like comment.