Voting based on usefulness/quality

The general idea is that we should vote on posts independent of (dis)agreement; we should upvote based on "quality" or "usefulness" (references below). This is far easier said than done!

This post is to identify some biases that might arise. (There's probably many more that are unlisted.) Hopefully, identifying our biases will help alleviate them.


For posts that one agrees with, the usual voting process is probably (realistically) something like:

  1. I agree with this post.

  2. It's not obviously unuseful.

  3. Upvote.

Now let's compare this to posts which we disagree with...

Bias 1: Disagreement implies incorrectness

  1. I am correct about most things.

  2. I disagree with this post.

  3. Therefore it is most likely mistaken.

  4. Therefore it is most likely not useful.

  5. Downvote.

Bias 2: My disagreement implies divine disagreement

  1. God is correct about everything.

  2. I disagree with this post.

  3. I know a lot about my religion.

  4. Therefore God disagrees with this post.

  5. Therefore this post is mistaken.

  6. Therefore it is not useful.

  7. Downvote.

Bias 3: Failure to upvote by disagreement

  1. I disagree with this post.

  2. But it seems useful.

  3. Move on.

Bias 4: Disagreement leading to extra scrutiny

  1. Either:

    • I disagree with this post.

    • The author of this post holds a different world view.

  2. But it seems useful.

  3. Scrutinize extra carefully.

This would be considered a form of confirmation bias. It may be that the post is eventually upvoted, but disagreement results in a higher threshold for upvoting.

Bias 5: Imperfection-based downvoting

Continuing from Bias 4...

  1. It seems 99% perfect.

  2. Therefore it is 1% imperfect.

  3. Either:

    • Downvote.

    • Move on.

Bias 6: Religious objection

  1. This post clashes with my religious beliefs.

  2. Therefore I am forbidden from upvoting.

  3. Either:

    • Downvote.

    • Move on.


Relevant meta posts:

Along with the hover text over the up/down-vote buttons:

  • Questions:

    This question shows research effort; it is useful and clear
    This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful

  • Answers:

    This answer is useful
    This answer is not useful


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