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Community Champion

Require Reason for down vote on ideas?

When looking at ideas up for vote, there are the occasional down votes.  For me it would be informative if people would post a comment as to why they are voting the idea down.  Reasons for voting down an idea may open up a deeper discussion that modifies or clarifies the original idea.  Also, if a reason is required it may catch the occasional mistake of voting down when the person meant to vote up, and for whatever reason they do not realize it.

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40 Replies
Community Champion

I thought I had started this as a discussion.  I clicked on the icon that said start a discussion, but it posted this as an unanswered question.   i guess I did something wrong with the original post.

Hey Ron,

Looks like you, or maybe a coach or CM was already able to unmark this discussion as a question.

As for the reasoning behind down votes, I personally like that idea.  We are currently considering this as a team and will probably soon add more netiquette info to the 'How Feature Voting Works' document.

Community Champion

 @scottdennis ​,

After my recent experience with a down vote, I can definitely say I do not like being required to explain my justification. I did in that situation, you even commented on it, but I was sent a personal email by one person before I could even compose why I down voted it and then felt the comments were getting a bit personal in another response. I'm not a feely person, so if I actually feel this way, it suggests something is off.

Why is it that you are only allowed to vote for something? Why even bother having the downvote there? You don't require people voting for something to explain their justification, only people voting against something. But then, when you do vote against something you get attacked for it. That creates a hostile environment that discourages discourse.

If  @bowmanr ​​'s goal of achieving a discussion is to be met, and I support that goal, just not the way he's suggesting we accomplish it, then people have to realize that reasonable people will legitimately disagree.

But if you're going to allow people to vote no, you shouldn't chastise or ostracize them for doing so. Otherwise, you get the litany of "I agree", "It's obvious", "It's a no brainer", etc. I would suggest those are less helpful than a down vote. At least a down vote gets people thinking about it. For example, in the discussion where I down voted, the discussion turned into, what I feel, is a useful compromise.

I have long been a proponent (maybe the only one) of allowing negative votes in elections. You can vote for someone or you can vote against someone. You only get one vote, but if the strong opponents canceled out the strong supporters, we might just end up with a third candidate that was in the middle and people could live with. The community seems like a similar situation.

But until supporters stop taking a down vote so personally, people shouldn't required to explain their reasoning. Sometimes a person knows that they don't like something, but can't fully articulate it at the moment.

Hi James,

Warning; this reply has a lot of my own personal opinions in it and shouldn't be seen as any kind of official company response.

Thank you for coming back and continuing the conversation here.  I'm sorry to hear that you have received comments a little on the personal side and that you have even remotely felt ostracized or criticized.

Our goal is to provide an open forum where anyone should feel welcome to voice their opinions and give input on Canvas and decisions that we make as a company and service provider.

As for the rules and norms in this community we are still very much in the nascent stages and figuring them out as we go.  I, for one, will never advocate for requiring anyone to explain their vote (up or down) but I also think that if lots of people vote for something and one or two people vote against something I'll naturally be curious as to their reasoning.  They obviously have a different viewpoint from the majority, which in my opinion, makes that point of view potentially more interesting.

In the selection process for our new community platform the question of whether or not to allow down voting was something we talked about quite a bit actually.  In my opinion it is an important feature.  In its absence there is no way to quantify people's distaste for given idea.  An idea with 500 up votes might thereby be a bad idea in the view of a silent majority who have no way to express their opinion other than in comments (which are harder to count than are votes).  I can also see and understand some of the potential negatives of allowing down voting but I think the benefits outweigh them.

Community Team
Community Team

Also, fwiw, we discovered yesterday evening that we accidentally down voted an idea when testing - we were able to fix that but sorry if we caused any confusion.

Community Champion

 @James ​

I was disheartened to read how you have been treated in your reply.  I have no ill will toward people that have down voted an idea.  I am just looking for why.  It is always best to have a dialog over an issue especially if someone brings up a point that had not been considered.  I know that I can get focused on what I am looking at and forget to look at a bigger picture and miss the unintended effect on something else.

My thought in the original post was that if you voted down on an idea, what is the reason for that down vote?  Did I miss a side effect that would be detrimental to something already in place?

Obviously if some one votes an idea up they like the idea and may offer modifications to the original idea.  I believe down votes can provide the same effect, we just need the information.  As a hypothetical example - maybe not a good one, but something to the effect:.  IDEA: I would like to see grade boxes color coordinated for late, on time, extra credit, etc. Now, if I happen to be color blind I may vote down and leave it at that.  What would be better would to vote down (or vote up) and post the comment that fill patterns would be better since some people who are color blind would not be able to use that feature.

Community Champion

I like your example, accessibility is a passion of mine and a major rule is that you shall not use color alone to indicate something.

I did think of a reason why someone might down vote without leaving a comment. I even asked my wife for confirmation and she agreed, it is better to not say anything at all than to say "that's the stupidest idea I've ever heard."

Community Coach
Community Coach

Sounds like your wife is pretty smart. Smiley Wink

Community Champion

Instructure is a still a fairly new and small company; they have limited resources and must make decisions about what new features to implement and prioritize. If I down vote, I often don't mind the idea, but I am down voting as a way to lessen the priority of that idea and to boost the ideas I want Instructure to focus on right now.​ in other words, I can champion the features I want by voting for them and by voting against other, competing features.