I know I'm not the first to suggest a Reddit-style downvote feature for yours.org, which would allow readers to reduce the visibility of spam, clickbait, "fake news", or whatever else they disapprove of. However, I have a concrete idea for how this could be implemented.
I'm approaching this from a game theoretic perspective. In particular, I'm inspired by Fehr & Gächter's (2000) work on how costly punishment (i.e. costly to both punisher and punishee) can prevent antisocial behaviour in public goods scenarios.
In this framework, a downvote must have:
  • A cost to the downvoter. It should not be possible to profit from downvoting, as I fear this would create a viscous cycle leading to endless flame wars.
  • A cost to the downvotee. For all sorts of practical and ethical reasons, I don't think funds should ever be taken from a user's account unless as a result of their own voluntary action. Therefore, the cost cannot be a direct penalty, but rather an indirect one: the downvoted post will become less visible, reducing its future earning potential.

Read on to find out how I propose to achieve this algorithmically.


0 of 1 reviewers say it's worth paying for
1 of 1 reviewers say it's not worth paying for

  earned 0.0¢
See? There is a down-voting mechanism on yours. Usually one negative review is enough for cutting someone revenue. Messing with visability of someone post with money is an idea that might lead to censorship by buying down votes.
   3wk ago
  earned 5.0¢
@Karol You make a valid point that there is a way to punish content you don't like, by giving it a negative review. But it strikes me that there are a couple of problems with relying on that mechanism, stemming from the fact that you have to pay the author in order to leave a negative review:
  • It could encourage deliberate trolling, as the reader is forced to pay the author to register their dissatisfaction.
  • The author can render themself immune to criticism by putting nothing behind the paywall, setting an absurdly high price, and just relying on the voting revenue model.

I have no problem with the negative review mechanism, I just think it would be good to have something analogous within the vote system.
You are right that under my proposal people with enough money could effectively censor things they didn't like, and perhaps that does run counter to what the site stands for. I guess I'd just say that by making downvoting costly, this type of behaviour should happen less than it does on, say, Reddit. Also, I suppose the process could be "democratized" somewhat by limiting it to one downvote per user per article.
Anyway, just an idea :)
   3wk ago