Downvoting for support topics

And unluckily nobody has shown any thing that is even remotely similar. For example: (I realize this doesn’t fit in to the mandated worldview here) a Q&A site is not going to work without down voting. Nonsense answer are common and they need to be dealt with.


Non-sense answers can be flagged as off-topic by the community and automatically hidden until a mod takes action.


To me the problem isn’t “nonsense” or “offtopic” answers, but wrong ones - how to vote those down?


Wrong answers will lead to wrong tagging and wrong tagging can lead to subsequent wrong answers. We should be able to vote such answers down. This should be possible for all users. A mod shouldn’t be necessary to hide such wrong answers. Voting will just do fine as it does for OSM help, StackOverflow and other Q&A systems.


we should see mod interventions as a last resort, ideally the whole platform would work without any moderation, managed by the whole of the community.
Wrong answers shouldn’t be hidden, it should be explained why they are wrong, so the content remains available for everybody to study.


As the other respondents have already pointed out, not allowing down voting leads to a non-scaling situation in which moderators have to inspect every thread, even if they might not have the requisite domain knowledge to judge the answers.

And yes, we are talking about the direct opposite of “Tips for power users”, as @scai points out everybody should be able to vote on answers.


To summarize the problem:

  • We need a way to signal low quality or wrong answers over #help-and-support
  • We don’t want people asking for support to understand which are good or bad answers, not just what’s the solution.

We can try to find a solution for that that doesn’t mix with the rest of the categories.


I haven’t found a way to downvote replies, only a plugin to re-arrange replies similar to stackoverflow and sort them by upvotes (using the default like reaction on the backend).

It seems the last commit was in November and it still has some issues with the dark theme.

I just suggested it in another post, for the threaded view also…

Downvotes could be achieved through custom reactions. No sorting, just a visual clue that the answer is not consensual.


I can’t find a way for custom reaction to be category specific, or count for that plugin ordering.

Well, an extra reaction wouldn’t be too much burden for the other part of the website, I think.
As for ordering, as I said, just a visual clue. If the plugins sorts the upvotes first, chances are that answers with downvotes will go down the list anyway… :wink:

Yeah, the only thing is that we are still discussing negative effects of enabling a downvote reaction for the non-support conversations. We’ll figure out something :sweat_smile:

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I’d prefer to enable them everywhere.


Agree that to replace help.osm, a way must be found for the community to ensure that future readers of the thread will see the “good” answers first, whether that’s by upvoting the good or downvoting the bad I don’t care much. A “bad” answer with lots of sad smileys added to it but still appearing first won’t be very helpful. Anything that requires the involvement of a higher-privilege user (moderator, admin, whatever) is not sustainable.


Sometimes an example helps. I suspect that is just spam, and (with a website set to a no-longer existing issue at github) is just a spammer.

However, there’s enough potential relevance in the question and the long follow-up “answer” to not just report/hide it as spam, but it should be downvoted (both the question and the answer).

Thanks a lot for asking first. I am not. I am an individual who has been trying to bring sovereign respect into the products and tooling used for mapping efforts around the world. What I see over and over again is disempowerment when ‘open’ maps are used by ‘closed’ institutions FOR people who deserve to be afforded self-determination. My projects all have ‘mapping’ outputs as a designed side effect of sovereign interactions.

The “Big Aid” industry (including Oxfam, Red Cross, UNOCHA, DARPA, and all the other Fine people I met at HHI field training exercises) has a consistent policy to NOT inform citizens of aid that scheduled or even what’s coming. The policy is trained into new workers every Semester. The narrative is controlled and in my opinion colonialist in nature.

So I’ve been supporting HOT efforts as I can, but spending more time in the Cardano space, trying to use these tools to build bulletproof, self sovereign solutions that give one ‘credit’ for existing by leveraging the data-economy. These systems were meant from the get-go to reduce trauma by providing self-efficacy and organic empowerment ( a self maintaining network of relevant resources).

I have observed the attempts over the years to create an educated cadre of mapping enthusiasts. The results are not exciting. If, instead of teaching people how to be cartographers, we empowered them to express their needs and publish the things they have to offer, then we could have all the crucial data and associate it to a location. However, who would participate in such a system unless they controlled all the inputs/outputs and derivative uses of their data?

Since that system does not yet exist, I am calling for a re evaluation of the ‘mapping community’s willingness to offer up details that are not tuned to benefit citizens directly, but only as a hope, after the fact. Mapping today is an extractive paradigm that has no place in an egalitarian future.

We can be and do better with some self-reflection that understands the power dynamic at work in the real world.

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Generally when using the Discourse software that runs this site, when a reply is marked by the topic’s author or by moderators as the accepted answer, it gets highlighted and also appears at the top of the topic, just under the initial post/question.

Here’s an example from another community that uses the same platform:


I’ve read through the Question Answer Plugin page on meta.discourse a bit. It looks very promising. Here is also test implementation where one can see what upvoting and threading looks like: What's it like to be a bat? - #15 by michacassola - Question Answer - Try Pavilion.

It’s very close to the old OSM Help except for the downvoting. Somewhere in the thread on meta it also says that rearranging of comments is possible.

I’d very much appreciate if this plugin could be installed here and given a try. As I understand from the thread on meta it can be removed again without loss in the discussions.


Can I just reiterate what other moderators on OSM Help (@SimonPoole, @woodpeck, @SomeoneElse) have said, current moderation is ‘light touch’ and moderators “accepting” answers on behalf of the OP is unusual (mainly when it is clear that the answer has been accepted, but the OP is perhaps not familiar with the Q&A framework). We can’t rely on this type of activity being carried out by moderators.

I’d far rather see downvoting than have the possibility of introducing my personal approach to OSM in moderating answers. Typical current moderator activity includes: removing spam (along with Ops team), changing answers to comments, moving comments to maintain thread consistency, correcting typos, and closing off-topic or unanswerable queries. I spend far more time on OSM Help as an ordinary user answering queries than any kind of moderation.

So far suggestions have mainly involved greater involvement of moderators. This intrinsically means expanding the pool of moderators.

@TZorn that does have some promise.


The current behavior is that topic creators can accept answers themselves.