Upon some self-reflection I have to admit some faults. I have made two policy changes in the last few months that I did not communicate with Voat in advance.
These two changes are:
- Adding NSFW flairs to posts that had the word nigger or kike in the title in @System subverses (often referred to as Default subs)
- Changing the daily scaled value for allowed votes in a 24 hour period back to 10 from a mistaken setting of 1000 (which was used for testing purposes and got carried over to Voat by mistake).
On NSFW Titles:
Voat has always had an NSFW setting but it is inconsistently applied. It is my duty to respect this user setting while at the same time not censoring communication. As with most things on Voat, the grey area is large and often results in a subjective decision. With default subs, that decision is left to Voat, and more specifically to me.
The logic behind flairing NSFW titles in default subverses is this: If the title of a submission has the potential to get someone fired if a manager or co-worker saw it on your screen, then it is NSFW. Personally, I think it is straight forward for two reasons:
- Titles of submissions can easily be phrased without the use of such wording so it's the submitters choice as how they word a title and also what subverse they post in.
- Users who have NSFW turned off should have their setting honored. Many users toggle this setting between places (work vs. home).
- BONUS: When not logged in, Voat displays default subs without NSFW content. As you know, Voat displays a lot of content that is visible to non-logged in users (as opposed to websites that require an account to access - which they do to inflate user account stats btw) and because of this we have to balance things out in default subverses.
On Daily Scaled Vote Setting:
The integrity of Voat is important to us all. Upon looking into manipulation on Voat, we discovered a massive hidden farm that was exploiting this setting, building up literally an army of accounts that can manipulate visibility of content via voting. Having a minimum setting of 1000 meant that a brand new non-participating account can upvote 1000 times per 24 hours, making the task of building a manipulation farm very easy.
While nothing we do is impervious to manipulation, we have found over the years that small requirements make big differences. An example of this is the required 10 CCP for making a submission. This requirement literally solved 90% of our spam problem overnight.
The unintended consequence of reverting this setting back to it's original value of 10 votes per day for low CCP accounts is the v/QRV subverse, as it is set to anon-only (Anon submissions and comments do not earn the user CCP). Many participate only in that subverse and as such, they have low CCP. The only remedy for this is to participate outside of that subverse and post insightful and respectful comments to non-anon subverses in order to "level up". Many will not like this, but consider two things: The setting was incorrect to begin with and Voat's integrity is a concern for all.
Here is the code we use to determine how many votes a user account is allowed per 24 hours:
var scaledDailyVotingQuota = (UserCCP >= 20 ? Math.Max(100, UserCCP / 2) : 10);
In other words, if your account is 20 CCP or higher you are permitted a
minimum maximum of 100 votes per 24 hour window (or half of your CCP, which ever is highest). If it is below 20 CCP, you are limited to 10. Points do matter, participation does matter.
The conclusion is that Voat is no longer a start up website. Many depend on Voat now. We can no longer make policy decisions without communicating these changes in advance. As I've said before, Voat isn't mine, it's yours, and as such, policy decisions will be communicated in advance going forward.
Special thanks to @Rotteuxx for being honest enough to call me out on my mistake(s) and @PenSHITLORD for inquiring about the daily vote setting change which led me to write this post.