I have compiled some stats concerning a few regular contributors to the site and have discovered a huge variation in the frequency with which they up-vote, and also down-vote other's contributions. And the ratio between the two also seems revealing.
The exercise results from my feeling for some time that certain contributors make, to what seems to me, excessive use of the downvote - with insufficient consideration for its potential to a)demoralise and b)skew the statistical results.
It is not clear to me why people zealously down-vote - but I suspect, in extreme cases, it says more about them than it does about the material they are voting on.
In my own case, over more than 8 years I have only cast 2,999 up-votes - by most standards this is low. Clearly, alongside most people, I am being conservative in the use of the vote. However I have only downvoted on 71 occasions, and I try and always make a point of explaining why I have done so.
I note that John Lawler, has seen fit only to downvote on 62 occasions - while delivering nearly 7,000 up-votes. Given his status as a linguistics professor that seems to me to say a lot.
But consider some of these statistics:
|1||1,677||134||11yrs 9 mths|
And the last one really did puzzle me. That person, over the space of 11 years has awarded 3,647 up-votes but no fewer than 15,800 down-votes. Over 11 years - that averages about 4 a day! I am wondering on how many of those 15,800 occasions the subject was given a word of explanation?
Another has delivered over 25,000 down votes, but over 23,000 up-votes. Compared to John Lawler's 64 that is out of all proportion and surely distorts the whole scoring process. Is it that I am down-voting too few or these others too many?
Do the moderators ever monitor the extent to which people are using the up and down voting facility? It would seem worthwhile to do so, if only to try and establish some consistency among users.