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How Upvote/Downvote Sites like R***** Breed Irrational Herd Behavior io9.gizmodo.com

Submitted by itaniepitas in Decision_Making

Follow the Leader?

The Internet has increased the likelihood that our decisions will be influenced by those being made around us. On the one hand, group decision-making can lead to better decisions, but it can also lead to “herding effects” that have resulted in financial disasters. Muchnik et al. (p. 647) examined the effect of collective information via a randomized experiment, which involved collaboration with a social news aggregation Web site on which readers could vote and comment on posted comments. Data were collected and analyzed after the Web site administrators arbitrarily voted positively or negatively (or not at all) as the first comment on more than 100,000 posts. False positive entries led to inflated subsequent scores, whereas false negative initial votes had small long-term effects. Both the topic being commented upon and the relationship between the poster and commenter were important. Future efforts will be needed to sort out how to correct for such effects in polls or other collective intelligence systems in order to counter social biases.

Abstract

Our society is increasingly relying on the digitized, aggregated opinions of others to make decisions. We therefore designed and analyzed a large-scale randomized experiment on a social news aggregation Web site to investigate whether knowledge of such aggregates distorts decision-making. Prior ratings created significant bias in individual rating behavior, and positive and negative social influences created asymmetric herding effects. Whereas negative social influence inspired users to correct manipulated ratings, positive social influence increased the likelihood of positive ratings by 32% and created accumulating positive herding that increased final ratings by 25% on average. This positive herding was topic-dependent and affected by whether individuals were viewing the opinions of friends or enemies. A mixture of changing opinion and greater turnout under both manipulations together with a natural tendency to up-vote on the site combined to create the herding effects. Such findings will help interpret collective judgment accurately and avoid social influence bias in collective intelligence in the future.

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/341/6146/647

Comments

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Freux wrote (edited )

So about 1 in 4 person on raddle doesn't read the content and simply upvote. That means 75% of raddle doesn't "follow the leader". Considering that most people on raddle are anarchists wouldn't that switch the statistics compare to a platform that your grandma could be on?

How are your ideas not influenced by others? Discussing ideas and reaching your own conclusion start with others. And if you look around raddle you can see people with different ideas. You are either acting in bad faith or a fucking prick. You won't be missed :)

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ergdj5 wrote

This, actually, is a very legitimate point; the issue would be not reading posts, though Raddle feels like a lot more people actually do interact as opposed to Reddit (visible clearly on /r/libertarian where the posts are usually upvoted Trumpers and the comments usually upvoted and disgruntled libertarians)

As in many cases, the issue is one of prompting participation.

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itaniepitas wrote

Having read all this, I see that any attempt on my part to open the tiny minds of those in lock-step agreement with the misled and myopic groupthink consensus of this pitiful little echo chamber would be futile - kind'a like pissin' on a prairie fire - so I'm done here. I have no doubt you'd ban me at your next book burning anyway.