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Keeping our writers

macjack

I have a suggestion to help keep our writers writing, and not quitting because they get harassed by butheads.

This is in response to post by Jay Cantrell http://storiesonline.net/blogentry/39330

1) Give writers (and readers also maybe) an option to block readers from sending them messages and read their storries.
2) If a reader is blocked 5 times, send them a warning.
3) If a reader is blocked 10 times block them from the site.

As it is now readers can send shit to authors whitout any consekvenses. When there are not consekvenses to peoples actions, they often do not think and act like shitheads.

Replies:   sejintenej
richardshagrin

Blocking access of readers to the site is not a good idea. What keeps the site viable is adding new readers constantly, to make the site grow or to replace old farts like me who die off or leave for other reasons, like Nursing Homes don't allow internet with sexual content.

What attracts some, perhaps many authors to SOL as opposed to other alternatives is the comments and feedback they get. Sometimes the feedback is brutal, or not what the authors want to hear. Lazeez needs to attract authors and keep the ones he has, as well as attract readers and keep the ones he has, particularly the premier readers. I wonder if being a premier reader of a Canadian site makes us Premiers of Canada?

Individual particularly virulent feedback might get a strong suggestion from other readers or even from Management of the site, but blocking access is entirely contrary to the spirit of the site. I understand some authors have lower capacity to deal with negative comments, others just ignore the ignorant and evil intentioned. Its not all praise, not every story is a ten, or even an eight. Most stories range around a six, some higher and some lower, the rating system is set up that way. If you write a story with lightning rod attraction to the one-bombers (GLBT themes or characters, kill the hero at the end, involve urine or feces, and there are other themes that generate abuse) and you still get a six or higher, you may have a better story than average. Consider Rache (Rachael Ross and her multiple pen-names) and her scores before you accept ignorant criticism of your authorship.

And the final observation, scores are to guide readers to find stories they might like to read, as guided by other readers. A high or low score doesn't mean you are or are not a good writer. It just means the readers who voted wanted to help other readers find out how they viewed the story as entertainment. They may incorrectly think they influence what the writer wrote or will write in the future. If you ignore scores, the one-bombers don't win.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

Individual particularly virulent feedback might get a strong suggestion from other readers or even from Management of the site, but blocking access is entirely contrary to the spirit of the site.

As an author, I'm not concerned with individuals expressing their opinion. My only objection, which we've discussed extensively and try to minimize, are readers who seek out stories they disagree with, merely to 1-bomb them to prevent anyone from reading something they disagree with (politics, sexual identity, sexual picadillos, etc.)

Replies:   Lugh
Lugh

@Crumbly Writer

More and more, I wonder if there should be some restraint on 1-bombing. I'd want to do more statistical analysis, but it often seems as if 1-2 scores are outliers from a normal distribution on the higher side.

Lazeez, have you computed the characteristic of the distribution of scores? Is it normally distributed, although probably with mean, median, and mode > the expected 5.

One random thought: 1 scores can be recorded only with a message or email. Perhaps people who give only or primarily 1-2 need to be identified, at least to the admin.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Jim S  Argon
sejintenej
Updated:

@macjack


This is in response to post by Jay Cantrell http://storiesonline.net/blogentry/39330

1) Give writers (and readers also maybe) an option to block readers from sending them messages and read their storries.

2) If a reader is blocked 5 times, send them a warning.

3) If a reader is blocked 10 times block them from the site.

As it is now readers can send shit to authors whitout any consekvenses. When there are not consekvenses to peoples actions, they often do not think and act like shitheads.


I understand that an author can choose not to receive comments. Perhaps Lazeez could arrange for the facility for an author to tell him "no more messages from ******" to me". Too many messages from different authors about the same source and Lazeez would know there is an apparent problem with the named sender.

The message from the bozo to Jay was b****y stupid. It didn't help him by picking out where the errors were or what sentence couldn't be understood.

I try always to copy/paste the original erroneous text making the error in bold and then generally indicating where it is - 6 paras from the end for example. Just received a nice reply along the lines that the author had spotted one error but somehow it got through, the others other people had told him about but 'thank you' for the message. I hope he appreciated it as much as I appreciated his reply.

If you dislike something enough always tell the other party what, where and why so they can do something about it (that is in case 'bozo' is reading)

Ernest Bywater

@Lugh

The current system deal with the outliers quite well by dumping the op and bottom 5% of votes - thus dumping the 1 bombers and the fanboi 10s - before calculating the displayed score for the story.

Replies:   Lugh
Lugh

@Ernest Bywater

Are you suggesting that a brilliantly written story is best rated 9?

Jim S
Updated:

@Lugh


Lazeez, have you computed the characteristic of the distribution of scores? Is it normally distributed, although probably with mean, median, and mode > the expected 5.


One can discern quite a bit from the shape of the distribution. Unfortunately, the intent of one of the data points, which you're trying to get at, doesn't fall into that category. The current system tries a blanket approach to eliminating doofus votes. And, like any administrative solution, it helps some and hurts some. Hopefully, it helps more than hurts, i.e. eliminates 1-bomb votes without dumping an excess of the legitimate ones.

I think that analysis could provide a better solution IF the data exists. To my mind, it would require author, story, voter, vote and date. Whether that exists or can be derived, only Lazeez can answer. Quite a bit can be derived by someone willing to take the time, assuming reasonably sophisticated data analysis skills (and willingness to use same).

Assume it can. So abusers can be identified. Then what? They're banned from the site? That obviously can't be done as the crime isn't that severe. Nothing illegal, immoral, dishonest or fattening here, right? So what's to be done?
And even if something can be done, is it worth the programming effort to implement?

All good question in my mind.

Ernest Bywater

@Lugh

Are you suggesting that a brilliantly written story is best rated 9?


no, just that the system cuts the top 5% of scores by fanbois and the bottom 5% of scores by bombers (regardless of the number) to calculate the score based on the average of what's left. If a story gets 100 scores at 10 and that's all they get, then the calculation will be based on 90 scores of 10.

Argon
Updated:

@Lugh

If you restrict the 1-scores, you must also restrict the other end, the 10-scores. Both is already done, since the top and bottom 5 percent are not counted for the adjusted mean scores. If somebody gets more than 5% 1s and 2s on a story, chances are that many readers want to make a point :o). After all, the vast majority of the readers are very fair and supportive in their scoring, and forgiving of small mistakes.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
sejintenej

@Lugh

@LughThe current system deal with the outliers quite well by dumping the op and bottom 5% of votes - thus dumping the 1 bombers and the fanboi 10s - before calculating the displayed score for the story.
Replies:
Lugh

EB replied:

you suggesting that a brilliantly written story is best rated 9?


: if the story is that brilliantly composed, written etc. then it should attract 100% of the votes - discount 5% and you still have enough for a 10.

This scoring is totally opinion not controlled by measurable facts - I have awarded "most incredible story" but felt a bit guilty because I know in 10 years time I will see a better story so how do I indicate that that later story deserved an even better vote?
Therefore my counsel would be a be happy with a 9 backed up by laudatory messages.

richardshagrin

I suspect I don't give enough six votes. Its a C, an average score, a solid middle of the road grade. If a normal curve applies, a lot more C grades are given than B or D grades. And the A grades and E or F grades, depending on how your school system works are relatively rarer than B or D grades. Now the ones, they are lower than the E or F. Six is a C, Five is a D, Four and below are failing grades.

Lets compare to IQ scores. 100 is average, a C. With a 15% standard deviation, 84 to 70 is a D. I think they used to call them morons. I found this on line: "What is the Difference Between a Moron, Imbecile and Idiot? It's true — there's a difference. The three terms didn't start out as social insults either, in fact. In the early 1900s, psychologists used the terms to describe various levels of retardation. Those with an IQ of 0 to 25 (an IQ of 100 is average) were called idiots, 26 to 50 were called imbeciles and 51 to 70 were called morons. Morons could communicate and learn common tasks; imbeciles stalled mentally at about six years old; and idiots couldn't respond to stimulus or communicate with any level of competency".

70 is two standards deviations below the mean. "Many introductory statistics textbooks show how you can use the mean, standard deviation, and the normal distribution to make claims like approximately 2.5% of the sample is expected to score below two standard deviations below the mean." If an IQ of 55 is three standard deviations below the mean, then In statistics, the 68–95–99.7 rule is a shorthand used to remember the percentage of values that lie within a band around the mean in a normal distribution with a width of one, two and three standard deviations, respectively; more accurately, 68.27%, 95.45% and 99.73% of the values lie within one, two and three standard deviations of the mean, respectively. In mathematical notation. Of course remember to consider half these percentages are above and half are below the mean. 68.27% are within one standard deviation with 34.135% above or at the mean and 34.135% at or below the mean. I haven't seen an estimate for how many are exactly at the mean.

What all these math heavy statements are leading to is that one votes should be at least as rare as tens, considering six is average there are only four numbers higher but five lower than average. One is a lot less frequent than ten if the normal curve applies. Since there are lots more ones than expected by a normal curve, clearly votes on SOL aren't normal. If you vote one, a lot, you are not normal, either.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@richardshagrin

Since there are lots more ones than expected by a normal curve, clearly votes on SOL aren't normal.


Readers' votes tend to form a smoothish curve with 'false' peaks at 1 (the 1-bombers) and 10 (the fanbois). If anything, the fanbois are a bigger problem than the 1-bombers. However it should be possible to ignore the number of 1 and 10 votes and estimate what they should be from the rest of the voting, leading to story scores which are more suitable for comparisons.

This wouldn't actually work for long in practice. Readers determined to game the system would soon learn to give 2s to stories they hate and 9s to authors they love.

AJ

Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

This wouldn't actually work for long in practice. Readers determined to game the system would soon learn to give 2s to stories they hate and 9s to authors they love.


Add in some readers feel a story deserves a real 10 and you come down to why the current system of the top and bottom 5% are dropped. The more votes a story gets, the less influence the fanbois and 1 bombers have on the score, because more votes on each end drop out.

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@sejintenej

I understand that an author can choose not to receive comments. Perhaps Lazeez could arrange for the facility for an author to tell him "no more messages from ******" to me". Too many messages from different authors about the same source and Lazeez would know there is an apparent problem with the named sender.


The current 'feedback by email' system will be phased out and replaced by an on-site private messaging system. The new system will have troll blocking built in.

Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

I understand that an author can choose not to receive comments. Perhaps Lazeez could arrange for the facility for an author to tell him "no more messages from ******" to me". Too many messages from different authors about the same source and Lazeez would know there is an apparent problem with the named sender.

The problem is, most authors don't object to the emails, as we feel everyone is entitled to their opinions. Typically the 1-bombs follow the email exchanges, or are completely independent of email responses. Thus blocking 1-bombers wouldn't help anyone.

However, reporting 1-bombers, or even better, if Lezeez could identify anyone who routinely 1-bombed specific authors or certain types of stories, he could intervene, or at least identify how big of an issue it was, once and for all. So far, it seems limited to a small subset of individuals with very specific tastes, who prefer attacking authors indirectly, rather than directly addressing them.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

However it should be possible to ignore the number of 1 and 10 votes and estimate what they should be from the rest of the voting, leading to story scores which are more suitable for comparisons.

I'm not so sure about that. True, 'fanboys' rate certain stories up, but that's because those stories appeal the most to them, rather than they ONLY pass out 10s to every story they read (i.e. they focus on the stories they prefer), whereas the fewer 1-bombers actively (in my experience) go out of their way to down-vote stories (say anything involving gay sex, or scat stories).

But again, we need a broader picture of the 10-voters. Do they in fact vote 10 for everyone, or only for their favorite authors?

Likewise, in most cases, the 1-bombers will vote their favorite stories up, only attacking those they despise with their favored 1-bombs. In neither case is it an 'all or nothing' strategy.

Crumbly Writer

@Argon

If you restrict the 1-scores, you must also restrict the other end, the 10-scores. Both is already done, since the top and bottom 5 percent are not counted for the adjusted mean scores. If somebody gets more than 5% 1s and 2s on a story, chances are that many readers want to make a point :o). After all, the vast majority of the readers are very fair and supportive in their scoring, and forgiving of small mistakes.

The fact of the matter is, few readers will even bother to vote anything lower than a 5. Instead, they'll simply quit reading after the first chapter.

The 1-bombers typically seek out stories they despise, JUST so they can harm the author. Thus we're tossing out 5% of valid 10 votes, in exchange for a few malicious attacks. The solution works, but again, it largely punishes authors (a little big) for the sins of a small handful of readers (who pull the same trick often).

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

The more votes a story gets, the less influence the fanbois and 1 bombers have on the score, because more votes on each end drop out.

By and large, I get more 10s than I do anything else, though the 6s and 7s temper the 10s more than the few 1s. (Note: I need to double check my scores to see where the majority of my votes fall, though I do remember a LOT of 10 votes, mainly because that's what I look at first!). :)

Replies:   Lugh
Crumbly Writer

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

The current 'feedback by email' system will be phased out and replaced by an on-site private messaging system. The new system will have troll blocking built in.

Sounds good, though as I mentioned earlier, few 'Trolls' continue attacking anyone via email, instead switching to votes once it becomes clear the author isn't listening any more.

Lugh

@Crumbly Writer

I just experimented on one of my stories in progress. 10 to 9 lowered the total, slightly. It doesn't appear as if the 1s and 10s are completely discarded, although there certainly might be weighting on them.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Capt Zapp

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

The current 'feedback by email' system will be phased out and replaced by an on-site private messaging system.


I actually like the 'feedback by email', but since you intend to phase it out, I have a few questions.

How long will the messages stay on the server? Will they be auto-deleted after reading or stored indefinitely until we decide to delete them?

Will there be ways to 'flag' messages that we feel are important or may want keep?

Will we be able to mark them as 'unread'? (I have a habit of scanning through my emails when I get a break from work and marking those I feel need a response as 'unread' so they get my attention when I get time to reply)

How about an option to forward them to our email?

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ernest Bywater

@Lugh

It doesn't appear as if the 1s and 10s are completely discarded


They aren't all discarded. The system takes the total number of votes, calculates 5% (rounding down to a whole number), then removes that number of votes starting from both ends, then does the calculations on the rest as if those votes don't exist.

What is interesting is that some votes don't have much of an effect, while others do.

80 votes are lodged. 5% of 80 is 4 votes. Thus the 4 highest votes and the 4 lowest votes are discarded. Time moves on, and 90 votes are now in. 5% of 90 is 4.5 votes - rounds down to 4 votes and takes the 4 votes off each end. 99 votes are in, and it will still only remove 4 votes off each end. However, when the 100th vote is lodged the system will now take 5 votes off each end because the 5% is now the whole number of 5 votes. This does cause some odd fluctuations with low numbers of votes.

Another oddity is the vote spread effect. In a case with 85 votes and 4 being cut off each end, and the 4 lowest votes are two 1s, a 4, and a 5. Some 1 bomber votes a 1 which now changes the cuts to three 1s and the 4, so the 1 vote now makes the 5 vote eligible for inclusion. The same sort of thing can happen at the other end. It all depends on the spread of the actual votes lodged.

awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

The number of 1-bombers and fanbois are usually unbalanced. In some cases, the fanbois dishing out 10s purely because they like the author, rather than judging a story on its merits, results in the false peak of 10 votes being larger than the true peak.

While omitting the extreme 5%s is better than nothing, not tackling the fanbois properly means that new writers who submit a good story might get 7.5-8.0, say, whereas a cult author would get 9.1-9.2 for an equivalent story.

That might help towards 'keeping our writers' but the downside is that it discourages new writers.

AJ

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

That might help towards 'keeping our writers' but the downside is that it discourages new writers.


That might be true of authors who keep a close watch on their scores, the scores of others, and give a damn about what they're seeing. I know some authors do, but most authors I've exchanged emails with don't.

doctor_wing_nut

Is there a way to attach a user name to every vote and every comment sent to authors? Might that help? We've all seen how easy it is to be 'Internet-Brave' when anonymous. If we took that away, it might cut down on the vitriol. If there was a record of every score you gave and every comment you sent, at least we could identify the ass-clowns and react or ignore accordingly.

I for one would be happy to stand behind all the votes I've given, and I don't send anonymous feedback. It might be worth a little discomfort for some if we can keep authors from leaving in disgust.

Just a thought.

awnlee jawking

@Capt Zapp

I actually like the 'feedback by email'


Me too. I've had some interesting discussions with readers via e-mail and to maintain equivalent functionality would require a sophisticated e-mail type service and a significant amount of bandwidth.

Would you and any other administrators have access to the contents of private messages? I can see that might be a concern for some.

AJ

Ernest Bywater

One option authors have is to Refuse Anonymous Emails if you have that option active it cuts out a lot of the gratuitous BS emails. Few people send BS when they know they're sending you their email address, mind you, some still do, but a lot less than with the anonymous option on. I've learned to ignore the abuse, because to do otherwise lets them win by allowing them to dictate to me what they want. By ignoring them I'm dictating to them what I want.

I've one person who hates present tense stories who always 1 bombs me on them with the first chapter, I simply ignore them. But I am a little confused by another reader who hates present tense stories and tells me so in an email with each story posted, but only after they've read the whole story. I guess they like what I write, just not how I write it.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

I'm happy to receive anonymous e-mails. Yes, a few readers go over the top, but generally they seem prepared to be more forthright when they know they don't have to worry about snarky responses from pouty authors.

Accepting anonymous e-mails also seems to have encouraged more votes in my 'is this a Fairy Tale?' poll - the ayes now clearly exceed the nays. (Stop Press - mine is now not the only Fairy Tale, despite the new tag not being publicised by the site news.)

Perhaps there should be a proper reader-polling facility which authors can initiate, although that would probably appear very low on the list of potential site enhancements.

AJ

Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

Yes, a few readers go over the top, but generally they seem prepared to be more forthright when they know they don't have to worry about snarky responses from pouty authors.


I know what you mean, and also allow anonymous emails. however, what I absolutely hate is when I get an anonymous email that includes a question they want answered. It's a bit hard to send them an answer in that situation.

Replies:   awnlee jawking  Lumpy
sejintenej

@doctor_wing_nut

Might that help? We've all seen how easy it is to be 'Internet-Brave' when anonymous.


That is puzzling. Putting my email address on messages seems automatic within "the system". I don't bother to put my real name because when authors write back to me the copy of my message always shows they have received my real name.

Dominions Son

@sejintenej

Putting my email address on messages seems automatic within "the system". I don't bother to put my real name because when authors write back to me the copy of my message always shows they have received my real name.


So, set up an email account for your pseudonym with one of the free web-mail services. Use that for emails to authors and they won't get your "real name".

Replies:   sejintenej
Capt Zapp

@awnlee jawking

Would you and any other administrators ...


I believe you meant to send this to Lazeez.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Capt Zapp

My mistake :(

AJ

awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

That's a dilemma. Netiquette says you shouldn't publicly share the contents of a private message without permission. I treat the question as rhetorical but that's unsatisfactory because sometimes it's a very incisive question.

AJ

Replies:   Grant
sejintenej

@Dominions Son

Putting my email address on messages seems automatic within "the system". I don't bother to put my real name because when authors write back to me the copy of my message always shows they have received my real name.

So, set up an email account for your pseudonym with one of the free web-mail services. Use that for emails to authors and they won't get your "real name".

I have no objection to the addressees knowing my real name; I stand behind what I write even if they don't like what I say. I simply cannot get an email address in any English speaking country which is anywhere like my real name.

There is a boring reason behind sejintenej apart from the fact that so far as I can discover only one other person in the world uses anything like it (and he has more right to it than me!)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Grant

@awnlee jawking

Netiquette says you shouldn't publicly share the contents of a private message without permission.

It also says you shouldn't behave like an arsehole.

If the poster behaves like a rational adult, no problem. Keep the correspondence private unless they say otherwise.
If they insist on being a tool then that's authorisation to make use of their rantings as you see fit.

Lumpy

@Ernest Bywater

What I absolutely hate is when I get an anonymous email that includes a question they want answered


This drives me crazy. Why ask a question if you send your feedback without a way to respond to it. Maddening.

Switch Blayde

@Lumpy

Why ask a question if you send your feedback without a way to respond to it.


Probably because they didn't realize it was going anonymously.

Crumbly Writer

@doctor_wing_nut

I for one would be happy to stand behind all the votes I've given, and I don't send anonymous feedback. It might be worth a little discomfort for some if we can keep authors from leaving in disgust.

Sorry, but there have been a few exchanges between authors which, after becoming heated, ended up with reports of abuse. I'd rather not have my private conversations about sexual kinks up for review by anyone other than the participants. If one of the participants WANTS to reveal what was said to prove a point, that's one thing, however having Lezeez (or any outsider) making that decision on their own is problematic, at best.

As Lazeez pointed out, he never considered the protest that started this whole conversation to be that offensive. One man's offense may be another's 'helpful suggestion'.

Replies:   doctor_wing_nut
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

I've had some interesting discussions with readers via e-mail and to maintain equivalent functionality would require a sophisticated e-mail type service and a significant amount of bandwidth.

I've always saved the majority of my reader feedback (other than the occasional "Thanks"), so I'd prefer keeping the feedback in email, even if I have to export it in email format.

Not only is it a great ego boost, but I often include the responses as positive reviews in my books and on my website (after altering the poster, that is).

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

I'm happy to receive anonymous e-mails. Yes, a few readers go over the top, but generally they seem prepared to be more forthright when they know they don't have to worry about snarky responses from pouty authors.

As I stated earlier, I don't get many helpful anonymous emails. Mostly, their either wholey critical, or more often, "I don't mean to waste your time with a written response, but ..." (often asking specific questions I can't answer).

I think poll question are the exception, as they realize you don't care about detailed discussions, just yeah or nah votes.

Having tried to add polling software to my website, I wouldn't want to try to program it for an entire website!

Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

Putting my email address on messages seems automatic within "the system". I don't bother to put my real name because when authors write back to me the copy of my message always shows they have received my real name.

For years, I'd use one account to send author comments, just so they wouldn't be influenced by my reputation (especially with new authors, or when I'd suggest alternate techniques). That way I knew they'd consider the suggestions based on their content, rather than what they thought they were 'supposed' to do.

A bit of history, I joined SOL with one ID, then created a new, unaffiliated 'author ID', so some authors know me by one ID, while most know me by the one I use on the Forum.

Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

(and he has more right to it than me!)

Minor editorial nit: "than I".

Crumbly Writer

@Lumpy

This drives me crazy. Why ask a question if you send your feedback without a way to respond to it. Maddening.

The same thing happens when they send a normal response, but mistype their email address (since it wasn't always automatically filled in).

doctor_wing_nut

@Crumbly Writer

I'd rather not have my private conversations about sexual kinks up for review by anyone other than the participants.


I don't know how my post was interpreted to mean that anyone or everyone could see all dialogues, because that was never my intention. I just wanted authors to be able to see who sent any email or contact, and who voted what score. If you know the same people are 1-bombing you all the time, you could justifiably ignore them - and honestly, if someone is repeatedly 1-bombing stories I think their votes should be thrown out, because that's not useful feedback but petty abuse and it should not be allowed at all.

fwiw

Switch Blayde

@doctor_wing_nut

I just wanted authors to be able to see who sent any email or contact, and who voted what score.


I don't know about the "and who voted what score" part. That should be private, just like when you cast your vote in an election.

Replies:   Capt Zapp
Capt Zapp

@Switch Blayde

That should be private, just like when you cast your vote in an election.


Which is why it should be illegal for them to require you to register for the party you intend to vote for. Kind of takes the 'secret' out of 'secret ballot', doesn't it.

Dominions Son

@Capt Zapp

Which is why it should be illegal for them to require you to register for the party you intend to vote for. Kind of takes the 'secret' out of 'secret ballot', doesn't it.


That's mostly for states with closed primaries. It's necessary for a closed primary to make sure voters aren't crossing over from one party to the other.

I live in a state that holds open primaries. You do not need to state a party affiliation on your voter registration.

I have no idea how caucus states work.

Replies:   Capt Zapp
Capt Zapp

@Dominions Son

t's necessary for a closed primary to make sure voters aren't crossing over from one party to the other.


So basically they take away your right to vote for who you want to if you change your mind. They shouldn't have any idea as to who you vote for, that's the whole idea behind a secret ballot.

Ernest Bywater

@Capt Zapp

that's the whole idea behind a secret ballot.


The secret ballot is for the final election - the Primaries are for the party members to choose a candidate, and that's a different matter.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Capt Zapp


So basically they take away your right to vote for who you want to if you change your mind. They shouldn't have any idea as to who you vote for, that's the whole idea behind a secret ballot.


1 It has no affect on who you can vote on in a general election, it only affects primary voting.

2. You can re-register with a different party affiliation at any time prior to the state's registration deadline for a given election.

If that's still too much for you, move to an open primary state.

Crumbly Writer

@doctor_wing_nut

I don't know how my post was interpreted to mean that anyone or everyone could see all dialogues, because that was never my intention.

The response was over Lazeez building in a facility to review individual posts to authors, or build a record of everyone's votes. That sounds even more chilling than trolls trying to degrade a story to advance a minority view. After all, the trolls are easily countered, as there are never more than a few of them at a time. However, the monitoring is permanent.

My counter proposal, to keep things the way they are, argues that it's OK for someone to send Lazeez a copy of an offensive message (a private email), if they feel it was purposefully malicious. However, it's questionable whether he should have the ability to review ALL private messages.

Knowing him, I doubt he'd ever violate anyone's privacy, but I'd rather not build such over-reaching tools into the system. After all, all it would take is a single court order, and Every private SOL message would be reviewable by an overeager prosecutor!

Crumbly Writer

@Capt Zapp

Which is why it should be illegal for them to require you to register for the party you intend to vote for. Kind of takes the 'secret' out of 'secret ballot', doesn't it.

There's an easy solution to that (at least in the U.S.). Just register as an Independent, then you can vote for whoever you want. The only penalty is, you're no longer eligible to vote in political primaries. So pick your poison, vote whoever you want in the final election, or retain your ability to determine who the final candidates are.

Replies:   Capt Zapp
Capt Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

The only penalty is, you're no longer eligible to vote in political primaries. So pick your poison, vote whoever you want in the final election, or retain your ability to determine who the final candidates are.


That is my point exactly. There should be NO penalty for voting for whomever you want to without anybody knowing. They just want to know the outcome BEFORE people vote. Kind of eliminates the need for voting if you can only vote the way you registered. And why should an Independent be denied the right to vote in the primaries? If I was a registered Democrat and didn't like the offered candidates, why should I be denied the right to choose a candidate from another party? It's all Government manipulation.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@Capt Zapp

If I was a registered Democrat and didn't like the offered candidates, why should I be denied the right to choose a candidate from another party?

I can't see how that's the case.
You can still vote at the election however you want to.

Replies:   Capt Zapp
Capt Zapp

@Grant

I love when political pollsters or supporters call and ask who I plan to vote for. I tell them it's none of their f'n business and that I will vote for who I think will do the best job. Of course, they respond with "and who do you think that will be?"

None of your f'n business!

The only reason anyone should know another person's political affiliation is if that person makes it known. NOBODY should have the right to demand a person reveal that information by registering it.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
zebra69347

The voting system in the USA seems very odd looking from the east side of the Atlantic pond.
In the United Kingdom all eligible persons should be registered with their local council. The council then advise what building is to be used to cast your vote. Vote is marked on ballot paper, folded and placed in box. Voting is supervised by council officials, some full time officers assisted by occasional officials.
Representatives of candidates may be present but you do not have to tell anyone about your vote.

Switch Blayde

@zebra69347

In the United Kingdom all eligible persons should be registered with their local council.


We don't call it a "local council" but that's how it works here.

The council then advise what building is to be used to cast your vote.

Same here. The building is often a school or church.

Vote is marked on ballot paper, folded and placed in box. Voting is supervised by council officials, some full time officers assisted by occasional officials.


Same here except it's usually an electronic machine. There are people supervising the voting.

Representatives of candidates may be present but you do not have to tell anyone about your vote.


No politicing is allow within so many feet of the voting place.

So it's not really different.

awnlee jawking

@zebra69347

People are also allowed to register for postal votes. Intended for the elderly, the disabled and people unable to get to a polling station, postal votes have proved popular in immigrant communities with no culture of democracy. The postal votes are collected by the 'village elders' who decide how they should be cast.

AJ

sejintenej
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


@zebra69347

People are also allowed to register for postal votes. Intended for the elderly, the disabled and people unable to get to a polling station, postal votes have proved popular in immigrant communities with no culture of democracy. The postal votes are collected by the 'village elders' who decide how they should be cast.


First let me make a minor clarification of @zebra69347's original post; representatives of the candidates can be outside the door of the room where the vote is organised and cast - not inside. I have been asked for my identity so that they know who voted but never how I voted (I suspect some people were asked). I have never disclosed my identity and never had any problem.

In recent years I have had a postal vote because I would be working 1000+ miles away - I had to indicate my ID and give a specific reason why I needed a postal vote and the election officials made a decision whether to allow it or not.

The voting slip was returned direct to the election returning officer of my constituency in such a manner that my ID is not immediately tied to the voting slip (IDs can later be tied to voting papers but that is a complex procedure and requires special authorisation (I think it is a court order)).

Ernest Bywater

@Capt Zapp

when political pollsters or supporters call and ask who I plan to vote


Next time they call, say, "I don't know yet, all the Academy Award nominations aren't in yet."

Replies:   sejintenej
Grant
Updated:

@zebra69347

The voting system in the USA seems very odd looking from the east side of the Atlantic pond.


Bizarre from here in Australia.
Our last election campaign ran for around 2 and a half months. Previously 6 weeks was considered a very long campaign. Usually it's around 4 weeks.
So having a campaign that runs for years just seems really strange.

In the United Kingdom all eligible persons should be registered with their local council.


Here it's the Electoral Commission, which is a federal office but also has state branches.

The council then advise what building is to be used to cast your vote. Vote is marked on ballot paper, folded and placed in box. Voting is supervised by council officials, some full time officers assisted by occasional officials.


Here it's the Electoral Commission that's responsible for running any elections- local, state or federal.

They are also involved with the elections for officials for some of the larger Unions. Other unions use the company that audits their books to monitor the election of office bearers.

Representatives of candidates may be present but you do not have to tell anyone about your vote.


For a long time you'd have volunteers for each candidate setup outside the polling station. None of them are allowed inside the polling station.

For the last election they were all restricted to being no closer than 100metres from the polling station.

Bliss. No more running the gauntlet & having "How to vote" cards from 15 different people thrust at you.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Intended for the elderly, the disabled and people unable to get to a polling station, postal votes have proved popular in immigrant communities with no culture of democracy.

It's also heavily used by servicemen, both those overseas and those stationed far from home who can't make it home in time to vote.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

@Grant

For the last election they were all restricted to being no closer than 100metres from the polling station.

Bliss. No more running the gauntlet & having "How to vote" cards from 15 different people thrust at you.

It's only 500 feet in the U.S., and you still have to run a guantlet of people from the various parties trying to shove pamplets at you, trying to talk up their candidate.

Plus, the Justice department decided NOT to actively pursue voting irregularities this year, unless specifically invited to do so (only 10 municipalities are required to by the courts). This is despite the recent Supreme Court decision that overturned the "Voting Rights Act" not specifying any such restrictions. Thus while Trump supporters are suggesting "monitoring voting" in force, there's no one to constrain them if they take things into their own hands. :(

Of course, it could go the other way too. After all, Gary Johnson might wrestle some voter to the ground--in the wrong state, of course! :)

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

It's only 500 feet in the U.S., and you still have to run a guantlet of people from the various parties trying to shove pamplets at you, trying to talk up their candidate.


Where? I've never encountered anything like that.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Where? I've never encountered anything like that.

I'm in N.C. at the moment (in a very contentious election, since the entire country is protesting the actions of the Governor). When I went to vote (early voting) there was a designated area where anyone handing out materials were required to stand, however they asked anyone walking through the parking lot whether they 'wanted information' about who to vote for.

Rather than get into an argument, or risk cursing at them, I simply declared "I already know who I'm voting for," and kept walking.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

It's also heavily used by servicemen, both those overseas and those stationed far from home who can't make it home in time to vote.


Absentee voting (by mail) is not only used by the disabled or servicemen or other people away from home. I always vote by mail. I can't remember the last time I went to a voting place.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  REP
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Absentee voting (by mail) is not only used by the disabled or servicemen or other people away from home. I always vote by mail. I can't remember the last time I went to a voting place.

It's also used by zombies, vampires (who can't go out during the day) and monsters (who get attacked by villages whenever they venture out to the local voting areas). It's not just the deceased that need alternate voting options!

REP

@Switch Blayde

I always vote by mail


So do I. Last time I voted at a voting place, I must have timed it wrong for had to stand in line for almost an hour.

JohnBobMead

In Oregon and Washington State, vote by mail is the norm. Oregon requires the ballot be received by the election date, Washington State requires it be postmarked by the election date. Both states have ballot boxes where ballots can be deposited if you don't want to use the mails.

richardshagrin

In Washington sometimes the ballot is so long it requires 68 cents postage, instead of the normal 47 cents. Strains my credulity that voting is worth that much. The gas to drive to the nearest ballot box may cost more than either. I guess if you want to vote you can spend time or money, or both. Or you could walk to the ballot box, in bare feet in November, so you don't wear out your shoes.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
sejintenej
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


when political pollsters or supporters call and ask who I plan to vote

Ernest Bywater's reply

Next time they call, say, "I don't know yet, all the Academy Award nominations aren't in yet."


Absolutely brilliant; that should go on TV when they talk about the presidential election.

Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

In Washington sometimes the ballot is so long it requires 68 cents postage, instead of the normal 47 cents.


Seems us Aussies are ahead of you on that. Here, a postal vote is done via a postage free envelope sent with the ballot papers.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

Seems us Aussies are ahead of you on that. Here, a postal vote is done via a postage free envelope sent with the ballot papers.


It's postage free here too. He was being satirical.

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

It's postage free here too. He was being satirical.


see what happens when you leave the tags off! People believe what you say.

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

It's postage free here too. He was being satirical.


Actually, since the election process is run at the state level, whether or not the absentee ballot comes with a postage paid (technically, they aren't postage free, it's just been prepaid by someone else) envelope could vary by state.

I don't think that anyone here can state on first hand knowledge that it's postage paid in all 50 states.

richardshagrin

In Washington you don't have to put a stamp or stamps on the ballot, at least in Snohomish County the post office will deliver the ballot and the county will pay the post office for what you should have put on the ballot when you mailed it. If a lot of people did that, the County would run a deficit, not that they don't already, and raise taxes. Most people do put stamps on their ballots on the theory that anything the government pays for costs more and takes longer.

JohnBobMead

Oregon and Washington State are vote by mail states. The envelopes are not pre-paid postage, but require you to affix sufficient postage. Richardshagrin says they'll deliver the ballot in Washington without postage, but I'd be leary trying it, as they shouldn't. I moved from Oregon to Washington State about four years ago, so have voted by mail in both states. As I think I mentioned previously, the major difference between how Oregon and Washington State treat the ballots is that in Oregon they must be received by the end of Election Day, while in Washington State they must be postmarked by the end of Election day, which pushes final results for Washington State back another day or so.

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