Questions about Voting


I’m a little unclear about the voting process. (1) If someone posts an idea and I vote for it, and subsequently the post is edited, will I be notified? (2) If I vote for a posted idea, and then there are discussions about changes that could make the idea better, should I “like” the changes I agree with and leave my initial vote on the first post in place? (3) If I vote for a posted idea, and then there are discussions that change the idea in some way that I like, should I “like” the change and remove my vote on the first post?



It seems that after having voted for my two feature requests, and two feature requests of others, I am out of votes, and will not be able to vote any more until either (1) I take a vote off of something or (2) a topic I voted on is closed. Is this just for this week’s trial session? In a way, I think it’s good, so that we have to focus as a group on what is really most valuable for the site at this time. But what will determine when feature requests are closed–will there be a time limit set to discuss them?



I wonder if the amount of votes we get will go up as we gain trust levels.



I think you’re right. Some discussions about Discourse indicate they are, and that trust level is determined by how many votes and likes one gets.



I was thinking the heart a bit goofy, and probably wouldn’t use it much… have just changed my mind :slight_smile:

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@paloma, as far as one of your original questions: Have you been notified at all of the changes I made to feature requests? For example I added some info to this one slightly just now and I see you had voted on it. My inkling is that no notification is generated. I haven’t received any notifications of changes any other users have made throughout the forum.

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No, I haven’t received any notifications of edits, including the one you referred to. Thanks for asking.



I get alerts for likes, replies and mentions, but not for edits. If we get these features in iNat comments, including alerts for edits would be desirable!



How many votes are we given? (Edit: I think I had 4 as Basic and now 6 as Member?)
How can we get more votes?
Right now there are a lot of different topics to vote on, and I think I agree with most of them… How will our votes be used? I think it’s fair that votes are limited to avoid spamming, but I’m not sure how best to use my votes considering they are limited, and constantly moving my votes around as better topics are made will be a bit annoying.

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For now, just choose the 6 things you want admin to look at/think are most important. When a topic is closed, either because the proposal will be implemented, or because it will not, you get your vote back and can give it to a different proposal.



What’s the logic behind this limited vote system? Why not let people vote as often as they would like, this will give a clearer picture of which requests are most popular. Instead, with limited votes, I’ll not vote up a well-voted feature as people have already done the work for me, instead I’ll vote up a less voted feature that I would like to see implemented. This means limited votes don’t make it clear which is the most desired feature request, instead it will smoothen out the votes.



yeah, i don’t know, i think it is meant to make people prioritize, now this message board is pretty small but over time it could have 100+ feature requests and no real way to prioritize. It is true however that this system might not work well here because it seems like we have a relatively small number of active people, rather than a large population of posters to vote in a systematic way overall. I do think there is the concern that with unlimited votes people just vote for everything. one could scale the votes to the number of requests but… doubt the message board offers that option. I also saw Ken-Ichi post a survey, we could use more of those maybe. I haven’t tried it yet.

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edit: oops! I got confused and incorrectly stated (below) that we’d been instructed by staff when that wasn’t accurate.


While I would prefer an open voting system without limits, if that’s not possible for whatever reason, the issue of timelines and protocol need to be fleshed out. Without that, folks will not be able to clearly decide how best to communicate their enthusiasm if they have an equal interest in several requests. I have been out of votes for a while and have moved some around but I don’t understand how staff is evaluating when they’ve seen enough enthusiasm and can close it (or conversely, no enthusiasm and can close it).

If there continues to be a long and growing list of requests it seems pretty silly to expect people to keep up with every one and then wrangle their own votes (moving them around, double-checking, not knowing if their vote has been counted etc.). Also, the idea of removing a vote to vote elsewhere doesn’t, to my mind, best show what’s most important. In my view, it shows who has the time and energy to search through a hundred requests and feels comfortable moving votes around. I’m skipping over equally important votes because I don’t want to remove a vote not knowing what its status is (has it been reviewed? are there more questions? can my comments in favor count in a request when I’m out of votes etc.). I could go on, about the other problematic voting nuances here but I think you’ll all get my general point.



the idea of just having, say, seven votes, when there are dozens of feature requests that I would vote for, is rather disappointing. I would prefer a model where we had, say, 100 points that we could assign to feature requests that we liked/wanted, and when we voted, a proportion of our 100 points would go to each feature. If we vote for one feature, then the full 100 points goes to it, and if we vote for 10 features, then 10 points each. If we like EVERY feature, then 100 features get one point each! Maybe being able to double or triple vote for features we REALLY like. 100 points does seem extreme for one feature, so maybe a cap of 20 per feature before the proportional distribution takes effect.

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I think it might be good to take a step back and remember that:

a) iNaturalist is a team of eight full-time employees, several of whom (like me) are not developers or designers, and thus we can’t implement many features quickly, so the current voting system is, I think, a good way for people to really have to decide what they think should get attention.

b) the votes are not a referendum on a feature, they are just an easy way for iNat staff gauge community interest in a feature. With limited votes, each vote should really mean something, and that means something to us. Hopefully the user has put some thought into their vote. The real meat should be the comments for each topic.

c) for better or worse, iNaturalist (or at least the way it is managed) is not a democracy and staff will have final say as to whether a feature request is implemented and the particulars of how it will be implemented. To use an extreme example, if someone makes a feature request that Harry Potter creatures to added to our taxonomy, iNat staff would not implement it regardless of how many votes it garnered.

d) that being said, it is our responsibility to communicate where a feature request stands and to close feature requests in a timely manner. And I think that’s good because it means we have to keep engaged with the requests (something I know I need to do a better job of, for one) and with the forum. It also means that votes should be coming from people who are continually engaged and a part of this community, and I think that means more than someone who comes here once, adds 35 votes, and never returns.

All this is to say that while voting is clearly important in the Feature Requests category, try to not get too hung up on it and let’s see how the system works. The real test will probably be when (if?) many more users regularly show up here and we can re-evaluate.

Also, if you’re interested, here is Discourse’s blog post about ideation and voting, for more background on their design:



One thing I’d throw out about this system is that it works a lot better if there’s lots of admin involvement. Which there had been lately! Which is awesome. If that fades it will get frustrating. In particular it will work a lot better if admin responds to and if necessary closes topics with responses like “we plan to do this”, “we won’t/can’t do this” and “we would like to do this but don’t have the resources/capability/it doesn’t work well with the site now”. Otherwise our votes languish and get forgotten.



Just checking to make sure that you know you can access the list of requests you have voted for by clicking on your icon, then your name, then “votes,” so you don’t have to search through all feature requests to find your own votes.



I do, thanks for checking though!

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