Link to the Wiki article, because this is likely the first thing the public in general will read when searching for the Heckeler's Veto.

Note that everything below is speculation and opinion.

The heckeler's veto should not be considered protected speech on Poal. No user should be allowed to abuse their speech on Poal in order to drown out or push out other users. Nor should moderators be allowed to use a heckeler's reaction or "possible reaction" to a post as a valid excuse to delete posts and comments on a subpoal (referring to the legal definition of heckeler's veto here).

These are the two most observable ways of executing the heckeler's veto here on Poal. But I think there is a third way that is still observable, but doesn't get the same attention. Voting. The way these news aggregator sites are designed allows for users to actively suppress posts and comments in a quick and easy way. This system is antithetical to websites that value free speech and disenting opinions.

So what can we do about this? Or should we do anything about this?

I think we should, and I've thought of a way that would at least reduce the power of the downvote as a tool for heckelers. We can change the way Poal positions posts from the net value of upvotes and downvotes, to total votes. Changing this will allow people to quickly voice their opinion on a particular post without suppressing the post. With this system, suppressing user's posts becomes a passive action instead of an active one, because to keep a post from being visible, you mush choose to not interact with it. And I think that is a much better system that encourages people to ignore what they don't like instead of taking action against it.

As an extension on that sentiment, the number of comments made on a post could also be taken into consideration for a post's position on Poal's/a subpoal's front page. Adjustments will need to be made over time to prevent abuse, but this can be a way to encourage discussion and mature behavior towards heckelers (just ignoring them).

@PM_ME_YOUR_BOOBS2, @AOU, despite your's and the communities best attempts to create a website culture that resists the use of the downvote as a disagree/fuck you button, as Poal grows, it will be used as such. People are primed to do that out of instinct or social conditioning, or whatever. Its an easy way to express yourself. My suggestion is a way Poal can encourage more mature behavior towards unlikeable and unpopular speech, and it can be a way for Poal to distinguish itself from other aggregator websites.

These suggestions would be major feature changes, though. A lot of time and work to implement well.

So before saying yes or no, we as a community should try to answer a question. What do we see Poal being or what roll do we see it fullfilling/becoming in the future? Is Poal a content aggregator, or a discussion forum? An echo chamber, or a bubble breaker? We need to know this first, otherwise any feature changes may become a waste of time if the direction we want Poal to go in runs contrary to any implemented features. Once we have a direction, we can build tools and a culture that will move towards that end. We, the users, have a roll in this decision, but @AOU and @PM_ME_YOUR_BOOBS2 are the ones that make the final call on what Poal will be. Just let us know when you do so us users can know where we stand.

End of my drivel. Thanks for tolerating it :)

[Link to the Wiki article,](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heckler%27s_veto) because this is likely the first thing the public in general will read when searching for the Heckeler's Veto. *Note that everything below is speculation and opinion.* The heckeler's veto should not be considered protected speech on Poal. No user should be allowed to abuse their speech on Poal in order to drown out or push out other users. Nor should moderators be allowed to use a heckeler's reaction or "possible reaction" to a post as a valid excuse to delete posts and comments on a subpoal (referring to the legal definition of heckeler's veto here). These are the two most observable ways of executing the heckeler's veto here on Poal. But I think there is a third way that is still observable, but doesn't get the same attention. Voting. The way these news aggregator sites are designed allows for users to *actively* suppress posts and comments in a quick and easy way. This system is antithetical to websites that value free speech and disenting opinions. So what can we do about this? Or should we do anything about this? I think we should, and I've thought of a way that would at least reduce the power of the downvote as a tool for heckelers. We can change the way Poal positions posts from the net value of upvotes and downvotes, to total votes. Changing this will allow people to quickly voice their opinion on a particular post without suppressing the post. With this system, suppressing user's posts becomes a passive action instead of an active one, because to keep a post from being visible, you mush choose to not interact with it. And I think that is a much better system that encourages people to ignore what they don't like instead of taking action against it. As an extension on that sentiment, the number of comments made on a post could also be taken into consideration for a post's position on Poal's/a subpoal's front page. Adjustments will need to be made over time to prevent abuse, but this can be a way to encourage discussion and mature behavior towards heckelers (just ignoring them). @PM_ME_YOUR_BOOBS2, @AOU, despite your's and the communities best attempts to create a website culture that resists the use of the downvote as a disagree/fuck you button, as Poal grows, it will be used as such. People are primed to do that out of instinct or social conditioning, or whatever. Its an easy way to express yourself. My suggestion is a way Poal can encourage more mature behavior towards unlikeable and unpopular speech, and it can be a way for Poal to distinguish itself from other aggregator websites. These suggestions would be major feature changes, though. A lot of time and work to implement well. So before saying yes or no, we as a community should try to answer a question. What do we see Poal being or what roll do we see it fullfilling/becoming in the future? Is Poal a content aggregator, or a discussion forum? An echo chamber, or a bubble breaker? We need to know this first, otherwise any feature changes may become a waste of time if the direction we want Poal to go in runs contrary to any implemented features. Once we have a direction, we can build tools and a culture that will move towards that end. We, the users, have a roll in this decision, but @AOU and @PM_ME_YOUR_BOOBS2 are the ones that make the final call on what Poal will be. Just let us know when you do so us users can know where we stand. End of my drivel. Thanks for tolerating it :)

I gotta say you made a lot of great points that Poal needs to consider.

[–] VileMage 2 points

Thanks. How to create an environment that encourages debate and discourages close mindedness has been on my mind a lot.

[–] PMYB2 3 points

Well as a user, and I am one just as much as I am an admin. my vote is for this place to be a bubble breaker one were everyone can make their argument and the best ones win out. My initial reaction is to love this idea but I'd like to think about it for longer before I decide if I think its a good idea or not. I still see it being abused but maybe less so? Its something to think about and I look forward to reading all of your guys ideas and responses. Thanks @VileMage

No problem. Definitely take the time to think on it. My post isn't based on any research, just observations on how Reddit and Voat acted and operated.

People are primed to do that [downvote] out of instinct or social conditioning

I think the best solution to things like this is to "turn it on its head" and the

change the way Poal positions posts from the net value of upvotes and downvotes, to total votes

is perfect. Harness the behavior to create the opposite effect.

[–] VileMage 2 points

That's what I'm thinking. I've been a member of Reddit and Voat, so while thinking about what to write, I tried to consider my experience with the communities on both sites and how they reacted to posts that went against the grain.

[–] AOU 3 points

You've made some interesting points. Boobs and I have been talking about lots of stuff regarding how poal should behave.

We will always ask the community before coming with features that could change poal's behavior.

Poal positions

Tell me you did that one purpose? :D

Excellent write up, thanks for the thoughts. To me though, one who rarely down votes (a no vote at all is my typical down vote - LOL), wouldn't it just be simpler to do away with down votes all together? They serve no purpose other than as you said, a heckler's veto or to identify spam. As for the spam, that could just as easily be identified by simply having an easy push button way to report it directly to mods and admin. I personally think up and down voting is an obsolete concept that is just a hold over from those who have done Reddit and such. Down votes serve no function other than as a resource for those who wish to screw with other users. They shouldn't be used as a disagree button ... that can be accomplished by simply making a short comment where you aren't hiding behind the anonymity a down vote button provides.

If we must retain down vote buttons ... suggest that the user name of those who down vote be displayed. That alone would correct some of the problems it creates.

It would be simpler to get rid of it. A while ago, I was thinking the same. My opinion was nobody knew how to use the downvote as intended (removing irrelevant and crap content), including me.

I think... by getting rid of the downvote, you lose something important. The ability to choose. The ability to express disdain without effort. I think these are important for a community because there is freedom in it, and it allows people to easily get a feeling for how the community thinks and feels about certain subjects. Yea, you can do that by looking at the comments. But not everybody wants to comment. So you only get an idea of the culture through the vocal users. That's not going to be representative of the user base.

I get what you're saying, about identifying the downvotes people submit and how people have used it to fuck with people anonymously. However, I think it's important to retain that anonymity. To have an outlet to express yourself without fear of retaliation, even if it means some of us will abuse it. That's a lot of the background of what I'm suggesting. To reduce that ability to abuse the downvote, but still retain the ability to use it.

Regarding spam, I agree we need an easy way to report it, but not until there's a way to keep the mods accountable for what they are deleting and who they are banning. Poal should eventually have a mod log like Voat and 8chan.

Downvoting censors no one ever. Sort by new, a million downvote post is still where it was before. On a site like this public opinion, votes, helps determine what i want to waste my time on.

Sure it can. A dedicated group can surpress your posts through downvoting. Right now, with as few posts as there are, it doesn't do much because it's visible on new. But when Poal grows, more people will rely on their sub feeds and front page to get the content they want. As you said it, let public opinion determine what you spend time on.