Any social news site or forum administrator will tell you that malicious voting, spam, censoring by a group of forum members is a huge problem and is the cause of most of the headaches incured from administering a forum or consumer generated content site.
In most social news sites like Hacker news, Reddit, Digg, members of these sites are allowed to submit links, comments and posts and to also vote up or down any post/comments that are interesting, intellectually stimulating and are in the context of the post. Taking a site like Hacker news (of which I am an active member), an anomalous voting pattern has been noticed, i.e. once a comment/post gets downvoted by an individual, other members who view that post tend to blindly downvote that post/comment without analyzing the reason why that post/comment was downvoted in the first place (this I call the HERD INSTINCT). Also, members tend to vote on a post/comment maliciously i.e. down voting a post/comment just because the post/comment represents an opposing view to the voters world view or way of reasoning. Also, a clique of forum members can constitute a illegal cencoring group (e.g The Wikipedia Mafia) just because they want to controll the news items that are displayed on the front page of the site to their own selfish ends (gaming digg).
The solution? Remove the up and down vote button, and in its place just have a single button, the LIKE button, just like the FaceBook “like” button. HOW IT WORKS: If I see any post/comment I like, I can “LIKE” the post/comment, which is in essence upvoting that post/comment thereby increasing its tally, but if I see something I disagree with, I cant downvote it, the best I can do is to flag it as inappropriate but this doesn’t affect the score and neither is it shown so as not to influence other users into doing same. Hence the best posts/comments/articles tend to bubble up to the top based on the number of votes garnered and the bad ones tend to sink to the buttom, filtered according to the time it was posted i.e. chronologically.
In restrospect, this solution will only work to checkmate malicious voting patterns and might not stem the practice of people LIKING or upvoting comments/posts just because they want those posts/comments to bubble to the top. Any thoughts on how this can be solved? Please share.