Fighting authority bias

by KolA   Last Updated August 14, 2019 00:24 AM - source

I'm risking to have many downvotes for this question (or accusations of envy) however if the very same question was posted by a user with high reputation then outcome could be different.

Previous paragraph sums it up: humans are susceptible to Authority bias in all communities and in my impression SO is not an exception.

'Authority bias is the tendency to attribute greater accuracy to the opinion of an authority figure (unrelated to its content) and be more influenced by that opinion.'

In otherwise roughly equal circumstances, people tend to upvote answers, questions and comments from users with higher reputation then from nonamers. I don't have any hard data to prove it but this is very visible in broad/open-ended questions with no precise answer (I deliberately refrain from any specific examples, last thing I want is to unintentionally insult anybody or start a flame).

I also think twice before downvoting answer on my question from a high-rep user: if they figure out it was me and they are mad enough at me to go on 'downvote spree' for all my activity then they can ruin my tiny reputation at very little cost of their rep! :) Well I don't think it will happen and probably respected users have better things to do but I can't help myself.

Are there any hard numbers to prove presence or absence of authority bias at SO? If it actually exists then had SO team considered any ways to fight it? For example, an experiment can be run where user names are obfuscated/rep is hidden for all new content (answers/questions/comments) until it is X hours or day old.

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Updated May 15, 2016 08:10 AM