I voted for "No, don't ban them", but I don't particularly like Valleywag stories. Rather, I think the whack-a-mole approach of banning individual problem sites is a bad idea.
I've said this before, and I'll say it again: Users who post garbage stories should be more accountable. Make posting a story cost a few points of karma, so that people who repeatedly post stories which don't get voted up end up without any karma.
The specific problem of linkbait titles might also be helped by allowing users to "un-vote" a link which they previously voted up.
I think a karma cost for posting stories is a really bad idea.
Firstly, it would not solve this problem since Valleywag stories tend to get lots of upvotes. Indeed, it would encourage posting link-baiting stories, since they also tend to be karma-baiting stories.
Secondly, it would stop people from posting borderline, but valid stuff. I often don't post things I'm unsure people will like, but many times posts that seem borderline to me end up getting loads of upvotes. With a karma cost for posting, people would simply not post these kinds of stories.
A karma cost for posting is a recipie for encouraging lowest-common-denominator stuff.
Simply have a lsit of who voted up this article, and add a mechanism for changing your vote. It's easy to upvote something that's got a good title, then realise it's crap and not be able to retract your vote.
Currently, each person is left to give their own 'meaning' to a vote. I think that this approach would help define that meaning: A 'vote' is public support for the quality of an article, such that you are willing to associate yourself with it.
Good point. In the case I described, someone could gain status in the community by consistently voting up good articles and voting down bad ones. This would add to the other two methods of becoming known to the community (commenting and submitting). Perhaps people who are respected would not want to risk tarnishing their image by supporting a bad article, and the support of people who would be willing to sell their 'vote' would be worthless?
As an aside, I wonder if each of article submissions, comments, and voting could be thought to respectively show that a person is interesting, intelligent, and has good judgment?
The aforementioned "name-and-shame" approach would work if the names are only displayed for bad stories.
It would be a weird scenario indeed if vote-buyers were only able to pay out for stories that did not get a positive score.
Vote-buyers could still gain some long-term information that would enable payment, such as the reliability of a given paid-voter over time (by checking the stories that didn't make it), but that same information would be available to the news.yc admin(s), who could then just ban the offending accounts (even if they weren't suspected of vote-selling--just for consistently supporting crappy stories!).
I'm all for undoing votes, as everyone makes mistakes sometimes. With news though, it's slightly complicated by the fact that the effect of your vote is time sensitive.
In other words, if you vote up a story and then change your vote a day later, the vote has already contributed to putting the article on the front page on that first day, and so the "damage" has already be done.
I agree, thats pretty much what I was getting at. I favor a systemic solution, not banning sites. The problem isn't that people submit bad stuff, its that the community upvotes it and has no ability to filter it.