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Wonderful and enjoyable video. It's sad that the accuracy of it is debatable: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/10/opinion/is-the-wolf-a-real...



That opinion piece says the impacts affecting the park are more nuanced and complicated than the popular narrative of the reintroduction of wolves would lead one to believe, it doesn't say it's entirely wrong.


Um, quoting exactly:

"[The aforementioned] study, which focused on willows, showed that the decades without wolves changed Yellowstone too much to undo. After humans exterminated wolves nearly a century ago, elk grew so abundant that they all but eliminated willow shrubs. Without willows to eat, beavers declined. Without beaver dams, fast-flowing streams cut deeper into the terrain. The water table dropped below the reach of willow roots. Now it’s too late for even high levels of wolf predation to restore the willows."

and:

"When we tell the wolf story, we get the Yellowstone story wrong. Perhaps the greatest risk of this story is a loss of credibility for the scientists and environmental groups who tell it."


Why -1? I'm quoting exactly from the article mentioned above in the thread. Am I wrong in anything? Am I disrespectful? Please care to explain.


I didn't downvote you, I can't since you replied to me, but you are selectively quoting the article, which may have been the reason. The article also said the Elk population was reduced by the wolves, and that this impacted plant regrowth but not as much as widely believed, and yes some areas haven't been improved at all. It also said bear populations increased. It's a nuanced piece.


I've read a few papers on this in the past, after having originally seen the video. The ongoing research is indeed nuanced and complex, and as with a lot of ongoing scientific research, there's disagreements among scientists.

Different papers use different methods to estimate predation risk in various locations, for instance. Some base it on actual predation incidents, some on landscape factors (which may model risk perception as opposed to actual risk).

There's also discussion about the way active predators such as wolves impact an area, which is different from lie-in-wait predators. And there's an idea that a constant background threat comes to be ignored, as opposed to a sort of pulsing threat, where there are surges of predation.

Also worth noting that various studies take place in different areas of the park, and in different seasons. Not to mention there's three main varieties of trees under discussion (aspens, cottonwoods, willows), which have all seen different recovery rates in different areas.

It's not a simple question, and from what I've seen in my sort of casual reading on the topic, it's not at all settled.


I think that the summary of that story, though, is, "Actually, wolves hardly did anything." Yes, not literally nothing, but that for the most part, plant regrowth didn't happen at all. Where it did happen, it's far from clear that the wolves -> elk predation causality chain was a major factor.


Please resist the urge to question receiving a downvote. If it's unwarranted (and I think it was, in this case), someone will likely give you a corrective upvote.


The other common case is someone clicking the downvote button in error. Is there any way to undo a downvote, or is that a planned future feature?


No, there isn't. There probably should be (but it's debatable, perhaps like edits, they should be timed, with a hint in the UI that not only voting is done (arrows removed), but which vote was cast (eg: dim the arrow not pressed, highlight the one pressed.).

What really should be done, is change the hopelessly small arrows (which are annoying on desktop, unusable on mobile) to a pair of unicode up-down arrows/triangles side-by-side that are more or less full line-height/1em. Eg: ▲▼. It would mean a minimal change in layout (small increase in left margin) -- but greatly increase usability.

I'd probably stopped using hn (well interacting with the ui) a long time ago, if I wasn't using vimperator, and could just hit "f"[ollow links] and type a number for the arrow I wanted to hit, rather than hunting the tiny glyphs.

/Off-topic-rant


Why doesn't HN have a policy whereby the downvoter must explain the reason for it, much like a Wikipedia edit is strongly encouraged to have a written reason?

How can we teach people not to do something worthy of downvote if there is no visible feedback mechanism to help see why something downvoted was rightfully so?

If the current policy (of downvoting without a reason) is to avoid discussing the reason for the downvote, so that the conversation not be derailed further, then maybe we should focus on disincentivizing this specific behavior.


Not unexpectedly parent was downvoted too as will I most likely be. It seems to have become a trend lately.

To any newcomers with downvote privilege: There used to be that you had to say something wrong or unpopular to be downvoted, not just something that could have been avoided etc. That way HN came across as a friendly (although biased) community. I'd appreciate if we extended this to newcomers and tired ones today: If you have gained your downvote-privilege, use it carefully, don't assume stackoverflow-moderator-responsibility.

(Notice that this is my second account, I have lurked and participated here a few years and have another account that I sometimes log into when someone really needs my downvote or I want to be personally identified with my answers ; )


looks like someone downvoted a quote they don't like. It irks me when that happens here.


As I've pointed out before either there is a change in policy or we got some unusually active downvoters recently. I don't know and I don't have time to research it but I guess someone with admin access could do some kind of query on users with unusual amount of downvotes?


I habitually downvote discussions about downvoting as they pretty much always distract from the topic at hand and really aren't all that interesting in themselves.

The best approach to being downvoted is not to woundedly post asking why you were downvoted, but to wait. If your post has genuine value, it will almost always be voted back up. This has happened to me more times than I can count.

If your post is not upvoted over time, perhaps you're wrong about its value. Certainly the community disagrees with you. That questioning should be directed inwardly. Perhaps sometimes the answer will be that you don't care if the community disagrees with you, you still feel your point was justified. That also happens to me.

I understand the emotional impulse to question what a poster feels to be an injustice, but all they're really doing is indulging their emotional impulse at the expense of actual on-topic and interesting discussion.

Please don't do that.


Sometimes, the way to improve your skill at communicating is getting feedback from the community.

Further, you can't assume that someone asking for such feedback is asking in a defensive way. Although that often happens, the written text is a poor way of judging that. Spoken tonality is more accurate. If you're interpreting a request for feedback as one coming out of being "wounded", that is more likely to be a projection of your own habits of communication and psyche than what is actually happening.


Thanks, seeing the discussion, for a moment I thought I'm the only one thinking this way.

Regarding people suggesting to "look into myself what I did wrong" - I was totally flabbergasted as to why I was downvoted, that's exactly why I wanted to ask and, hopefully, learn something. The only ideas I had were those I listed, but none seemed to match.

Now, from the comments I learned something, that the quotes I used were apparently seen by some as "selective" and/or not reflecting the message of the article. Now, this at least explains somewhat the reasons, and for this I'm grateful; although I actually still can't say I agree, given that: 1) I believe I'd personally rather comment instead of downvoting in such case; 2) quoting is always more or less selective, yet here the quotes are quite large, and I'd still stand by opinion they do reflect the contents of the article; 3) the movie is composed fully of assertive sentences, and the quote and the article do counter them explicitly (e.g. movie: wolves -> willows grow higher; article: willows don't grow higher) and references multiple scientifical studies for that IIUC; 4) actually one of most important reasons I admire HN is when people provide calm but strong counterarguments to anything with quotes and references to scientifical papers, so that's what I try to do too...


I see and I used to agree although I usually didn't care to do that myself. Lately I find a lot of the downvoting that has been going on has been so stupid that the stupid "why the downvotes?" question has seemed relevant.


My theory is that we're seeing the influx of Reddit members.

There's evidence even this thread, as in the children of this parent (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8449500). Comments that add nothing meaningful, often contributing nothing other than snark or inane "Internet comedy".

There is much that is positive about Reddit, and much that is negative. Something HN doesn't need is the blatant downvoting because of mere differences in opinion.

Personally, I wish HN didn't have a downvote button at all, but that we could leave actual moderation to moderators.


I wonder if the big story is about a different predator species so apex that wolves are basically a hobby for it, and how changes in the behavior and priorities of that species can have dramatic impacts on the park.


Look around a bit and you'll see loads of articles and rebuttals to this video's thesis. I for one thought the video was really beautiful but it shouldn't stop researchers from attempting to be accurate, even when it isn't something we want to hear.




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