"[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."
"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."
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.
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.
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.
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 ; )
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.
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.
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...
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.