In the The Orville episode "Majority Rule", a person who receives a million downvotes is arrested and, if the final tally tops 10 million, subject to "treatment". During an apology tour (and at other times), a person can be upvoted or downvoted by, it would appear, anybody who encounters him or has his badge number.

These triggers are expressed in terms of the number of downvotes, and from what we see in the episode it's clear that this is an absolute value, not downvotes net of upvotes.

What function do upvotes serve? Is it just that each upvote represents someone who didn't downvote, or do they do something else? I'm wondering about a hypothetical person with 10 million downvotes and 20 million upvotes -- does he get treated too?


During an apology tour, upvotes seem to serve no useful purpose aside than indicating the public's thinking. Seeing that someone is garnering large numbers of upvotes might lead the voting public to reconsider giving him a downvote. Also, assuming there are only a finite number of voters, each upvote represents someone who didn't vote against him. The lawyer guy is pretty clear that it's the 10 M mark that's important, not the upvotes.

If your downvotes remain under ten million, you'll be free to go.

Note that the "apology tour" seems to serve as a segregated process, separated from the normal upvotes and downvotes that a person may get over their lifetime. It seems likely that once the tour is over, that person's votes return to the level they were at, pre-arrest.

  • Right, the show made it clear that the number of downvotes is what matters, which is why I wondered about the upvotes. Also, where do we learn about resetting? I mean, it seems plausible -- can't have folks walking around at -9.9M getting treatment because they annoyed a handful of people -- but there could also be a vote-aging scheme, or reset to a fixed pint, or something else. – Monica Cellio Dec 26 '17 at 21:38
  • @MonicaCellio - I'm purely guessing, but in a society where justice is dispensed by popular vote, there has to be some form of non-punishment that results from an acquittal. – Valorum Dec 26 '17 at 21:41
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    @Valorum while the Apology tour might mean things are handled differently the interaction between the barista and customer over the 1/2 million downvotes policy argues against any form of reset. I believe the line from the customer was "Most of these are from my 20s, I'm a completely different person now". Suggesting downvotes don't reset or timeout on their own. – Jontia Feb 20 '18 at 13:41
  • @Jontia - I suspect the system itself is sufficiently heavily weighted that the only way to survive an apology tour is to (successfully) throw yourself on the mercy of the mob in which case their upvotes would outweigh your downvotes, thus bringing you back to equilibrium after the tour had finished – Valorum Feb 20 '18 at 15:30

There's an indication that it also gives you access to specific places - that you need a minimum amount of reputation approval in order to say, buy coffee. Upvotes were essentially a reflection of social status

Considering the nature of the apology tours - its unlikely anyone managed to avoid the treatment, and getting enough upvotes to escape was unlikely. The TV shows were clearly designed to ensure no one actually managed to fix their reputation. I'd assume they'd look at your 'net' score but that's not really described in universe, nor did they explain what would happen in that period if you were between 1million and 9million downvotes

In theory No one ever didn't vote on the publicity tours - its a pretty crucial thing that Lysella didn't vote at the end, showing she decided not to participate. Presumably a none vote was a non vote, and didn't affect your score.

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    The episode explicitly states that it's the downvotes that count, not the net – Valorum Dec 27 '17 at 7:42

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