Today I posted a question on Stack Overflow about a C++ issue I found a bit confusing. Since I am a complete beginner in C++, all I could do was to write a short summary and ask for advice.
The question attracted a couple of insightful answers and I was quite happy with those. To my complete surprise, an hour later the question had received 3 downvotes without any comment or suggestion.
Since I always put effort into making my posts decently formatted and thorough, it kind of struck a nerve.
I was puzzled as to why. I am not a native English speaker so nuances of language usually elude me. Is it the wording? Tone? Formatting? Too RTFM?
To quote a comment from visitor:
@Martinho: I missed that OP's passing Buffer the first time. Can't imagine someone managing C strings without any idea how the C string functions work...
Did the question get downvoted because it displayed ignorance? How could I have asked it differently to avoid the downvotes?
I just had.. um.. a strange exchange with one of the members from the C++ community. That member posted an answer here attempting to explain the background. However, after realizing
the contradiction in hers/his arguments a possibility of an extended chat session, the delete link got clicked.
I am not going to reveal the identity but nevertheless will share the discussion. I feel it sheds some light on the issue. Note that the person was apparently not one of the voters.
The deleted answer
I think the accepted answer to the original question also answers this question:
There are lots of problems with your code.
You asked why one piece of code (with several errors) didn't work, when some other code (also with several errors) seemed to work better. In reality the difference was just random, and neither of them really works.
It took a lot of effort for someone to put together an answer, and I didn't have the time (being at work), so would just have downvoted if there hadn't been enough downvotes already.
Leaving a comment that there were several errors in the functions didn't seem to be constructive either. Guess that those who did downvote might have felt the same.
The comment trail
Okay. Are You saying that the C++ community downvoted it because they had either no time or no motivation to answer it properly? – Saul 19 mins ago
No, I'm saying it might have been downvoted because it wasn't seen as a good question. The lack of comments can be because of limited time. It was in my case. – XXX 15 mins ago
Note that if you had asked the question right now, I might have answered it. Six hours ago I had to do some payed work. – XXX 8 mins ago
Uh.. why would one want to downvote a question when busy but be willing to answer it later? To communicate that "your question is unwelcome at this time, I am doing paid work, come back later"? In such a scenario there is nothing I can do to make it appear as a good question. - Saul 1 mins ago