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What purpose does downvoting questions serve?

The following is my question

I don't know why somebody rated it as -1. Is there any reason for that?

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marked as duplicate by Cody Gray, Mark Trapp, davidsleeps, Sathya, Time Traveling Bobby Aug 2 '11 at 10:10

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Your question was closed because few people on Stack Overflow understand embedded systems programming, and it was not tagged with "embedded". This type of question is perfectly fine on, and you are much more likely to get an answer there, as electronic engineers are often more comfortable reading hardware data sheets than programmers, and your question required one to be able to quickly read and understand a data sheet. – Adam Davis Aug 2 '11 at 15:04

The title is incomprehensible and the question is more about interrupt configuration than about C programming, despite what the tags may suggest.

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Your question was a bit unclear, had a poor title, and was mistagged. It was probably seen mostly by C people (who saw mentions of hardware and thought it was an electronics question, I suspect) rather than by embedded people. As far as I can tell, you're asking about how to use a chip from software that you're writing; this is perfectly on-topic on Stack Overflow.

I've edited the question a bit and voted to reopen. Unfortunately, having had the question closed gives it a -1 penalty that won't be undone even if the question is reopened.

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The problem is that the majority of mods seem to come from a C# or web development background, and they tend to assume that questions they don't understand are off-topic. – user139018 Aug 2 '11 at 12:36
@user139018 No mod has been involved here so far; any user with ≥125 reputation can downvote, and any user with ≥3000 reputation can vote to close. But yes, it does look like some made the wrong inference “I don't understand” => “this is not a programming question”. – Gilles Aug 2 '11 at 12:44
@user139018: How exactly would, say, a Ruby developer better understand that question? Or a C developer? He's asking about configuring interrupts, which IMHO most people who understand what that means would assume he's flipping dip switches or moving jumpers. There is no mention of a programming language or any framework or any IDE (except in the comments). I don't understand what he's asking, but I do understand that, as the question currently stands, it is not programming related. – Won't Aug 2 '11 at 13:13
@Won't Ok, so now a mod has been involved. This does look like a programming question. I can't imagine the programming language being anything but assembly, though given the initial choice of tags it would be inline assembly in a C program. FYI, configuring interrupts is a software thing, and an ARM chip is a smooth piece of silicon with no human-movable parts (dip switches? jumpers? the 1980s have called and want you back!). – Gilles Aug 2 '11 at 13:26
@Gilles: Whole lotta assumptions goin' on – Won't Aug 2 '11 at 13:53

Questions on Stack Overflow are expected to generally relate to programming or software development in some way, within the scope defined in the faq.

What kind of questions can I ask here?

Stack Overflow is for professional and enthusiast programmers, people who write code because they love it. We feel the best Stack Overflow questions have a bit of source code in them, but if your question generally covers …

  • a specific programming problem
  • a software algorithm
  • software tools commonly used by programmers
  • matters that are unique to the programming profession

… then you’re in the right place to ask your question!

The one who downvoted you thinks that your question does not fit the above format.Don't you?

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It is a specific programming problem! – Gilles Aug 2 '11 at 10:11
There are no ORs between the lines @Gilles. – Bastardo Aug 2 '11 at 11:13
As far as I can tell, his is a programming question. That said it is about a very low level detail of an obscure platform, so it might be more likely to find a good answer on Electronics.SE. – dmckee Aug 2 '11 at 12:39
@dmckee doesn't matter anymore, high reputation wins even against JohnnyCage sometimes. – Bastardo Aug 2 '11 at 13:42

Think of it this way: downvoting is Stack Overflow's way of welcoming new users. You'll be downvoted until you play by "the rules".

So, welcome to SO :)

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The second sentence is accurate, but the first sentence is wrong. – Cody Gray Aug 2 '11 at 9:41
I think you just got welcomed :) – Bastardo Aug 2 '11 at 11:14
@Andomar, there's definitely a tendency to punish new users. You might want to delete this answer, while you have the chance to get your peer pressure badge. – Lance Roberts Aug 4 '11 at 21:47

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