So annoyed with no-comment, vindictive downvoting
I know this is a well traveled subject, and I've read that even Jeff's sentiments have vacillated on the subject.
Like many folks, I value my Reputation, it's a source of pride. I don't mind being down-voted, but what I despise is being down-voted anonymously.
Let me explain why; for me StackOverflow isn't just about helping other people, it's about improving my understanding of problems too. I like researching answers to problem domains that I'd never touch in my day-to-day work. I work at a university and we have a fairly limited tool-set, C#, JQuery and oracle. StackOverflow gives me an escape from that.
When I answer a question and I get it totally wrong, it helps me to know that, and someone down-voting with a comment is a valuable lesson.
However, someone down-voting without leaving a comment helps nobody, I don't get feedback, the Question owner doesn't know why my answer wasn't well received by 'someone'; and just as importantly; future users don't get the full satisfaction of being able to trust a given answer.
Case in point, I was answering a question the other day regarding the use of DateTime in an MVC app, with specific regard to displaying the date in a given format. The user wanted to only show the date portion, and was getting in trouble as he was trying to save into the database with only the date portion. Both Jon Skeet and myself suggested the same thing, Save the date properly and format it when you display it.
The difference, Jon gets +7 up-votes, and I got down-voted to -1.
How does this help anyone ? It made my blood boil, I have to admit; I'm sorry but it felt malicious and I don't think it helps the spirit of Stack Overflow.
So how to solve this problem ?
Well, I've got a couple of suggestions.
Down-votes with a comment incur the same cost as current:
-1 to the Voter, -2 to the holder.
Down-votes with no comment,
-5 to the voter, -1 to the holder.
As a second point of debate, down-voting already accepted answers is also something that could be addressed with a similar weighting system. I would personally like to see it impossible to down-vote an accepted answer without leaving a comment; after all - the question owner was satisfied.
My point is basically, Down-voting can always be used punitively, but Down-votes without comments hurt the spirit of StackOverflow, dissuade people from either answering or encouraging discourse and self-learning with their answer.
People should be allowed to be anonymous, but I believe that we should encourage discourse where-ever possible.
Ok - Yes, I'm Jarateed off about being down-voted, but I'm trying to be constructive here. I honestly believe that a weighting system for down-votes will improve the quality of answers.
p.s: I'm specifically referring to down-voting by other individuals,not the removal of points by the question owner.
Edit: It's interesting that not-long after I posted this, another user has posted here complaining about a related sentiment:
He's cautious of answering because down-voting is systemic and un-helpful.