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One of my answers was downvoted three times and no one has left a comment, I have no idea why the answer sucks. I would like to know so that I can change it and avoid doing it in the future.

When someone downvotes an answer or question without leaving a comment as to why they think it needs be downvoted, can they lose a point? If they leave a comment then give them back their point.

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See… for why this won't be implemented. – ChrisF Nov 7 '11 at 17:18
What an original idea nobody has every proposed before. facepalm – JNK Nov 7 '11 at 18:03
leaving a comment so i don't lose reputation for down-voting this. – bkaid Nov 7 '11 at 18:33
@JNK Why hasn't this question been closed? It is an exact duplicate of MANY questions. You said it yourself. – guanome Nov 8 '11 at 13:14
@guanome - not sure, I don't have close privileges on meta. could be it has 4 votes and just needs one more. – JNK Nov 8 '11 at 13:16
up vote 10 down vote accepted

Downvoting an answer already gives the downvoter -1. You don't get your rep back if you leave a comment.

We already suggest that a comment be left with a popup like this for some users:

and this is all that's required. Anything more would likely lead to one of:

  1. Abuse of the system, like the comments below.
  2. Downvote sprees against commenters on downvoted answers.
  3. Less downvoting (and downvoting is useful, even if it's not explained in a comment).
  4. Duplicate comments when multiple people downvote the post for the same reason.

Requiring a comment could easily lead to comments like:

Your answer missed this important qualification from the question.

I didn't downvote you [Lies!], but your answer missed this important qualification from the question.

This is not a useful answer.


which could be deleted seconds after being posted. The first is useful. The second is useful, but the downvoter felt the need to hide the vote and just plain lied. The third is useless, that's what a downvote means already. The fourth is completely useless. I don't think it's likely that requiring a comment would generate lots of the first type of comment in cases where the user isn't voluntarily posting that sort of comment right now.

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Up to date ('14): comments like "asdf" can be flagged to moderation and action could be taken. dv sprees are nothing to fear about, since they are detected and even reverted. for points 1, 3, and 4 it'd be useful to let a wider set of options and let the OP to see a statistic about how many users have chosen each downvote option (si he knows in what direction to fix the question or answer) – Luis Masuelli May 19 '14 at 21:13

While one of the way cool things about SO is that it can make you a better answerer, nobody here is under any obligation to provide you, at any particular instance, with any of the way cool SO features, including feedback on bad answers. It would be nice if they did. And that is all it is, nice. Not obligatory, not enforced with rep penalties etc.

Plus, people would just type "yabba yabba yabba" or "i think this is a bad answer" or "please don't take a point off me" so you wouldn't learn anything anyway. People might refrain from downvoting, and then you would know even less about your answer than you do now with silent downvotes.

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It's not going to make you a better answerer if no-one gives you any reason as to why they've downvoted, it just pisses you off. I'm not suggesting people should be forced, but downvoting is trivial and in principle it shouldn't be, as disagreeing is likely to be more useful than agreeing. – nicodemus13 Sep 26 '12 at 15:27
I agrre that a person who downvotes without commenting is not helping you to be better. My point is they are under no obligation to help you be better. They are downvoting for a different altruistic reason, probably "hey you guys don't listen to this it's wrong". And SO feels (and I agree) that this ok. It is not mandatory to operate in full niceness at all times. – Kate Gregory Sep 26 '12 at 16:12

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