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Is there any way to complain about getting downvoted?

Threads like the above are one of many that make it clear that the anonymous nature of down-voting sometimes causes a heated discussion as to why a down-vote was made. This is understandable, in some cases, were the member providing the answer has been down voted on what they deem as a perfectly appropriate answer. They then feel they at least deserve an explanation as to the reasons why they're reputation has been damaged.

Just as different actions (correct answers, up-votes, committed edits etc.) carry various weight in terms of the amount of rep given/taken - would it not be possible to implement the same with regards to down-voting? For example, I may want to remain anonymous but -1 somebody, which is fine - but then if I wanted to -5 their answer then I could only do so by providing an explanation as that particular 'type' of down-vote requires an explanation. It will also reduce my reputation by the same.

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closed as not constructive by Cody Gray, Diago, jonsca, ChrisF, kiamlaluno Mar 30 '12 at 14:26

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So just because you commented they get -5?? How do we know that your downvote is valid? You can give an explanation - what if that explanation is flawed? –  Lix Mar 29 '12 at 15:57
@Dan - but the rep has been taken away already by the uber downvote... there would have to be a review phase of these mega downvotes. It seems a little complicated and might create even more problems than the one it is trying to "fix". –  Lix Mar 29 '12 at 15:59
For starters - this is merely a suggestion - VERY open to suggestions as to ways it can be improved - but what I was initially proposing was that there's a quick down-vote, and then there's a way of discrediting an answer further but this requires explanation. And discrediting an answer is just as important as recognition of those good answers in my opinion. –  SkonJeet Mar 29 '12 at 15:59
@Lix - -5 is a hypothetical figure - but still, it's only half of what an upvote is, it's hardly destructive to a person's reputation. –  SkonJeet Mar 29 '12 at 16:00
First of all please be polite and don't throw around offensive remarks. –  Lix Mar 29 '12 at 16:00
Secondly, a comment saying "this will not work because XYZ" is enough "discredit" - a downvote is that extra push. –  Lix Mar 29 '12 at 16:02
@Lix - what do you mean? All I'm saying is that constructive criticism helps a lot more than a down-vote without the accompanying constructive criticism. Helps people learn, and helps illustrate to people why they've took that blow to their reputation. –  SkonJeet Mar 29 '12 at 16:04
I agree with you 100% (on your last comment :) But I still believe there is no need to differentiate between anonymous votes... Votes are yours and yours alone to do with as you plesae - you are not obligated by anyone to explain your opinions - but - if you do - then you can give the user some insight to your decision. –  Lix Mar 29 '12 at 16:07
@Lix - read the OP - like I said, you can vote anonymously all day if that's what you'd prefer. But you wouldn't be permitted to discredit someone's answer to that extent without explaining yourself. –  SkonJeet Mar 29 '12 at 16:09
Again, who says the explanation will be accepted by all parties? –  Lix Mar 29 '12 at 16:10
I wouldn't worry, it's not possible. –  SkonJeet Mar 29 '12 at 16:20
Different downvote effect if the voter leaves a comment suggestions have been made many, many times. This one differs only in the precise numbers that you choose. –  dmckee Mar 29 '12 at 16:49
Similar to Penalise downvotes without comment / reward downvotes with comments and numerous other existing suggestions. Not exactly a duplicate, but... similar. –  Pops Mar 29 '12 at 16:50
-1 Tired of this question being asked over and over. –  Cody Gray Mar 29 '12 at 17:31
possible duplicate of Encouraging people to explain down-votes –  ChrisF Mar 30 '12 at 13:47

4 Answers 4

Just too confusing, and unnecessary.

If I add a comment with 'I downvoted this.' but no explanation, that adds no more value than not commenting.

Also, if 3 people have already explained why this is a bad idea and I agree with them and have nothing to add, my comment just makes noise. That does not mean I shouldn't be able to downvote with the same weight as everyone else.

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Well you'd filter out the 'poor quality' explanations - just as SO filters out the poor quality questions. There's nothing to say that it needs to be made into the typical comments section of each post, this could be a separate panel somewhere. If you roll over the down vote it's displayed. It sounds complicated - but in my opinion, down-votes are just as important as up votes, and without an explanation it's hard for people to learn from their mistakes. –  SkonJeet Mar 29 '12 at 16:02
It would be extremely difficult to create a filter that validates peoples opinions... And thats what comments are at the end of the day. An opinion. –  Lix Mar 29 '12 at 16:03
@SkonJeet I totally agree that downvotes are important - they help separate good answers from bad. But offering people extra 'voting weight' based on whether or not they leave a comment just encourages loads of noisy comments. –  Blowski Mar 29 '12 at 16:06
SO rather successfully filters out poor quality questions. –  SkonJeet Mar 29 '12 at 16:06
@Blowski - let me re-iterate that this doesn't have to be noise on the topic. It can be dealt with somewhere else. I'm just throwing the basics of the idea about. –  SkonJeet Mar 29 '12 at 16:06
I agree that anonymous drive-by downvoting is annoying, but any change has unintended side-effects, and in this case, I think the negatives (more confusing, extra noise) would outweigh the positives (more helpful comments). I think there are other ways to deal with the problem - gentle nudging produces more effective cultural change than raw technology. –  Blowski Mar 29 '12 at 16:10
I think we can safely write off the extra noise issue, I've explained it at least 3 times now, these accompanying comments could be kept elsewhere on the page. The current system would remain in place (still anonymous), but if you wanted your down-vote to carry a little (and I do mean little) extra weight, then you explain yourself. That's all I propose. –  SkonJeet Mar 29 '12 at 16:11
@SkonJeet You haven't dealt with it, you've said "We could just filter that out". It's better not to have it in the first place. –  Blowski Mar 29 '12 at 16:13
@Blowski - Dealt with what? By tackle the extra noise issue I meant it would not appear in the page to anyone but the down-voted. And it would be nowhere near the typical comments of an answer. –  SkonJeet Mar 29 '12 at 16:15
But knowing why a question/answer has been downvoted is useful for everyone. Lots of 'I agree' and 'Me too' comments do not help explain it, any more than the downvote in the first place. –  Blowski Mar 29 '12 at 16:17
I'm a bit confused at what you mean by that. Maybe the down-voter can simply just tick a private checkbox or not. I just think when there is an opportunity - I'd like to be told where I've gone wrong instead of just being told I am and then having to move on unaware of how. –  SkonJeet Mar 29 '12 at 16:19
@SkonJeet I think extra checkboxes, different voting weights depending on whether you've left a comment, and hiding noisy comments... sounds like a lot of extra complication in the UI for something which can be easily abused (as per CanSpice's answer). –  Blowski Mar 29 '12 at 16:30

So... You notice that some folks want to argue about down-votes, and your solution to this is to make them more painful if the voter reveals himself?

Somehow, I don't think this will lead to fewer arguments...

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An argument would imply that people's opinions are exchanged. I'm saying that there's one brief comment left for each certain type of down-vote and that's that. It's better than merely just taking someone's rep from them without explanation in my opinion. You could argue that it's not fair that the down-voter has their say when the down-voted can't leaving them defenseless, but it's still an improvement on the anonymity of what happens now. –  SkonJeet Mar 29 '12 at 16:05
@Sko - The explanation is "your post did not please a certain user." Even if the user explains his reasoning - still doesn't mean you'll agree with him or accept it. –  Lix Mar 29 '12 at 16:09
Unless you propose that comment replies are disabled following such a comment, I can pretty much guarantee you that these will not end with one brief comment, @SkonJeet –  Shogging through the snow Mar 29 '12 at 16:09
Btw Shog9 - I'd down-vote your answer if I had enough rep - and my explanation would be that it's rather sarcastic of you to imply I would intentionally make the down-voting more painful. I obviously wouldn't have started this topic if I had thought it would add complication. I'm merely starting a discussion. –  SkonJeet Mar 29 '12 at 16:10
@Shog9 - I do propose that yes. The comments made would be comments to accompany the down-vote, not to form basis for a discussion. –  SkonJeet Mar 29 '12 at 16:11
If it makes you feel any better, @Skon, I re-wrote the answer once already to make it less sarcastic. I can appreciate that you're trying to help, but everything I've seen leads me to believe that, given the opportunity, many otherwise civil people will dive head-first into bitter arguments when it comes to voting. You don't want to make voting a topic for discussion on a post. Ever. It is pure poison. –  Shogging through the snow Mar 29 '12 at 16:12
@Shog9 - I can already see why you've warned me off a vote discussion, this is hard work. –  SkonJeet Mar 29 '12 at 16:14
@Skon: it doesn't matter if discussion is your intention or not - even now, some folks will guess at who is down-voting them, follow them, call them out... That's rare, but it happens. Give up the anonymity, and increase the penalty applied, and that will almost certainly increase. –  Shogging through the snow Mar 29 '12 at 16:15
I'm not saying give up the anonymity, I'd call that a bad idea. All I'm saying is that if someone has the bollocks to damage someone's reputation to a certain extent - then they have to have good reason. –  SkonJeet Mar 29 '12 at 16:17
I would prefer to not provide an explicit avenue for pejorative voting, and encourage folks to keep their anonymity. Down-votes - like up-votes - are primarily intended to communicate the quality of a post to other readers, not as a form of punishment, @Skon. –  Shogging through the snow Mar 29 '12 at 16:20
Well that's that settled then. An idea I put out there and it didn't go down well, that's what this forum's all about I suppose. –  SkonJeet Mar 29 '12 at 16:21

Easy way to abuse this:

  1. Submit a -5 downvote.
  2. Leave comment along the lines of "I can't believe someone would downvote this question/answer!"
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Have you even read any of the other comments I've made on this page? Like I've said, over 5 times now, this wouldn't be a typical comment. It would be directly linked to the down-vote and the down-voted could see this. –  SkonJeet Mar 29 '12 at 16:13
@Sko, rather than commenting please edit your question to make that clear? (And while editing: that title could me much more descriptive too!) –  Arjan Mar 30 '12 at 8:57

We already have this, it's called adding a comment to a downvote.

If you leave an unqualified (no comment or explanation) downvote, it's unlikely to have any effect other than just the -1.

However, if you downvote, then leave a comment like

-1 - This is completely inaccurate and potentially dangerous. If the user doesn't understand why XYZ then this method will just cause more problems than it solves. See somereferencesite.com for more info

...then I can pretty much guarantee the downvotes will get multiplied. We have what you suggest now, it's just dependent on user interaction instead of a function of the programming of the system.

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