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Encouraging people to explain down-votes

I have no problem with downvoting on established sites, where the range of valid topics should be well understood. But on new sites, where things are just getting started, should there be a mild impediment to downvoting questions?

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marked as duplicate by Shog9 Apr 12 '12 at 16:12

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Is that a real problem that we have on new sites now? –  om-nom-nom Apr 12 '12 at 15:59
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And in a supreme turn of irony, no one will explain why this question is downvoted. =P –  casperOne Apr 12 '12 at 16:01
    
When reading this request, it translated in my mind to "can we have a feature that ensures that people do not downvote questions however bad or unsuitable they are?". –  Oded Apr 12 '12 at 16:01
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If they're bad or unsuitable, it shouldn't be hard to explain that, should it. –  Scott Wilson Apr 12 '12 at 16:02
    
Forcing people to do anything, especially explain themselves will cause most of them to abandon the action. Is that what you want? –  Oded Apr 12 '12 at 16:05
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I have yet to see a young site where excessive down-voting is a problem. Yes, explanations are helpful - perhaps even more helpful on a young site than on an established one - but I'd have to see evidence that discussion of problems with down-voted posts isn't happening. –  Shog9 Apr 12 '12 at 16:14
    
The bigger problem is that there is not enough downvoting on young sites. –  Cody Gray Apr 12 '12 at 16:33
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I downvoted because I don't like people named "Wilson" ever since he abandoned Tom Hanks on that raft in the middle of the ocean. –  Won't Apr 12 '12 at 16:42
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2 Answers

The moment you put a barrier like that on downvotes, you will get orders of magnitude less downvotes.

You may think it is a good thing, but it is not.

It will allow junk questions (irrelevant, bad, jokes, spam - choose your poison) to remain open indefinitely on the new site. Exactly what you don't want on a new site that is trying to gain a bunch of good, relevant questions.

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No.

Voting is critical to new sites as the community works out what kinds of questions should be entertained. If we impede down voting, even just a little, it would probably result in the site taking much longer to graduate, or not graduating at all.

Down voting questions that you don't feel are a good fit is your way of saying "I'm a part of this community, and I don't think this will be good for us". We'd be foolish to get in the way when it comes to that.

Additionally, your pro-tem moderators (or SE employees at the beginning) desperately need this kind of signal so they can act on behalf of the majority, at least until a clear definition of scope can be established.

If you take that away, you end up with people that don't vote, and moderators that are reluctant to moderate as their binding vote now expresses fewer opinions, or perhaps only their own opinion.

For a new community, that would spell disaster.

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