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When down voting I usually follow the 'guideline' in the mouse-over, with the post showing no research, unclear, or not useful.

However, when searching for something, I will occasionally run across a highly upvoted question (usually due to a good answer) that, while it breaks none of these guidelines (except maybe no research), it is just a standard question that has been asked before (and sometimes clearer). I then downvote it as I don't feel it deserves that many upvotes / that much recognition.

Question: Is it considered bad practice to downvote what is considered an average question (that has been massively upvoted) to bring it down to a more 'appropriate level'?

Note: Obviously downvoting a massively upvoted question is bad, but I'm asking about ones that simply state what their problem is and that's it. No effort shown (or not said), but often short, understandable, and with a helpful answer.

Also for these, I often find even after many searches, other similar questions often encompass the problem better as a whole and have better searchability.

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What you do with your downvotes is up to you. If you feel it's not a good question and doesn't follow the general guidelines, you're within your rights to downvote it. No matter if it's popular (for whatever reason). –  Bart Jun 22 '12 at 17:29
    
@Bart I know it's my choice, but if is this an 'acceptable' use of down-votes is my question. As in can this be considered a semi-intended use of down-votes or not. –  Fewfre Jun 22 '12 at 17:31
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Voting is mostly for question and answer sorting. If you feel it's undeservedly high, then you're free to cast your personal vote. (Any yes, sometimes banal questions get undeserved upvotes due to being boosted by a thorough answer.) –  mario Jun 22 '12 at 17:40
    
    
@mario technically if it has a great answer, a higher score makes sense to help show off the awesome answer. If possible improve the Q before downvoting in that case –  Ben Brocka Jun 22 '12 at 20:34

3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

You can upvote or downvote any post for whatever reason you want, even no reason.

With that being said, I think you should strive to completely ignore the post score when deciding whether to vote and in what direction!

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Fair enough. Yet at the same time the vote score reflects the 'worth' of the question to the community as a whole, and while it may not (to me) deserve a up or down vote, I feel it should not be given as much 'respect' as that simply for having a good answer. And while voting on it's worth ignoring others votes makes sense, if you have enough reputation you can view just how many people up/down vote. So is it not at least partially intended to look at the score when considering the question? –  Fewfre Jun 22 '12 at 18:13
    
@Kyomu: you can look at the score while considering the question, but I don't think it should affect how YOU vote. Especially if you upvote out of pity a question with a lot of upvotes since it screws up reputation; it takes 5 downvotes to cancel out 1 upvote reputation wise. –  Andreas Bonini Jun 22 '12 at 18:17
    
Not for a question (+5) which is what I'm talking about (though answers can have same problem). But yes, I often don't sympathy upvote unless it's a newer user and it was a fair question. But I guess again what I should be asking, is voting for whatever reason I want the 'accepted' way to up/down vote, or is it to as strictly as possible stay within the guidelines specified in the tool-tip (which do differ from SO and meta). –  Fewfre Jun 22 '12 at 18:22
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I only upvote a post if I truly believe the post deserves another upvote. If it's already at +10 and I feel it's only a +5 worthy post, I'm not going to upvote it again. –  animuson Jun 22 '12 at 19:03

I don't agree with Koper -- you should only downvote (or upvote) for the reasons stated when you hover over the downvote (upvote) icon. However I agree that you should be paying attention to the question when deciding how to vote (or whether to vote at all).

but is just a standard question that has been asked before

If it has been asked already, flag it as a duplicate.

and down-vote it as I don't feel it deserves that many up-votes / recognition.

With all due respect sir, I am sorry that the questions aren't interesting enough for you. Feel free to ignore them. I feel bad for the people you've downvoted and I almost feel like finding them and upvoting their questions, but that would be doing the same thing you are doing and I don't agree with that.

Downvoting because you don't think a question 'deserves' the upvotes seems like abuse of the system to me.

Question: Is it considered bad practice to down-vote what is considered an average question that has been massively up-voted to bring it down to what it the 'appropriate level'.

A resounding YES from me and may I strongly suggest you consider going back and reversing your downvotes.

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"I feel bad for the people you've downvoted and I almost feel like finding them and upvoting their questions."... "Downvoting because you don't think a question 'deserves' the upvotes seems like abuse of the system to me."... To me these are contradictory, upvoting because because you don't think a question 'deserves' the downvotes. Are you one of those "+1 because I don't understand why there's a downvote" guys? –  Wesley Murch Jun 22 '12 at 19:36
    
+1 because I don't understand why there's a downvote on this answer. :-P (Also I agree with said answer and using upvotes to express that actually makes sense on Meta) –  Platinum Azure Jun 22 '12 at 19:42
    
@WesleyMurch Read my next sentence: But that would be doing the same thing you are doing and I don't agree with that. –  JimmyPena Jun 22 '12 at 20:23
    
Ah you are right, sorry about that I didn't read thoroughly - it just seemed a little too close to an endorsement for "sympathy upvotes". I hope you don't mind if I edit so I can reverse my vote. –  Wesley Murch Jun 22 '12 at 20:50
    
@WesleyMurch No worries :) –  JimmyPena Jun 22 '12 at 21:27

No. Downvoting is reserved for bad questions that are not close-able (for whatever reason).

Compensating upvotes is stupid, although I can agree with compensating downvotes.

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"although I can agree with compensating downvotes".. why on earth that distinction? –  Bart Jun 22 '12 at 17:32
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The fact that you think a post is downvote unworthy implies you agree with it or find it qualitative enough for your attention. An upvote is just that. –  rubenvb Jun 22 '12 at 17:33
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True, but up-voting is reserved for (to me) good, well-phrased questions that show effort, even if that effort is only in the question. Not just "I want to do this, how can I?" questions. –  Fewfre Jun 22 '12 at 17:34
    
Also as @Bart mentioned, why that distinction? I agree I'm more likely to do that as well (if it's not a sympathy vote), but if you think of it 1 up-vote + 1 down-vote = +3 rep, then it doesn't cancel. And me giving a down simply makes 5 into 3. –  Fewfre Jun 22 '12 at 17:37

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