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Encouraging people to explain down-votes

Sometimes there are bad questions that receive downvotes for different reasons.

The "Stackoverflow netiquette" says that, when downvoting, it's a good idea to explain the reasons in a comment, so the user can edit and improve the question.

The question is:

What is the user to do if she is receiving downvotes without any explanation? The reason of downvote can be obvious for the downvoter or the experienced users, but maybe it is not so obvious for the user who posed the question in the first place.

How can a user ask such a thing? Is there any protocol?

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marked as duplicate by Jim, jmfsg, Andrew's a Unitato, Bo Persson, meagar Oct 22 '12 at 16:58

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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Related to: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/135/…. –  Toon Krijthe Oct 22 '12 at 12:58
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It's funny ask a question about downvoting without commenting and receive a lot of downvotes without any comment. lol. –  user674887 Oct 22 '12 at 14:50
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"How to deal with downvotes without any explanation?" - Therapy. Years and years of therapy. –  GEOCHET Oct 22 '12 at 16:00
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Many people getting downvoted don't want to improve, but rather try to kill the messenger. That severely discourages downvoters from revealing themselves. –  Bo Persson Oct 22 '12 at 16:24
    
Can you please express uour opinion on marking question as duplicate at the following link: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/219750/… –  Revious Feb 5 at 19:57
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you see that a question is getting downvotes without explanations, and you happen to know what the downvotes may be about, leave a comment to point it out, e.g.

Hi, you might be receiving downvotes because your post is poorly edited. Please consider formatting it a little.

If you are the one who's post is being downvoted, there is nothing you really can do about it apart from moving on. There are, however, some things you might want to check:

  • Is your question clear and concise? Some people may downvote questions that are too hard to understand because of poor phrasing.
  • Is your question self-contained? Some people might downvote if the info given in the question is obviously not enough to answer. An example of this would be asking "whats wrong with my code?" and not posting the actual code.
  • Is your question on-topic/constructive? (Consult the FAQ if you're not sure).
  • Isn't your question offending anyone in some way (e.g. "Hey, I know you C++ programmers suck {insert some insults here} but nevertheless, answer this: ...").
  • Is your question edited well? Some people may downvote questions that have poorly formatted code/walls of text/something else like this. I personally try to edit such posts myself (and I encourage everyone else to do it too), but some people might as well silently downvote.
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Thank you. Maybe could be the first option, since English is not my native language. –  user674887 Oct 22 '12 at 13:16
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Deal with it and move on.

Voting is anonymous, while people are encouraged to post comments explaining their downvotes, no one is required to do so.

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Two people upvoted this before me without even leaving a comment. –  dystroy Oct 22 '12 at 12:51
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Maybe I don't explained well. The real problem is not the downvotes. The problem is how can I get an opinion of how improve a concrete question. –  user674887 Oct 22 '12 at 12:52
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A suggestion : don't do like this. –  dystroy Oct 22 '12 at 12:53
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@user674887 If people care to give you their opinion on how to improve your question, they will (regardless of if they downvoted or not). If they don't care, they won't, and there's nothing we can do about it. –  Yannis Oct 22 '12 at 12:53
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If user have less then 2000 reputation They get this message –  hims056 Oct 22 '12 at 12:54
    
Deal with it and move on: very true, but downvotes can loose your privileges? –  ElCid Oct 22 '12 at 15:39
    
@ElCid So what? –  Yannis Oct 22 '12 at 15:40
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@YannisRizos not a great incentive to participate, if one's new? –  ElCid Oct 22 '12 at 15:42
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@ElCid Again, so what? You can't please everybody, people should participate on Stack Overflow because they want to help others, if downvotes scare them away, well, I'm not so sure that's a bad thing. –  Yannis Oct 22 '12 at 15:43
    
@YannisRizos: I'll give it a go. "So what?" How about the possible gentrification of the average SO user? People have to behave "in the same way" if they want to participate... –  ElCid Oct 22 '12 at 21:09
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