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Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 131 Stack Exchange communities.

When things go wrong, Stack Exchange offers a picture of a panda along with some text. Some of the text reads:

It's not strictly necessary, but if you'd like to give us additional information about this error, do so at our feedback site, http://meta.stackoverflow.com.

Should I really do this? I did here but it got downvoted for When you get an error message indicating a temporary server problem the appropriate thing to do is want [sic], not badger people for it not working..

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I would go by the rule "if the problem persists, and there's not already a post on meta, make a post". I wouldn't be put off by the comments on your other post, they're terse at best. –  Matt Dec 11 '12 at 17:31
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Also, it would make sense to actually include additional information? (You did not in your previous post.) –  Arjan Dec 11 '12 at 17:58
    
Badger, panda? Make your mind up! :) –  Benjol Dec 12 '12 at 6:21

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Don't worry too much about down votes on meta, the rep is pointless, the votes mean different things and some people just like down voting everything. There are some things you can do to to help avoid the waves of down votes.

Search for a a post about your error that already exists and avoid posting a duplicate.
Do some basic debugging on your end, especially if you aren't sure its a problem on StackExchange's end (clear caches, try re-logging, try a different browser)
Provide useful information about how you got to the error, browser versions or anything else that might be relevant, since you are most likely a developer yourself that knows how terrible end users are at reporting bugs please strive to be better than the aveage end user and help your fellow developers.
In addition to avoiding duplicates look for notices that their might be known problems with some sites or parts of sites or the entire network.

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Hmm, rep on meta is still associated with reputation. But it's true that I could/should have given more information in the report above. –  gerrit Dec 11 '12 at 21:45

You most likely got at least some of the downvotes because of the tone of your post. It didn't appear to be along the lines of, "There appears to be some sort of problem," it was more along the lines of, "Your site's broken, please fix it for me now because I want to use it." The demanding tone, in which you were mostly expressing your annoyance at some minor, temporary downtime, was not well received by the community.

If you're going to go out of your way to make a post about a problem, there are several key things you should do:

  1. As mentioned by others, ensure that there is no duplicate post on the subject.
  2. Make sure that you really have valuable information to give. Just stating, "I got an error message" is not really helpful, in all likelihood they already logged the fact that you got an error message, so that's just telling them something they already know. If it's a conditional error message or more subtle bug then you should be including steps to reproduce (to the best of your knowledge) or a summary of what you did, even if you can't reproduce it, along with descriptions of the expected and actual behavior (this doesn't really apply to your case). For system-wide downtime, as in any page errors out, it's a virtual certainty that someone knows about the issue, and just telling them that the site is down is not contribute. If you perhaps know something more about the issue than you think the developers might know, then consider posting such information.
  3. If you are curious when downtime will end, then you're requesting information, not supplying information and the quote referenced in the OP won't apply. That doesn't mean you can't ask though. If there is system wide downtime you should first be patient. Such issues are frequently fixed in seconds or a few minutes. If the downtime persists, look for possible announcements on expected downtime, or previous posts announcing current unexpected downtime. In the event of unexpected downtime, chances are by the time the team knows when the site will be back up, it already is, so asking is not productive.

Fundamentally it seems you didn't think about what your question was offering others, or what you could realistically expect the answer to be. Anytime you don't put that thought into a question on the SE network you can expect to see downvotes.

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