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My question was downvoted, even though it showed research effort. Why was it downvoted?

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Instead of asking to ask, just edit this post and link to the question you're wondering about. :-) –  George Stocker Jan 3 '13 at 16:23
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The ultimate meta question: May I ask the question you are reading? –  Daniel Jan 3 '13 at 16:59
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+1 for seeking advice on self-improvement. –  Andrew Barber Jan 3 '13 at 19:19

3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

People downvote for various reasons, but the hover for the downvote says,

This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful

That means that there are at least three reasons to downvote:

  • No research effort
  • Question is unclear
  • Question is not useful to the community at large

Let's take each of these reasons in turn:

No Research Effort:

I need to create an array that stores integers. How do I do that in C#?

In this example, the user has not attempted to look up this information by themselves. If they did, they would have their answer. In the unlikely chance they didn't understand the answer, then they'd be able to at least point to the research they've done:

I need to create an array that stores integers. I tried doing it in C# with the following code: var array = new[]; This did not work. How do I create an array of integers in C#?

Question is unclear:

Why does the compiler not work when I try to optimize my code?

In this example, the user doesn't really explain the fundamentals of their question. The words "not work" entail that there's a reason something doesn't work, and the compiler, although obtuse, does at least spit out errors. The user didn't include those error messages, making the question impossible to answer.

Question is not useful:

How do I declare a new variable in C#?

This question is a very basic question that has no use to anyone, anywhere. It is literally the first thing you'd learn in any book you read. Because it's such a non-useful question, it should be downvoted (though not closed).

Your question certainly had research effort, but it was potentially not clear or not useful, as one comment seems to point to:

how you define out? must it be double[] or Double[] is acceptable?

It was potentially not useful because this seems to be a basic question for Java.

Again, these are only possible reasons why people should downvote. People can downvote for whatever reason they choose. I wouldn't get too hung up on it.

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Yes, this is the appropriate place.

You can also ask in comments on your questions why they have been downvoted and if you do get comments that a question is not good, you can, in comments ask the commenter what you can do to improve the question.

Note that there are several resources on the web that you will probably be directed to:

(please add other relevant resources if you know of them)

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From your SO question:

"The second solution I found was on StackOverflow, and was"

my money is in that someone found offensive that you didn't leave a link to that solution.

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I'd be curious why, but I suppose I'd have to ask the downvoter! –  Emrakul Jan 4 '13 at 1:22

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