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Am I not asking questions / feedback correctly? This site is supposed to be for feedback, but it seems that people are more "downvote happy" here than on SOFU which naturally discourages feedback. In the past I've deleted my questions which were on the downvote trend, obviously not useful to the community.

While I'm not a new user to SOFU, I'm an infrequent user on MSO and previously used the UserVoice site. The atmosphere here doesn't seem conducive to site/community building, as its the same small group of users.

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Did a mod delete all the question comments? –  jtimberman Aug 25 '09 at 7:33
Yes –  Ian Elliott Aug 25 '09 at 7:49
That's a pity, there were some genuine comments there, between all the fluff. –  Mark Henderson Aug 25 '09 at 7:58
The question is Why? he comment thread answered the question much better than the answers below. –  Ladybug Killer Aug 25 '09 at 7:59
Oh well, the lord giveth, the lord taketh away. (lord being Jeff/Joel/mod) –  Mark Henderson Aug 25 '09 at 8:04
@Farseeker Yes, even some I didn't necessarily agree with. @John, good question! I deleted my own as they were no longer relevant to the question as I edited, or were not contributing to healthy discussion. Several other comments definitely should have remained. –  jtimberman Aug 25 '09 at 8:05
@Farseeker: The elected mods are not the Lord. They are the archangels sent out to burn Gomorrah! –  Ladybug Killer Aug 25 '09 at 8:23
@John - Glad to be of service. Flamethrowers however are completely optional :) –  Diago Aug 25 '09 at 14:02

6 Answers 6

People need to stop taking the back and forth on Meta so seriously.

God forbid people disagree with you.

I do not believe in the idea that every idea is a good idea and I feel that is my right and duty as a user of these websites to voice my opinion on it. Whether that means making my own questions or providing answers that both agree and disagree.

There is no purpose in making suggestions if people cannot go and say "I do not like this" or "I do not think that would work". But it should be remembered that one person's opinion is no more valuable than any other user's (unless we're counting the Dev team here).

Some people on here who have been around for a while and have attained a reputation (no pun intended) may be seen as a more authoritative voice based on their past experiences and past opinions. They may have more people that typically agree with them, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are any more right than any other user.

If someone disagrees with you, don't take offense to it. Try to understand that we are all wanting what we think is best for the sites and nothing should really be seen as an attack on other users.

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-1, condescending/patronizing. Not sure why a mod deleted all the comments here and the question, but not from every answer. Might as well delete the whole question. –  jtimberman Aug 25 '09 at 8:07
+1 for the most verbose way of saying "stop whining" I've ever read. You know how much I like verbose things! –  XMLbog Aug 25 '09 at 11:35
+1 for the irony of the person crying and whining about down voting going and down voting you. –  GEOCHET Aug 25 '09 at 11:55
(-1) The problem is not that there are disagreements on meta, it's that the behaviour and attitudes of the disagreements tend to be rude, arrogant, and elitist. Even when to OP is trying to maintain decorum, the regulars will badger them into saying something slightly rude, then beat them to a pulp for it. –  devinb Aug 25 '09 at 12:17
I think you give us too much credit, devinb. –  XMLbog Aug 25 '09 at 12:25
@jtimberman: I see you haven't really learned much since last night when it comes to remaining civil. Another instance of you saying one thing (there's a bunch of people on meta who are mean and elitist) while going and being a complete hypocrite about it (reduced to name calling and referring to all those you disagree with as "self-serving hall monitors"). –  TheTXI Aug 25 '09 at 15:38
"God forbid people disagree with you." Yes, that's why the Powers That Be just deleted all the questions regarding the missing envelope and that contained criticism. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/82538/… –  augustin Mar 16 '11 at 0:24

Looking at all the responses to your questions, I don't see any responses that are particularly harsh . I see people that have disagreed with you and or down voted, but things things were done in a very civil manner.

On MSO, you can't take down votes personally. Since requests here can shape SOFU as we know it, I, and many others here, tend to be very opinionated regarding things they want and don't want. On MSO I have over 200 down votes, not because I furiously hate 200 people, but because there have been many suggestions I don't agree with. I treat every suggestion independent of the person suggesting it, and never associate a vote with a particular user.

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+1 for stressing the point that downvotes are a good measure of disagreement. –  TheTXI Aug 25 '09 at 5:04
If people ignore or down vote your feedback it should go without saying that people disagree with you. This is very healthy. Not trying to be rude, but good requests aren't rare, and have nothing to do with the reputation of the person posting it. People aren't judging you with their votes, they're expressing their opinion on what you're suggesting. –  Ian Elliott Aug 25 '09 at 5:04
@Ian: People take disagreement too harshly. Lots of people grow up in a world now where everyone is a winner, nobody is a loser, and even a poor effort deserves a gold start as long as the effort was made. This may sound rude, but it's absolutely true. –  TheTXI Aug 25 '09 at 5:06
@TXI, I agree, it's also amazing how quickly this has changed over the years (this definitely wasn't the case when I was growing up). –  Ian Elliott Aug 25 '09 at 5:12
Obligatory comment pointing out the irony in a "+1 comment" having more votes than the actual answer –  Ian Elliott Aug 25 '09 at 5:17
Obligatory upvote on comments to keep the streak alive –  TheTXI Aug 25 '09 at 5:23
I don't expect people to make my answers better. I provide my own insight, and people can decide what to do with it from there. –  Ian Elliott Aug 25 '09 at 5:31
Part of the point of the comments is helping those asking or answering to make the question or answer better, so that someone searching the site to answer their own question gets a relevant answer. –  jtimberman Aug 25 '09 at 6:30
That doesn't mean that users should feel obligated to improve everything they read. –  Ian Elliott Aug 25 '09 at 6:34
Not everything can be "made better". Sometimes there is just "I don't agree". If you say "I think stackoverflow should change it's color scheme to purple" there's nothing about that to "make better". There is only "I agree" or "I don't agree". And voting was made anonymous for a reason. Although it would be wonderful if people always left a reason why they downvote, they are under absolutely no obligation to do so, and that has been since day 1. –  TheTXI Aug 25 '09 at 6:44
How do you plan on someone making your suggestion better? If I don't want purple I don't want purple. If I say "no it should be green" that is a completely different suggestion and can't improve what you already had. –  TheTXI Aug 25 '09 at 7:00

In my experience, it's not so much that people disagree, it's that often the attitude here is "If you don't like it, don't use it" or "It's just that way, all your reasons for disliking it are invalid". Only said more in a very coarse manner sometimes.

Often MSO reminds me of an Old Boys Club, where new users whilst welcome, they are only tolerated because the rules say so.

Obviously I realise that this is a gross generalisation, and I have seen some very sensible discussions happening on here, but often threads get hijacked regularly.

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From my experience, that attitude only presents itself when people barge in demanding fixes, or saying this needs to be this way. Everyone is tolerated, people just needs to stop expecting everyone to agree with what they believe are faults in SOFU. –  Ian Elliott Aug 25 '09 at 5:57
I think it is a very gross generalization. As I mentioned in a comment above, any online community is going to have some type of barrier to entry for new users. That is just social dyanmics in action. To try and change that is to try and change human nature, sadly. As far as what you said firstly, many of the responses you are talking about are more likely responses to suggestions that have been asked and rejected in the past not just by the community but by the devs as well. Other responses give you alternate methods in instances where it may not be prudent to have a site-wide change. –  TheTXI Aug 25 '09 at 5:58
Perhaps people downvoted with it because they disagreed with it (especially the gross generalization part). That would fit in with the whole theme of others active on this question saying that downvotes are an expression of disagreement. –  TheTXI Aug 25 '09 at 6:08
It's quite a hurdle to get over, coming to MSO, realising that votes (and for that matter, rep) are not an indication of how correct you are or how valuable you are to the community. It's just how many people agree or disagree. In fact, MSO might do better to remove the visible rep from users all together. Although I know this will never happen. –  Mark Henderson Aug 25 '09 at 6:17
@jtimberman: For someone who has spent a good deal of time complaining about people being harsh and mean, you sure are fitting the profile of your stereotypical "elitist meta user". –  TheTXI Aug 25 '09 at 6:17
@Farseeker: I agree that it can be a bit of a paradigm shift, but I don't agree that rep should be removed from visibility. It is incredibly helpful indicator of users who have made a lot of effort, and it can also be useful in giving clues to an OP who might be the most knowledgable or most authoritative source on information. Example, if someone asks "How can I do X", I would be more likely to believe the answer from the guy with 5,000 rep than I would from the guy with 500 most of the time. –  TheTXI Aug 25 '09 at 6:20
@jtimberman, This post has only proven that you dislike when people disagree with you. I'm not asking you to agree with my opinion, I'm just asking you to accept my opinion for what it is, just as I accept yours. –  Ian Elliott Aug 25 '09 at 6:21
With lots of ironic downvotes ... –  Unsliced Aug 25 '09 at 6:23
Fewer downvotes than before though –  Mark Henderson Aug 25 '09 at 6:28
@Farseeker: the fact that your answer got posted as CW (not your fault since the question flipped) makes it a lot easier for people to downvote as well since there is no rep penalty involved. –  TheTXI Aug 25 '09 at 6:31
@Farseeker It adequately answered the question as posed, so I accepted it. "Old Boys Club" in that it alienates "new users", for sure, as mentioned in other comments. –  jtimberman Aug 25 '09 at 6:35
@Ian I'm sure everyone else besides me always loves when someone disagrees with them. Sarcasm intended. –  jtimberman Aug 25 '09 at 6:36
Pft, CW or not, rep on MSO is the last place I care about it. In fact I'm not concerned about badge hunting or rep hunting on any of the sites. I'd much rather receive a comment saying "Thanks, it worked!" than 100 rep and a badge. –  Mark Henderson Aug 25 '09 at 6:37
(that said I recently passed 3k on SF and I love finally being able to vote to close) –  Mark Henderson Aug 25 '09 at 6:38
@jtimberman, I somehow feel like you still aren't getting it. I don't expect you to like it when I disagree with you, but you also shouldn't expect me to agree with you. That's nonsense. This whole thread was pretty much a rant about how you hate down votes. –  Ian Elliott Aug 25 '09 at 6:42

Because meta is murder ... http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001282.html

The engine was never really designed as a discussion/support site, it was adapted to it. Personally, I find that if your raise interesting topics they get plenty votes. I also find people are pretty civil here on meta (with a handful of notable exceptions)

Keep in mind, when you ask a question on meta, there is usually no correct answer™. Its touchy-feely, some people will agree with you strongly, some will disagree with you strongly.

If this behavior frustrates you then move along to \S[OUF]\ where downvotes mean "you are wrong", and not "I disagree with you".

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"I also find people are pretty civil here on meta." Are you kidding? These people will bite your effing heads off just for leaving a comment less then 15 chars! (Joking) ;-) –  Dexter Aug 25 '09 at 4:57
To be fair, some people can be harsh at times (myself included), but I don't see any bitterness directed at the OP in any of his posts. –  Ian Elliott Aug 25 '09 at 4:59
I've made the analogy before that Meta should be seen as the "teachers lounge" of the sites. This is where we can be a lot more relaxed and not as uptight as we would be in front of the "students". I don't see anything wrong with this. I may bitterly disagree with some points, but that doesn't mean I want to run the OP or anybody who disagrees with me with a truck. –  TheTXI Aug 25 '09 at 5:08
@Ian Elliot, the fact that this OP may not have been the target of abuses doesn't excuse the fact that there have been many OPs on meta who have. –  devinb Aug 25 '09 at 12:19

Meta, by it's purpose, is a lot more subjective. The key to SO/SF/SU is that there are qualitative methods to measure answers, responses, comments and opinions while here, well, things are by definition a lot less certain.

As others have said, there's just a lot more scope for disagreement - perhaps even ownership of ideas rather than understanding of others'.

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Meta is where the hard problems are thrashed out, and sometimes the emphasis is on the thrashing.

It is also, sometimes, where we come to vent. In anycase, you should not expect Meta to have the same culture as the other sites. Different problems, different needs, so different ways.

In particular, you should not think of downvotes on meta as punitive---reputation here means even less than it means on other the other sites---they are just disagreement.

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So we beat up people for their suggestions and feedback here? That is acceptable? Doesn't seem like a good way to foster growth, and the "feedback always welcome" is a lie. –  jtimberman Aug 25 '09 at 14:48
No. We beat up their suggestions and feedback. That's different, really. No one is punching you, or (with a few exceptions) even calling you names. They are just bagging on your ideas. C'est la vie. –  dmckee Aug 25 '09 at 14:55
@jtimberman: keep in mind, you aren't denied the ability to post new suggestions because a previous suggestion was down-voted. You're always free to suggest something, and the rest of us are always free to express our (dis-)agreement. –  Shog9 Aug 25 '09 at 17:58

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