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I feel like the purpose of the downvote is to clearly communicate that the question is not useful or unclear. The site already suggests to leave a comment when downvoting, but I feel like a downvote should also carry a vote to close. As an example, this question (as of writing) has 5 downvotes and only one vote to close.

If each downvote required a vote to close, it would most likely reduce drive-by downvotes and provide meaningful feedback. In addition, if no close vote is casted, the downvote would not be recorded. After the question would reach its 5 votes required to close, any additional downvotes would not need a close dialogue. While voting down requires 125 rep and casting close votes requires 3,000, we could possibly make this a combined privilege that happens earlier.


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I like to distinct between voting and closing. I don't close all questions I downvote. Besides here on meta that would totally not work. – juergen d Jul 11 '13 at 16:45
@juergend not challenging you, but can you explain a scenario where you would down-vote a question but feel it should remain open (at least without revisions)? Servy YOU do not need to reply to this. – Aaron Bertrand Jul 11 '13 at 16:46
-6. Consider this question closed. – ypercubeᵀᴹ Jul 11 '13 at 16:50
This feature certainly shouldn't occur on Meta, where downvotes are often meant to signify disagreement. Many people disagreeing with a feature request does not mean it should be closed – David Robinson Jul 11 '13 at 16:57
@AaronBertrand: It would say I downvote questions that can be easily salvaged but also cast a close vote when I think the question should not be on the site. – juergen d Jul 11 '13 at 16:58
@juergend and you never use vote to close to give the user feedback about how the question can be salvaged? – Aaron Bertrand Jul 11 '13 at 16:58
@AaronBertrand: I leave comments often. Most users don't have enough rep to see their questions get closed. – juergen d Jul 11 '13 at 17:02
@juergend I'd say you are a rare one, then. Most people don't comment when they down-vote. – Aaron Bertrand Jul 11 '13 at 17:03
@juergend: close votes are visible to the OP even without enough rep, no? – Wooble Jul 11 '13 at 18:50
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I agree in essence with the premise: that often new users are down-voted into oblivion without any constructive feedback that they can use to reverse that trend. This is in part because the right to down-vote comes long before the right to VtC, but also partially due to other reasons, such as (a) the effort it takes to decide why they VtC, especially with the new close reasons; (b) not caring at all; (c) not wanting their name to show up on the "closed by..." banner; etc...

However the exact implementation you suggest is problematic just due to the complexity of changing all of those pieces (never mind how it flies in the face of the status quo).

While I do agree that some people might down-vote a question that they feel should remain open, I tend to do the opposite: I vote to close before I down-vote. This automatically gives them the feedback they need to improve the question (if possible) without punishing them for it (at least in terms of reputation). If I remember to revisit the question and it's still open but still in terrible shape, I will probably down-vote more for the lack of effort than anything else. So in some cases my down-vote might be completely disassociated with the close reason. And I'd want to maintain my ability to keep those separate. Especially here on meta.

Unless you're the 5th or binding vote, voting to close doesn't actually close the question, it just gives the user a warning. On SO there isn't much difference since dog-piling usually leads to a very quick progression from 1st to 5th close vote, but on other sites there is usually enough time that the user can do something about it - if they want to and know how.

And if you want other ways to make people explain why they down-voted, you can probably forget it:

Encouraging people to explain downvotes

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A question being closable is entirely independent from how a question should be voted on.

There are questions that meet no criteria for being close, that are on topic, clear, appropriately scoped, etc. that a user still feels is not of sufficient quality and thus chooses to downvote. In particular this would be where it's clear that not a lot of time was put into the question; perhaps enough that closing it wouldn't' be appropriate as something was done, and it's not just a "gimmie teh codez" question. A question should be closed when it is so poor that it can't/shouldn't be answered, a downvote is appropriate if a question has enough there to be answerable, but the quality is still noticably below average.

Conversely, just because a question has been determined to be out of the site's scope, and thus closable, doesn't mean it should be downvoted. Questions can be well researched, interesting, etc. but be a bit offtopic, a bit too broad, etc. Just because a question should be closed doesn't mean it should always be downvoted. I've even upvoted some questions that I've voted to close.

Just because there's a strong correlation between questions that are downvoted and those that are closed doesn't mean that all downvoted questions should be closed.

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"I've even upvoted some questions that I've voted to close." ... why? If you vote for a politician, you can't give them a downvote too. – Kermit Jul 11 '13 at 16:56
@FreshPrinceOfSO you've never voted for the "least worse" candidate? I'm not disagreeing I just think politics might not be the best analogy. :-) – Aaron Bertrand Jul 11 '13 at 16:57
@AaronBertrand I don't vote in politics; only where it matters. On SO – Kermit Jul 11 '13 at 16:58
@FreshPrinceOfSO It's rare, admitadly, but it was because I felt the question was of high quality, the poster clearly spent considerable time and effort writing it and considering it's options before asking, and it was a question that wasn't immediately obvious to a new user that it should be closed (as in a first pass through the FAQ wouldn't blatantly make it clear it doesn't belong). Generally if the question could be copy-pasted into a more suitable location and I would think it was fantastic, and they at least tried to be sure it was appropriate, I'll vote up. – Servy Jul 11 '13 at 16:59

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