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What would justify downvoting a [discussion] (Questions marked discussion on MSO)? Recently, a user was directed here by a moderator to ask a question about which subjects are appropriate for SuperUser. Upon asking this question, the user was downvoted*. Why? I don't know. The question was marked as [discussion]. If it had been [feature-request], I can understand the downvote.

Are we discouraging [discussion] by downvoting posts that don't really deserve downvotes? Or is there some justification for downvoting a user who is simply here inquiring about an idea?

* Not by many, but this is only one occassion. Many [discussion] questions have been downvoted numerous times

** Yes, this is marked [discussion], and I'm sure some of you will think it's cute to downvote it.

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That particular question could have been worded differently. It may have been seen as advocating asking those types of questions on SU. –  Brad Gilbert Sep 1 '09 at 19:17
    
If you don't want to be down voted for your opinion, be careful not to express one. In fact, just don't post. That is even better. –  GEOCHET Sep 1 '09 at 19:34
    
@Rich, I support downvoting opinions. Not not all "discussions" are affirming an opinion, or suggesting the community adopt a particular opinion. –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 1 '09 at 19:38
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The example in this question can be seen as expressing an opinion. Use an appropriate example. We have discussed this before. Say what you mean, or don't say it. –  GEOCHET Sep 1 '09 at 19:39
    
@Rich You don't need to give a physical example to "say what you mean." Besides, if you really need an example, my question "Should we edit to simplify" will serve as that. I asked a question. I didn't say "Yes" or "No" in my question - yet some chose to downvote it. –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 1 '09 at 20:00
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People didn't like your post. Why are you going to whine about it? Just move on and try to write better posts in the future. –  GEOCHET Sep 1 '09 at 20:10
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You ask me for an example, I give you one, and then you accuse me of whining? You are confusing. –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 2 '09 at 1:22

6 Answers 6

up vote 3 down vote accepted

What justifies up-voting a discussion? There are over 1,300 posts currently tagged discussion, some with hundreds of up-votes.

People vote for their own reasons. Agreement, disagreement, like or dislike of a particular phrasing or perceived attitude, personal vendetta, fat fingers...

Normally, I would rather leave these reasons up to speculation, particularly in the case of down-votes. I've tried posting my reasons along with every down-vote, and more often than not it just led to arguments and bad blood. Much better that folks get used to being down-voted without trying to directly associate a reason or a name with that vote.

However, since you asked nicely... I down-voted that question because I disagreed with the author's assertions that ad questions "are as important as CSS questions" or that these sites should be open to any question regarding "membership fees and other items that we use on our sites".

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Asking a great question, pointing out a valid topic justifies upvoting a discussion, IMHO. –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 1 '09 at 19:39
    
@Jonathan: certainly. And the opposite justifies a down-vote, IMHO. –  Shog9 Sep 1 '09 at 20:04
    
Asking a terrible question does deserve downvotes, IMHO. But I'm talking about people who ask a pretty standard question, like "Should we edit to simplify?" What would justify a downvote there? –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 1 '09 at 23:06
    
Beats me... But, that's kinda my point - it's a personal thing. Everyone has their own criteria. Presumably, it make perfect sense to someone... –  Shog9 Sep 1 '09 at 23:27

First, who cares? It takes -2 off your arbitrary number that is even more meaningless on a meta site. If someone wants to down vote your question or your answer, so be it. Why whine and cry about it? Surely the discussions of this are much worse than the down vote itself.

Second, maybe the person doesn't like what you are saying. Maybe they don't like the way you worded it.

I think my first point is my main point. Who cares? Lets all grow up and move past crying and whining every time we see a down vote. That applies even more here, but on SO.com as well.

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So I disagree with you and think your comment is pretty out-of-line, so I should downvote you? It is a discussion so it is not right or wrong. And the number is not always arbitrary, if it happens enough, you lose rights to certain functions on the sites. –  RiddlerDev Sep 1 '09 at 19:10
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But I like my arbitrary numbers to be bigger than other peoples arbitrary numbers. By an arbitrary amount. –  devinb Sep 1 '09 at 19:12
    
@IPX: Voting on meta is only about opinion. Hence 'meta'. –  GEOCHET Sep 1 '09 at 19:14
    
So wouldn't you downvote an answer rather than a question? Oh and not sure who gave you the -1.. argh! Giving you a +1 just because of that. –  RiddlerDev Sep 1 '09 at 19:16
    
No. I would down vote everything independently. –  GEOCHET Sep 1 '09 at 19:27
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Also, shame on you for pity voting. That makes me sick. –  GEOCHET Sep 1 '09 at 19:28
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@Rich Please don't characterize these types of questions with "whining and crying," it's pretty disingenuous. I'm simply asking what justifies downvoting somebody who is only starting a meta-conversation. Don't focus too much on this particular example - I'm speaking in general. –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 1 '09 at 19:42
    
This is whining and crying. And it is pattern of whining and crying. It is predictable by the same users over and over. "Why the down vote??" It is sad and reflect poorly upon our community to spend our time crying about something that means far less than even spilled milk. –  GEOCHET Sep 1 '09 at 20:00
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@Rich, Please stop with the disrespect. This is not "crying." –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 1 '09 at 20:04
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There's nothing worse than a whiner. Except someone who whines about a whiner. (But let's be clear that whining about a whiner who whines about whining is perfectly OK). –  user27414 Sep 1 '09 at 20:05
    
"This is not crying, this is." -- I rest my case. –  GEOCHET Sep 1 '09 at 20:25

Often, something is downvoted (as off-topic) on SO/SU/SF - then migrated. The migrated post retains the downvotes and "off-topic" comments.

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I understand, but I'm asking about questions that are asked here, as discussion, showing interest in ideas or suggestions. Why would those be downvoted? Why downvote inquiry and interest? –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 1 '09 at 19:06
    
In the context of new suggestions on MSO - simply disagreement. –  Marc Gravell Sep 1 '09 at 19:20
    
@Marc Many times people don't affirm a position. They simply ask a question. Perhaps users shouldn't equate "Tom asked x" with "Tom suggests the community adopt x" –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 1 '09 at 19:43

If someone thinks that a discussion on a particular topic would be a waste of time, downvoting is much more logical than engaging in the discussion simply to explain why one should not engage in such a discussion.

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I agree. But I'm talking about questions like "Should we edit to simplify?" Which really isn't an affirmation of one action over another, or a "waste of time." –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 1 '09 at 23:08
    
@Jonathan: Perhaps you should have used that question as your example? It seems you're interested in a rather restricted subset of discussion questions for purposes of this question. –  ベレアー アダム Sep 1 '09 at 23:41

You can up/down vote a discussion based on the quality of the topic. If the discussion is "should we allow X on stackoverflow", an upvote does not mean you agree with "x", just that you think this is a worthwhile discussion.

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I agree. But what would constitute a non-worthwhile question, thus justifying a downvote? –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 1 '09 at 20:01
    
This one is a good example. –  GEOCHET Sep 1 '09 at 20:11

On MSO, voting is a way to express agreement/disagreement with the basic premise of a question. In this specific instance several people disagreed with what they saw as the basic premise that business questions were valid on S[OFU].

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[discussion] don't really affirm anything. "I disagree with you asking a question as a result of a mod telling you to." Really? –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 1 '09 at 19:03
    
There was a basic premise to that question. –  EBGreen Sep 1 '09 at 19:04
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He was told to ask the question here. Why downvote him? I can think of few, if any, situations where downvoting discussion could be seen as "good." –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 1 '09 at 19:05
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Perhaps because he did a bad job of asking the question. –  GEOCHET Sep 1 '09 at 19:16

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