Clarification This question is not about "avoiding the pain of downvotes", for which "learn not to care about them" is a perfectly acceptable response. It's also not about avoiding downvotes for quality. It's about whether/how one can question (in the sense of asking about rationale for) entrenched features/policies without invoking a "disagree" response, so as to maximize the possibility that folks will be open and responsive to what you're inquiring about (a la http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-Conversations-Talking-Stakes-Edition/dp/0071771328).
I learned fairly quickly (ok, well maybe not that quickly) that if you embed any opinion in an MSO question, you risk being downvoted by anyone who disagrees with that opinion, no matter how you "tag" the question and no matter how neutrally you phrase the rest of the question.
Similarly, if you ask for pros and cons about a potential change to the system, no matter how strongly you declare you are just seeking information, you will receive downvotes from people who disagree with that change, as if they were voting on a "feature request".
Given my experience with this recent question, it occurs to me that even if your question is entirely neutral and even if you are asking about an existing practice, you risk being downvoted for simply asking questions about a policy or feature that some hold sacrosanct, as if the question itself represents a suggestion that the policy or feature be changed.
I realize there could be other explanations for downvotes on questions, however, such as a subsequent comment by the OP that someone finds offensive or even a pattern of past questions. And then, of course, there's the possibility that the downvoters thought it was a poorly formed or otherwise low-quality question.
In the case of this recent question, there was a comment with three upvotes that expressed the opinion that there were no serious alternatives to the policy, so perhaps the downvotes were cast on the basis that question was spurious.
In any event, my question here is whether folks can point to any questions about sacrosanct topics that didn't receive downvotes. BTW, I'll acknowledge up front that this question may be downvoted as a "waste of time", but I would personally appreciate some counterexamples to my experience that I might be able to learn from.