Now that I've reached 3K on SO, I find myself with the awesome power and responsibility (sic) to vote to close. So I've been thinking about the four possible responses to a poor question:
- vote to close
Oddly, I don't see a lot of use for downvoting.
If I can make something of a question by editing it, I do. If I can't, unless it's a giant stinker, I comment. If the comment doesn't yield an improvement, I ask, 'just how awful is this?' If the question's not answerable close. If it is, well, I suppose I could downvote, but somehow, I feel that the posters of such questions get all the punishment they deserve when they don't get useful answers.
"A Giant Stinker" should mean: qualifies under the stated criteria for a close.
Answers are another story. An answer that is actually incorrect to the best of my knowledge get a swift downvote.
In other words, it seems important to me to give rep feedback to answerers, so that people who post actually incorrect answers fail to accumulate rep and acquire a label of legitimacy. On the flip side, bad questions almost always come from people with so little rep that 'whacking them' with a downvote has no real effect.
There's an interesting question of 'downvoting people' versus 'downvoting things.' As per someone who posted an answer, it is questions and answers that get voted. However, I observe that it is people who gain and lose rep.
Of course, once people reach empyrean rep, downvotes are mere mosquito bites, and we just have to hope that they never turn to the dark side. Even the anticipated larger negative scores on downvotes aren't going to put much of a dent into 44K.
All this adds up to an artifact of the rep system. Downvoting a person with 1 rep sends a message but has no practical effect. Downvoting someone with 1K rep is just the same. The only people who really feel a downvote as a crimp in their ambitions are those who are initially climbing the rep hill.
Does this make sense?