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My question was about using web-design skills to make websites for opensource projects and using those websites to showcase skills on a portfolio site.

Here: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2194897/has-anyone-made-websites-for-popular-opensource-projects-and-used-them-in-a-portf

To highlight some points I used bold lettering which was probably rightly distracting.

Inside 5 minutes, i have 4 down votes and my question is probably not visible to users due to this situation.

I fixed the issue by removing all bold lettering from the question, but now it's probably gone far below the normal threshold and looks like a very bad question or a troll question, which it is not.

I have explicitly requested that downvoters kindly reconsider the downvote because the bug is fixed. But they would not be bothered to come back to the question since it is already at -4 and they probably forgot about it while going through more questions.

So if 4-5 users (a few may not even be out of college) who do not have knowledge or experience in the domain just come and downvote, I fix the issues they have, and they do not bother to cancel their downvote, many other users who might find the question interesting just lose it as it is now pushed firmly back in the queue.

This is clearly not correct.

I see no evil involved - just a combination of mistaken formatting (me) and impulsive down-voting (someone else) and the question goes below a thought threshold ( -4! ).
Hence I opine that this is a "bug" of some type.

What to do to fix this kind of problem?

(I hope I dont get downvoted here because I mysteriously offend someone in spite of my providing a polite, civilised explanation - like it happened over there.)


Update:

For some strange reason, 3 of my replies explaining my position have been deleted. This ensures that I sound like a cry-baby which I am not.

If the mods want to frame me, I cant do much. You guys rule, your powers are so great that no God can even touch you. Happy?

Provoking a person into answering repeatedly by deleting explanations is trolling and mods who troll out of love for mischief are not doing everything in the best interests of SO.

Please don't make this slashdot.


I've faced a cabal many years ago. And by keeping quiet back then, I only encouraged them to continue trolling me. So I'm going to keep explaining my side of the story.


You deleting my comments is neither normal or fair.

Deleters, you are just wasting my time and your own.

All I would like to say is that meta should probably not become IRC or slashdot. SO is one place where flaming is limited by many checks. This would have to be the number 1 issue faced by the SO team during beta and since launch.

And so this is another bug. Jeff Atwood would probably be wise enough to notice this. If he feels that deleting comments that explain one's position is bad, he is welcome to state so.

I really really did not expect a flame war here.

The issue was a bug report about speedy downvoting and someone has taken it all the way upto trolling by selectively deleting my explanations.

Brevity is evil in this case. Sorry, you asked for this long reply.

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closed as off topic by GEOCHET, Ether, random, Ladybug Killer, alex Feb 4 '10 at 10:49

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I think it takes a score of -5 to remove the question from the front page. –  mmyers Feb 3 '10 at 20:35
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I don't think this question is polite nor civilized –  jmfsg Feb 3 '10 at 20:40
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@Downvoter: Why not? What's wrong with it? –  Pëkka Feb 3 '10 at 20:53
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I think the downvotes are more to do with the vagueness of the question than the jarring formatting. Slamming SO's userbase doesn't help your case either. –  Ether Feb 3 '10 at 20:53
    
Also see: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1751/… and the new comment notification feature: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1093/… –  Ether Feb 3 '10 at 20:57
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You said "So if 4-5 users (a few may not even be out of college) who do not have knowledge or experience in the domain...", which I find somewhat offensive. Read my first comment again about the reasons for your downvotes. –  Ether Feb 3 '10 at 21:50
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Or if the poster is being belligerent, argumentative, and uncomprehending. –  Ether Feb 4 '10 at 1:57
    
Know when you're at a conference and the audience are asked for questions? But what you get are long diatribes, commentary and asides with a question hidden in there? That's your question. That makes it unclear and justifiably downvoted. –  random Feb 4 '10 at 6:24
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Meta & StackOverflow are flame retardant...by virtue of community moderation. Take Jeff's advice... ;) –  IAbstract Feb 4 '10 at 7:04

5 Answers 5

up vote 9 down vote accepted

I would delete the question and start over -- you should be able to do that.

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But this time go through the question and make it as terse and to the point as possible. –  GEOCHET Feb 3 '10 at 20:37
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Thanks, Jeff and Geoffrey (nice username :-) ) –  namespaceform Feb 3 '10 at 20:56
    
Why do you guys delete my comments? This is not tragic any more, this is becoming comic. Yay! meta just became slashdot with points and without AC. Cabals are everywhere it seems :-) Including among the lofty SO gods!! Are swear words allowed on meta? I'm asking :-) –  namespaceform Feb 4 '10 at 5:57
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@nam no, they are not. Also comments can't usually be deleted by a single person (except by moderators). If you want a comment deleted you have to flag it; it seems that more than one user took offense to your comments. We're not out to get you, but no one likes being offended. –  alex Feb 4 '10 at 6:26

The question, even without the bold formatting, clearly lacks focus.

I'm really not sure

  • What you're asking
  • What answers you're hoping for
  • Why you need help

If I must post a question which is difficult to read or parse, I always post a very simplified first paragraph that summarizes the core of the my problem, and then put a bold, bulleted question sentence at the bottom which clearly asks for a specific answer.

Then, and this is where the magic occurs, I delete everything in between.

It may help you if you try this exercise before re-posting the question.

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@Pollyanna: Please see my explanation below. –  namespaceform Feb 3 '10 at 21:31

First, forget the fact that your question was downvoted. It hurts and it's true, when a question reaches -3 or so, downvotes start to pour in unjustly, simply because everyone thinks this question needs to be downvoted, just because so many others already did. It's a group dynamic and it's stupid, but just you wait, you'll find that you're not entirely immune to it yourself.

So, forget and move on. Maybe ask again.

I share Pollyanna's point that your question lacks focus. What is your goal in asking this? SO is a great place to find out what other people's experiences are but people want to know what they should open up for. It's hard work to ponder about such a question and hammer out a meaningful answer.

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When something doesn't work out the way you expect, there's two ways of looking at it. A significant number of others might be wrong in disagreeing with you or, in this case, thinking that your question is not really about programming. That happens. Usually, though, when it happens an equal or larger number come to your defense and the question eventually gets reopened and voted back up.

Alternatively, they could be correct. It's not wrong for someone to down vote your question. It's their right and duty to vote questions the way they see fit, not in accordance with your wishes. If you find that people down vote your question and no one else seems to be sticking up for it, I'd assume that there's something wrong with the question and use it as a learning, as opposed to a complaining, opportunity.

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This bug report is chiefly about timing - 3-4 quick downvotes and there's no option to recover. - The only option is to rewrite the question and hope/pray that I get it right this time. The suggestion to re-post the question with better formatting is the right answer and way to fix the situation, assuming that users use the site in good faith (even if the poster seems to be "complaining") –  namespaceform Feb 3 '10 at 21:52
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My point was that instead of assuming that the problem was with the 3-4 people who down voted you, why not assume the problem is with the question itself and try to learn from the experience how to write a better question rather than blame the voters and the system for allowing people to vote. –  tvanfosson Feb 3 '10 at 22:00
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@namespaceform: If there are quick downvotes which are not justified (or even if they are justified), sympathy upvotes usually cancel them out and give a net boost to your rep. Apparently you didn't even get any sympathy votes, though -- which maybe should tell you something. –  mmyers Feb 3 '10 at 22:02
    
@mmyers: Thanks for the clear, unbiased explanation. I did not know doctype.com existed specifically for design. Any of the "knowledgeable" mods/"seniors" could have just mentioned that before attacking ferociously when i reported speedy downvoting to -4. Before I know it, a well meaning question is junked and trashed by users who do not even explain why. And then, when I ask for a good reason, formatting and bad attitude is the answer. Still no link to doctype.com. Then after the flamewar (many-to-one) someone says doctype. Then my responses are deleted. Fair? –  namespaceform Feb 4 '10 at 5:45

I'm answering this and not commenting because comments are shown smaller and even without formatting, I need a line to each point that Pollyanna has raised.

The question, even without the bold formatting, clearly lacks focus.

I think it does not lack focus, it lacks skilled formatting. Consider:

  • What you're asking
  • What answers you're hoping for
  • Why you need help

These questions:

(1) Has anyone else done something like this - made good looking websites for open source projects - and used them to make a good portfolio site?

Your answer could be: Yes/No

  • If Yes, you could point to a blog article or book or discussion thread or another SO question* close to that question.

Otherwise you could choose to ignore the question.

(2) What has been the experience?

You could answer: Good / Bad / I have not done this

  • If Good, explain why and optional link to support
  • If Bad, explain why and optional link to support

There are question marks in there to show the specific information I requested.

"?" <--- Note the basic English language syntax in use in each case.

So I think I should follow Jeff's (and Geoff's) advice to repost the question this time with formatting as suggested by them.


Another interesting data point is that the profiles of few of the downvoting users (especially the initial 3-4) do not contain web design among listed skills or interests.

This brings a subtle point into the current analysis:
if a person has no skills in technology A, but is skilled in technology B, and goes about selectively down-voting posts or answers on topic A, that should be a bug of some type, right?

I think my error was to have posted the wrong formatting at just the wrong time with the wrong users with down-voting powers.

Although I cannot provide a solution to the cross-domain up-voting / down-voting problem, I hope that I have at least lucidly pointed it out.
And it may be old knowledge to you folks, it is new to me.

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1  
Have you tried Doctype? That website is loosely affiliated with StackOverflow, and they are all designers. Since your question is about design and portfolios, it may be better received there. doctype.com Good luck! –  Adam Davis Feb 3 '10 at 21:38
    
There you go with a good answer. I did not know about doctype.com - it looks significantly different from SO - of course, it should - it is about design :-) One little sentence saying that the question belongs to doctype.com would have prevented this whole lengthy discussion and my "complaining" - Which only further strengthens the point - the question got nailed before you saw it and much before anyone knowledgeable could direct me to doctype.com. –  namespaceform Feb 3 '10 at 21:58
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the profiles of few of the downvoting users. Don't assume people leaving negative comments are the same people that down vote. Commenters finding a question good enough to be worth a comment, find it good enough to not be worth a downvote. –  Georg Schölly Feb 3 '10 at 22:03
    
There go our downvoters again :-) –  namespaceform Feb 3 '10 at 22:03
    
@Georg: OMG. yes, that's true. This just complicated everything 1000-fold. I guess Point karma has no rules. –  namespaceform Feb 3 '10 at 22:08
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"brevity": please look it up. –  Ether Feb 3 '10 at 22:27
    
@Æther: I cannot please everyone and stay sane. –  namespaceform Feb 4 '10 at 5:50
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You don't have to please everyone. You just have to be coherent enough that a few people think you are worth upvoting. How are you doing so far? –  Ether Feb 4 '10 at 6:27
    
Your post is hard to read as it is now. Let alone the shading because it's at -3. –  random Feb 4 '10 at 6:35

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