Encouraging people to explain down-votes
Over in the programming land of SO I have become active in the tags related to VB.Net and Android.
I find the relationships between VOTING and REPUTATION and COMMENTING, although algorithmic, are betrayed by the human aspects.
As we all know sometimes the OP's question leaves plenty of room for interpretation in as much as unless specific code is presented sometimes we have to guess at what is actually trying to be accomplished versus what is being asked --- particularly if the OP is new to the language (the programming language that is.)
So after 30 yrs of writing software for a living I think I understand some subtleties regarding various programming techniques. And in my answers I generally explain why I am making the suggestions that I do. And then someone who is, shall we say, lesser-experienced; decides that my suggestions is an affront to the entire programming community and clicks his DOWN VOTE.
If you're lucky you may get an explanation to the vote --- and in one case this occurred to me and so I went on to further explain the reasoning behind my suggestion. In the course of a few COMMENTS between me and the DownVoter, he comes to see the light and dramatically illustrates that he has considerably LESS understanding of the some of those subtleties I hinted at above. In fact he's making PIKER errors.
The DOWN VOTE Balloon-Tip describes the reasoning for using this mechanism and it seems to me that those reasons are used a little less than we all, perhaps, think.
I think that if a DOWN VOTE had to be accompanied by a reason or comment then its use might become less frivolous and there might be a means to institute a "review" by some higher SO authority who could help determine if the Vote was deserved or not (and reversed.)
It seems to me that if the basic premise of the SO over other developers sights is the added citations (reputation, badges, etc) then we should be careful about how they can be manipulated.
Do you agree?