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I don't downvote much, but sometimes I come across a post that I feel is just retarded. I'd like to downvote it, but I hesitate when I remember that I'll be sacrificing my rep for a dumb post. I understand the negative reps is to avoid downvote abuse, but I feel it's also preventing some people from downvoting posts that deserve it.

Should we be allowed a limited number of non rep reducing downvotes per time period? For example one free downvote per day?

p.s. please don't downvote this question just to be funny :)

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Hmm, interesting idea, not sure about it though so I'm not voting either way. –  ChrisF Apr 14 '10 at 14:46
    
See also some of the answers & comments on my question - meta.stackexchange.com/questions/135/… - one thing that came out was the idea of reclaiming the -1 if you left a suitable comment (one that was marked as a great comment a number of times) - but nothing's been implemented. –  ChrisF Apr 14 '10 at 14:50
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Downvoting because I disagree (and it's not free for me to do so, either); being funny is just a bonus. –  Gnome Apr 14 '10 at 17:50

2 Answers 2

I've more or less stopped downvoting questions (not before time, I hear you say), not because I care about the rep loss, but because it is becoming an increasingly pointless thing to do. The number of lemming-like upvotes that any question, not matter how stupid, off-topic or incomprehensible, gets makes downvoting them pointless. I can't see one free downvote stemming this tide.

The real answer is of course to close these questions. Unfortunately, the intersection of the set of people that can close and those that can be bothered to exercise that ability seems to be small. My own idea for improving the close ratio is to give to 20K (figure picked out of hat, as usual) users the same number of close votes (currently 12 per day) but to have them get the vote back if the question actually does get closed.

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Better yet, increase the close votes per day. –  random Apr 14 '10 at 15:36
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@random I think that would encourage spraying close votes around - my solution rewards (if that's the word) more targeted closing –  nb69307 Apr 14 '10 at 15:38
    
I don't downvote because I prefer to reward people who do good. And as a mod I will punish you without harming my own rep if I have to! –  Ivo Flipse Apr 14 '10 at 15:41
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@Ivo Very Samuel L. Jackson! –  nb69307 Apr 14 '10 at 15:46
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@Ivo: there's that old, "down-votes == punishment" thing again... I'm starting to come around to the idea that down-votes should be removed entirely; the idea was a good one, but at this point The Powers That Be appear to be somewhat ashamed that they ever thought of it. –  Shog9 Apr 14 '10 at 16:40
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@Shog9 I still find downvotes useful to indicate completely wrong, and sometimes dangerous, answers. But perhaps we should have closing for them too? –  nb69307 Apr 14 '10 at 16:42
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The problem is @Shog9 I can't upvote everyone, even if the answer is correct. It would loose it's value and purpose. Neither should I downvote everything I disagree with, but if I do I leave a comment and hope they change it accordingly (if possible) –  Ivo Flipse Apr 14 '10 at 17:18
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@Neil - closing answers, that's a good idea. –  ChrisF Apr 14 '10 at 17:58
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Don't give up, Neil. We must band together to fight the evil that is random/pity up-votes. We must institute Bloc Downvoting. A question can only withstand so many downvotes before the upvote spammers start to question whether or not it's really worth upvoting. –  Aarobot Apr 14 '10 at 20:16

I'm not downvoting because it's funny, I'm downvoting because I disagree with your [feature-request] or [idea] which isn't so [lightbulb].

Don't be so concerned about rep. I think a lot of people take it far to seriously.

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That's exactly my point though. A lot of people take it too seriously and then the site doesn't get self-moderated as well as it could be. –  adam0101 Apr 14 '10 at 14:43
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I thought your point was fussing over loosing 1 rep when you cast a downvote. "sacrificing my rep for a dumb post". I downvote when I see something that needs it, and upvote posts that I believe are worth it. Think about this, you need 10 downvotes cast to equal one person giving you one upvote on an answer or two on a question. Rep comes back much faster then it's lost. In short if people are worried about the 1 rep it costs to downvote they shouldn't participate in the moderating. –  Josh K Apr 14 '10 at 15:03
    
+1 both answer and comment; now I don't have to answer because mine would have been near-identical. –  John Rudy Apr 14 '10 at 19:25
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Most questions on Meta aren't about Meta, they're about SO/SF/SU, and you shouldn't downvote questions or answers on those sites just because you disagree. You should downvote questions because they're poorly-written, incomprehensible or just downright rep-gaming, and you should downvote answers that are technically incorrect. –  Aarobot Apr 14 '10 at 20:26

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