I want y'all to understand something first. I am basically a big fuzzy bouncing ball of happy when it comes to Stack Overflow. I smother questions and answers I like with love and big shiny upvotes. I would never dream of burning a young hopeful's dreams down to ashes with cruel black downvotes.
Or would I? The other day I was browsing around a question that I wasn't quite sure what to make sure of. The mouse pointer was wandering aimlessly as I mused. My hand slipped on the mouse, and horror! a downvote was cast. A nice pop-up panel requested that I leave a comment explaining my action, and to my dismay, I am now branded a Critic, a hater of men (and women) (and their well-intentioned comments). I now skulk in the private places of Stack Overflow, hoping nobody will notice the scarlet C branded on my forehead.
OK, seriously, one downvote shouldn't be a big deal, and can be undone (though the scarlet C remains :-) ), but strangely, this little act has got a hold on me. I do wish I had had a "think twice" panel to catch me from casting a downvote that I didn't really want to cast. Here are my thoughts:
- Downvotes potentially harm reputation, and reputation is, if not king, at least a major duke on Stack Overflow. They should not be cast too lightly, and a pop-up could help.
- I've heard (though admittedly not seen) that serial downvoting is a problem among some people. Where it is, it would be nice to discourage it. A pop-up could help there too, though it certainly wouldn't be a panacea.
- At the same time, I recognize downvotes should not be cast too sparingly either, so we don't want to make downvotes difficult or annoying to cast. (You're probably thinking of Windows asking for confirmation everytime you want to trash a file. So am I. :-) ) Pop-ups might be perceived as obtrusive, but it seems to me that the "please leave a comment" pop-up is anything but obtrusive. I think there's ways to tweak this feature request so it doesn't get in the way.
Thanks for your consideration!