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So here is a classic case of what I mean.

I noticed that I was down-voted once and then again so two down-votes. So I decided to put up a cocky comment like, "Just love it when my questions get downvoted for no apparent reason! :)"

Now one of the people who noticed this, seem to take pity and probably upvoted my question, just so that it doesn't send out the wrong message to people who posts such questions. Now I am pretty thick skinned and even if I am downvote to oblivion I shall not stop asking question morally or ethically questionable subjects. But does it not send out the wrong idea to new adopters of SO and prevent them from posting questions here?

When I say newcomers, I mean guys who have not read the wiki or faq on SO etiquette and then they move on to some other forum where probably people are more welcoming. We cannot argue that they should read the wiki. Flag if they think they are being serially down-voted or other reasons. They will just leave without going through the hassle.

So how do we tackle such situations.. I definitely don't have enough rep to do anything about it, but people with some rep should take notice of such things and act as mediators I guess. :)

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Actually, with respect, I think you might benefit from reading the FAQ in this instance. – Pops Oct 4 '10 at 13:13
As several answers, as well as @popular points out, Meta works differently from Stack Overflow - here, downvotes mean "I disagree", not "Incorrect answer". Downvoting without commenting is extremely common here. – Jared Harley Oct 4 '10 at 15:02
@Popular Demand: I guess ur correct! :) Reading the FAQ does seem to sort out the issue, but still my suggestion does apply to SO... U see I was just using my question over here as an instance, but it has happened to me before on SE and over there rep is pretty crucial.… – Shouvik Oct 5 '10 at 6:26

That question was on meta. On meta, downvotes tend to be used differently than on other sites, more for "this is a bad idea" than "this is a bad question". The downvotes were probably for the idea of just posting a link to a question rather than a question.

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No offences but IMHO I don't think this is the best way to approach the issue. with upvotes and downvotes not having different columns, it gets kind of hard to keep track of who like ur idea and who doesn't... I think we should stick to one policy for all sites... :) – Shouvik Oct 5 '10 at 6:40
@Shouvik: No offense possible, since I was describing rather than endorsing a behavior. Meta is more of a discussion site than the main Trilogy sites, and runs by different informal rules. Whether that's a good idea or not is certainly debatable, but that's more suitable for a MSO question than a comment thread. – David Thornley Oct 5 '10 at 13:52

Downvoting in (I think all SE-) Meta pages means: I do not like and therefore do not support this idea, even more, I think SE would not benefit if this were implemented. SO, and all SE parent pages, are different, as @David Thornley said.

Yet I would propose that the FAQ of the meta sites would be changed accordingly. Yes, reputation still denotes just that, reputation as in trust by the community and therefore juice to do things, yet I would add a word about it being used to express likes and dislikes of the idea the question expresses, not the format of the question itself.

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As the upvoter, i feel an obligation to explain my decision. I really felt like the downvotes were a judgement of the behavior, not a judgement of the question.

I think it may be a bit offputting for newcomers. We can spot badly phrased/subjective questions/etc... easily on SO but here it's a bit harder. Let's imagine i'm asking the following question:

Can i take a question and its answer, rephrase it and condense the whole result as a blog post?

Some people may take offense about the idea and react with their moral background. A newcomer could legitimately ask himself the question and wonder why this is a bad question. I know, and i usually read faqs, but it didn't really occur to me that the tag meaning would be unofficially different... The systems look alike, the law of least surprise made me think they meant the same thing.

With hindsight, i understand the downvotes, and yet the question still feel useful to me. And that's what i'm supposed to vote about.

As to mitigating this effect, perhaps a reminder could help. We could also have a different title text on the up and down-vote arrows. For example, analyze the tags and depending on what's in the tags

  • feature-request: this request is good/bad
  • bug-report: i had the same bug/not reproducible
  • etc...

This way, the subtle differences in votes' meaning between the sites could be explained. Just imagine, if we create a stack site for boardgames, one could post about some rules he invented, tag the post game-proposal and the up and down votes would translate to good/bad idea

What do you think? upvote or no? ;)

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