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I propose special badges for frequent downvoting.

Downvoting means you sacrifice your own reputation to fight spam and low-quality questions. People who do so make contribution to community, so that spam will be punished.

Badges could be for example:

Punisher - 100 downvotes (silver).

Inquisitor - 500 downvotes, at least 25% of them on votes with reputation -2 or less (gold)

Additionally, for people, who mostly downvote:

Malcontent - at least 100 votes, 50% or more of it downvote (bronze)

Judge Dread - at least 1000 votes, 50% or more of it downvote (gold)

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I don't understand the concept of badges that promote people active in only one area. Why reward somebody who has X downvotes, if and only if they don't have Y upvotes as well? (I know SE already does this on some badges, but I still don't understand the reasoning) – Michael Mrozek Feb 1 '11 at 15:08
Spam is to flagged, not downvoted. Comments cannt be downvoted. – Filburt Feb 1 '11 at 15:08
Instead of Judge Dredd (FTFY), you might call the last one Rook instead. :-D – Chris Jester-Young Feb 1 '11 at 15:09
Um, Rook upvotes a lot more than he downvotes (2067/375). Only ten people with at least 500 downvotes have more downvotes than upvotes (SEDE query). – mmyers Feb 1 '11 at 16:38
@mmyers It was a reference to – HoLyVieR Feb 1 '11 at 16:44
You've got specific examples of ideas, but I'm seeing this as basically still the same premise as More medals for the critics. – Grace Note Feb 1 '11 at 18:20
So, I'll propose a badge for being repeatedly downvoted as this shows your sacrifice in the benefit of others' Punisher badge :D – Dr. belisarius Feb 1 '11 at 22:07
up vote 18 down vote accepted

I do not think we need to encourage more downvoting.

In general downvoting fosters a negative feeling on the site. I agree that it is necessary to downvote answers that are incorrect, but I don't think we need to encourage it any more than we do already.

Upvotes make people feel good. Downvotes make people feel sad. We don't wanna make more people sad. Happy people come back to the site and contribute more good content. Sad people leave and speak badly of the site.

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There is however a lot of answers on StackOverflow f.g. when it is obvious the authors don't even try to solve someone's problem, they just want to add something and maybe (accidentally) get upvoted). – Danubian Sailor Feb 1 '11 at 15:12
@lech, this is true. And answers like that should be downvoted. However, I don't think that this is a big enough problem right now to start globally awarding downvotes. – jjnguy Feb 1 '11 at 15:14
You big softy, you. – dmckee Feb 1 '11 at 15:14
@dmckee, perhaps. But I think it is in the best interest of the site as a whole. – jjnguy Feb 1 '11 at 15:16
@Justin I share your view in general, and if in doubt, this should always be the default stance. It's also better to have been too nice than too harsh. But when I go out and look at some of the new questions in the PHP and jQuery tag, they make me sad :) I've gone from a 5% to a 15% downvote ratio in the past few months and I'm still voting rather nicely. I think downvoting needs to be encouraged to some extent. There comes a point when you can't clean up and fix everything that comes in. Anyway, I'm still against awarding badges for it – Pëkka Feb 1 '11 at 15:21
@Pekka, interesting. I see your point. But do you think enough bad posts are getting mixed in (similar vote counts) with the good posts? – jjnguy Feb 1 '11 at 15:27
@Justin not sure I understand what you mean by "mixed in" in the context, can you elaborate? – Pëkka Feb 1 '11 at 15:30
@Justin: Don't get me wrong. I hesitate every time I start to downvote, and ask myself "Is this really harmful to the site?" (and, cause I have mean streak, "Am I sure I'm not doing this out of pique?" ). And I often leave a comment and come back the next day to see if they made it better. But downvotes should be cast where they are due. 'Course, exactly where is your business. ::checks personal profile. Resolves to cast more upvotes in the future:: – dmckee Feb 1 '11 at 15:33
What @dmckee says is an important point. downvotes should be cast where they are due. If something is bad, downvote it. If it gets improved, remove the downvote and/or upvote it. Do not trust crap to become better automatically, because it usually doesn't. – Pëkka Feb 1 '11 at 15:44
@Pekka, Yeah I knew that wasn't gonna be clear. When I say mixed in, I mean in the voting order on a question. Usually a bad answer will have one downvote and be sorted to the bottom. Are you seeing bad answers with the same or similar vote counts as good answers? – jjnguy Feb 1 '11 at 15:52
@Pekka, @dmckee, I agree that downvotes should be cast where they are warranted. But I'm just afraid that too much downvote encouragement could lead to problems. – jjnguy Feb 1 '11 at 15:55
@dmckee, see above. (This is for notification purposes) – jjnguy Feb 1 '11 at 15:55
@Justin re mixing, actually, rarely. I'm not that concerned about answers to be honest, downvoting works fairly well for them. To me, the problem is more with questions: I see a tendency to give a "welcome upvote" for totally abysmal questions when the user is new. That is a terrible thing because it encourages people to go on asking the way they do. There must be a certain minimum standard for contributions - basic legibility and a minimum of prior research and that it's not a complete "fix my code for me" question. And that standard needs to be enforced by downvotes if necessary. – Pëkka Feb 1 '11 at 15:59
I agree however that too much encouragement could have adverse effects. – Pëkka Feb 1 '11 at 16:00

Speaking as someone who has cast a lot of downvotes, I don't think this would be a good idea.

It conflicts with the existing disincentive provided in the -1 reputation penalty given every time you downvote. Why penalize individual downvotes, only to turn around and reward you when you go above a certain level?

A downvote should be reserved for wrong or truly awful content, and not just thrown around whenever you plain don't like something. I've downvoted a bunch of stuff simply because I've done a lot of janitorial work over the last year (and 70% of the content I've downvoted has since been deleted from the site). The reputation penalty no longer matters to me, but I don't downvote lightly.

I think there are better ways to encourage cleaning up the site, such as encouraging duplicate finding / closing. In many cases, my downvotes weren't the most important action that could be taken in identifying and removing bad content (like in the case of flagged spam), so incentives for them wouldn't be the most effective investment.

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