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Encouraging people to explain down-votes

I've looked at several related threads; some people would like to know why they get downvotes specifically.

I'd like to have the optional ability to state why I'm voting something up or down.

One can optionally explain the reason for her/his edit of a question, so why not the reason for an up or down vote?

A benefit of SO is gaining understanding.

Many SO members would likely prefer to simply vote up/down... I suspect that others, like myself, would enjoy knowing the reason(s) behind down/up votes.

Design-wise, a simple dropdown could be used to avoid hurtful reasons.

By the way, I'm also willing to have the down/up vote ability to be identified... again, this could be optional. Design example:

5 == 7 up (Jeff, Gerry, 5 others); 2 down (unidentified)

This would be useful because a score of 5 might in one case be only 5 up while in another case it could equal 64 up, 59 down.

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marked as duplicate by ChrisF, Pëkka, juan, Yi Jiang, fretje Feb 28 '11 at 16:03

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

You can always leave a comment explaining your vote, and many people do. But some don't. – Robert Harvey Feb 27 '11 at 17:43
@Robert Harvey yes, that would be one option; otoh, sometimes the comment may not be very relevant to the actual question so having it here in the comments section may not be the best place for it. – gerryLowry Feb 27 '11 at 17:49
If they're downvoting the post, the reason is certainly relevant to the post (or it better be), so a comment would be logical – Michael Mrozek Feb 27 '11 at 18:39
up vote 3 down vote accepted

As Robert said in a comment, if you have enough reputation, you can leave comments on people's posts saying that you either agree or disagree and why (i.e., "+1 <reason>" or "-1 <reason>").

I don't see a need to put in default reasons, nor is there a way to be general about a predefined set of reasons -- it's entirely dependent on context, which varies from site-to-site, question-to-question, and answer-to-answer.

For the case of explaining downvotes, search around Meta, as there has been extensive discussion about that, so I won't get into it in this answer.

this would be useful because 5 might in one case be 5 up while in another case it could equal 64 up, 59 down.

This is a privilege you can gain at 1,000 rep. Personally-identifiable votes (of most types, including upvotes and downvotes) are confidential, and I highly doubt that's going to change, ever. If people want to identify their own votes themselves, that's fine, but there's just no way the system will be changed to expose that information by default.

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i've marked this as answer but that does not mean that I'm 100% in agreement ... i do not understand why one needs a 1000 rep to see the up versus down count. thnx to all who participated. – gerryLowry Mar 9 '11 at 16:56

I personally think that the comments section fulfils this role already (especially in the case of a downvote when you're encouraged to leave a comment if you think the post can be improved.) IMO the comments box is visible enough already that if people want to leave a comment then they will - if they don't I doubt an extra box will really provide much, if any more encouragement.

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Letting voting system remain anonymous encourages fair voting system.

Also for people with low reputation are given a notification to add a comment for their down vote, however doing same for an up vote doesn't seem to be a requirement. As Down-voting is something Unusual activity where Up-Voting is what you usually do when you feel post is good enough.

However its good practice to leave a comment if you down-vote (IMO should be made compulsory so that Poster can improve his post based on comment)... where as its up to Voter to comment for an Up-Vote (some usually do it if they like the post+1 )

As for viewing original vote count people with 1000 rep have this ability

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@Shekar - I disagree with forcing users to leave a comment for downvotes. Some are quite obvious. There are a few jacka##es on the sites that just write rude, uncalled for garbage in their comments and answers, and generally these people are looking for a conflict. I'm not here for that. If I think the poster can learn something, then I'll leave a comment. Your answer also contradicts itself. How can the voting system be anonymous if we're forcing people to leave comments? – jmort253 Feb 28 '11 at 0:00

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