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I asked a question on SO and one of the answers was not only unhelpful, but it addressed something that I already dealt with in my question. I wanted to down vote the answer, but since I just joined SO, I didn't have enough rep to do so.

I understand why people can't start down voting everything when they first join SO, but I think we should be able to down vote answers to our own questions.

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Please see here, since this question just popped up a little bit ago: – Eric Jul 23 '09 at 20:01
Thanks! I didn't see that earlier. – eleanor.mal Jul 23 '09 at 20:17
up vote 8 down vote accepted

You can add a comment on their response to allow them to try and improve their answer.

You should also edit your question to make it even more obvious that you've already tried that solution, or it's not what you're looking for, etc.

Once you've edited your question, you also have the added bonus of moving it to the top of the active list, which will hopefully drive more useful people to take a shot at answering it, and you'll end up with more upvotes and hopefully a good solution.

And, as the final icing on the cake, by that time you'll have enough reputation to downvote that initial annoying incorrect answer.

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Haha. Yes, I edited it a lot, as I tried other answers people gave, fixed the code in my examples and tried to clarify exactly what problem I was having. So much, in fact, that it got tagged Community Wiki, because I was unaware of that limit. Oops! – eleanor.mal Jul 23 '09 at 20:03
I don't think she's hit 50 rep as yet. Or was there some additional constraint that there was no minimum rep to comment on your own posts? – Margaret Jul 23 '09 at 21:02
@Margaret, no, she is constrained by the rep limit. My suggestions were geared towards getting both getting her reputation above that limit, and trying to get her the answer she wanted. – devinb Jul 23 '09 at 21:08
@Norebora, I wouldn't worry to much. With the attitude you have, you'll be swimming in rep fairly soon. – devinb Jul 23 '09 at 21:08

The rep restriction keeps the trolls out. Rep roughly shows some participation on the site and should know the boundaries of the site rules. Otherwise, you got some punk that think its cool to just downvote all he wants if he is already at 1 rep. There is also a lot of first timer questions and then they are gone once they get answer.

EDIT: Ok, now I understand your concern better. Yah I do agree with you that you should be able to at least up and downvote answers to your questions. You know your question better than anyone else.

The only concern I have for people is just to make sure to ask your questions thoroughly and give any relevant details. Questions like "Its broke, How I R do this?" do not go over well and the wrath of SO/MSO/SF/SU shall descend upon them.

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You have the ability to delete your own answer, the ultimate downvote. – akf Jul 23 '09 at 20:40
I don't want to down vote my answer, just a bad answer someone's posted to my question. – eleanor.mal Jul 23 '09 at 20:50
Now I understand better, edited. – Troggy Jul 23 '09 at 21:26
True. I try and run any questions I have by other people who don't know what I've been working on before I post them to make sure I post enough, but not too much, so that I can get a good answer. Looks like I should have done that with this post so there wouldn't be confusion... :) – eleanor.mal Jul 23 '09 at 21:29

Just grit your teeth, and wait a couple of days. You'll get there. :)

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try to give people the benefit of the doubt, especially when they're trying to help you

downvoting people trying to help you sends the wrong message; leaving a comment is much better

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I don't think benefit of the doubt applies here. It's the same as someone else down voting it, except that it's me. Also, you don't get a notification about who was the person who down voted you. While I agree that commenting is more likely to clear up a misunderstanding, if someone posts an answer that doesn't belong or fits any of the other criteria for down voting, I don't see why I shouldn't be able to make that decision for my own question. – eleanor.mal Jul 24 '09 at 12:25
FYI - I wasn't the one who down voted this answer. – eleanor.mal Jul 24 '09 at 13:20
@[norabora]: i think the fact that this answer got downvoted is ironically hilarious ;-) While some answers don't deserve the benefit of the doubt, I believe that most do. Remember, you get what you reward, and vice-versa. There have been a few times when I've tried to answer the poster's question and gotten downvoted - with rude comments, no less from the OP - and after the third try to understand what they want, what they really really want, I delete the answer. To quote Airplane!, "Chump don't want no hep, chump don't git no hep". ;-) – Steven A. Lowe Jul 24 '09 at 14:15
Yeah, I've gotten some snide comments and such, but with an open site like this, it's hard to keep that from happening. You can get that with people who use the site enough to have lots of rep as well as n00bs like me. But that doesn't mean that there should be no down voting; no system is perfect and people will find ways to abuse it however they can. – eleanor.mal Jul 24 '09 at 14:47
@[norabora]: I didn't mean to imply that there should be no downvoting! – Steven A. Lowe Jul 25 '09 at 7:52

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