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There is an asymmetry between up votes for questions (+5) and answers (+10), and I completely agree with this (on SO, though possibly it's reversed here). Should the same asymmetry exist for down votes? That is, a down vote on a question gets -2 whereas a down vote on an answer gets -4.

I'm thinking yes, because a "wrong" or "bad" answer is worse than a "bad" question. After all, there are no dumb questions, only dumb answers.

I'm also thinking no, because we shouldn't discourage people from answering questions. Or should we?

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7  
There are plenty of dumb questions. –  Kobi Jun 1 '11 at 4:14
    
@Kobi: Yes, we realize that now. That wasn't so obvious back in 2008! –  Gabe Jun 1 '11 at 4:32
    
originally upvotes for questions were +10 too. –  vartec Jun 1 '11 at 8:32
    
@vartec: See my answer for a more complete history. –  Gabe Jun 1 '11 at 15:14

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

To make it symmetric, downvotes on question should be -1 rep to the asker.

Originally, all upvotes were +10 to the poster, while downvotes were -2 to the poster and did not affect the voter. However, people were downvoting too much, so they started charging -1 rep to downvoters. Somewhat later, they decided that people asking questions were contributing less than people answering, so they made upvotes on questions only +5. After a while they noticed that there were too many questions that didn't get any downvotes, so they stopped charging voters downvoting questions.

So now, answer upvotes are worth 10/0, answer downvotes are worth -2/-1, question upvotes are worth 5/0, and question downvotes are worth -2/0.

It looks like they divided all the rep for questions by 2 (10/2=5, 0/2=0, -1/2=0) except for what downvotes cost the asker. Maybe that will be the next change.

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This also achieves symmetry, yes. –  PengOne Jun 1 '11 at 4:26

The reputation costs and benefits don't have to be symmetric or consistent between questions and answers.

Having them as independent values means that the team can tweak the values (as in the reduction of question up-votes from +10 to +5 and the removal of the reputation cost to down-voting questions) without affecting the entire system.

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