While searching for similar topics I found several discussions which mainly discuss whether or not to downvote in a particular situation. Usually I agree with the accepted answers. It seems to some extent the opinions on meta on when to downvote on other SE sites are in line.
There are little propositions however which discuss encouraging downvoting more. Many state downvoting is important, since it is part of the mechanism to bring good quality posts to the top. In practice however I feel downvoting isn't promoted enough.
Lack of downvoting
A concrete example: What popular "best practices" are not always best, and why?
At the time of writing, this answer got 24 upvotes and 6 downvotes, placing it somewhere in the middle of all the answers. In my opinion, some of the answers underneath are a lot more useful. They get less attention since they are way down. To indicate this is probably not just a personal opinion, there is a comment critizing the answer which has 59 upvotes! This means at least 59 people saw a problem with the answer, but only 6 cared to downvote it. Why?
Public image of a downvote
Downvotes are bad ... or so you are led to believe when being active on almost any SE site. Is it possible that only the select few that spend their time on meta sites actually understand the downvoting system properly? More than not, the person being downvoted experiences this as an insult, rather than a motivation to improve/correct their answer. Or, to see it as a simple difference in opinion.
Take the following answer (which I downvoted) as an example: Java: Simplify a loop
This user already has 11,107 reputation on SO, but makes statements as:
I don't say that everybody needs to actually like my solution, but I think nothing is wrong with it and the downvote is bullshit.
And again, your solution with a loop var and range checks and inc doesn't look nice to me. But I would never downvote it.
Is it a mere coincidence that he isn't active on any meta site?