The problem: Poor quality questions get viewed by a lot of people and that's a waste of time.

At MSO (Meta.StackOverflow), people believe that downvoting is good. In a short period of time, these questions are downvoted 'into oblivion' (10 downvotes or more).

However, I believe it is negative feedback that doesn't help the OP (original poster) to improve the quality of the question.

The solution: Hide downvoted questions. Suppose a question is downvoted three times in a row (no upvotes). The system then hides this question from the main view, but the OP can edit the question to improve the quality. After the edit, the question will be visible again (and hidden again after another three downvotes, etc).

It would be great if one of the downvoters would provide feedback to the OP, but that's another story.

Do you think this could be useful at StackExchange?

  • 3
    I suspect you noticed this on MSO because MSO has a higher cut-off for hiding down-voted questions. This is by-design: it gives controversial proposals a fair chance at getting seen by both sides, albeit at the cost of increased pile-on for truly lousy suggestions. – Shog9 Oct 1 '11 at 22:07

I don't see how this is a problem. Who does it help to hide a question exactly? Less eyes is bad for the person asking (they might lose less rep, but is that the important thing?), and if you don't want to waste your time reading negative-score questions, then just skip over them. Other people can make the same decision if they want.

I generally do read downvoted questions because I like to try and leave helpful comments or edit to improve the question if it's possible and no one else has yet. I definitely encourage others to leave informative comments when they downvote (as well as cast a close vote when appropriate).

On Meta, downvoting often just indicates disagreement, so I don't think hiding downvoted questions makes sense. The community needs to be able to see what ideas have been brought up and found unpopular, and express their disagreement or agreement.

  • Fair enough, people are free to spend (waste) their own time. My idea was more about protecting the OP if he/she cannot monitor the question for a number of hours (or days) and finds the question so heavily downvoted, it can't be saved. – GUI Junkie Oct 2 '11 at 14:13

Downvoted questions are already suppressed from the front page at -4 on main and -8 on metas.


Not sure. I do think that the best way to improve questions ( and answers ) is to put comments in whenever you downvote - to explain why you see this as a poor question or answer. But sometimes downvoted questions just need the right person to see it, understand the question and provide the right pointers to the poster ( or even the answer to the question actually being asked ).

In some ways, downvoted questions are the best way of learning.

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