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Encouraging people to explain down-votes

I see lot of people down voting questions without stating reasons or adding comments. For example this post at SO

checking integrity of a file using md5 or Style sheet for XML not rendering in IE9

Shouldn't there be a an input for downvoting a question? For example when a user down votes on SO the should be asked "Why do you think this question should be down voted?"

marked as duplicate by Sathyajith Bhat, Jeremy Banks, Time Traveling Bobby, ShaWiz, balpha Dec 1 '11 at 8:39

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.

  • 4
    This is one of the most common requests here on Meta, you could easily find it by searching. – ShaWiz Dec 1 '11 at 8:28
  • My reason for downvoting this question: It was already asked many times before. – Goran Jovic Dec 1 '11 at 11:05
  • 1
    What an interesting and unique request! Why hasn't anyone thought of this before? – Won't Dec 1 '11 at 16:29

Circled the Downvote-Tooltip

I have no idea what that question is about, so yes, it is unclear.

If the question is about:

  • How to read a file into a string
    • Lack of research
    • Duplicate
    • Not useful
  • How to md5 a file in Java
    • Lack of research
    • Duplicate (I didn't check, but you wanna bet?)
    • Not useful
  • How to use/convert Streams and Readers
    • Lack of research
    • Duplicate (I still didn't check)
    • Not useful
  • How to reticulate splines
    • Lack of research
    • Duplicate (I's lazy)
    • Not useful
    • Lack of research
    • Duplicate (Everybody has too big spoons)
    • Not useful
  • Common... don't belittle the question here. The person who has posted the question knows how to do all the three bulleted point you have posted. Rather his question is why does his MD5 do not match!! And this is exactly the problem I am discussing. There are people who will JUST skim the question and assume that question is produced out of laziness. A lot of time a post gets downvoted because people seem to think that there is not enough info and I have seen same posts getting answered by other users, may be the ones who will actually take time to read the post and understand it. – Grrrrr Dec 1 '11 at 9:51
  • @Grrrrr: That's my point. I read that question three times and I did not figure that out. In that case it still shows a lack of research. Otherwise the OP would know that MD5 operates on byte-level and would not bother to create a string (encoding, line-endings and so on). – Time Traveling Bobby Dec 1 '11 at 10:19
  • @ಠ_ಠ Won't: Arrr...I get it, thanks. But I still read the question as one of the three...and the first too are widely covered on SO. – Time Traveling Bobby Dec 1 '11 at 18:58

This is a suggestion that would create an excess amount of irrelevant data. And who should see those inputs? Everyone? The guy who asked the question? The moderators? And where (and how) should these input be displayed, so that they don't bother users who doesn't care because the reasoning for downvoting a question is obvious (not following the guidelines tends to create downvotes).

When creating a question, a big fat box called 'How to ask' should allow a user to get the information needed for asking a question that doesn't need to be downvoted.

And of course - duplicate questions (like this) also gets downvotes; duplicate questions shows lack of effort to research your question/problem.

  • The suggestion should be showed to the guy who asked the question so that he can change it accordingly. – Grrrrr Dec 1 '11 at 9:52
  • How should other downvoters know if the OP has been told what the exact problem is? What if others downvote for other reasons? This would also imply that people had to stop downvoting because 'someone already told him why he got downvoted'. There's a lot of issues with this and most of these has already been mentioned in the other questions related to the downvote comments. – Repox Dec 1 '11 at 10:07

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