I get why we have the voting system (and love it by the way), but I have been down voted twice in the past couple of days with the comment that the answer was "wrong".

In fact, the answer was not wrong, merely incomplete or maybe not the best. Of course, this is subjective.

Regardless, even though I am thankful that they at least left a comment, I think it is irresponsible for someone to declare an answer as "wrong" when it is not.

Maybe it would be good to have a dialog that pops up with a radio button list when down voting to allow the downvoter to specify "Wrong, Misleading, Deprecated Method" etc.

Just a thought (/vent ;).

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    Well, like you said, it is subjective... and if we're going to have such a dialog for downvotes, what about upvotes? This looks like it's going to make things very complicated... – BoltClock's a Unicorn Jan 6 '12 at 1:55
  • Wow, really? Two down votes? Where else can I ask this kind of question. That isn't exactly clear. – Matt Cashatt Jan 6 '12 at 1:56
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    Downvotes on meta generally mean "I disagree with you". (Now that is something I feel needs working on, the fact that most people who just join meta aren't immediately aware of this distinction.) – BoltClock's a Unicorn Jan 6 '12 at 1:57
  • Yeah--that disagreement could have been made clear by commenting. Thanks for dinging my fledgling reputation though, I appreciate that. – Matt Cashatt Jan 6 '12 at 1:57
  • 1) I didn't downvote, but feel free to think what you like 2) Reputation on meta hardly matters, if you participate more you'll find it fluctuating at worst and moving up the same way as on SO at best. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Jan 6 '12 at 1:59
  • Ok, fair enough. I should not have assumed that you are the downvoter. I am simply frustrated because I am trying to help folks out over on SO, and when I share a solution that works for me, I only mean it to help. It seems like it takes more effort to try and help than to drive by and down vote without clarifying. That's all. Regretting that I asked the question but thanks for your insight. – Matt Cashatt Jan 6 '12 at 2:03
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    Rather, thank you for bringing this up :) Every suggestion is appreciated, it's just that some things might not fly. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Jan 6 '12 at 2:04

No. It happens, get used to it. You're lucky that you even got a comment explaining the downvote, they seem to be getting more and more rare. You can comment back to the person who left it, either arguing your side or telling them that you've corrected or filled out your post (after you've done so, obviously). If you correct the deficiencies, many people will retract their downvote, and some might even change it to an up.

Remember that not even mods can see who cast a vote. There is, however, some algorithm built into SO that detects suspicious voting patterns and cancels the votes, but that's not going to happen in your case.

And if it was on meta, really don't worry about it: Meaning of downvotes in Meta vs Main sites?

  • Thanks Kevin. That's all I was looking for. – Matt Cashatt Jan 6 '12 at 2:12
  • "...detects suspicious downvoting patterns and cancels the votes..." - FYI, it also detects suspicious upvoting patterns and removes those votes (and the rep gained from them). – Josh Darnell Jan 6 '12 at 3:01

All that is required (term used loosely, your vote is your own and what you do with it is completely up to you) for downvotes is for the user to find the answer not helpful or not useful.

In fact, the answer was not wrong, merely incomplete or maybe not the best.

By the simple criteria expressed above, and depending upon just how incomplete, or how far from the best, that is just cause for a downvote.

I am simply frustrated because I am trying to help folks out over on SO, and when I share a solution that works for me, I only mean it to help.

And we appreciate it. However, if the "works for me" answer is not as good or as helpful as another, we tend to vote up the best answer and conversely vote down the "works for me" (but still not a good idea or good practice) others.

If I may, let's look at a example I see in your history, this this recent jQuery answer. I preface this by saying I know jack and squat about jQuery. But it seems you posted a "works for me" answer, but it is about a method officially deprecated and discouraged for use. So despite it working, people tend to downvote so as to promote other better practices. This is a good thing. People post working suggestions all of the time, but those working suggestions are riddled with worst practices, bugs or security holes, or are simply unsupported, and better alternatives exist. So those working suggestions get voted down, because they are not as helpful as they need to be for this site.

As for contesting, simply do what you did in the aforementioned answer. Post a comment, ask for clarfication. Short of receiving that, look at the other answers and see what you might learn. Often, the reason for the downvote is simply that better alternatives exist, and those alternatives are plainly visible already in one or more other answers.

  • Thanks Anthony. I agree. Think I just got my panties in a wad a bit. Anyway, all god points. Thanks again. – Matt Cashatt Jan 6 '12 at 2:18

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