I just asked a question which to me is perfectly valid and is an actual problem I am facing, and a confusing one at that: Including child class requires parent class included first.

Problem is it has been downvoted so the people who might actually know an answer (instead of those who assume I'm just being a noob) wont see it, not only that but I have lost rep due to this downvoting for a question I see as perfectly suitable and actually quite interesting (due to the file system thing).

Is there a way to contact a moderator to contest the down voting of questions and returning of rep etc?

I think that if people downvote they should at least be forced to write an explanation why...

I searched around a little but I couldn't really come up with anything worth following.

  • You cry over a single downvote? Come on! Jan 18, 2012 at 16:10
  • 5
    Voting on Meta is different... [/proactive]
    – yannis
    Jan 18, 2012 at 16:12
  • 2
    PHP devs are the second most cranky group of users here. They will downvote you in a heartbeat if they don't like your question or answer. Troll the upvoted PHP tagged questions and try to emulate them. Or start writing for .NET.
    – user1228
    Jan 18, 2012 at 16:53
  • 2
    @Won't As a PHP developer I'm offended. Second?
    – yannis
    Jan 18, 2012 at 17:12
  • @Won't Who's the first most cranky group? Jan 18, 2012 at 17:18
  • I am not crying I just personally think it more productive and better for the community to say why my question is stupid if I don't know than to just downvote it. Maybe I am missing something blatent but would it not be better to correct me than to just downvote?
    – Sammaye
    Jan 18, 2012 at 17:25
  • Maybe I am cranky I just don't understand why people seem to think a downvote is a legitimate response at times.
    – Sammaye
    Jan 18, 2012 at 17:26
  • 2
    @Marvin: C++ devs. They want everyone off their lawn... er, I mean codebase. Votes in general are a way for the community to give you feedback. StackOverflow is a special community held in high regard by their users. So questions that would pass without any comment in other places (forums, help sites, etc) get scrutinized much more here.
    – user1228
    Jan 18, 2012 at 17:31
  • @Won't I was secretly hoping it was the Android devs. I know I've been on a downvoting spree lately with all the crap coming through (mostly from new users), but what can ya do. Jan 18, 2012 at 17:35
  • 3
    @Marvin: Nah, Android devs are tops of the list of developers who ask the worst questions.
    – user1228
    Jan 18, 2012 at 17:57
  • 4
    @user177129 This has been asked at least one time for every grain of sand in the Sahara. There is no mandatory comment on downvote and there never will be. If you find this offensive Yahoo Answers is always looking for questions.
    – JNK
    Jan 18, 2012 at 20:41
  • Its called not knowing, I did search around but I didn't find the answer and even in the related questions on my screen I see only one entry like mine now. A person answered my question and now I know, I also got to understand more about the sites community needs so overall I am better off after having this conversation, minus the odd troller who couldn't give a mature response.
    – Sammaye
    Jan 19, 2012 at 8:18

3 Answers 3


Moderators don't have any input into the voting process. They can't reverse votes the community has cast, nor can they make visible questions/answers that have been voted to invisibility.

As for required comments for down-votes, this has been covered a lot on meta.stackoverflow.com and the response has been uniformly negative. Right now when you click the down arrow you get a popup asking you to supply an explanation for the down-vote. It is an elective process. If you require comments on down-votes you'll end up with comments like:


this comment is filler

and the like. Secondly, unlike up-votes, you'll get an audit-log of who exactly down-voted you. While nice to have so you know who has it out for you, it does go against the grain of how these sites work.

  • Thank you, at least I know now :)
    – Sammaye
    Jan 18, 2012 at 17:42

Let me critique your question.

I have asked a similar question to this one already but I think it was badly worded and confusing so hopefully I can make it a bit clearer.

Reposting is not allowed on StackOverflow. We have a very extensive editing system here. Users can edit their own posts. Other users can edit them as well. Posts are versioned, allowing for a detailed editing history. From this line alone, I would be inclined to downvote this question (repost), check the previous one (and downvote it if it stunk), consider editing to improve it myself (didn't see anything I could fix), and flag as exact duplicate (if the original still existed).

And even though I do not instantiate HelpTopic with new HelpTopic() PHP (in a Linux file system) still reads the class signature and tries to load Help with HelpTopic. [snip] I do not get this behaviour from a cifs file system shared from a Windows System.

This seems very odd to me. I'm not a PHP dev or a linux user, but even so it smells of something unique to your system. We encourage questions of value to the internet at large, and discourage questions that only apply to a single user/time period/location. We have a close reason here called "Too Localized," which states

This question is unlikely to ever help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet.

It appears to me that this defines your problem (note, appears). The "local" nature of your question might make me inclined to downvote it, or possibly vote to close as too localized. It is not that it is a legitimate quesiton, its just a type of question we don't generally accept here.

Lastly, as the question evolves, you admit that you are rewriting part of the PHP scripting framework.

So you basically wrote your own implementation of __autoload()?

to which you respond Yea. This is more than enough reason for a developer to downvote your question. You are in a bind because you decided to forego a tried and true mechanism for loading class files, available as part of the framework, in order to write your own version. Please note: this may be completeley untrue, but it appears this way from the outside; no need to argue the assumption! The only true solution to situations like this (such as, "doc, it hurts when I do this") is don't do that! Imagine you're an experienced PHP dev, donating ten or twenty minutes of your time, puzzling over your question, only to find this out? You'd probably say "don't do that", downvote the question, and move on.

  • This question applied to a global problem that would affect anyone who my very odd and specific confusion.
    – Sammaye
    Jan 18, 2012 at 18:43
  • I said yea to rewriting to try and explain without writing pages about what I was doing, he was looking for something to connect so I said yes this goes over __autoload and does not use it since it statically loads the files in a manner which should not require __autoload
    – Sammaye
    Jan 18, 2012 at 18:44
  • @user177129: Didn't want to get into a discussion on whether or not it actually is or is not localized. That doesn't matter--only whether or not it appears that way to other users. That's what people base their judgements on--their perception.
    – user1228
    Jan 18, 2012 at 18:46
  • So I cna noly ask for help on a problem that applies to everyone?
    – Sammaye
    Jan 18, 2012 at 18:46
  • @user177129: We discourage questions that are of use to only a few people, apply only within a short timespan, etc. Your question wasn't closed because it appeared to be localized. It was just downvoted because of it (imho). Questions that are irrefutably localized get closed.
    – user1228
    Jan 18, 2012 at 18:48
  • imho If I did that to people who came to mongodb-user for help I would sack myself.
    – Sammaye
    Jan 18, 2012 at 18:50
  • @user177129: Evaluate our policies against the quality of our user base. If we allowed people to ask "can you debug my code for me?" questions we would drive off all the good users.
    – user1228
    Jan 18, 2012 at 18:55
  • Think about it your now the only entry in google search for my question (as far as I could tell), some one some where out there who has a problem similar will never forget this site because that rare edge case, that problem that will probably never happen again did and stackoverflow had the answer. It those people who are confused and lost on their code due to a problem that turns up no answers in Google are the ones who will be possibly the most thankful like I am to the guy who answered me, cant thank him enough.
    – Sammaye
    Jan 18, 2012 at 18:56
  • I didnt ask for people to debug I just asked for some one who knew something I didn't.
    – Sammaye
    Jan 18, 2012 at 18:57
  • 1
    @user177129: I think its ironic how you just identified how localized your problem is. Anyhow, you can take my advice or not. I just wanted to share some of the possible reasons why you got downvoted. Good luck with your problem!
    – user1228
    Jan 18, 2012 at 18:58
  • NP I understand (well kinda...not morally maybe :P), I am just glad some one found the heart to help :) peace.
    – Sammaye
    Jan 18, 2012 at 19:07
  • imho If I did that to people who came to mongodb-user for help I would sack myself Good. You're presumably working to the culture of that community when you think that. That's fantastic. But Server Fault (as you originally posted this on our meta), Stack Overflow and their related sites are not mongodb-user. For better or for worse our sites have our own culture and should be judged against that imho. You'd be dismayed if I went to mongodb-user and acted like a jerk (not saying you're doing that btw) and defended myself by saying "its allowed on stack overflow".
    – Rob Moir
    Jan 19, 2012 at 13:02
  • I guess I am more confused that a Q&A site doesn't allow me to ask a certain question because it might be seen as too narrow despite it being a real problem I'm having and this being a kinda help site and all...I mean if I was asking people to code for me I would understand but I wasn't I had just got confused about my coding and needed a second pair of eyes to get my mind out of the rut it had got into. I understand every help site has its own morals that's why it was my opinion when I said it and only mine.
    – Sammaye
    Jan 19, 2012 at 14:21
  • @user177129 - This is a Q&A site but the goal is not to just answer every question that anyone can think of. There are tons of questions which are real questions and represent real problems that people encounter that just aren't appropriate here. For instance I want to know what software to buy for a certain task, it's not really a good fit since we want to avoid discussions. Similarly a question that is so narrow that it won't help anyone besides the original asker isn't welcome since we want reusable content, not disposable content.
    – JNK
    Jan 19, 2012 at 16:01
  • You guys should take this to chat. In other words, GET OUTTA MY INBOX!
    – user1228
    Jan 19, 2012 at 16:04

Problem is it has been downvoted

As of the writing of this answer, that question has received one up-vote and one down-vote. This resulted in a net gain of reputation points, and no change to the overall question score. It's not exactly getting down-voted into oblivion.

Honestly, and in all seriousness, don't take down-votes personally. It's not worth getting all worked up.

the people who might actually know an answer (instead of those who assume I'm just being a noob) wont see it

Why not? Anybody can still see the question. (Unless you delete it, then only 10K+ rep users can see it.) A single down-vote doesn't remove a question from the site or hurt its ranking anywhere.

I have lost rep due to this downvoting

2 points. 2 points of something which has no inherent value. Again, don't take it personally. It's really, truly, not a big deal.

Is there a way to contact a moderator to contest the down voting of questions and returning of rep

A moderator wouldn't be able to help you anyway. For a number of good reasons, votes are anonymous. Even to mods. I've also never heard of a moderator being able to change existing votes or issue reputation to users. It just doesn't happen.

I think that if people downvote they should at least be forced to write an explanation why

This has been proposed and discussed many times on Meta. The short answer is: No. Compulsory comments are a bad idea. When somebody doesn't have meaningful content to add, forcing them to add meaningless content will just pollute the site.

All in all, just calm down. You can ask in a comment on your question why someone down-voted you. Maybe the voter will respond, maybe another user will respond with a helpful suggestion on why they think the voter down-voted. But, all things considered, this is not a bad situation by any measure.

Again... Never take down-votes personally. Spending all of your effort contesting every single down-vote will distract you from the problem you're trying to solve and from using the site in general.

The best you can do is try to improve the content (questions and answers) that you post. If people don't retract their down-votes after your content is improved, that's more their problem than yours. Focus on your content, not on your reputation score.

  • 4
    -1 just to see if you'll take it personally :P
    – yannis
    Jan 18, 2012 at 16:16
  • @ZaphodBeeblebrox +1 to both of you :)
    – Volo
    Jan 18, 2012 at 16:18
  • its on -3 votes actually. I am just annoyed cos I am genuinely having this problem and cannot explain it and people are just taking my rep away despite it being a valid problem. I mean is it really that bad to ask a that question on this site? Cos that's what it makes me think...
    – Sammaye
    Jan 18, 2012 at 16:26
  • 2
    @ZaphodBeeblebrox: A pox on you!
    – David
    Jan 18, 2012 at 16:43

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