Possible Duplicate:
Encouraging people to explain down-votes
How should we handle downvote retaliation?


I understand the fundamental purpose of ranking questions - in short, ranking them up says to readers the question was good/important, and down that it was a bad question or not fitting for the stack's purpose. I agree with it wholly.

There seem to be circumstances where users downvote aggressively or in retaliation to questions/comments they dislike or don't understand.

My question is simply, what can/should an OP do when they feel they are subject to this kind of behavior?

Forgive me for using my own example, this one in particular is mild but should get the point across:

How does StackExchange handle invalid characters in route URLs?

The question is clear, and the comments and downvotes appeared only after replies in comment asking people to read the referenced article and understand what was being asked.

  • How do you know they're jerks? What if users downvote passive aggressively?
    – random
    Feb 9 '12 at 20:07
  • @random :) nice. Feb 9 '12 at 20:10
  • @one.beat.consumer What exactly are you suggesting with your comment you just added; Now you are saying comments that question an answer are bad, too? Make your case if you know you are right. Keep your mind open - because maybe you really are wrong. And in the end, just move on. Feb 9 '12 at 20:12
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    @AndrewBarber I'm not suggesting I'm right or wrong - just pointing out that people do this all the time and once a question is downvoted to a negative value (even -1) it is often hosed permanently - i'm simply asking how an OP can seek assistance when he/she feels like they are being bullied/retaliated against. I'll check the article you linked because I didn't see that one before. Feb 9 '12 at 20:16
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    Can you please post some example questions where what you are talking about has occurred? Otherwise this is riding the line of nonconstructive rant.
    – jscs
    Feb 9 '12 at 20:18
  • @one.beat.consumer I'm not sure if it applies now, really. Feb 9 '12 at 20:19
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    @JoshCaswell I rewrote the question to clarify, and provide a recent example. That help? Feb 9 '12 at 20:25
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    @AndrewBarber the article was helpful, and relevant. I can see how this might be considered possible duplicate. Sounds like all a user can do is flag the post and hope the moderator doesnt simply think the OP is a whiner wasting their time. Feb 9 '12 at 20:26

Perhaps people feel that it's unfair of you to expect them to read a linked article in order to fully comprehend your question. I suggest trying to make all questions as self-contained as you reasonably can. When citing an article, try to summarize the relevant points from the article in your question.

Help readers understand your question with the minimum required reading. They will thank you for it with better answers and upvotes instead of downvotes.

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    I will sometimes down vote questions that assume I'm willing to visit an external link to understand the question. It's usually an indicator of someone not having done enough research themselves to narrow things down. (yes; even when linking to an article!) Feb 9 '12 at 22:12
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    @AndrewBarber and Igby. In general I agree with you both. It is annoying when a user posts reference material and cannot communicate, or expects you to do their work for them. If you take a second to check out the question mentioned in this OP, you'll see the article was indeed summarized, and the resulting question plainly asked. The funny part is the user shouldn't need the article to answer, but it would provide clarity if needed Feb 9 '12 at 22:38
  • @one.beat.cunsumer I wasn't commenting in relation to your question at all. I don't think your question had the problem to which I was referring. Feb 9 '12 at 22:40
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    Maybe I'm sensitive as Gamecat suggests. I just seem to run into lots of folks who smack down stuff in a hurry, with this 'because i don't understand it, your question sucks' or 'because you cited exterior material it's not worth my time' attitude. either way it seems more reasonable to not vote at all, or simply vote to close. shrugs I lost big on this one, but I appreciate all your comments and conversation. Feb 9 '12 at 22:41

Please relax.

A downvote is for the question (or the answer) not for the person that wrote it.

Most of the downvotes cast are because the downvoter thinks the post is not good (or needs improvement). A good downvoter, revisits the post and retracts the downvote if the post is improved.

Only a very small percentage of downvotes is due to bullying (or strategic voting). But there are mechanisms that counter excessive misuses of the downvote privilege.

You can do several things if your post is downvoted:

  1. Ignore it. A single downvote can be a glitch. And anybody is free to vote as he or she likes.
  2. Improve the post.
  3. Delete the post if there are lots of downvotes. (You can even get a badge for that so you can assume it is encouraged to delete highly downvoted posts).
  4. If you doubt the validity of the downvotes, you can flag for moderation attention. But in order to do that, you must be 100% sure that the downvotes are inapropriate.
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    Thank you. #3 is often the best answer in my opinion but once there are answers given (for example this very question) I cannot delete the post. Should I simply flag a moderator and ask them to delete this? Feb 9 '12 at 20:30
  • @one.beat.consumer just remember delete enough questions and you'll get question banned Feb 9 '12 at 21:53
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    I sort of view "Peer Pressure" as an anti-badge, similar to "Tumbleweed" Feb 9 '12 at 22:13
  • @ConradFrix any documentation on that? I tend to cleanup my own unsuccessful questions and I want to make sure I'm not doing something frowned upon. Feb 9 '12 at 22:30
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    @one.beat.consumer here you go basically you'll be okay as long as you want awhile (days) before deleting the question. Also this Feb 9 '12 at 22:35
  • @ConradFrix wow. good to know. like DaLonge, I would often cleanup posts that got little/no response or downvoted thinking it was like cleaning up trash and helping SEO. In light of the Peer Pressure badge I thought this was even encouraged. Thanks for the heads up. Feb 9 '12 at 22:50

One would politely ask how him/her would be able to improve the question in such a way that will assist the community to help with that specific problem.
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