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The meaning of down-votes in meta vs. stackoverflow

So I have seen meta-questions involving voting down answers, but I have not seen criteria for voting down questions, particularly meta-questions.

In my case (as can be seen in my present reputation of 100), my questions have tended to be rated negatively. From what I can tell, people are voting them down because they don't like agree with the opinions I'm expressing within the question or they feel the idea I am proposing is inappropriate.

Should people actively vote down questions containing ideas they disagree with or should we reserve negative votes for unanswerable questions and/or duplicates?

Venn Diagram

  • 8
    Have you read the Meta FAQ?
    – yannis
    Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 16:02
  • 2
    My opinion: we should remove voting on discussion questions. Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 16:03
  • @StevenJeuris: You say that we can agree with a part of it, thus removing voting doesn't make sense as you couldn't agree with the parts anymore. Furthermore, by removing voting you're taking away any sorting as to the usefulness of answers in the discussion. We've had this for ages and it works, no need to change. Furthermore, your meta question is a good example of how you try to slipstream your idea; yet it won't happen anytime soon, because it simply doesn't work. If you take away agreement in a discussion, you won't end up knowing the best action to take based on it... Quality > Quantity. Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 16:10
  • @TomWijsman Short answer, no need to eliminate voting entirely. E.g.only vote on arguments. Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 16:17
  • @StevenJeuris: But then discussions no longer result in a consensus. Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 16:21
  • @TomWijsman I fail to see how they result in any better consensus at the moment, but that could just be me. My suggestion would visualize "the input and ideas of all participants" in a more structured way, hopefully leaving behind more useful artifacts. The highly upvoted ideas and arguments which arise from a discussion would be those some form of consensus exists on. Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 16:24
  • 2
    @StevenJeuris: The answers with the highest score (OR what the moderator / Stack Exchange team has decided upon). They take both the pro and contra side into account. And please note that the pro and contra side have an equal chance of reaching higher scores. How is The highly upvoted ideas and arguments which arise from a discussion would be those some form of consensus exists on. different from what we have now? Exactly, we have that system now. If you take away voting we don't have that anymore. No need to build some kind of sub-question idea, comments are meant to comment / not answer. Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 16:30
  • @TomWijsman Agreed, that's how it ideally works in the current system. (and sometimes does work) But as I explained before, the Q&A system highly influences biased answers, which don't take pro/contra into account. Not to say that a discussion (the question) itself often doesn't have anything to agree on, so voting doesn't make much sense at that point. At that point in the current system it could mean, "I do or don't want to discuss this". Let those who want to discuss it discuss it, no need to down vote/close. Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 16:32
  • @StevenJeuris: On the other hand it hides pro answers for people who are contra, and vice versa; giving them a bias towards their initial feeling in the discussion, so they don't end up understanding the other side and/or do not care to. The current format on the other hand, does make them read through the answers so they at least get to have a gist of what the opposite (or their) side is thinking about the discussion. When I hold a discussion anywhere, I'm not splitting my people into a pro and a contra group. Not to forget about the people (and answers in this case) who are neutral... Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 16:39
  • It does not hide any answers, it shows the best pro and contra arguments at the top. The weak down voted arguments sink. You are encouraged to read pro and con, they are visualized at the same level, unlike the current system. Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 16:45
  • You aren't pro or contra, you participate by adding discussing arguments on both sides. Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 16:50
  • 3
    Seriously, you only need to include images with freehand circles to get upvotes. edit and try it out.
    – user1228
    Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 17:35
  • @Won't somehow it seems to be having the opposite effect. Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 17:53

1 Answer 1


The Meta FAQ answers:

Are upvotes and downvotes different on meta?

Voting here works a bit differently from other Stack Exchange sites. On Meta Stack Overflow, voting is often used to express agreement or disagreement, not to point out a lack of quality or helpfulness. Please don't be concerned if you receive downvotes – members of the community may simply disagree with your bug, feature request, support issue, or the nature of the discussion.

  • Stating the obvious is a nice way to regain rep. ;p Well done. Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 20:40
  • @StevenJeuris if only @Won't's idea of including images with freehand circles worked... Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 20:46
  • The problem is they look way too neat. Artsy ... handwriting looks nice as well. Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 20:49
  • @glen The freehand circles must be red for it to work. And one or two hand-drawn red arrows should be in it too. Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 21:15
  • Going for a "self-learner" badge, eh? Commented Mar 13, 2012 at 5:05

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