Possible Duplicate:
Penalise Downvotes without Comment / Reward Downvotes with Comments

In the spirit of "encouraging" people to leave comments on downvoting, I would propose that if someone downvotes without a comment, I propose a heavy point tax, say 3x the current point cost for a downvote. If he or she downvotes and leaves a comment, then it costs the current amount.

If someone leaves a crap comment (to avoid the "charge") they get a painful spank (100 points gone or whatever the community decides) if and only if:

  • The comment is flagged
  • Three (five? whatever) moderators agree it is crap

Common complaints

Or, why my proposal is different.

  1. "This is a dupe"
  • No it isn't. I specifically address the issue of leaving garbage comments to avoid the downvote tax, unlike the other proposals.
  1. "Some people want to leave anonymous (down)votes."

    • I understand that some might be fearful of retaliation. Is retaliation a real problem or a "what if" conjecture? (Where's the data?) What if we try it for 3-6 months and then circle back to see how well it works?
    • Bad behavior is already handled. If a user starts retaliating against another user, they will be dealt with as are all other problem users.
    • Nothing else is anonymous - asking questions, answering questions, editing questions, leaving comments, etc. and there is a clear benefit. What is the benefit to the community for having anonymous voting? I would argue "none."
    • Even though some people might want to leave anonymous questions, answer anonymously or anonymously edit a question, it is not allowed, because it is not good for the community.
  2. "But this will discourage downvoting"

    • I agree, and I think that's a good thing, which goes to the philosophy of the site: promote good questions and answers. If a question or answer is poor, few will up-vote it. If is is really poor, it will get flagged and a moderator will take care of it.
    • If someone really wants to downvote, no one is stopping him or her. Just as we want quality questions and answers, we need quality voting.
  3. It will require too much work to implement

    • Maybe. Let's ask if it is worth the effort. What benefit does anonymous, no-comment downvoting add to the site? It certainly doesn't allow the author to improve. What benefit would owned, commented downvoting add? It would hopefully allow authors to improve and discourage drive-by downvoting.
    • Would me (or someone else) submitting a patch alleviate this complaint?
  4. Jeff (or Joel) thinks this is a stupid feature, and you're stupid for suggesting it.

Thanks for reading.

  • Even though some people might want to leave anonymous questions, answer anonymously or anonymously edit a question, it is not allowed Actually all these things are allowed.
    – yannis
    Jun 6, 2012 at 20:19
  • 2
    Three (five? whatever) moderators agree it is crap I like this part best because I don't think moderators are busy enough. I look forward to flagging comments as "not a real downvote comment" Jun 6, 2012 at 20:20
  • 1
    You're operating under the false assumption that we need to encourage comments when downvoting. We don't. Downvotes are anonymous by design, and you are not entitled to an explanation.
    – user229044
    Jun 6, 2012 at 20:24
  • "Downvotes are anonymous by design, and you are not entitled to an explanation." That's awesome.
    – BryanH
    Jun 6, 2012 at 20:37
  • 2
    Spend a few months in the PHP or Facebook tags and then we'll talk about enforcing comments on downvotes.
    – Pekka
    Jun 6, 2012 at 20:39
  • @Yannis Rizos - I stand corrected. Thank you.
    – BryanH
    Jun 6, 2012 at 20:41
  • 1
    And what if another downvoter has already given the exact comment which explains your downvote? Would you need to add it again? That's just noise.
    – Bart
    Jun 6, 2012 at 20:43

1 Answer 1


Bad idea. There are quite a lot questions which are obviously very bad and do not require further comments or have already been commented by another downvoter.

Flagging them for mod attention just adds unnecessary workload to them - closing and deleting a bad question is usually handled fine by the community.

  • 2
    Exactly. Also heavily downvoted questions / answers would be flooded with comments stating mostly something like "downvoting because of poor quality", among which more constructive / important comments would be hard to spot.
    – Tadeck
    Jun 6, 2012 at 20:28
  • A user would quickly run out of points if they kept doing it.
    – BryanH
    Jun 6, 2012 at 20:38

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