*[<-- first downvote in seconds; 2nd in (2 minutes?). after 5 minutes, 8 views -4 votes *

As a result the answers and discussion below only focused on an example I posted rather than the question: "quick downvote']

What happened?

I asked this question yesterday. Not a duplicate.

In short, the "exact duplicate" is about a 'how to deal with?' while I asked a 'why did google do that' ? However..

Only about 45 seconds after posting the question was downvoted to -4..

With no arguments on comments except the wrong assumption that it was a duplicate.

Who would view that question after that first minute?

After it has -4 votes? Who would bother to answer? What chances does the question have to not be closed? What if there was not enough attention paid to the question before the rapid fire downvoting?

As one of the comments there points out I believe this was viewed as a 'duh' question; a question that some 'experts' don't like and that earned its first downvote; the others I am afraid are consequential downvotes; I doubt their authors read more than half the title, while I bet they checked my reputation. In any case this is not ranting, I'm past that already -comments-but


These -rather quick- reviews sometimes carry mistakes? Human stuff, just think about it, what if questions are closed because of "dislikes"? It would only take two of them; and other high rep reviewers won't bother to discuss or check.

I understand that keeping the site's quality is a top concern; but just how much does it hurt to have a bad question sitting around a couple of days before the downvoting begins? If you have read this far, then comparing with the title I close with this change of order and adjectives away:

views - downvotes - close

[EDIT: Clarifying, I didn't ask for a feature request because I think the point needs to be discussed first: what if i am just wrong?. If read well I used my closed question as an example of the downvoting dynamic; the comments below seem to only focus on the example question]

  • 1
    6 seconds to first downvote. Read all in 6 seconds? My point is proven – quinestor Dec 13 '12 at 15:49
  • 12
    The entire point of downvotes is so that people know not to bother reading content many people consider poor. Preventing downvotes for a few days is tantamount to removing the functionality entirely. – Servy Dec 13 '12 at 15:49
  • I would have close-voted your SO question as "not constructive" – juergen d Dec 13 '12 at 15:50
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    @juergend thanks , but what about this one? I posed it around 3 minutes ago; im surprised it was read so fast. In any case what you are telling me is not the point of this question in meta – quinestor Dec 13 '12 at 15:51
  • Your edit is incorrect. You didn't get a second downvote until over a minute after the question was posted. – Servy Dec 13 '12 at 15:51
  • You really think this post cannot be read in 1 minute? – juan Dec 13 '12 at 15:52
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    It sounds like the system worked perfectly. You posted a poor quality question that doesn't meet SO's guidelines for proper questions to ask, it was downvoted, and then you got few views after a while because it was clear to others the question was of low quality. You're just upset that the question is indeed of low quality by the site's standards. – Servy Dec 13 '12 at 15:54
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    Firstly, you don't just want high rep people to answer your question. Anyone can give a good response. Secondly, there's a substantial proportion of "high" rep users who will look at a question with downvotes to see if there's anything that can be done to rescue it and to vote to close if necessary. – ben is uǝq backwards Dec 13 '12 at 15:56
  • @Servy but this meta question is not about that. It's about what it is happening to it right now :) – quinestor Dec 13 '12 at 15:56
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    Do you want this question to be a feature-request "No downvotes for 2 days" or a discussion around your question. It's not very clear at the moment. It reads like a complaint that your question get closed with a feature request thrown in. The complaining part isn't going to do you any favours. A more constructive way of doing it would be "my question got closed; I thought it was good for SO. What was wrong so I can improve in the future?" – ben is uǝq backwards Dec 13 '12 at 15:58
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    I think the question you refer to is not a good fit for SO. The general problem with why did X decide to do Y is that only X can give a definite answers to that. Most people are not or do not work for X, so most answers are likely going to be speculative. Regarding this meta question: Downvotes have a different meaning on meta, it means "I don't agree with that" and that can often already be decided after reading part of the question. – Felix Dec 13 '12 at 16:00
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    @quinestor This question is asking for the site to prevent posts from being downvoted for two days. People don't want to see that happen, so you're seeing downvotes. On top of that, people disagree with your view that the question shouldn't have been closed or downvoted to begin with. – Servy Dec 13 '12 at 16:00
  • @Felix And even if an SO user does work for X, there's no way to know that for sure. About the only definitive answer is to link to an official post/release from X stating why they did Y, and that almost never exists. – Servy Dec 13 '12 at 16:01
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    @Ben thank you ben I edited it. I won't comment here anymore it's turning into a discussion – quinestor Dec 13 '12 at 16:09
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    @Felix I would emphasize that down-votes on meta sometimes mean "I don't agree with that." Sometimes down-votes are for exactly what is in the tooltip - lacking in clarity, usefulness or research. And sometimes it's just a particular troll being a troll. – Aaron Bertrand Dec 13 '12 at 16:57

If you get quick downvotes without a specific explanation, it's probably because the downvoter thought the downvote-tooltip already describes the problem:

  • "This question does not show any research effort"; and/or
  • "It is unclear or not useful"

Note that, in my personal opinion, it seems people sometimes both use a close vote and a downvote, when merely a close vote would be enough. (I sometimes even upvote interesting questions with research effort, and still close-vote.) Don't get discouraged by this though.

The FAQ has some info on what makes up a good question, and there's this recent checklist that may also help a lot if you want to improve your question.

As pointed out in the comments, quick downvotes help in keeping this site clean, and enjoyable for both askers and those wanting to help others. For 99% of the cases this seems to work great IMHO. For the other 1% I'd prefer not to have your suggestion (keep bad questions around for a while, possibly without downvotes or even the ability to downvote). There are better alternatives:

  • Investigate why your question was downvoted/closed: perhaps your answer is already out there, if you search some more.
  • Improve your question and ask for it to be reopened.
  • Ask a new, greatly improved version of your question.
  • Get help on Meta or in a chatroom on creating a version of your question that won't be closed or downvoted.

If you show effort, and ask for help if you don't know how to fix things, the need for "allowing bad questions to exist for a while" will certainly disappear.

  • Jeroen I intentionally used quotes and phrases to sound like a rant - but it's not. And that's the thing, the disagreement here seems to focus on the assumption [quote from comments] : "You're just upset that the questiod is indeed of low quality" and that sort of dislike causes the downvote. If this was a main question the new reader will see the score before reading You seemed to have gotten the point though about the impact of it and the 2 days Im not discouraged, I'm actually trying to help. Because to me SE system is awesome :) – quinestor Dec 13 '12 at 16:34

People down-vote for a wide variety of reasons. Maybe they didn't like the wording of the title. Or your username. Or your hair. You will also see that people will down-vote when they should have voted to close, or both. And you will often see dog-pile mentality, where one down-vote leads to two, then three, etc. When a question is brand new, it is on the front page for a short time, this gets it a lot of attention. You can't enforce in any way some concept of only attracting good attention.

Just because you know that something is not a duplicate does not mean every down-voter on the site takes the same effort to determine whether it is or not. I've seen many questions quickly closed as a duplicate and then later re-opened.

Unfortunately on a site like this it is absolutely impossible to create a perfect post that nobody will down-vote. I have seen high quality posts with a couple of down-votes and much lower quality posts (on the same page, no less) with only up-votes. It is also impossible to tell who down-voted, never mind why they did so. Trying to understand these patterns or to determine why a specific post got the shake-down will be an exercise in futility.

Just for clarity though, your first down-vote here did not occur in 6 seconds. It took over a minute. Here is when your question was asked:

enter image description here

And here was its first down-vote, 90 seconds later:

enter image description here

  • Aaron, agreed with the why th downvotes and the timemarks: i could swear I saw the first -1 just after a few seconds but the timemarks say otherwise, my bad. In any case, I think the discussion should center on the quick downvote consequence, rather than the example I gave (my closed and now deleted question) – quinestor Dec 14 '12 at 12:55

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