I got down voted some times without reason, and I also know the user who did this but the support told me that there is no evidence about this.

However this is not the point of my question. I have some valid and correct answers that are downvoted:

When and when not to use __block in Objective-C? (this one is deleted)
Moving average in Objective-C

I fell like these answers are useful and correct. I removed the first one because it seems like the first down vote triggered a vicious circle, so that some users (or goats?) was down voting it without reason, probably because they saw the negative score and trusted who gave the first down vote. Also the second (not deleted) answer is useful and correct.

Should I remove the second or undelete the first or what?


I post a standard friendly inquiry on a downvote:

I'd love to hear what is not helpful or wrong about my answer, to deserve a downvote. That way I can improve my answer!

More often than not someone will come along and point out my mistake (yay, I can fix that!) or share their sentiment about how the downvote was not deserved.

Most of all, I leave the answer in place.

By soliciting feedback on the downvote in a constructive manner, people seem to feel compelled to explain what I dunce I was mistyping that function name or for misreading the question, and not just downvote me. And I then know my answer indeed deserved a downvote. Or I learn that I was indeed correct, the downvote was undeserved, and I can derive satisfaction from that and move on.

If you instead delete the answer, you miss that learning opportunity. You miss out on the future upvotes on an answer that is correct and helpful. And you deny other people with the same question the chance to find a good answer.

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    And you deny other people with the same question the chance to find a good answer. If the score is positive. If the score is negative and there are already other answer, some people without any knowledge would throw in a downvote or not trust the answer. – nhahtdh Feb 9 '13 at 14:39
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    @nhahtdh: Not in my experience they don't. If the answer is otherwise correct and helpful, I do look at the comments that go with the answer to see if I can divine why it was downvoted, for example. – Martijn Pieters Feb 9 '13 at 14:40
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    I once got -3 due to the OP and the other people don't understand that I was using "split" method rather than "match" with regex. I was in a hurry to leave and didn't have a chance to clarify my answer. Later, I have to delete my answer and repost it. – nhahtdh Feb 9 '13 at 15:07
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    @nhahtdh is right, this is exactly what happened with the deleted answer (the first one) : I got one down vote (I know from who, it was a "revenge"), and then other two down votes. But the answer was correct and the other two was just "aggregate down votes", trusting the first down voter. – Ramy Al Zuhouri Feb 9 '13 at 16:19
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    I'm sorry the two of you had that experience. I do continue to edit my answers to improve wording or to clear up anything that could be misread; being active with your post could perhaps stave off such 'storms'. – Martijn Pieters Feb 9 '13 at 16:20
  • However I find helpful your answer, but in my case writing what you suggest wouldn't lead to anything, because I'm sure that my answer is correct and that who down voted it did it just for "revenge". – Ramy Al Zuhouri Feb 9 '13 at 16:20
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    I have had revenge downvotes too; they happen and it sucks, but I find that my comment asking for feedback still leads to people re-evaluating my answer and giving me honest responses as to what they think of the answer. It won't be the first time though that my answer was actually wrong and I just missed it. :-) – Martijn Pieters Feb 9 '13 at 16:22

If you feel they are useful and correct, there is no reason to delete them. Leave them in place. Even if you feel they would be incorrect, don't delete them. Correct them instead.

Given your general reputation and seemingly reasonable contributions, you won't be at immediate danger, but deleting downvoted material is an extra indication that your contributions are poor. For users with a less positive score, deleting downvoted questions might contribute even more to a post-ban.

In your case however, that is unlikely to happen. So if you ever feel you've really missed an answer, you can delete it. But if you're convinced it's okay, then don't.

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Don't be so sure people weren't voting on the correctness of your first answer. Before you edited it, the wording was pretty rough and it didn't seem entirely correct to me. I could see how someone would vote against the technical merit or clarity of that answer. I can't tell if all the votes came before your edit, or some after, though.

In the second case, the user did admit they voted your answer down, but they did so as retaliation for you targeting them with downvotes. There is evidence that you've been going after them with rather hostile comments and targeting them for downvotes, so I would ask that you please stop this. If you just walk away and leave them alone, they will most likely do the same. You're both very experienced developers who have helped many people here, so there's no need to let any technical disagreements turn personal.

As for your broader question, I'd only delete an answer if its technical content is wrong. I have a few answers that were voted down for whatever reason, but have more than made it up in the months or years afterward. Remember that there is a very long tail on the voting here, because these answers help many people with the same problem.

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  • I always up/down voted the contents and not the user. Now the fact that I (genuinely) down voted some of his answers caused his reaction. But I didn't down vote him ad personam, I was impartial. – Ramy Al Zuhouri Feb 10 '13 at 0:30
  • @RamyAlZuhouri - You did get into a protracted argument with him in a couple of places that got quite heated, and there are suspicious voting patterns here, so I can see how he'd react negatively to that. It's perfectly fine to have a constructive argument over the correctness of an answer, but both of you took this personally. Avoid them for a bit and this will all go away. – Brad Larson Feb 10 '13 at 0:40

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