If I recall the reason for voting on answers is so that answers that are "more right" float to the top while answers of lesser value sink to the bottom.

That makes perfect sense to me. I don't have to scroll and scroll to find an answer that might be close, but not marked as the answer. Positives float up and up, and votes indicate credit.

I propose you do-away with negative votes beyond -1, on both questions and answers... If an answer finds itself in negatives it's already marked as wrong... Wrong enough to not be considered right. The goal of having it at the bottom have been realized.

Beyond the negative 1 mark however; it's more of a trolling thing.. I wonder about the people who feel a wrong answerer should be punished. Why were they reading the negative posts? What value is there in a score of -5? Does the respondent get stupider? Is a - 10 more wrong than a -2?
If there's a value to the community or the questioner, then I don't see it?

So my suggestion... Don't let answers receive negative votes if it's already < 0..

The same could be said for questions.. Sometimes stupid questions come out of our mouth.. we shouldn't be punished beyond giving us less than "nothing". Let us live in shame, but don't keep smacking when we're down.

  • 2
    Don't tell me what to do!
    – Rapptz
    Feb 28, 2013 at 4:02
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    Are you proposing that downvotes after the -1 threshold don't count at all, or that we just don't show them? If a -1 answer is downvoted three times, will it take one or four upvotes to bring it back to zero?
    – yannis
    Feb 28, 2013 at 4:04
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    How about we make upvotes worth +4 and downvotes worth +1?
    – user159834
    Feb 28, 2013 at 4:04
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    If this feature is implemented, this question would be less of a pain for your rep. :) Feb 28, 2013 at 4:05
  • @Yannis Perhaps not showing them. People answer questions wrong. It has always left a sour taste in my mouth seeing them get lose significant rep for bad answers.. None of us leave bad answers on purpose.. I still don't see the value in -8 on a question for example.
    – baash05
    Feb 28, 2013 at 4:18
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    @daveatflow None of us leave bad answers on purpose Well, don't know about that, the last answer I deleted on Programmers was ASCII porn...
    – yannis
    Feb 28, 2013 at 4:21
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    Okay.. well perhaps not none of us :).. And that is a good outlier.. But I suspect it's rare.. Most answers are people trying to help, trying to contribute.
    – baash05
    Feb 28, 2013 at 4:26
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    Some answers are just a little bit wrong. Others are very wrong. And sometimes people disagree how/whether an answer is wrong. Capping votes (positive or negative) makes it much harder to tell what the community thinks. Feb 28, 2013 at 4:27
  • Isn't it ironic that this got downvoted so much?
    – Scimonster
    May 15, 2014 at 8:28

5 Answers 5


Along with getting the best answers to the top, votes should (hopefully) get the worst answers to the bottom -- and sometimes there's one answer with a (well-deserved) score of -1, but other answers that are even worse, so they should have lower scores.

  • But why read the -1 answers.. do you actually look at them? I don't typically read past 0..
    – baash05
    Feb 28, 2013 at 4:14
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    You seem to want all bad answers to be equal. But in fact some bad answers are worse than others.
    – Mysticial
    Feb 28, 2013 at 4:16
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    @daveatflow Sometimes, you'll find hidden gems in muddy grounds. Feb 28, 2013 at 4:18
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    @daveatflow: I typically read through all answers. I've seen some good (and even a few truly excellent) answers that were clearly misunderstood, or just disagreed with popular opinion. Feb 28, 2013 at 4:57

The score of a post has nothing to do with how we feel about the post author, it's about the value of the post itself. It's not "punishment", it's to help people who might not know better.

Don't forget that negatively voted posts can be upvoted into positive numbers. -1 is not nearly enough on posts that are terribly wrong. If we changed things as you suggest, a post could have 99 consecutive downvotes, then get 2 upvotes and suddenly be at +1. That makes no sense.

Seeing a post at a negative score means more people disagree with it than agree. That's really helpful and I think most of us like it that way. And yes, the more downvotes something has, typically the less value it has. Negative numbers are a great way to reflect that.

We shouldn't be punished beyond giving us less than "nothing". Let us live in shame, but don't keep smacking when we're down.

One downvote could be a fluke, but if you're getting lots of downvotes, you might want to double-check your post to see if you can improve something about it, or if not, delete it. Just sayin.


Absolutely not; if I see a question or answer in the-3 or worse range, that's a great indication it needs to be closed and/or flagged for moderator attention and/or deleted.

  • Why are you reading answers with -3? What's the point? And see how a lucid suggestion that was thought out has depleted my rep by 15 points. I feel it's more punitive after a certain point.
    – baash05
    Feb 28, 2013 at 4:11
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    To make sure its not spam, inappropriate, dangerously misleading or downright bonkers? Also, rep works differently on Meta, so its not a good comparison. Down votes here mean "I disagree with the suggestion." Feb 28, 2013 at 4:13

Downvotes on questions serve an especially useful purpose of getting poor questions off the front page (the "active" questions list), so that it doesn't waste the time of answerers and drive away casual visitors. (According to this, the threshold appears to be -4 or below gets a question off the front page).

If question scores couldn't go below -1, the only two options are to make all questions with a -1 score disappear off the front page (which I'm sure you'll agree is too harsh), or to let even the worst questions ("plz build my website for me!!!") remain up.

  • This is correct and I agree with it 100%; but I'm not sure if the OP here means specifically to refer to answers, or if they mean both answers and questions. Feb 28, 2013 at 4:42
  • @AndrewBarber: From the OP: I propose you do-away with negative votes beyond -1, on both questions and answers. Similarly, The same could be said for questions... Feb 28, 2013 at 4:43
  • Ahhh, good catch; I didn't notice that particular use of the word 'questions'! Feb 28, 2013 at 4:45

An aswer with -1 score needs only one person to make it non-negative.

An aswer with -10 score needs 10 such people!

Blocking downvotes on answer which has negative score means, even if I know the answer to be very bad, I can't prevent any single future potential upvoter to turn it non-negative. Now I can.

We already pay 1 rep for downvoting answer, so don't think we're downvoting them for fun. We think at least twice before downvoting.

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