I asked an honest question yesterday (my second ever on meta), and was dissapointed albeit unsurprised to be met with 6 downvotes -- many of which came after I accepted the answer.

As soon as the question was answered, I tried to delete it since it was garnering so much negativity, but couldn't since there was an answer.

My sense is that I was being "punished" for trying to contribute; explaining why my question didn't make sense and me accepting that wasn't enough -- I also had to lose a bunch of points and then had the question closed as a dupe (which although is similar, is not an exact dupe).

Is the point to discourage people from asking questions? Or to prevent people from contributing? Or is it more a symptom people being jaded by many low-quality or inappropriate questions?

Either way, it seems to be a fine way to alienate potential contribution.

  • 7
    Note that downvotes are different on meta; meta.stackoverflow.com/faq#vote-differences. Maybe people just disagreed with your feature-request.
    – Matt
    Apr 28, 2013 at 13:42
  • @Matt agh! Should have read the FAQ -- didn't realize that. Thanks! Now... should I delete or leave...
    – stormdrain
    Apr 28, 2013 at 13:46
  • 2
    completely up to you. This question might attract a few downvotes once people realise you skipped the FAQ ;).
    – Matt
    Apr 28, 2013 at 13:47
  • Too late. You can't delete it now. This question already has an upvoted answer.
    – Antony
    Apr 28, 2013 at 13:48
  • 4
    Meta can be a harsh place, you'll find this discussion interesting. :) Apr 28, 2013 at 13:50
  • @Matt Heh -- fair enough :) Antony yeah I upvoted and will accept as soon as the timer runs out.
    – stormdrain
    Apr 28, 2013 at 13:51
  • 1
    Just a quick point; just because you got 6 downvotes immediately doesn't mean you won't get 6 upvotes in an hours time (obviously, this depends on the question). I have one question at +10/-10 and I'm positive there's far greater disparities out there. Apr 30, 2013 at 10:43

2 Answers 2


Think of Meta as an (extremely imperfect and often erratic) polling system.

A late downvote on a suggestion usually doesn't mean: "Ha! This new user needs to be shown his place"; much rather, it's "Oh, I don't like this idea at all. Let me cast a vote just to make it super clear I don't want this to ever be implemented."

You'll agree the OP's accepting an answer doesn't really have any bearing on this aspect of the system; it's (mostly) about polling on the suggestion itself, not you as a person. Us Meta veterans get late downvotes on our suggestions all the time, too.

  • I like this answer. Let me cast a vote just to make it super clear I think this is a good answer. Apr 30, 2013 at 12:28

Yes, it makes sense.

The (major) point of a downvote is to signal to every future visitor that the question is somehow problematic. It has absolutely nothing to do with you personally, or with your meaningless1 MSO reputation.

Furthermore, the traditional interpretation of downvotes on MSO is "I disagree with this". Well meaning and well phrased Meta questions may still get a bunch of downvotes, because people just disagree with the premise of the question. That's a bit confusing to newcomers, as most of us - through our experience on the main site - were trained to think that a downvote means "What new and bizarre kind of nonsense is this?".

That said, sometimes downvotes on MSO do mean "What new and bizarre kind of nonsense is this?", but that's (probably) not the case with your question.

1 MSO reputation is just a historical artefact; on every other Meta, your main site reputation is displayed instead, and Meta votes don't cost or earn you anything.


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