To upvote we need a reputation of 15, but being able to downvote requires a reputation of 125. Why do we need more reputation to downvote?

  • 29
    Because downvotes are serious business and they should not be thrown around like toys.
    – Mysticial
    Apr 30, 2013 at 18:15
  • 3
    @Mysticial - for the last time, stop throwing the downvotes around in the living room and go outside! You'll break a lamp in here. Apr 30, 2013 at 18:23
  • 3
    And look at all these people hurling downvotes at this question like toys. Apr 30, 2013 at 18:24
  • @Mysticial Upvotes are serious business as well. I never throw them around like toys.
    – Antony
    Apr 30, 2013 at 18:24
  • 8
    @Mystical I don't even throw toys around like toys... wait a minute... Apr 30, 2013 at 18:32
  • 1
    I think you should be allowed to downvote an answer after you've had one of your own accepted. Same goes for a question. If someone can't write an acceptable question, why should we consider their vote on others?
    – user131297
    Jul 22, 2013 at 22:56
  • We'll need only 100 rep to downvote on this site.
    – Red
    Dec 3, 2020 at 14:40

3 Answers 3


Voting a question or answer up is an act of pure goodwill. The only reason to do it is because you think it's a good and useful question. If you vote up junk that doesn't deserve it, so be it. A newcomer may not really know what deserves voting up, but they will probably not give upvotes to spam, or answers that say "I have this problem someone help me".

Downvotes are given for two reasons. The good reason is that this is a poor question or answer, and people shouldn't be fooled by it. Making the internet better. The bad reason is "I want to make my answer [or my friend's answer] look better and show up first". By asking you to earn some rep, the site is asking for some commitment to making the internet better. The hope is to weed out those who would downvote for the wrong reasons, or convert them to a sharing way of thinking.

125 rep is probably not quite enough to achieve that, but it's something.

  • Let me throw some toys around ... Nope, +1 because this is serious business.
    – Antony
    Apr 30, 2013 at 18:40
  • 7
    I don't know...upvoting harmful or very low quality content can be quite harmful, saying "so be it" doesn't sound right to me.
    – Servy
    Apr 30, 2013 at 18:40
  • @Servy, I don't know if it can really be considered as harmful... If the quality of the upvoted post is very low, in my experience it only results in someone commenting Who the <expletive> upvoted this? and the post getting a few compensating downvotes in the process. Apr 30, 2013 at 18:43
  • 7
    @FrédéricHamidi And yet it takes 5 downvotes to compensate for the rep of even a single upvote. People can go around posting crap getting on average of 2-3 downvotes per answer, but if they get an average of one pity upvote per answer they're coming out ahead on rep, thus encouraging them to continue this behavior and stop posting low quality content.
    – Servy
    Apr 30, 2013 at 18:44
  • @Servy: I think there is the auto ban? Isn't it based on score rather than rep?
    – nhahtdh
    Apr 30, 2013 at 18:47
  • 1
    @Servy, indeed, on the reputation side the post author ends up a winner. I confess I usually do not consider up/downvoting in terms of raw score, possibly because I'm pretty confident users who repeatedly post "bad" questions and answers cannot possibly reach dangerous (3k+) amounts of reputation even if some of their posts are mistakenly upvoted. That's only a hunch, of course, and I do not have data either confirming or infirming it. Apr 30, 2013 at 18:49
  • @nhahtdh People tend to hit the question ban much more often than an answer ban. Deleted content also contributes quite a lot, but if they're getting a pity upvote or two they're discouraged from deleting rather than encouraged to delete. While that may kick in depending on the specifics, the fundamental idea is that upvotes on wrong or low quality content encourages more of such content, and that's bad, very bad. Personally I'd say it's even worse than downvotes on valuable content.
    – Servy
    Apr 30, 2013 at 18:49
  • @Servy: I'd say the fact that people hit question ban often is because downvote on question does not cost reputation, so they are thrown around more liberally compared to answer downvote. And I don't know whether people don't delete answer is because they don't know how to, or they just want to preserve the rep gained.
    – nhahtdh
    Apr 30, 2013 at 18:54

To discourage things like downvoting answers that compete with you or your friends, a downvote comes at a cost of -2 rep. The cost has to be meaningful.

If you could downvote at 15 reputation, you could create a "troll" user. The troll would gain 3 upvotes and could then downvote 8 times.

The requirement of 125 makes it harder to create troll accounts. Few trolls are willing to invest this effort. And those few that make it through can be investigated by moderators. It's way easier to show a pattern of abuse with 13 votes as proof.


Given that downvoting answers detracts reputation from the recipient, it is not something you want to give to a one-time question asker that happened to get a few upvotes but hasn't really gotten the hang of how SO works. Also, at such a low level of reputation, you could quickly cause yourself to lose enough reputation to lose privileges, causing some confusion among the newly initiated.

There is a deeper answer to this, I'm sure, but I think these facts played a part in the decision.

  • 2
    note: downvoting questions is free :)
    – hayd
    Apr 30, 2013 at 23:21
  • @hayden This is funny because until they posted up above, I didn't know that! Apr 30, 2013 at 23:22

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