In short, what I'm asking for is something like this:

Assume you've got an answer to a question. Now, someone downvotes that, and doesn't leave a comment. You're scratching your head at why, as your answer (you think) was good, answers the question, and works. However, you can't ask the downvoter, as (s)he is anonymous.

My suggestion is that for the first downvoter (and only if there is ONE downvote, as when you have two downvotes it usually means that it's either a bad answer, or it's quite a popular answer and it's just getting voted down for the sake of it) that you can mention him/her in a comment, as @Downvoter. This would be completely anonymous, and the person would get a notification, but you wouldn't know who it was. So they can choose whether or not to comment (for example, if it was a terribly bad answer, (s)he shouldn't be forced to explain why). However, they would get a notification, so maybe if they forgot to explain why they could be reminded.

Also, I'd say there should be a rep limit for this, as it means that new users can't abuse this if they got downvoted because they posted a bad answer. Not that high, though. Maybe around 250?

  • 2
    +1 +1 +1. I keep trying to do this and am like... I hope they notice :/
    – djechlin
    May 17 '13 at 21:02
  • 9
    They haven't forgotten. If they wanted to comment on their downvote, they already would have.
    – user102937
    May 17 '13 at 21:03
  • 3
    Congratulations on coming up with a take on this topic different enough that I don't know of a duplicate! Not sure that I agree as I always comment if I want to... May 17 '13 at 21:04
  • @RobertHarvey Not always. They could've had to leave the computer, for example. May 17 '13 at 21:04
  • @RobertHarvey I would consider it a bit different. For example, that one asks about all downvoters. I ask for only if there is one downvoter, else it is invalidated as it usually means that there is something wrong with your question. May 17 '13 at 21:08
  • 1
    That's not a materially different distinction.
    – user102937
    May 17 '13 at 21:09
  • @RobertHarvey Why is it not? May 17 '13 at 21:09
  • 5
    Well, you seem to be assuming that if there is only one downvoter, then he should explain himself, but if there is more than one, then the downvote has been validated by someone else and no explanation is necessary. I don't buy that.
    – user102937
    May 17 '13 at 21:11
  • @RobertHarvey Usually, if there is more than one downvoter it either means that the answer is bad, or that the answer is so big (such as the branch prediction one) that there will be a few downvotes for no particular reason. So I think in most cases where there is more than one downvoter, this feature isn't needed anyways. May 17 '13 at 21:13
  • Alright. Then make it clear in your feature request that you want it to only apply to the first downvote.
    – user102937
    May 17 '13 at 21:15
  • @RobertHarvey Done. May 17 '13 at 21:18
  • 3
    This would be completely anonymous, and the person would get a notification, but you wouldn't know who it was Unless of course it, you know, actually works and the @Downvoter comments. May 17 '13 at 21:34
  • Why can't one downvote mean it's a bad answer that only a few people have read, and 2 mean that the question has a ton of views and the same % of viewers downvoted?
    – Wooble
    May 17 '13 at 21:42
  • 1
    100% on board with "if they wanted to leave a post they would have". If the post is useful enough to justify feedback, I leave it; if it's just total junk (no effort by the poster, for example), I don't, and I don't want to be pinged.
    – Joe
    May 17 '13 at 21:45
  • @SomeHelpfulCommenter That's completely THEIR CHOICE. May 17 '13 at 21:51

Usually when I downvote without a comment, it is because the question lacks evidence of research. In other words, I don't have anything to say beyond what is already in the standard ask question interface.

See https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/172760/192138

  • Depends on the user. Some may,some may not. May 18 '13 at 6:57

I guess most of the people downvote because of poor information in the question and few of them are just to get the reputation badge for downvoting. But I think its better to ask for more details abuot the question in the comment even after downvoting so that we can improve our question.

  • FYI, there's no badge designed to encourage nothing but downvoting. Any badge that can be gained by downvoting posts can be gained by upvoting posts as well.
    – dorukayhan
    Jan 10 '17 at 0:16

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