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In one of the other stack overflow site, i noticed that sometimes, users (including me) gets downvotes and most of them cant figure out why the downvote. So is it ok if we have a comment option when downvoting too because it can help new users understand the problem with their questions or answers.

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  • 11
    If they don't leave a comment, how do you know that they don't understand the question?
    – Bart
    May 29, 2013 at 11:40
  • 1
    @Bart If they had understood, wouldnt they have left an answer or edited it or even marked it a duplicate if that were the case?
    – prince
    May 29, 2013 at 11:43
  • 4
    Not if it's not a duplicate, not answerable, not able to be edited into something that can be answered... May 29, 2013 at 11:43
  • 1
    Nope. I don't always leave a comment or answer for posts I downvote. Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/135/…
    – Bart
    May 29, 2013 at 11:43
  • How would you deal with a question about hair straighteners on Stack Overflow, prince?
    – Oded
    May 29, 2013 at 11:44
  • 1
    @prince You may already know this but just in case, downvotes on Meta Stack Overflow usually means that community disagrees with you post. It does not mean that your question is bad. So don't get upset with the (current) 8 downvotes. May 29, 2013 at 11:44
  • @Oded That is true, but i am talking about questions that belong in the group.
    – prince
    May 29, 2013 at 11:46
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    @prince - If the question is bad, it will get downvoted. Yes, it would be great if people left helpful messages, but the fact is, there is a lot of bad and people have little patience. It is easy to downvote and move on.
    – Oded
    May 29, 2013 at 11:48
  • @Oded Now that, i agree with...
    – prince
    May 29, 2013 at 11:49
  • If the question is not real, then the answer would also be imaginary. Inability to understand the question for someone without strong telepathic abilities is one of the reasons for downvoting. May 29, 2013 at 12:17
  • Friendly advice: leave it be. You will just get yourself question banned here pretty soon without achieving anything. (I'm referring to new questions you post then delete) May 29, 2013 at 13:25

1 Answer 1

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This is absolutely correct usage of Stack Overflow voting.

Downvotes on questions are there not to show "I don't know the answer" or "I don't want to give an answer". They are there for questions that:

  1. Do not belong
  2. Show no effort
  3. Are simply bad
  4. ...
  5. etc...

There is no obligation to give an answer to such questions and the close reason, once the question does get closed should give the required information.

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  • 1
    Is there any difference between reason no 4 and 5? :p
    – Himanshu
    May 29, 2013 at 11:44
  • 2
    @hims056 - left as an exercise to the reader.
    – Oded
    May 29, 2013 at 11:44
  • how about adding tags for downvotes. so classified downvotes can be given?
    – user223742
    May 29, 2013 at 12:42
  • 3
    @MinimusHeximus - Any obstacle you put in front of downvotes will make them used a lot less. Since they are our number 1 defense line against bad content, that is not an outcome we want. Also - the number of possible reasons for downvotes is not something that you can easily classify of contain in a small list.
    – Oded
    May 29, 2013 at 12:44
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    @hims056 I see #4 as representing some fairly common option that Oded assumes he forgot, while #5 represents things that would be more rare. I'm only 67.333...% joking, here. hehe May 29, 2013 at 14:40

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