I've recently noticed this answer got a down-vote. A lot of good answers contain one, or two down-votes.

Now I realize this is how the system works, and that other users are entitled to have their own opinion on usefulness.

However given:

  • This is a good, updated answer.
  • No comment was left.
  • This was not the first such answer I noticed.

I don't really understand this voting behavior.

I was wondering if anyone here has any insights on why some people down-vote such questions? What might cause that?

Note: I'm not complaining about it or suggesting a change. I'm genuinely interested in understanding this voting behavior in this case on stack-overflow.

  • 8
    -1 Just because I can click. Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 22:47
  • 5
    Maybe the downvoter had a headache that day. Maybe they don't like reading lots of text. Maybe they're annoyed they didn't think of it themselves. Maybe they hit downvote by accident when scrolling the page and didn't realise. Who knows? It got over 100 upvotes so it's clearly a good answer.
    – JonW
    Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 22:48
  • 3
    FWIW, the question got downvoted too (same number of downvotes). So maybe people don't like self-answered questions about popular (and constantly reoccurring) problems because there already exist so much information about it, albeit scattered. Of course not all high-voted answers are self-answers, but it could be a factor. You also have to keep in mind that high-voted answers/questions attract more views, thus more voters.
    – Felix
    Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 23:23
  • 2
    Another possibility: The bad "never ever do this" SJAX solution was listed as solution #1, and the right solution was listed as #2. The author did point out how terrible the method is (and later edited to make it even more clear how bad it is), but still someone that already knew the right answer may have been just scanning, seen the terrible solution as solution #1, and downvoted based on that.
    – Ben Lee
    Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 23:25

2 Answers 2


Maybe they didn't find the answer was useful to their situation. It's a great answer indeed, but the voting system has one minor flaw. It involves human logic.

If the downvoter had a bad experience with that user, maybe they downvoted him out of spite. If that's the case, the system will resolve the issue.

If the downvoter didn't find the post useful, then s/he's free to vote how s/he pleases.

Haters gonna hate

  • 4
    I hate moving GIFs Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 23:03
  • @HenkHolterman, yea...me too. I fixed it for ya Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 23:08

There's many possible valid reasons:

  1. The user is trying to earn the Critic badge for downvoting.
  2. The user doesn't understand the answer.
  3. The user disagrees with the answer for some reason.
  4. The user feels the answer is too long, complicated, etc.

Then there's the unpredictable reasons:

  1. The user who downvotes doesn't like the user who answered for some reason.
  2. A user is in a bad mood.
  3. The user mis-clicks.
  4. The user is drunk.
  5. [Add your own reason here]
  • 2
    You think doesn't like the user who answered is a valid reason? Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 23:02
  • I'm suggesting that in their mind, it is valid. Personally, I wouldn't do that, but not everyone thinks that way... Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 23:05
  • 6
    I don't know about other people, but my occasional forays into drunken stackoverflowing tend to result more in undeserved upvotes than downvotes.
    – Ben Lee
    Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 23:15
  • Downvoting a post that you don't think is actually bad, unhelpful, incorrect, etc. just to get a badge isn't a "valid reason" in my mind. There are a lot of answers deserving of a downvote if that's all you care about.
    – Servy
    Commented Jun 14, 2013 at 1:25

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