So, like any stackoverflow member, I'm trying to get my reputation up, so I can participate in the community more. But people seem to downvote anything I ask, even if I go into extreme detail in my simple questions. What can I do to improve my questions? Example here (-1 votes).

  • 1
    I'd up vote you, but I was down voted so far that I can't vote. "Irony is the Seventh Sense" Aug 22, 2013 at 4:07
  • 5
    Look, your question here says "no apparent (or explained) reason" ; while the reference (example) shows an apparent and explained reason. On SO, I would downvote a question with such contradiction in it. Facts, facts. No emotions.
    – d-stroyer
    Aug 22, 2013 at 6:02
  • What was the explained reason?
    – Dominoed
    Aug 22, 2013 at 13:20
  • 1
    Unexplained (and unjustified) downvotes are hard to control - they happen to almost everyone. Sep 7, 2013 at 0:16
  • 2
    like any stackoverflow member, I'm trying to get my reputation up Not everyone is here to make an imaginary number go up. Some of us are here to either ask or answer programming questions, to learn more about our field of expertise, to have fun, or to give back to the community.
    – Servy
    Sep 7, 2013 at 1:35
  • @Servy Jon Skeet is.
    – Cole Tobin
    Sep 7, 2013 at 2:18
  • @Servy Everyone is trying to get their reputation up at first. I can't participate in the community as much as I'd like to (I can only post questions at the moment), because my reputation is low. I can't comment, vote, answer, etc.
    – Dominoed
    Sep 12, 2013 at 17:56
  • @Dominoed No, everyone is not. Some are, and some aren't. Maybe you are, but you cannot speak for everyone else. I know plenty of people that don't give a damn about what their reputation is. And you don't need any reputation to answer, saying that you do is false. Anyone can answer a question with 1 rep, just as anyone can ask a question with just 1 rep.
    – Servy
    Sep 12, 2013 at 17:58
  • @servy When I first joined, it took multiple questions to get at least 1 reputation. Especially since people were downvoting my questions. It may not be true for everyone, but it was definitely true for me.
    – Dominoed
    Sep 12, 2013 at 18:03
  • @Dominoed So you've clearly shown that you do not need to earn rep to answer questions, you can do so with just 1 rep. That also in no way shows that anyone else is interested primarily in earning reputation. You are more than welcome to say that that's what you care about, just don't speak for others when you don't actually represent them.
    – Servy
    Sep 12, 2013 at 18:05
  • @Servy "So you've clearly shown that you do not need to earn rep to answer questions, you can do so with just 1 rep" Again, I told you it took me multiple questions to get at least 1 reputation. "That also in no way shows that anyone else is interested primarily in earning reputation", "just don't speak for others when you don't actually represent them" Again, I said "It may not be true for everyone".
    – Dominoed
    Sep 12, 2013 at 18:08
  • @Dominoed You start out with 1 reputation. You cannot have less than one reputation. You said, both in the question, and in a comment 18 minutes ago, that everyone is here to get reputation. That is not true. Your later assertion that it is true for you doesn't make your earlier assertion any less false.
    – Servy
    Sep 12, 2013 at 18:15
  • @Servy My reputation went down after I was getting downvoted. Stop trying to pick out arguments for no reason.
    – Dominoed
    Sep 12, 2013 at 18:23

3 Answers 3


I'm having a hard time seeing how this is an example of "excessive downvoting for no apparent (or explained) reason". You received only one downvote, and the (presumed) downvoter posted a comment making it very clear what the reason was -- and you responded to that comment.

I'm not saying I necessarily agree with the reason. Asad's explanation for why code wasn't necessary may be a valid one. I'm not familiar enough with the subject to have an opinion either way. But whether his reason was right or wrong is beside the point, which is that he did explain the reason. There's a big difference between "no apparent (or explained) reason" and a reason you disagree with.

Sure, the nice thing for him to do would be to retract the downvote now that you've improved the question in response to his comment, but that's at his discretion. Maybe he hasn't come back to the question since commenting and downvoting. Or maybe he feels that the question deserves the downvote anyway, because the correction you made should have been done in the first place.

Personally I think that if the OP either improves the post in response to the criticism, as you did, or provides a valid explanation for why the criticism doesn't apply, as Asad is suggesting, that should earn him a retraction of the downvote. Also, how new the user is should be considered. The argument that something "should have been done in the first place" is more fair to apply to an experienced user, and particularly harsh if applied to someone on his first day. If I were him, I'd retract the downvote, but it's his downvote, so it's his call.

  • 4
    FWIW, I ended up upvoting your post. I review a lot of first posts, and the question was actually a lot more well-presented than a large majority of first posts, and since I don't know the subject well, I'm deferring to Asad's opinion that the problem was clear without the code. Plus you deserve credit for trying to improve your post in response to feedback you received. That's where my opinion counts -- where my vote is concerned. Where the other guy's vote is concerned, only his opinion counts.
    – Adi Inbar
    Aug 22, 2013 at 5:22
  • There's no reason you had to reply to this questions 2 weeks after it was posted. This question had positive reputation before you answered, and now it has negative. Which is bringing down my reputation. Thanks.
    – Dominoed
    Sep 12, 2013 at 17:59
  • Aside from the fact that there's no reason not to answer a question just because it's not brand new (and it's common practice), what you're saying is simply incorrect on multiple counts. 1. I answered your question 1.5 hours after it was asked. You're looking at the wrong timestamp. The Sep 6 timestamp was an edit to correct a typo. 2. Before my edit, your question had 5 upvotes and 7 downvotes. I suppose technically that's "positive rep", but a negative score. 3. Since my edit, you've received 3 upvotes and 6 downvotes. That's a similar ratio, and a net gain of +3 rep. You're welcome.
    – Adi Inbar
    Sep 12, 2013 at 21:50

"Excessive downvoting" and "Example here (-1 votes)" contradict each other. One downvote is not "excessive downvoting". If you consider "1 downvote" as "excessive", SO probably isn't the site for you, because you're far too sensitive to survive there. :-)

With that being said, at this time you have posted 10 questions on StackOverflow, with only three showing negative reputation:

  1. The one you linked above, which has a -1 (not excessive downvotes).

  2. Console window showing in a Windows Forms Application, which is a very poor, two sentence question which is vague in content (and which I happened to vote to close, BTW (but did not downvote at that time, although I did later when you failed to improve it). Here's the entire question you asked:

    So for some reason the console shows alongside my windows form. How can I close the console window?

    No code, no information about your project, nothing else. Just these two sentences. It currently has a total rep of -2 (+1, -3); again, not excessive. (I think you were lucky to only get three downvotes.)

  3. How do I hide the console window in my program?, which was downvoted for poor content and closed as a duplicate (of the question I linked in #2). The entire textual content of the question:

    So I wrote a simple C# program in notepad, that only contains a single form. The console window is automatically shown alongside the form. How would I go about hiding the console?

    Here is my code so far:

(Followed by 8 lines of code that do nothing to illustrate the problem you're trying to solve.) No information about your application, no clearer explanation of the problem than the one it duplicated (except now it's three short sentences instead of two), no details added by the code posted. No improvement.

When you were informed that you should edit your previous question instead, your reply was that it was closed. I posted a comment explaining what you should do instead, and you argued (and wrongfully accused me of downvoting, which I had not done at that time - again, I did later when you failed to improve the question). Currently, it stands at -5 (+1, -6). Again, not "excessive"; you simply repeated the same thing you did in #2, but openly refused to improve the question when asked to do so.

There is no "excessive downvoting" here, as far as I can see. You may have gotten one downvote on the question you linked that you shouldn't (although that's up to the person who placed that downvote to decide), but the others aren't excessive.

(Just as an aside: Voting at all of the StackExchange sites is anonymous, so there is no requirement to offer an explanation, although a lot of people (including me) usually do so. Excessive downvoting is typically caught if it's done by a single person automatically; you can search here for "serial downvoting" for details regarding how that works. If you're getting lots of downvotes on your questions, and the system isn't catching them as serial downvoting, the problem is the content of your questions.)

  • Why would you even reply to this? It was two weeks ago. Now people are bringing down my small amount of reputation because of your useless answer.
    – Dominoed
    Sep 12, 2013 at 18:00
  • 2
    Um... Because it's here, and you asked the question, and I had an answer for it? If you didn't want the question answered, you should not have asked it here (where people answer the questions asked). :-) Also, please avoid personal attacks here. Calling someone's answer "useless" is extremely rude.
    – Ken White
    Sep 12, 2013 at 18:07
  • It was useless, and I didn't want the questions answered now, because this question was over 2 weeks old and it was already answered.
    – Dominoed
    Sep 12, 2013 at 18:09
  • 2
    Nope. :-) It's here, on a public part of the SE network, and remains active as long as it's here. The guidelines clearly indicate that fact. As I said, if you didn't want the question answered you shouldn't ask it here. Not debating it with you, either. See the help center and tour pages at any of the Stack Exchange sites.
    – Ken White
    Sep 12, 2013 at 18:17

It looks like you had no examples of what you had tried to solve the problem initially, therefore you got downvoted. Unfortunately, not everyone comes back to remove their downvote, even if you edit the post.

My advice is to keep up quality posts with examples of what you tried to solve the issue yourself. We want to make sure you're thinking constructively and not just leeching for an answer. Also, make sure you always follow guidelines outlined in the Help Pages to avoid downvotes and closures.

Take your time and perfect your question before posting it. There's no need to rush!

  • I don't entirely agree that this was a problem here. The OP's original revision mentioned that he was trying to invoke a method that he had seen being used in documentation that did not appear to be accessible for him. This is a basic question, but there was no missing information, or at least none that the commenters cared to highlight explicitly.
    – user200500
    Aug 22, 2013 at 4:01
  • Thanks for the answer! You're right, there really is no need to rush. Stackoverflow usually gives me multiple answers within minutes. I'll make sure to always add examples of what I did first.
    – Dominoed
    Aug 22, 2013 at 4:01
  • 2
    @Asad I disagree. There's one downvote and the first comment is "This one is easy, you have written no code...". Then, the OP edited the question to include his code. I would bet reputation that that is the downvote he's curious about. Aug 22, 2013 at 4:03
  • There were two downvotes, but that has changed since this question was asked. Also, "you have written no code" is a useless description of the problem. Saying "I tried invoking XElement.XPathSelectElement() but that method was not defined" is to all intents and purposes equivalent to posting your actual code, most of which is irrelevant. This information is already present in the OP's first revision.
    – user200500
    Aug 22, 2013 at 4:04
  • 1
    Edit history isn't kept for the first 5 minutes. It's possible that the first version was worse than what the history shows. Aug 22, 2013 at 4:06
  • In fact, editing in the code actually led to more confusion, because the accepted answer was originally addressing a red herring introduced by the arbitrary context to XElement.XPathSelectElement() instead of focusing on the fact that the method was not defined (which would have led to the namespace import solution immediately).
    – user200500
    Aug 22, 2013 at 4:07
  • 1
    @user2357112 The comment "This one is easy, you have written no code" was posted 6 minutes after the question was posted. The question had already been in the state you see in the first revision for a minute before the comment was posted.
    – user200500
    Aug 22, 2013 at 4:07
  • @Asad Look again. The edit that added the code was made 10 minutes after that comment was posted. In fact, the OP specifically commented that he was going to edit the question in response to that comment: "I have written code. I'll edit my post."
    – Adi Inbar
    Aug 22, 2013 at 4:19
  • @AdiInbar Please read my comment. I'm saying that the added code was unnecessary. The first revision states: "...can use XElement.XPathSelectElement(). The problem is, Visual C# doesn't recognize XPathSelectElement as a method for an XElement". That is sufficient to identify the problem. The added code reveals no relevant information. If any information was required, it was what Arman Bimatov asked for.
    – user200500
    Aug 22, 2013 at 4:24
  • @Asad My comment wasn't intended as a blanket response to the sum of all your comments. It was specifically in response to your comment stating that "the question had already been in the state you see in the first revision for a minute before the comment was posted", which is not the case.
    – Adi Inbar
    Aug 22, 2013 at 4:31
  • @AdiInbar The question had been in the state you see in the first revision for a minute when that comment was posted. That is totally the case. I don't know if you're not looking at the timestamps carefully enough or not reading my comment carefully enough, but the fact remains that what you see here had been the state of the question for a minute before the comment was posted.
    – user200500
    Aug 22, 2013 at 4:33
  • @Asad In that case I don't understand what you're driving at by pointing that out. The first revision didn't include code, and that was apparently the reason for downvoting. I'm not saying I agree with the reason, or expressing any personal opinion about whether he was right or wrong to downvote because there was no code. I'm just saying that that was his reason, and the code hadn't been posted at the time he made the comment. I thought you were trying to say that he commented after the post had already been revised to in a way that negated the criticism before the criticism was posted.
    – Adi Inbar
    Aug 22, 2013 at 5:10
  • @AdiInbar This is why I was explaining my contextual comment earlier. The comment I was responding to was highlighting the possibility that the OP's question was missing more details and had been imperceptibly edited, whereas my point is that at the time the comment was posted at least, there was sufficient information in the question to solve the problem, so a "where's your code" response was unjustified.
    – user200500
    Aug 22, 2013 at 5:24
  • @Asad As I mentioned in the comment I posted under my own answer, since you know more about the subject matter than I do, I'll defer to your judgement on that, and grant that the downvote probably shouldn't have been cast. However, in regard to the question topic, I wouldn't say that a single misguided downvote is "excessive", and he definitely did explain his reason.
    – Adi Inbar
    Aug 22, 2013 at 5:39
  • 1
    My idea of excessive downvoting is...well, if I have time I'll post about that soon. A few nights ago I encountered a user who it appears is being stalked by a repeat downvoter. I upvoted his answer to bring it back to 0 and commented on my observations, and by some amazing coincidence a few hours later I received three downvotes within a single minute, including a question I posted months ago. Things that make you go "hmmm..."
    – Adi Inbar
    Aug 22, 2013 at 5:42

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