Recently I've witnessed some very trigger-happy down-voting on answers that had only just been posted and were still in the process of being edited. In one case I had just posted an answer with a couple of minor mistakes and within the 30 seconds it took me to edit the answer into shape I'd received two down-votes (with no explanatory comments of course). I've seen this happen to other people today too, so I don't think it's just me feeling victimized. The result of this knee-jerk down-voting is an otherwise useful answer which might as well be deleted, since no one is going to take much notice of an answer that already has a -2 rep.

So, a possible feature-request: disallow down-voting (or perhaps any voting?) until, say, 30 seconds after an answer has been posted or last edited ?

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    Oh great - a down-vote and no explanation already - sometimes I wonder why I bother... – Paul R Sep 14 '13 at 13:42
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    So you got downvotes for answers with mistakes? And the problem is? – Bart Sep 14 '13 at 13:46
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    @Bart: I have no problem with down-votes for genuine errors, but down-voting a brand new answer while it is still being edited and not even bothering to leave an explanatory comment seems counter-productive, as the down-votes are unlikely to ever be removed once the typo has been fixed, and the answer is then worthless. – Paul R Sep 14 '13 at 13:51
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    But in that case the downvotes are not premature. At most the answer is. And your real problem in that case is that users do not revise their votes once they have cast them. – Bart Sep 14 '13 at 13:52
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    @PaulR Why are you worried about the lack of comments if you already know that your answer has mistakes and what they are? If you didn't know what the problem was then it would be something to concern you. – Servy Sep 14 '13 at 13:58
  • @Servy: if the down-voter at least leaves a comment you can then respond appropriately, e.g. note that the error has been corrected, and the down-voter can then remove their down-vote if they choose to, otherwise it remains indefinitely. – Paul R Sep 14 '13 at 14:00
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    @PaulR And if you just waited to post your answer until it was ready to be judged you wouldn't need to do that. In any case, you're apparently only concerned with a comment so that you know who downvoted you, not so that you can actually use the comment to improve the content. That's not really helping your case. – Servy Sep 14 '13 at 14:04
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    @WillNess I'm sure you've already supported this?: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/179093/… And I'm sure that the OP will be fine. – Bart Sep 14 '13 at 20:17
  • @WillNess: thanks - point taken - I shall think twice before making any further contributions to meta.stackoverflow.com. – Paul R Sep 14 '13 at 20:33
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    @PaulR I wish someone would warn me ahead of time instead of feeding me false information about how "downvotes on meta are just to express disagreement, nothing more". But all the same, the truth has come out about this site. And btw the mintruth has erased my comment to you here. He who controls the past controls the future. – Will Ness--No moving goalposts Sep 15 '13 at 6:29
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    @WillNess: yes I noticed that one of your comments had been deleted already - it all seems rather bizarre and Orwellian, and I don't really get what the agenda here is, other than maintaining some kind of clique who control meta, exclude outsiders and stifle dissent. It seems totally inconsistent with the general StackExchange ethos and I've never seen anything like it on other SE boards. It will be interestingly to see how long this com – Paul R Sep 15 '13 at 6:41
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    @PaulR and I replied to you, and that my reply was deleted as well. I am being denied the speech itself. – Will Ness--No moving goalposts Sep 15 '13 at 10:37
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    @Bart thanks for that link BTW, I didn't know about it. Going into Meta is so much negative for me, I do it very rarely. – Will Ness--No moving goalposts Sep 15 '13 at 10:38
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    @PaulR BTW if you start writing an answer, post it unfinished by mistake and start getting downvotes, you can delete it, to stop getting the downvotes; edit; then undelete it. your suggestion of 30-seconds delay seems fine to me as well. – Will Ness--No moving goalposts Oct 11 '13 at 11:58
  • @WillNess: yes, good point - I've used that trick before when I've initially misunderstood a question and then had to revise my answer to match the question. – Paul R Oct 11 '13 at 12:18

You haven't posted links to your answers that were downvoted so quickly, so this is more general:

Personally, I happen to agree with Doorknob:

Don't post an answer until you're finished writing it.

I'd even go further to say that you shouldn't post an answer until you are largely satisfied with it - don't hit Post Your Answer until it would be acceptable to you if you had to leave it on the site for the rest of the day. Then edit and fine-tune as needed.

But here the general view is far from fixed or agreed upon as you can see in the discussion of the Fastest Gun in the West Problem.

The currently most upvoted answer very clearly states that the quick answer should not be discouraged, while Sam Haslers answer is a little more nuanced. Generally, this question holds a good discussion and a lot of valid viewpoints on the quick answers.

In essence: If you are going for being the fastest gun, you should be prepared for a swift response if your first shot is not spot on.

  • Thanks - good answer - I'm making this the accepted answer now as it's a fair summary of the issues and is more constructive than the other answers and comments. – Paul R Sep 17 '13 at 10:01

Don't post an answer until you're finished writing it. If an answer is wrong, it should be downvoted. It can then be undownvoted when it is fixed.

Also, this will prevent downvoting "Click this link to speed up your PC for free no viruses I promise" for a minute.

I'm not advocating for removing down-voting - just having a short time-out after posting/editing before voting can be applied. Perhaps 1 minute is too long though - maybe 30 seconds ?

If it only takes you thirty seconds to fix your post, then do it before pressing the "post answer" button. You say that it would only take you thirty seconds to notice the errors, so spend those thirty seconds before you post, not after it's already officially an answer.

sometimes due to human fallibility an answer that is still being refined in its infancy can receive premature down-votes

If it is still being refined, don't post it! I don't think you'd like it if I answered your question with an unfinished answ

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    -1 for taking the mickey out of th – Bart Sep 14 '13 at 13:45
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    @Paul the same principle applies to answers. Do not post an answer before it looks decent overall. Very few people are going to downvote for small errors... and even if the downvoting were unfair in your specific case here, your suggestion would take away the only quality control measure we have for answers. – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Sep 14 '13 at 13:53
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    @PaulR It is not the responsibility of the reader to assume that you're going to fix all of the errors in your answer and to take that account when voting. They have every right to vote on an answer based on what's there, and if what's there has errors or mistakes, downvoting is almost certainly appropriate. If your answer isn't ready to be judged by readers then don't post it; it's that simple. – Servy Sep 14 '13 at 14:01
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    @PaulR If it only takes you thirty seconds to fix your post, then do it before pressing the "post answer" button. – Doorknob Sep 14 '13 at 14:03
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    As an aside: for spam, some say one should only flag, not downvote. (Though I think that, even if true, such would only apply to spam questions then.) – Arjan Sep 14 '13 at 14:03
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    @PaulR Well, you say that it would only take you thirty seconds to notice the errors. Spend those thirty seconds before you post, not after it's already there. – Doorknob Sep 14 '13 at 14:06
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    @PaulR We're not saying you should be perfect, merely that you should accept the responsibility for your mistakes and realize that when they do happen in your posts, downvotes are the appropriate response, and you should be glad that the problems are caught by readers, thus improving the site's overall quality, rather than being mad at someone else for correctly responding to a mistake you've made. Don't be mad at others for voting, be mad at yourself for making the mistake, and let it motivate you to avoid such mistakes going forward. – Servy Sep 14 '13 at 14:10
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    @PaulR I don't think I've been at all harsh so far. Mind saying why you think I'm being "aggressive?" I'm simply trying to explain to you how to solve your problem of early downvotes. (by the way, you can't delete this since it has upvoted answers) – Doorknob Sep 14 '13 at 14:10
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    @PaulR, both the downvotes that you complain about, and the answers here, are feedback. Writing "I don't think I've seen one constructive comment so far" makes me think you're not quite open for such feedback. – Arjan Sep 14 '13 at 14:11
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    @PaulR I don't see a "flame-fest" - I see an orderly discussion. Why do you feel the need to delete this? Someone may have the same idea and see that it has already been declined. – Doorknob Sep 14 '13 at 14:15
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    @PaulR I certainly hope that flag gets declined. The community disagreeing with the premise of your post or the validity of your request does not constitute a flame-fest. If you're not open for input from the community, simply keep your ideas to yourself. – Bart Sep 14 '13 at 14:15
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    @PaulR What I'm trying to say is that if the answer is still being refined, don't post it! Bart is simply suggesting that if you do not wish to learn why this is a good/bad idea, then don't post it here at all. – Doorknob Sep 14 '13 at 14:24
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    @PaulR But the downvotes aren't premature. The post is wrong, voting on it right then is entirely appropriate. It would be premature if they voted on the post without actually reading it, i.e. downvoting it because something in the first paragraph seemed wrong but that you addressed in the second paragraph. That isn't the case here. The post in question is, by your own admission, wrong, so a downvote is entirely justified. – Servy Sep 14 '13 at 14:25
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    @PaulR your posts apparently takes the point of view that the downvotes, certainly without comment, are wrong and should not be cast, or be prevented from casting. While in actual fact it's simply your answer that's wrong. If you want to address the issue that voters don't come back to revised questions, address it. (If that's not a dupe) But don't make it sound as if they are wrong in the first place. – Bart Sep 14 '13 at 14:25
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    @hims056 :D My second golden shiny on meta! – Doorknob Sep 17 '13 at 12:18

I've downvoted you due to your suggestion (remember votes at Meta are also (mostly) disagree/agree, not just poor quality etc) :

disallow down-voting (or perhaps any voting ?) until, say, 1 minute after an answer has been posted or last edited ?

The problem with this is you are wanting to introduce a strict blanket policy which may well be fine for that scenario where someone is editing their answer to improve it, but what about the likely majority of scenarios (80+%) where it's just a poor question without code or explanation, or bad answer with no help, code or completely wrong?

I don't want to be bookmarking or remembering to come back somewhere to downvote when someone posted absolute nonsense, or even if I just don't agree (etc).

And, importantly, neither will most people, so it will break the system as it is - votes signify right away if something is good or bad.
There will always be people trying to get badges so "some" votes are not accurate, and people got out of the wrong side of bed, etc. This is unavoidable on an online community.

However, from what I've seen, the system works pretty well as it is. Most answers and questions upvoted or downvotes tend to 95%+ be for a reason.

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    you're mistaken: downvotes of this magnitude on meta get a user branded "low quality contributor" very quickly, automatically banned from ever being able to raise their voice again (i.e. ask new questions) on meta. Speaking from my own permanently scarred personal experience. – Will Ness--No moving goalposts Sep 14 '13 at 17:25
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    @WillNess: thanks for the heads up - I didn't know about auto-banning - I'll stick to answering technical questions on SO et al for now and leave meta to the cabal. Clearly outsiders are not welcome. – Paul R Sep 14 '13 at 20:36
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    I think WillNess is a little exaggerating here. You have good Meta contribution otherwise, and one or two questions where the community disagrees with you isn't going to get you banned. The thing about downvotes is that it's been discussed to death here. Don't let this question here discourage you from further participation though, @PaulR – slhck Sep 14 '13 at 21:00
  • "outsiders are not welcome" - define outsiders. In fact, define "insiders". What are they?? I post here, some people donwvoted me, some people upvoted me. I gathered some rep, remember a few names. Does that make me an "insider"? Could I say I'm part of some "thing" you're not welcome to? I'm no different to you, people have disagreed with me plenty. So am I some kind of outsider too? You shouldn't feel bad about people not agreeing with you, some will, some wont. It's a public community where the majority are professionally minded, and everyone has different views and opinions, which is good. – James Sep 14 '13 at 21:29
  • @slhck exaggerating what? come see my two not-so-heavily "disagreed-with" proposals. I was auto-banned immediately after the most recent one. If you guess that I'm mad as hell about it, you're probably not too far from the truth. And if you don't care, then more power to you. – Will Ness--No moving goalposts Sep 15 '13 at 6:35
  • @slhck another thing is, no-one knows what will get you banned. It's a Kafkian thing. People with power are so full of htemselves, they won;t even tell you what your crimes are when they judge you. Heck, they leave it to an automaton to judge you. A criminal at least has their habeas corpus. But not here. – Will Ness--No moving goalposts Sep 15 '13 at 6:37
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    @WillNess No, I understand you, and I'm not a big proponent of the question ban on Meta either. Scaring people away on the other hand also isn't nice. I wonder if you've already tried contacting the team over this? The q-ban on Meta should be reserved for very extreme cases, not for oppressing opinion. – slhck Sep 15 '13 at 8:03
  • @slhck no I didn't try to contact the team. I tried once, on a matter that was of grave concern to me and all (I thought), and when I also raised it on meta that question received tons of downvotes and got deleted from the pages of history. AFAIK it even influenced the site design (I'm not sure), but it got me the deleted question under my belt. Two more downvoted Qs a year or so later and I was suddenly banned. – Will Ness--No moving goalposts Sep 15 '13 at 8:41
  • @WillNess That was a gravatar related issue if I recall correctly? You can always request to have it disassociated from you if you wish to do so. – Bart Sep 15 '13 at 9:43
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    @Bart yes; and no, I want it reinstated into the historical record - undeleted that is. And I don't accept it being valid grounds for banning anyone. I had a legitimate concern; I still have it. Just I was silenced on the matter, quite violently. -- And BTW few months after that whole debacle I noticed an option for a user to upload their own identicon instead; I wonder whether my question has facilitated that change (or did it exist before and I just didn't know about it?). And if so, then that Q was certainly helpful to the site and I should be rewarded for it. – Will Ness--No moving goalposts Sep 15 '13 at 10:31
  • @WillNess People have had the ability to upload their own avatar for a long time, I believe since the beginning. – Servy Sep 17 '13 at 13:44
  • @Servy do you mean a specific SE avatar, or on Gravatar itself. Because I knew about the latter option, and it was very cumbersome. – Will Ness--No moving goalposts Sep 17 '13 at 13:49
  • @WillNess I'm talking about on SE. – Servy Sep 17 '13 at 13:51
  • @Servy I didn't know about that. Thanks. That invalidates my previous comment. My raising that Q changed nothing, then. – Will Ness--No moving goalposts Sep 17 '13 at 13:52
  • @Servy but if I may, one more question: was it done as easily as it is now, by just hovering above the avatar on a user page? – Will Ness--No moving goalposts Sep 17 '13 at 13:54

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