I propose a system of voting for or against feature requests separate from traditional up/down voting in order to avoid alienating people with well thought out yet unpopular suggestions

The problem

Often I have seen users who are new to meta make a well written, carefully considered proposal that is none the less deeply unpopular; a stream of downvotes follows. This usually ends in the author leaving with a bad taste in their mouth, the most recent example of which is this, in which the author said "This certainly doesn't make me want to use this site in the future or even try to help with the process", never to be seen again. Alienating good users like this doesn't seem like a good way forward.

Worse yet many people (such as myself) never vote against well written proposals because they don't feel it deserves traditional downvotes.

On the other side; the question ban is basically turned off on meta for this reason, but this allows users who lightly troll (I shall not name names I'm sure you have a few users in mind) or fail to do basic research can avoid a question ban because the algorithm can't differentiate between them and people with unpopular ideas.


I therefore propose that a separate vote be kept for and against a feature request as so;

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I realise that this would be developer effort for a feature purely on 1/4 of questions on only the meta sites. But this happens most days and I think its worth considering.

Key benefits

  • Avoids disincentivising users who make well written but unpopular feature requests
  • Allows legitimately bad users to be identified
  • Encourages more people to vote on feature requests; I know many people (myself included) never downvote just because we don't like the idea - giving skewed results
  • Allows more nuanced voting; I disagree but you've clearly thought this through --> upvote + vote against

Closely related

agree/disagree button on meta or upvote/downvote effects based on tags

This post similarly proposed agree/disagree buttons but still includes a rep penalty

  • 6
    Awaits irony downvotes (as well as some real ones) Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 20:54
  • I was actually just writing a blog post about this, in a more broad form that applies to all Meta questions though. It's up to seven pages now.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 21:02
  • @animuson Clearly a complicated issue! Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 21:05
  • Downvote me, O mighty downvoter!.
    – Jamal
    Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 21:08
  • @RichardTingle my opinion is that this only applies to MSO. One Meta.X.SE, there is no rep, so it won't matter at all. Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 21:41
  • 2
    @psubsee Even if reputation didn't exist here, we'd still get users complaining that their question was being downvoted. It's the inherent negativity of it that bothers most people. \@Richard I'd argue that the problem has a much wider scope than what's been identified here, which is why what I've been writing is so long.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 21:55
  • Many newer users, and certainly plenty for it to be significant, do ask "why the downvotes" on MSO as they are used to it signifying a bad question, poor grammar and such like. Are there any plans to implement it, or is it even being considered (for MSO only of course, useless elsewhere)? @RichardTingle agree, btw...: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/193884/… though I prefer your thumbs up/down
    – James
    Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 23:59
  • @animuson Do you really think that that negativity wouldn't be there if there was a separate "I disagree with the feature" feature? People would still be upset that people didn't like their feature.
    – Servy
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 1:44
  • @Servy I didn't say that though? o.o My previous comment was that, even without reputation effects, there would still be negativity. It wasn't at all meant to be in support of this proposed feature.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 1:48
  • @animuson My mistake then.
    – Servy
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 1:53
  • If you are yet interested in working on something like this which could be implemented, then it looks like work should be done over at meta.stackexchange.com/questions/116010/… I guess it is acceptable enough that we modify that proposal rather than introduce new ones. Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 13:26


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