Are there any rules for downvoting an answer?! AFAIK, you can/should downvote

  1. If the answer doesn't solve the OP's problem
  2. If the answer suggests the use of a incorrect method
  3. If the answer is totally baseless

Please have a look at this question and the answer which were posted on SO. The initial answer which was posted, asked the OP to change the method which was used. Honestly, I do not know much about mysql but the docs for Statement suggested usage of executeUpdate() for insert, update and delete statement and so I downvoted the answer and posted a comment saying the same.

To this the OP started saying that his answer is correct and I should revoke the downvote, in this comment. Also, the OP acknowledged that the proposed solution did not work. To this I asked the OP of the answer to explain why the change of method would solve the problem, but the answer poster did not do that and instead starting saying me that I have no right to downvote a correct answer.

I still haven't revoked my downvote though. Am I right in my stand? Was the answerer's claim right that I should revoke my downvote(which I certainly don't think so)?. Any suggestions on what can be done in such a cases?!

  • 3
    Apart from "don't game the system" and "don't target a user, serial voting is not allowed", there are no rules; it is all up to you how you vote. Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 10:16
  • How do you explain it politely to the answerer? I've no personal problems with him. Just that, the answerer is not willing to take that downvote or the reason provided for that.
    – Rahul
    Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 10:17
  • At some point, the answerer is wrong; if you cannot convince him with a simple comment, then just walk away. Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 10:18
  • The potential problem I see here is, if the answerer can't take it and goes on a downvoting spree on my answers, it'll be a problem. Not that I would lose unnecessary rep, the system will handle the serial downvoting, but just that, we might have a potential good user gets banned for a week. I don't want that to happen(even under the worst circumstances).
    – Rahul
    Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 10:20
  • 4
    I think it's best to be pragmatic. Leave the comment but don't downvote at the same time. If the response to your comment is positive (leave it a few hours/days) then move on, otherwise downvote. That way there's no immediate connection between your comment and your downvote. Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 10:20
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    @R.J: Then the other user would be in the wrong. Why would that be your problem? Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 10:23
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    @RogerRowland - Awesome suggestion. Thanks for that. Will follow that from now on. Also, it seems that the answer under discussion(after the edit), helped the OP fix the problem.
    – Rahul
    Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 10:23
  • @MartijnPieters - Unfortunately, I'm a bit soft on such things :( Nevertheless, I got a really nice suggestion from Roger. I'll folow that! :) Thanks for your time everybody
    – Rahul
    Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 10:25
  • 1
    Related question: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/176702/… Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 11:04
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    "Honestly, I do not know much about mysql but the docs for Statement suggested usage of executeUpdate() for insert, update and delete statement" -- then I would not have downvoted, no matter what the docs said. I would have left a comment, asking how it can be that the docs state otherwise. In this specific case, it probably matters if the command returns any result (executeQuery) or not (something else), and also in this case it's not related to true data tables. So I'm actually quite sure the answer is correct.
    – Arjan
    Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 11:16
  • @Arjan - That is why I asked the answerer to explain. You could say that I was myself learning from that answer and since it didn't sound good to me, I downvoted. Had the answerer explained why using executeQuery() was the way go, I would have probably upvoted him as well.
    – Rahul
    Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 11:20
  • I am confused. If you downvoted the answer, why did the OP object? I would have expected the objection to come from the answerer, not the OP. Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 13:39
  • If an answer gets one upvote and one downvote, the answerer still comes out ahead on rep. If an answer gets one downvote and no upvotes, that should tell us something. Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 13:41
  • I think "not answering the OP's question" is only a partial rule. If the question is terrible and the answer is great, it may still deserve an upvote. The suitability to the OP's needs is already captured by the "accept" bounty.
    – Kerrek SB
    Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 15:15

2 Answers 2


You are free to vote as you wish, provided you are not gaming the system or targeting a specific user.

You've done what you can to explain your vote to the poster, which is absolutely great! But if you stand by your vote, just walk away. The OP cannot demand you retract your vote. You've stated your reasons, and the OP can take that or leave it.

If you don't want to get into a discussion about your votes, then either don't comment, don't reveal in the comment how you voted, and / or disconnect your vote from the comment by voting at another time from your comment.

  • 8
    I'm free to vote as I wish? I disagree, downvoted! Oh, wait... Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 10:58

If you hover over the down-vote button for a question, you'll notice this caption:

This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful

For answers it says:

This answer is not useful

I think those are very precise reasons for a down vote, I don't tend to look for any other reason while down-voting. If you consider an answer not to be helpful, that down-vote might be justified then.

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