Is it improper to downvote an answer (good or bad, but in this case, a good answer) that falls under this criteria:

  • Answers a homework question (E.g. enabling cheating)
  • Does not explain at all the changes were made
  • Does not explain new concepts applied (Using a function not mentioned by OP, meaning they MIGHT not even know what the function does?)

I feel like a good answer should have these standards, but are they bad standards? (Not community, personal standards more or less)

Edit: please feel free to add more bullets to this list or comment them!

  • 1
    It's perfectly ok to answer an homework question, I usually just post guidance rather than a straight up answer but someone cheating like that is not our problem unless we make it such. Moreover - there are a lot more people who read answers in SO than people who ask questions - who OP is should be as irrelevant as possible. Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 17:58
  • 4
    @BenjaminGruenbaum Definitely OK to answer a homework question. But the answer should be of the same quality as any other answer; Code-only answers tend to be of lesser value. Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 18:08
  • Of course - completely agreed. You can write good answers with different emphasis though :) Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 18:11

3 Answers 3


If you hover over the downvote button, the title-text will say 'This answer is not useful'.

Code-only answers that don't provide further details do not leave the asker (and readers in the future) better-off knowledge wise (and thus aren't useful). Adding a few sentences about the answer can make a world of difference, and isn't that hard.

In addition, answers that say "X is bad, don't do it" without explaining why are also not helpful. They encourage blind following of what may just be the answer's opinion.

For more information: https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/7659/179812


You are allowed to downvote any answer that you feel is not useful. Users are given a wide latitude to determine what is, in their eyes, "useful". The criteria that you have listed are entirely reasonable criteria to use in evaluating an answer, just realize that other users may have a slightly, or possibly even significantly, different set of criteria they use. They can all still be proper criteria though.

The only "improper" criteria is forms of voting fraud, which is voting on another account you own, or serial voting against a particular user, rather than voting on the content of the post itself.


You're allowed to upvote/downvote on a post for pretty much any reason you deem fit.

There are a few scenarios where voting is improper

  • you're downvoting other people's answers to make yours bubble to the top
  • you're downvoting a particular person's posts because of something they did outside of those posts
  • pretty much for any reason that's outside the scope of the post you're voting on.

Otherwise, it's your vote. We're not in the business of deciding what is and isn't worthy of your votes.

  • 3
    Do note the difference of "bubble to the top" and "everyone else is wrong" can be a fine line to make a distinction on.
    – user213963
    Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 18:40
  • @MichaelT We don't need to decide between "bubble to the top" and "everyone else is wrong". Tactical voting normally isn't enforced by the moderators. Normally, it's enforced by peer pressure, and we more or less trust people to behave. Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 19:12

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