Is it bad etiquette to not remove a down-vote on a question after the content of the question has been made better?


Ref: The following form of the question was posted on Stack Overflow...



As the person asking the question, I did not ask the question properly. As a result, 2 down-votes and 3 comments were applied to it.

I then updated the question. And commented as such.

For reasons of good etiquette, should the down-votes to the question now be removed?

  • 2
    Yes, in my opinion. If you can't take the time to come back and re-evaluate the question in the event of its improval, you probably shouldn't vote in the first place. That doesn't necessarily mean they should be removed though; some people may still feel the post worthy of a downvote. – Buns Glazing Jan 7 '14 at 23:04
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    I would usually do so, but you have to remember most of the voters will never come back – Richard Tingle Jan 7 '14 at 23:04
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    Though I will normally check, I think it's bad form to ask a question and then leave it for 3 days as if the people responding aren't worth your time. Please always stay around for the first 30 minutes, then check back regularly. – ben is uǝq backwards Jan 7 '14 at 23:10
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    I frequently check back on questions I've downvoted if they show back up, and revert the vote if it's appropriate. We can't be expected to track every single question and keep checking to see if it's been improved, though; as of this moment, I have cast roughly 14,000 votes (up and down combined). I can't possibly check every one to see if my vote should be changed. Also, there's a short window after an edit where an existing vote can be changed; if you miss it, you're unable to do so unless the post is edited again (at which point you have a short window...), so it's not always possible. – Ken White Jan 7 '14 at 23:10
  • @ben-is-ueq-backwards -- Ah, yes, I did not wait around for 30min and I did not follow up until 3-days later (I did not check it over the weekend). I should have followed up quicker to improve the contents of the question. – fluoridatedwatir Jan 7 '14 at 23:33
  • It'll help you @fluorinatedwatir... I'll normally give people a few hours window at least before downvoting; if there's a possibility of salvaging the question. If they haven't responded by the time I get back to it, then I'll downvote, vote to close and forget about it unless I get pinged by someone in the comments. I suspect that if you'd stayed around for 19 minutes, got that commented, responded and improved your question your downvotes would have been minimised in the first place. – ben is uǝq backwards Jan 7 '14 at 23:37

Looking for etiquette in a crowd-sourced environment is not a quest that is likely to bring satisfaction. If your first attempt attracts downvotes, and you subsequently improve the post, chances are that someone else will come along and upvote.

  • But should people be upvoting just because "someone else downvoted", but wouldn't otherwise be upvote-worthy? – Qantas 94 Heavy Jan 8 '14 at 5:18
  • @Qantas94Heavy Nope, people should always vote based solely on the content of a question. But they are humans only, sympathy upvotes will happen, and hopefully will weight around as much as un-removed downvotes. Anyway, it's always a good idea to make your question upvote worthy, not only neutral. – Mołot Jan 8 '14 at 8:27

Yes, it's good etiquette to change your vote if the question has been improved, but usually the voters won't know it has, and there is no notification system to let them know about the change.

Here is a popular feature-request asking for this type of notification.

  • It's good to note that "popular feature request" means "it has 350 upvotes", which is not extremely popular given the number of users of SO, and that that request was declined. – Ken White Jan 7 '14 at 23:12
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    On Meta, 350 is incredible for a feature request. There are only 7 at the level on the whole site. – Lance Roberts Jan 7 '14 at 23:13
  • It's popular on Meta, sure. I'm not thrilled about the idea of receiving (at this moment) 14k possible notifications about votes I've cast (up and down combined) have been edited in my inbox from SO alone. I'll be revisiting that feature request post you linked, and it'll have one less upvote. :-) – Ken White Jan 7 '14 at 23:24
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    @KenWhite, sure not just straight out, I would think that there would be parameters, like for example only votes in the last two or three days, or something like that. – Lance Roberts Jan 7 '14 at 23:26
  • @Lance Not to mention the 51 downvoted the rejecting answer got (to 11 upvotes) – Richard Tingle Jan 8 '14 at 0:40

It's not bad etiquette at all.

By posting a question, the questioner should take the time to clearly write what the problem is, what they've tried, show the relevant code, and what they want the result to be. And to do it in the best spelling and grammar possible. Yes, we obviously have to take into account non-native English speakers, and be more lenient with them.

Many posters have over 5,000 votes, and many more have over 1,000 votes.. It's not realistic to go back to the votes or even be notified every time someone makes an edit. Usually low quality questions also have spelling errors that get edited. Posts can also be edited an UNLIMITED number of times.

It's not realistic to even have a system that notifies you of every edit on a question or answer you previously down voted.

Like Rosenate said, usually if they edit their question and it's a lot better, someone else will upvote them. 1 upvote = 2.5 downvotes on questions. 1 upvote = 5 downvotes on answers.

The system already works great. People should get downvoted that write terrible quality posts the first time. That will help them learn how to take more time and effort into writing their future posts.

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    To put it another way, if the OP doesn't take the time to try and get it right on the first attempt, they take their chances. – user102937 Jan 8 '14 at 0:33
  • @robert-harvey: Makes sense. I'm also thinking along the following lines... A Question is posed. It is down-voted (for various reasons) (no problem there). Then, the Question is improved to good level. Then, the question is answered accurately. So now, everything is accurate (question and answer). But, it's in the following state: minus votes on the question, zero votes on the answer, accurate question, and accurate answer. So, will it nevertheless be ranked "too low" in "stack overflow search" (and by extension in "google search"(?)) to ever be visible to a person querying for an answer? – fluoridatedwatir Jan 8 '14 at 17:47
  • @fluoridatedwatir: I don't think Google considers the question score at all in its ranking algorithm. – user102937 Jan 8 '14 at 18:14

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