Does the down voting of questions and answers on the Meta site serve as a mechanism to discourage the free exchange of ideas by more vocal members?

I'm aware that many might consider this a duplicate question, but since this is yet to be resolved IMO it is worth asking. Opinions change, members changes, lets get the latest from the membership.

Encouraging everyone to say Yes, No, or Maybe and provide a short explanation.


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    Can you share some research you've done here on Meta about this issue? Or point to some examples of what you seen? – brasofilo Feb 9 '14 at 4:41
  • I guess he means his own oeuvre. – Pekka Feb 9 '14 at 4:42
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    Pekka, Thanks for proving my point. I explain in advance why the questions is not a duplicate then you mark it a duplicate to prohibit anyone from posting additional answers. – James Hall Feb 9 '14 at 14:16
  • That makes no sense. We should create another duplicate question and have the same discussion all over again when you have decided that the old conversations are stale enough? – Aaron Bertrand Feb 9 '14 at 19:50
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    @AaronBertrand because things change. I guess you are one of those "we have all ways done it that way" persons. – James Hall Feb 9 '14 at 20:56
  • @JamesHall Not at all. Things do change, but that doesn't mean you can't re-visit an existing question instead of creating a duplicate - where all of the things that haven't changed will just get repeated. This wastes other peoples' time more than it wastes yours. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 9 '14 at 20:59
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    @AaronBertrand it only "wastes" their time if they choose to participate as you have and its is saddening you and others would go out of your way to be so dismissive of anyone perspective. – James Hall Feb 9 '14 at 22:22


Plenty of people have had posts down-voted into oblivion. Hasn't shut any of us up yet.

The big thing to consider is: it's meta. What are you going to use the rep for anyway? Share your ideas. If people don't like them, big deal. If you can't take down-votes on meta, move on. Don't imply that the system is broken because you think down-votes stifle conversation; it most certainly doesn't.

  • I hope your right but users have commented about an unwillingness to post ideas for how the site might be improved because they think it will be rebuked by more vocal members. I have served as an elected official, but many with good ideas are not as thick skinned as you and I. thx for the explanation! – James Hall Feb 9 '14 at 4:40
  • @user3287633 none of us can control how any individual will react to down-votes. Some people threaten to leave the community because their question has been closed or has received a single down-vote. shrug I don't know how you can possibly build a system that allows people to up-vote and down-vote without any risk of offending the most sensitive. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 9 '14 at 4:42
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    "What are you going to use the rep for anyway?" This would be a good argument, if it weren't for the fact that your ability to use the site (including the ability to post questions, answers and comments) is directly influenced by votes you receive. I've been away for a while, so maybe this has changed, but last I recall they still had question bans on Meta for getting too many downvotes. – user200500 Feb 9 '14 at 5:04
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    They're very hard to hit here, @Asad. You can't just be a little bit unpopular. – Shog9 Feb 9 '14 at 5:08
  • Aaron, when it comes to the Meta site that's easy you 1) don't allow down voting of questions and 2) don't tie voting to reputation in any way. – James Hall Feb 9 '14 at 14:25
  • @JamesHall this is the only meta site that works this way (and they're fixing that). On all the other metas your reputation is the same on both main and meta sites, and voting doesn't affect your reputation. Still, my point is about this site now, and the fact that even when reputation is affected, you've got to be introducing a lot of very unpopular ideas for the effect on your reputation to actually affect your overall experience. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 9 '14 at 14:44
  • @JamesHall and I think it's silly to suggest down-voting be disallowed on questions. Really? How do we express that an idea is a bad one? Abstinence? – Aaron Bertrand Feb 9 '14 at 14:46
  • "How do we express that an idea is a bad one" That's obvious @AaronBertrand you post an answer! Its voting on the question that is "silly" and abusive because it makes no sense particularity for meta. If you don't read the question or chose not to honor the requests of the poster the courteous and professional thing to do is to abstain. – James Hall Feb 9 '14 at 19:19
  • @JamesHall I think that is a fairly unique view - not everyone who disagrees with, say, a feature request wants to go through the effort of posting an answer to essentially say "no, don't do it." Also what if the question is bad or shows no research effort? Why should questions on meta be immune from judgment, regardless of the reason? The concern you have is unfounded, IMHO. Show some evidence vocal members stopped expressing their opinions because of down-votes. Or just hold on to your knickers until SO has its own per-site meta (which as I've already explained won't have this bad feature). – Aaron Bertrand Feb 9 '14 at 19:44
  • @AaronBertrand Why do you find it necessary to "judge" discussion questions? – James Hall Feb 9 '14 at 20:58
  • @JamesHall Oh, are all meta questions "discussion" questions now? And why can't I judge a "discussion" question as poorly stated, poorly researched, or not useful? – Aaron Bertrand Feb 9 '14 at 21:00
  • @AaronBertrand There is plenty of "evidence" all you have to do is read comments on related threads. – James Hall Feb 9 '14 at 21:00
  • @AaronBertrand look at all the people rushing to agree with you. How many people have chimed in? 4, 5, maybe. Why do you think that is? – James Hall Feb 9 '14 at 21:05
  • ...but wait a minutes those that might agree with me are prohibited from voting. – James Hall Feb 9 '14 at 21:07
  • /sigh /unsubscribe – Aaron Bertrand Feb 9 '14 at 21:08

I'm a vocal member of Arqade. I have a rather heavily downvoted answer there regarding something I feel very strongly about. Doesn't seem to have stopped me from me continuing to be vocal.

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