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I asked a question on Stack Overflow. My question, as you can see, is straightforward but some members asked me for more clarification stating that it is a rule and meanwhile blaming me for the question. I elaborated it as much as I could, but while no one helped me it ended up with giving me down votes for not reason.

The question was How to replace English words interleaved with non-English (UTF-8) words.

When I explored more I found the answer, which as I had guessed was a simple regular expression. Their odd requests for more and more clarifications and the giving of down votes forced me to answer my own question as an example of how to answer and treat others.

But they again bothered me with their down votes, which really upset me. My point is that if someone on this website can't help why they should bother the person who asks a question?

I am here to get guidance from polite and educated people, not to get bothered and annoyed by anyone who just has higher reputation.

I found no administrator to moderate such behaviors. What is your solution for such a circumstance?

How you can negate reasonless down votes which don't target the merit of the question or the answer but are used as a tool to retaliate against the person for comment and arguments?

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    While answering your own questions is encouraged starting it with "Thank you for the great and useful question" sounds a bit odd (and not required on any answer).
    – PeterJ
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 8:29
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    You are right and I can edit it but still their votes should be based on the value of the answer. it was a reaction to their blames and their earlier reasonless down votes.
    – Ahmad
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 8:32
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    Don't let yourself get dragged into a pointless argument. Protesting anonymous downvotes by ranting or overreacting doesn't help anyone. Try to stay professional. Ask what can be done to improve your post—then follow the advice given.
    – slhck
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 8:41
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    Thank you much for the up votes here and to my answer in the question thread, I was going to be disappointed from the StackOverflow you made me to come back (its the mission of such great site in my opinion), excuse me for my bad English!
    – Ahmad
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 8:56
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    related: Why do people question every question?
    – AakashM
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 9:03
  • possible duplicate of Encouraging people to explain downvotes
    – gnat
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 10:10
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    @gnat Not really. The OP had a very specific issue here that isn't addressed in the linked question.
    – slhck
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 10:20
  • @slhck I see (retracted my VtC)
    – gnat
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 10:24
  • @gnat I don't think the two questions are similar, the link you addressed argues about the need for explanation for down votes. but I say first: Some people use down votes as retaliation tool when they face some comments and the need to a fair moderation. second:the website mission in my opinion is to answer people and help them as possible not to annoy them in a way they just leave StackOveflow I address the website mission here.
    – Ahmad
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 10:27

2 Answers 2

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Why it was down voted:

Well, the original question was:

I need a PHP preg_match and replace for english words in middle of Persian words Persian alphabet is not Latin then a match to capture Latin words which may contains some symbols too like C#

This is a very bad fit for Stack Overflow. Even without content issues - it is a 'request for code', it's not phrased well and it does not indicate things a question should indicate like.

Questions should be:

  • Specific (In the middle means with spaces? Without? Multiline?)
  • Include research (What have you tried and didn't work? Why? What technologies are being used?)
  • Include examples of input and output (For example, sentence X has word Y which should be extracted)
  • Be phrased like a question.

Since your question did not do any of those - it got down voted. The latest revision is much better.

Moreover, the task you're actually trying to perform (doing this in <span> tags) should not be done with a regular expression but by a DOM parser where you only use regular expressions for the text content inside the span tags. You're using regular expressions to process HTML which is a technique people do not find useful most of the time.

People also probably did not appreciate:

Thank you for the great and useful question specially for those whose language is not English.

The question is straightforward and the answer is one simple line, off course for a person who knows a bit about regular expressions

Either, or the "Good Luck!" it comes off as 'snotty' and sends the wrong message.

But, people were rude!

Yes, they were and no it was not OK. Comments like 'it proves how little you know' are not acceptable here, when you get them - flag them.

enter image description here

How to write great questions and answers:

You might want to read Writing the perfect question by Jon Skeet. Also. How To Ask Questions the Smart Way is a solid read. The How to Ask page is also useful.

To conclude

I hope you take this for the better. People here are busy and when you write an unclear question you're taking time that they could have spent helping someone with a clearer question. Had you written it initially in the final revision, I don't think it would've been down-voted at all.

I hope this experience helps you write better questions in the future.

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  • Eh, I think we just took the exact same approach at answering this.
    – slhck
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 8:33
  • @slhck no harm in that, happens in SO all the time :) Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 8:35
  • Thank you much for your support, i needed it, but about the question I should say while it may be a little vague in the first post; I am not satisfied with the final version. I have seen many general questions here with no examples which have been voted high. I could bring examples. you see even saying my exact problem just made it more vague. but anyway thanks
    – Ahmad
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 8:49
  • @Ahmad All I can say is that writing good questions (for other people) is hard. I struggle with it too and I think most people do. When I write a question I always write/delete it a few times and read it to myself or a friend to see if they understand it. I wish I had a magic 'how to write' solution but until then I guess we'll both struggle with it :) These resources I linked to are very helpful imo. Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 8:54
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Granted, your original question was quite vague. It should have at least included an example of what you were trying to do. This kind of comment you will see quite often:

Show an example of a problem you might run into and your expected result. Then show us how you tried to do it and what actually happened. – Takendarkk Jan 21 at 6:55

That's the absolute basis of asking a good question. One that

  • clearly states a problem and
  • shows what has been done to solve it

You included an example at this revision, and I guess at this point the question would have been clear to everyone—even people not familiar with RTL languages.


See, the point is, you cannot expect everyone to know their way around RTL, but there are quite a few experts on Stack Overflow, and even if RTL is not their specialty, they might be able to help you if you just give them a bit of context and an example to work with. Nobody likes a question that doesn't explain the circumstances or gives a short example.

The downvotes on your answer are probably injustified (at least technically), but they could be a response to your monologue in the comments, and this sentence:

Thank you for the great and useful question specially for those whose language is not English.

That's your own answer. You're thanking yourself for the question. This is a bit odd, and I wouldn't be surprised if some users felt offended by that.

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  • I was just about to write that just after a fractionally too slow edit. Anyway the obsolete comments are gone now too and this covers the background well.
    – Flexo
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 8:45

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