I don't know whether this is the right form to put this up. Why don't we disable the down-vote option for questions created by new users.

I see a lot of down-votes immediately coming for new posts from new comers to Stack Overflow, when the question is not appropriate/proper.

Instead of down voting, we can either flag/close the question with appropriate comments below. People just get upset at the first instance of using Stack Overflow with an un-welcomed members ready to fire their guns.

We all learn from mistakes and no one is perfect. Just my 2 cents.

Comment from Joe:

Jon Skeet is undoubtedly affected less by a downvote than user9235823 on his/her first post. OP is referring to the emotional impact, which certainly is different. The point is not that it doesn't have this impact, it's that there are better ways to deal with it than not down voting questions that deserve it.


I saw some pretty cool comments and answer to this suggestion. I saw a great deal of disagreements to my suggestion. I am 29, down-votes are not that big deal but it seriously impacts a 13yr or 14yr kid who is entering into stackoverflow for learning something.

To all those here, rewind back to your first day @school/@college. You will really construe the point i am making here.

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    Downvotes are not personal reflections on a poster; they're simply indicating a question is not constructive and shouldn't be as likely to be viewed as a better question. – Joe Feb 20 '14 at 22:07
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    I see a series of down votes for this question, interesting and prob this is also my first question in Meta too. Thanks for the warm welcome folks. – Thalaivar Feb 20 '14 at 22:08
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    Down votes on meta indicate agreement or disagreement, not a reflection on question quality. – Joe Feb 20 '14 at 22:09
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    Like many new users, you should read the FAQ before you post. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 20 '14 at 22:09
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    @Vinothbabu - Welcome to meta ;-) downvotes are only disagreement. Because this is trying to say "I want to change the system!" and we say, "Hmmm no thnx"" – Caffeinated Feb 20 '14 at 22:09
  • @Adel, changes to "the system" are not necessarily bad. – Shoe Feb 20 '14 at 22:21
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    @Jefffrey Yes, but the community disagrees with this one. – Doorknob Feb 20 '14 at 22:22
  • @Doorknob, I can see that. – Shoe Feb 20 '14 at 22:22
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    "Jon Skeet is undoubtedly affected less by a downvote than user9235823 on his/her first post." - I dunno. Sounds like he earned that right. – Mysticial Feb 20 '14 at 22:31
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    @Vinothbabu uh what? The current system works perfectly reasonable. – Griwes Feb 20 '14 at 22:35
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    @Vinothbabu Did you just say this is your first post here? How come you immediately see several things to change, while you could easily at least recognize the fact that the system has worked (to a certain degree) for years? – sehe Feb 20 '14 at 22:36
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    Vinothbabu, this post currently has 21 downvotes (costing you 42 rep) and one upvote (gaining you 5 rep). – Michael Petrotta Feb 20 '14 at 22:53
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    @Vinothbabu: There is a mechanism in place that allows you to see how many agree and how many disagee, but it does not become available until you reach 1000 rep. – raven Feb 20 '14 at 23:24
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    Stack Overflow is not where anyone, regardless of age, should be "entering...for learning something". It's not a tutorial site, it's not a mentoring site. It's a place where you clearly describe a specific problem that you understand something about, and get a solid, concrete solution. Closing and down votes are entirely appropriate on vague and open-ended posts. – jscs Feb 20 '14 at 23:34
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I see where you're coming from, but it adds unneeded complexity.

Downvotes are just a symbol - "hey this question has some issues", no need to be so upset by a downvote!!

New users should read the FAQ, and look around then they will be used to Stack.

Jon Skeet says:

Before you post your first question, you go through an interstitial telling you what kind of questions are good, what kind of questions are bad, etc. I see no reason why a user should be spared the feedback that they're asking a bad question just because they chose to ignore the advice they were explicitly given. You're basically saying it's fine for users to be lazy - and I disagree with that.


Have some tough skin, it's just flying electricity ;P


I don't think it's appropriate to lower the quality bar for new users, or for people to find that they can't vote the same way on two similar or identical questions because one of them is a user's first question.

This has been hashed to death, and the reason we're not Yahoo Answers, expertsexchange Experts Exchange the hyphen site, etc. is precisely because we have a high quality bar and a low tolerance for crap.

I, for one, would like to keep it that way. But please peruse this question for other ideas and discussions about how to be nicer to new users:

Could we please be a bit nicer to new users?

  • Although we probably can be a little nicer overall. This post for example, acquired 11 DV's in under 10 minutes. OUCH . Ideally at 8 the pileon crew would disburse – Caffeinated Feb 20 '14 at 22:13
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    @Adel 4 down-votes, 1 down-vote, 11 down-votes, what's the difference? If you disagree with a suggestion (which obviously at least 11 people do), what is the point of holding back your vote? This is the same attitude that leads to pity up-votes that - in addition to more than counteracting down-votes in terms of rep - can sometimes make a bad question or answer look good. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 20 '14 at 22:14
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    Well I get it, I'm just saying .. in an ideal world we'd all just disburse and leave this alone after -8 . Just because it's simply not adding much more meaning. -8 = BAD . -28 = ... BADDER? – Caffeinated Feb 20 '14 at 22:16
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    That's the problem. Serial down-voting and hard welcome for a new comer. I agree with @Adel points here -8 = BAD - 28 = ????. Perfect. – Thalaivar Feb 20 '14 at 22:18
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    @Vinothbabu Serial voting is something different altogether. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 20 '14 at 22:19
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    @Adel why is -8 a magic number? Why are the 8 people who vote before me more worthy of casting a vote than I am? – Aaron Bertrand Feb 20 '14 at 22:20
  • @AaronBertrand: 13 downvotes. I would generally classify this too in serial downvoting.Can i take out of n number of users 13 people dis-agree?. – Thalaivar Feb 20 '14 at 22:22
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    @AaronBertrand From what I've seen, people do tend to hold back votes when it is high enough (positive or negative). So when something gets down to -28, it's usually hideous enough to make people say, "Wow, this deserves to go even lower!" – Mysticial Feb 20 '14 at 22:22
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    @Vinothbabu Serial downvoting means downvoting all of a single user's posts and has nothing to do with this situation. – Doorknob Feb 20 '14 at 22:23
  • @Vinothbabu Serial voting is when a single person votes on multiple posts of another person. – Mysticial Feb 20 '14 at 22:23
  • @Mysticial But that's up to each and every person. I don't think someone (never mind the system) should tell me what that magic number is for me. I'd also like to know why people don't complain when their post gets too many up-votes. If we want a limit on number of down-votes, shouldn't there also be a limit on up-votes? After all, that might hurt the feelings of authors of competing posts that don't score so well. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 20 '14 at 22:23
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    I believe the technical term is "bell curve" - the stuff at the negative end gets really downvoted. – michaelb958--GoFundMonica Feb 20 '14 at 22:24
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    @AaronBertrand Right. I don't think we're disagreeing. The worse a post gets, the more likely it will be below the "magic number" of the person viewing it. – Mysticial Feb 20 '14 at 22:27
  • The magic number for me is -147. And +147 for that matter. Yes I'm a snooker fan. And no, we don't start with a free ball :) – sehe Feb 20 '14 at 22:34
  • The Answer is 42. – Code-Guru Feb 20 '14 at 22:35

Vote on the post, not the user.

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    Could you speak up a bit? – Michael Petrotta Feb 20 '14 at 22:08
  • @MichaelPetrotta Hey, it could have been all caps. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 20 '14 at 22:10
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    You could also spell it using kbd blocks. – Mysticial Feb 20 '14 at 22:11
  • I vote for you, for President Of Internets – Caffeinated Feb 20 '14 at 22:11
  • But it may be on the post, but its in-directly affecting the user. – Thalaivar Feb 20 '14 at 22:13
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    @Vinothbabu Sure, downvotes affect any user. No reason to prioritize one over another. – Doorknob Feb 20 '14 at 22:14
  • @Doorknob That I disagree with. Jon Skeet is undoubtedly affected less by a downvote than user9235823 on his/her first post. Vinothbabu is referring to the emotional impact, which certainly is different. The point is not that it doesn't have this impact, it's that there are better ways to deal with it than not downvoting questions that deserve it. – Joe Feb 20 '14 at 22:20
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    @Joe The emotional impact? The only thing we can do about that is explain to new users that downvotes aren't meant as an "insult." – Doorknob Feb 20 '14 at 22:21
  • @Doorknob precisely. I'm sure some people cry themselves to sleep at night when their post doesn't get up-voted, never mind down-voted. We can't hold everybody's hands. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 20 '14 at 22:22
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    @Doorknob Aaron's link really addresses this fairly well. My point was that you were misunderstanding Vinothbabu's issue. I certainly don't think not downvoting is a good solution, but saying 'it affects everyone equally' shows you don't understand his (perhaps misplaced) argument. – Joe Feb 20 '14 at 22:22
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    @Joe: You added a clear valid point to the question, just edited the question to add your comment. – Thalaivar Feb 20 '14 at 22:27
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    @Vinothbabu +1 for that attitude. I hope you will be around for much longer – sehe Feb 20 '14 at 22:30
  • @sehe: Yup, i mostly revolve around stackoverflow and today i saw a post with series of downvote for a new user. I saw a sort of bullying there with comments and down-votes and that ended up this post from me on meta. – Thalaivar Feb 20 '14 at 22:49

Votes are an important filter of questions that should be answered. I wouldn't want to remove that valuable metric.

But I agree that downvotes from a poorly worded first question can turn a poster away from Stack Overflow entirely, even while with a little gentle coaching they could in time become a valuable contributor to the community. Downvotes hurt new users (emotionally) dispraportionately.

I imagine this will never happen, but masking the OP's display of negative votes to clamp at zero might give them enough of a buffer to be able to appreciate the value SO has to offer.


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