This could be a privilege to be given after some amount of reputation. Consider accordingly.

When a user receives a down-vote, without having laid a comment for the reason why, that user -right now- gets a recommendation message to leave down a comment for the reason why. Users may ignore that recommendation and they should be able to. It could be that the reason is obvious, or some other thing, so they should be able to.

However, sometimes the guy or the lady who had given the answer, may not understand for what his or her answer could have been voted down. It should be a natural request to ask for what one had done wrong after having disapproved. If one couldn't figure out the reason himself or herself, and not told about it either, then he or she may never know what he or she should do to improve himself/herself.

Back to the part where we ask for the reason: We should be able to do that in this environment as well, just like we can when we are face to face.

Here is what I am suggesting for things to happen:

~ After 200 reputation points, users are to be given this privilege.
~ When someone's answer gets voted down, and that other someone who had cast that vote had not left a comment, then the one who gave the answer is to be given a button to use for asking for why.
~ With the use of that button, the one(s) who voted down the answer are to get informed about the request of the one who answered the question.
~ For each request that does not get fulfilled within 2 days, the corresponding vote is to get discarded.

After this process, an addition to that would be:

~ The comment as the reason is to be marked as a reason by a light blue centre-dot behind the comment.
~ Such comments will be official the reason for the corresponding vote, and be referred as a document for further cases like: Down-vote inspection per request

In general, this would flourish the quality criticism which could really nicely happen in Stack Overflow, but unfortunately does not happen that so often. People would know where they had been wrong, therefore have the opportunity to improve themselves; and people would act more reasonable, literally, since they will be giving reasons for their actions.

Numbers are not strict, feel free to discuss.
This could be extended to questions, if found useful.

  • Aaron's link is for something else, and it is even status-complete, probably that is the recommendation I've mentioned in my request. Doorknob's is close, but this one has major distinctions like when vote is to get discarded when not reasoned after a reason has been requested. – ThoAppelsin Mar 28 '14 at 1:30
  • The concept is the same. You want an explanation for down-votes (with the additional punishment that if an explanation isn't provided, the voter loses his/her right to vote). Ain't gonna happen. – Aaron Bertrand Mar 28 '14 at 1:57
  • As I said, it is close to the second one, concepts being similar, but with some major distinctions. However the first one is nothing close to being same. Ain't gonna happen. What a bigot statement is that... – ThoAppelsin Mar 28 '14 at 2:05
  • First of all, voting in SE is done anonymously, so I want to confirm regarding this: the comment as the reason is to be marked as a reason by a light blue centre-dot behind the comment. Does it mean that the reason will be posted as a comment by the downvoter? – Meta Andrew T. Mar 28 '14 at 2:24
  • @Andrew Yes, that's what I was thinking of while writing that. – ThoAppelsin Mar 28 '14 at 2:28
  • You might have had something until you mentioned discarding downvotes. Nope, not gonna happen. Anything that requires a comment for downvotes is automatically dead on arrival. – fbueckert Mar 28 '14 at 19:02
  • @fbueckert Sorry to hear that; that is the key part of this feature-request. That part is where people are obliged to reason their actions. Being able to reason your acts is what responsibility is all about. If you don't feel responsible for what you have done, then it means you have done that for nothing. Taking the responsibility and reasoning your act shouldn't be any hard, if you really had one in your mind while voting down. And if you can't do that; then you either were blatantly misconducting, or have accidentally misconducted in a hurry, realized that just now. – ThoAppelsin Mar 28 '14 at 19:20
  • There are a myriad of reasons as to why anonymous downvotes are the bedrock of the system. I'd recommend you read up on why it works the way it does, and try to address those reasons. This is essentially, "Somebody downvoted, I didn't like it, so please get rid of it." – fbueckert Mar 28 '14 at 19:59
  • @fbueckert I won't take that recommendation. I'm ready to get convinced, if someone is to convince. I've said "If you have taken an action, be faithful to your decision, to your own self, take the responsibility of what you've done." You took that action, don't be a coward and rather defend yourself. Shouldn't be any hard for anyone who has the courage even at its very basic level, as long as he/she made a reasonable action there, had an actual reasoning, and not because it was rainy today, or that it was a dare. – ThoAppelsin Mar 28 '14 at 20:12

This is a crowd-sourced set of sites. Behavior is only rational, at best, on average. There will be some votes that bother you. There will be upvotes that you can't explain. If you can't deal with this, I'm afraid that this place is not for you.

Please consider reading https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/75968/138822 and surrounding content which address these issues at even more length.

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  • I did, but it starts off with a wrong assertion: There is no problem with uncommented downvotes. There is a problem, and that is that people may fail to understand what they could have done wrong, to improve themselves. Criticism is something we need to understand what we have done bad or good. – ThoAppelsin Mar 28 '14 at 1:39
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    Don Quixote, meet your windmill. This isn't up for debate. It's the fundamental mechanics of the sites. – Rosinante Mar 28 '14 at 1:52
  • Why do you make so many assertions, like: This isn't up for debate. If it is promising, then it can get tried. If it works out well, it can be an improvement to the not-so-fundamental mechanics. As a friend once had said to me, nothing is set in stone. – ThoAppelsin Mar 28 '14 at 1:59
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    Because it's been discussed for years and the team's response has been consistent. You're not offering any new ideas, so why do you expect new responses? – Rosinante Mar 28 '14 at 2:08
  • If this idea that if voter is requested to lay down a reason and get their vote discarded if they cannot provide a reason, due to vote being literally unreasonable has been tried before and failed miserably, then fine, that assertion is all good. Otherwise, you are asserting beyond the safe boundaries by saying that this is not up for debate. – ThoAppelsin Mar 28 '14 at 2:15

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