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I consider this bullying. I am a new user. I have no reputation, which means I have no power to retaliate arbitrary or unwarranted downgrading. I asked a perfectly sensible question. Someone casually and apparently from their own ignorance downgraded it. I corrected them by linking them to the documentation explaining the point they were confused on. I then asked them to reverse the downgrading. Nothing doing.

As I understand it, this means my question will not be seen or will be ignored by a large number of viewers. The person who did this can plainly see they have nothing to fear from me a new user. I believe this incentivizes people to causally and arbitrarily downgrade questions instead of doing the research they would normally do before risking a downgrade. Is there some reason the fact that I am a new user is exposed to such people? Could you provide a way to choose between showing and not showing our "reputation" instead of making it public?

Here is the relevant post: https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/234087/detecting-when-flow-of-control-has-shifted-to-native-thread-in-java

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    Everybody gets downvoted from time to time. This has nothing to do with reputation. If the question is any good, they will be evened out by upvotes over time. – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Mar 28 '14 at 18:47
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    You'll find you get downvoted less if you take the time to learn how the site works, including its terminology and what sort of questions are welcome here. For example, it is not called "downgrading" and never has been. Furthermore, you have no evidence whatsoever that it was that user who downvoted you, and your question sits at -1 which isn't that bad. I'd say welcome and suck it up — certainly, calling this "bullying" is just childish attention-seeking. – Lightness Races with Monica Mar 28 '14 at 18:48
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    Rather than assuming everyone who downvotes you is maliciously bullying you without any merit whatsoever, consider that there is some actual problem with your post, and fix it. You'll be far better off if you do. (And, incidentally, everyone else who reads your improved answer will be better off as well.) – Servy Mar 28 '14 at 18:50
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    Oh, and the fact that you'd even consider "retaliating" on a downvote makes me rather concerned that you have any chance of a constructive future in our community. – Lightness Races with Monica Mar 28 '14 at 18:51
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    Oh, and don't assume that just because someone comments on your post at around the same time that it gets a downvote that the commenter downvoted you. They may well not have. – Servy Mar 28 '14 at 18:51
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    ...particularly when they go on to bother writing a good answer on it. – Lightness Races with Monica Mar 28 '14 at 18:52
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    I see no malice here at all. gnat asked what you meant by the term "native thread", you clarified that, and then you were the one to attack him in the comments on his answer. I doubt he was the one who downvoted you, he was the one who asked for clarification and then tried to help you with an answer. Instead, you bit his hand. – Brad Larson Mar 28 '14 at 19:11
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    @user125027 Your post has all sorts of problems. If you spent some time trying to either find out what they were, or even fixing them, instead of putting on blinders and assuming you couldn't possibly have done anything wrong, you'd have a better post, and it'd be much more likely to be received as such by the community. To specifically discuss your post, you're asking for product reccomendations; that's offtopic on that site. The question is very broad; too broad in my mind. It's also not exactly clear what you mean (hence the clarifying questions). – Servy Mar 28 '14 at 19:13
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    Lol. One downvote turned into many, through sheer attitude. – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Mar 28 '14 at 19:21
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    "It seems simple but I am unable to think of an enabling technology." That can easily be interpreted as a request for a product/resource recommendation. And I agree with the others in terms of your attitude being really inappropriate. – Jon Skeet Mar 28 '14 at 19:29
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    Getting free programming help on a web site largely run by volunteers involves being somewhat civil. The financial beneficiaries of the place should be fine: i.stack.imgur.com/YTrDT.png – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Mar 28 '14 at 20:03
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    What people complain about is people like you, acting like this. – Lightness Races with Monica Mar 28 '14 at 20:05
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    If you get one downvote, look if something's wrong with your question. If you don't see anything, ignore it; a subsequent upvote will eventually fix things. But don't go "OMG HOW DARE THEY THEY MUST NOT UNDERSTAND JAVA" – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Mar 28 '14 at 20:10
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    @Łukasz웃Lツ To be fair, you will get downvotes on meta for posting unconstructively and insulting people, even if people don't really disagree with your proposal. Of course, when both things happen you get that many more downvotes. – Servy Mar 28 '14 at 20:41
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    I see exactly zero "trolls" in the comments here. Everyone is trying to help you, volunteering their free time, and your attitude isn't exactly encouraging us. – Doorknob Mar 29 '14 at 0:20
23

Welcome to Programmers Stack Overflow. For future reference, you should ask questions about a site on their own meta site. MSO (here) is primarily for questions about issues on SO and questions about issues impacting all of StackExchange. Meta Programmers is a lot quieter than here, but you'll still get the Programmers community's attention.

Let's talk about your question.

It started out decent enough, and honestly might be a very good question with a little bit more work behind it.

gnat asked you for clarification , to which you responded. You explained a bit more of the background that you were looking for.

Somewhere in there, you picked up a downvote, gnat provided an answer, and a flurry of various comments (now deleted) were made. This is where the problems occurred. Let's try and address some of them.

  1. You made assumptions about who cast votes on your question. Bad assumption. Voting is anonymous by design. And not that you'd necessarily know, but it's highly unlikely gnat downvoted your question. A) He's generally out of votes by this time of day and B) he doesn't answer questions he downvoted. There's no way you could have known A but you could have surmised about B.

  2. You assumed (gnat's) terse comments were antagonistic. Not everyone who frequents SE speaks English as their native tongue. In fact, there are quite a few ESL speakers who are fluent enough that they'll fool many native speakers. The comments were there to help make your question more constructive and answerable as explained by gnat in one of his comments.

  3. You assumed gnat didn't know anything about Java VMs. Have a look at gnat's SO profile and the top users of the . I'm willing to bet he knows something about the subject.

  4. You misread his answer. In short, he said "There's no portable way to do what you're asking." Instead of clarifying that you don't care about portability, you attacked his answer in the comments and accused gnat of trying to save face. He wasn't trying to save face, he was genuinely trying to answer your question.

There was possibly a chance of saving your question and cleaning out the comments except that you opened up this MSO rant. Rants like this on MSO tend not to fare well (hence the current -18 vote). As a protip, rants on Meta.Programmers still get downvoted, but not as heavily. Regardless, opening up this post invited more downvotes to your original question, and that's where your question was sunk.


You're correct in that a heavily downvoted question is unlikely to see additional answers. Most of the experts in the community see heavy downvoting as a signal that the question is poorly formed. It's not worth their time.

But your commentary also guaranteed that no further answers would arrive. Again, the community members will look over the post and see it's derailed and will just move on to the next one.


So what could be done differently? Obviously, you won't make the same assumptions as you previously did. You would have done your question wonders if you had edited the positive aspects of your comments back into your question. Namely, how you defined "native threads" and the fact you didn't care about portability. Finally, if some time had passed and you didn't think your question was getting an appropriate level of views then you could have asked in Meta.Programmers about how to make the question more constructive and attract more answers.

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    Thanks for your reply. I really appreciate your thoughrfulness. Please note that I said "if you were the one who downvoted my question" in my communication with gnat. I knew I didn't know with certainity . I specifically disagree that gnat understands the question; his answer directly indicates he doesn't. More, he admitted as much. I see his second post just as I described above. If downvoting is anonymous,, even to admins, that that might be a mistake since who downvotes what is just what information is needed to id abuse. – user125027 Mar 28 '14 at 20:23
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    @user125027: From your question: "Someone casually and apparently from their own ignorance downgraded it. I corrected them y linking them to the documentation explaining the point they were confused on." That sounds to me like you assumed it was gnat who downvoted your question. Doesn't it read that way to you? And later on in comments: "The user both down voted the question AND ALSO did not understand java." – Jon Skeet Mar 28 '14 at 20:26
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    Downvoting is anonymous to everyone, including moderators. SE employees with database access (which is not all of them) can perform queries to find the information. However, that is only done in extreme circumstances. I understand your feelings on this but this wouldn't qualify as extreme. – user194162 Mar 28 '14 at 20:28
  • I can walk away, and am going to, but someone somewhere pays the ISP bills that come due each month. They have to have a concern that reasonable users with reasonable questions are being driven away by , and let's be frank here- adolescent males with nothing to do but uselessly troll this site and accumulate "power" of this and that kind. I heartily recommend Googling "SO sucks" once ina while as I did after posting my question. What you'll find is what I experienced as if this site and those had coordinated my reception. That's when you can be sure- you really have a problem. Best wishes. – user125027 Mar 28 '14 at 20:28
  • FWIW i managed capture the Op and the response which I will attempt to publicly meditate on in a future blog. I think it's an excellent example what's wrong with SO and perhaps readers will have some insight intohow SO can be fixed. – user125027 Mar 28 '14 at 20:31
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    @user125027 For the record, you weren't posting on SO, you were posting on programmers. If you would like to create your own site where people are only allowed to downvote posts that you think are bad, I welcome you and wish you the best of luck. SO has no shortage of competition already, and it's been doing well so far on its current model. – Servy Mar 28 '14 at 20:37
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    @user125027: No, what's galling is someone being rude repeatedly, and to just about everyone. You talked earlier about "reasonable users" - I don't view your behaviour as reasonable. I can understand how you felt annoyed at the original downvote - but there's no excuse for your rudeness both in that question and this one. As has been suggested elsewhere in this thread, I strongly suggest that you walk away at this point, cool down, and come back when you're less likely to explode at anyone who disagrees with you. – Jon Skeet Mar 28 '14 at 23:30
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    I wish I could downvote comments. – blahdiblah Mar 29 '14 at 2:10
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    @Banjobum: I agree that downvoting without an explanation (and if no-one else has added an explanation) isn't productive. But don't you also think that user125027 could learn something here about how to react proportionally rather than going off the handle? I don't personally think the Programmers question is worth a downvote (although I don't think it's as good or clear as the OP thinks either) - but user125027's reaction has been far more counter-productive than the downvotes themselves. If this is how they're going to behave at the slightest provocation, I don't think it's much of a loss. – Jon Skeet Mar 29 '14 at 10:37
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    @JonSkeet - I agree with your assessment of user125027's over-reaction. I find it highly ironic that this MSO request was in part justified by not being able to attract additional expert answers. But the OP's reaction here continues to attack and drive away those same experts who could have provided the answer that was being sought. As much as user125027 is accusing the community of trolling, I believe the converse is the reality. – user194162 Mar 29 '14 at 14:00
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    @Banjobum: If it's such a minefield, why do so many people manage it easily? Just because some people can't be bothered to write good questions, or massively over-react at the slightest criticism, doesn't mean we need to bend the world to suit them. Look at the first few comments on this question - they seem pretty calm to me. – Jon Skeet Mar 29 '14 at 14:33
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    @Banjobum: If a single downvote from some random person on the internet is enough to put a crimp on your day, I think it's worth re-evaluating what's actually important to you. My point about a "brilliant question" isn't that you need to be brilliant - quite the opposite. You don't need to know the answer in order to ask a good question. If you haven't read tinyurl.com/so-hints, that's my own set of hints about how to write a good question. But all of this seems rather a long way from the topic of this question - which is the OP basically going postal for no good reason. – Jon Skeet Mar 29 '14 at 17:14
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    @Banjobum: Well, if you have specific suggestions, I would ask you to look through Meta Stack Overflow to see if they've already been made - and if not, suggest them here as a new question. (Don't be afraid of downvotes on Meta, by the way - they just mean people disagree with the suggestion; they're not the same as on SO.) The "people are mean to newcomers" complaint is not a new one, but typically the examples given involve poor questions or (as in this case) bad behaviour on the part of the newcomer, for which I have little sympathy. – Jon Skeet Mar 29 '14 at 17:23
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    @Banjobum: Is that the "message you often get" or the message you read into someone leaving a single downvote? There's a significant difference. If users are being rude to you, flag those comments for moderator attention. – Jon Skeet Mar 29 '14 at 17:29
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    gnat's ignorance strikes again! "what do method javadocs say?" -> answer. There must be something wrong with that gnat guy :) – gnat May 8 '14 at 6:46
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Not a good idea

First of all, there's no proof that new users are more likely to be downvoted because they have little reputation. Yes, they are downvoted more often, but it's just because they aren't acquainted with SE rules and the culture of given site. If you don't learn to write in a way a given community will understand, you risk being downvoted. Programmers, in my personal opinion, is a hard one. I still have problems figuring out how to ask/answer there.

Second, who would hide their reputation? A new users, of course. So hiding your reputation you would not hide the fact of being a new user. What's worse, people could be more suspicious of why you are you hiding your reputation, and if they take the OP's profile into consideration at all by voting, it could make your situation worse, not better.

Third, even if you hide your reputation, you won't hide the downvotes on the questions or answers in your profile. Hiding vote count on the questions is an absolute no-go, because this is the way we measure quality on our site.

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    -1 for actually addressing the OP's feature request. See: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/227123/… :-D – user194162 Mar 28 '14 at 20:29
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    @GlenH7 Your link is a little bit off; pretty sure you meant to link here – Servy Mar 28 '14 at 20:39
  • @Servy - d'oh. :-( – user194162 Mar 28 '14 at 20:42

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