I was always curious about what is the sense in downvoting on a question in following case:

  1. The OP has 1 rep and the question is clearly a spam or off-topic, generally a question to be flagged/closed.

In this case isn't it more efficient to flag the question or if able to cast for closing?

  • 11
    Downvotes also count towards question ban, so the system can automatically stop people who repeatedly ask bad questions.
    – Antony
    Apr 14, 2014 at 12:22
  • 6
    Plus it's a good sign for the OP to understand that there is something wrong with the question.
    – devnull
    Apr 14, 2014 at 12:22
  • 2
    I don't think people should be downvoting spam. That's what the spam flag is for. If too many people downvote a spam post then it'll disappear off the front screen and therefore may stick around longer than it should do.
    – JonW
    Apr 14, 2014 at 12:46
  • 6
    Just so you readers understand what @JonW said, let me say it again: Don't downvote spam. Flag it and move on. The flag carries an automatic downvote by itself. Apr 14, 2014 at 12:49
  • Don't downvote spam, but for other kinds of "sure to get closed" questions, downvote if they're bad to help the Roomba clean them up later. Apr 14, 2014 at 21:19
  • @JonW - Downvoting spam is fine if they are flagging it as well. Since the post is removed as soon as it receives 6 flags.
    – Himanshu
    Apr 15, 2014 at 5:41
  • @hims056 no, I disagree. Downvoting means it'll fall out of view on the front page so may not even get get 6 spam flags it needs to be removed. Downvoting spam is therefore both useless and incorrect.
    – JonW
    Apr 15, 2014 at 6:04
  • @JonW - How many downvotes requires to fall out of view on the front page?
    – Himanshu
    Apr 15, 2014 at 6:16

2 Answers 2


There are too many reasons. Some of them are:

  1. It discourages people including the OP to do the same in future.
  2. Downvoted post indicates that the post is poor and needs some attention so usually people check downvoted post first. So such posts get enough flags/votes faster.
  3. As @3ventic's Shadow said 20k users can vote to delete faster.
  4. And yeah it helps the OP to get post ban.
  • 2
    Don't forget that highly downvoted questions don't appear on the front page anymore. Apr 14, 2014 at 13:58
  • @ToonKrijthe - Yeah true. But mostly one who downvotes also flags the post and it only requires 6 flags to delete the spam post. So downvoting and flagging spam post is fine.
    – Himanshu
    Apr 15, 2014 at 5:39

A question needs to have -3 score to allow 20k users to immediately after closing to vote to delete the question. Downvotes also affect question bans and hide the question from the front page.

  • Didn't know that
    – apomene
    Apr 14, 2014 at 12:23

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