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This question was rapidly down-voted without any response of material to help the user understand why the question was so poorly asked that it justified such rapid and massive down-voting. I have seen this happen before, but didn't bother tracking those questions, so for now I have only the one example to provide. My opinion is that down-voting in most of such cases is more for -1 disagree than for any genuine issues with the question.

I just want to suggest that if a question has no answers and some agreed upon negative score (-5? -10?), then no further down-votes should be allowed until an answer is provided. I cannot see any useful purpose to massively down-voting a question without providing a single answer.

Please understand this is not intended to be a discussion on the topic of that question.

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    That doesn't make any sense. Generally a lot of downvotes would indicate there is a problem with the question that makes it unanswerable. – animuson Nov 11 '14 at 22:50
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    @Paul But there are comments on that question, which indicate problems with the question's quality and/or the idea presented in general. – animuson Nov 11 '14 at 22:53
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    You appear to think downvotes are there just to tell the OP that the question is somehow lacking. Downvoting is there to tell everyone else that a question is lacking, and not worth their time. There are too many bad questions to go and tell each and every new poster what might be wrong. We expect users to read the help provided up front instead. – Martijn Pieters Nov 11 '14 at 22:53
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    A score of -5 is feedback. It means "This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful". Why should we reward bad questions with answers? Why should we take the time to provide an answer when the asker didn't take the time to ask a good, on-topic question? – JonK Nov 11 '14 at 22:55
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    In this case, I downvoted your post for your lack of research. We have discussed this topic to death. There will never be a requirement to comment when down-voting posts, because that leads to revenge voting, whining, name calling, etc. – Martijn Pieters Nov 11 '14 at 22:56
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    possible duplicate of Encouraging people to explain downvotes – Martijn Pieters Nov 11 '14 at 22:57
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    @Paul: that makes no sense whatsoever. Most questions I down-vote are unanswerable. Forcing answers just to downvote is going to get you the same behaviour: nonsense answers that are not helpful to anyone. – Martijn Pieters Nov 11 '14 at 22:58
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    @Paul Let me ask you this: If it had 25 upvotes rather than 25 downvotes, would you still be complaining that no one has provided any reasoning why it would be a good idea rather than a bad idea? – animuson Nov 11 '14 at 23:01
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    @Paul: That is a feauture request, and a ridiculous one at that. That post is being downvoted because no-one here wants to see that implemented. – Martijn Pieters Nov 11 '14 at 23:05
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    @Paul: also see How do I participate in Meta and not die trying? – Martijn Pieters Nov 11 '14 at 23:11
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    @Paul: I did not make it an answer because the question is unclear. I don't think it is answerable in its current state. I suspect the question is a duplicate, or at least can be answered in the same vein as other 'real money' questions here on Meta, giving it another reason not to answer the type of question again. – Martijn Pieters Nov 11 '14 at 23:13
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    Yes it does - and the important point here is that your proposal would reduce the effectiveness of SE's most important metric for indicating quality. Stack Exchange is elitist to an extent (how much varies from site-to-site), and as a result isn't always the nicest place for newcomers. However, it's a necessary evil unless we want to degrade into something like Yahoo Answers. We do also have some excellent guidelines to teach new users how to interact with the SE sites in a positive way from the start - but most of them completely ignore them! – JonK Nov 12 '14 at 0:38
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    Stack Exchange has no shortage of new users, although there is some truth to what you say. However, forcing an answer on a terrible question is not the way to encourage them to stay. It also doesn't do much to encourage them to improve any future questions, which could very well result in a net decrease in overall site quality, which in turn drives away the domain experts that helped to make places like Stack Overflow the de facto place to go if you have certain types of question. Fewer experts means fewer quality answers, means people go elsewhere to get them, etc... – JonK Nov 12 '14 at 0:47
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    Unless you drill a whacking great big hole in the bottom of the boat. Which is what people feel that this feature request amounts to. – JonK Nov 12 '14 at 0:58
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    @Paul as an aside and response to your name-calling remarks - the fact people are answering in comments and as answers shows that we care enough to interact and particularly in Jason C's case try and help you clarify your proposal. We don't have to, as like everyone else, we have lives to live and other things to do. But we are here, trying to get you to clarify what you are asking and explaining why the proposal is being downvoted. – user273376 Nov 12 '14 at 2:00
25

I disagree with this proposal. I have nothing constructive to add, but I am just posting an answer because I am required to in order to down-vote, since there are already too many down-votes on the proposal.


The above is essentially the type of answer that this proposal would attract to questions. Not to mention all the extra NAA flags that would go along with it. This is not particularly useful, I believe.

  • 1
    +1 great and pertinent answer – user273376 Nov 11 '14 at 23:35
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    I have added a bit of explanation underneath, in case it was too meta. – Jason C Nov 11 '14 at 23:36
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    @Paul Was it useless, or are you irritated that it was spot on to the type of answers your proposal would attract (not just attract, but require)? – Jason C Nov 11 '14 at 23:37
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    It is a very good answer with a good edit explaining the reality of the situations should such a system be implemented. Disagreeing =/= useless. – user273376 Nov 11 '14 at 23:37
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    @Paul Hey, I thought it was clever. I could have just typed the other style of answer this requirement would attract, such as: "asdfasdf required to downvote". Also don't forget the slew of inevitable feature-requests to remove the requirement because folks are sick of having to post arbitrary answers to down-vote on meta, and sick of reading them. – Jason C Nov 11 '14 at 23:50
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    @Paul Well: 1. Comments are participation. 2. I speak only for myself, but I know that if I had to post an answer to every unanswered meta question I down-voted, I would probably just stop checking meta completely. – Jason C Nov 11 '14 at 23:55
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    @Paul I did say "unanswered". Your proposal requires the sixth down-voter to explain themselves in an answer if the five before him did not. This does not seem to be helpful. Also your example question was a meta question. People come to meta for discussion. Comments are a valid way to participate in those discussions. – Jason C Nov 12 '14 at 0:00
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    @Paul When I was new to SE, I didn't get many downvotes, because I read the help center of the site I was interested in, and watched for a while to see how it worked. – Frank Nov 12 '14 at 0:07
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    @Paul This proposal is a bad idea. It's OK to have bad ideas. I have terrible ideas pretty regularly, if it makes you feel better. Accept it gracefully. Your next idea might be a great one. This won't diminish that. Try not to tie your self-image too closely to how your SE questions are received, it is not healthy. – Jason C Nov 12 '14 at 0:18
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    @Paul This community welcomes plenty of new feature requests. For your first comment question, if you are referring to "What is the point of going lower than -5 without any feedback?", it was answered quite clearly, and quickly afterwards; you ignored it presumably because you did not agree, but unsatisfactory answer != no answer. – Jason C Nov 12 '14 at 0:42
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    @Paul By the way, check out this SEDE query. The "Positive" / "Neutral" / "Negative" columns show the count of questions with positive, 0, or negative score, for each tag, also counts closed questions. As you can see, the ratio of positive is quite high for every tag. Do you still believe this is not a generally accepting community? Do not confuse reaction to your individual ideas with general behavior. A welcoming community is still not obligated to accept ideas without criticism. Now, please learn to take criticism gracefully. – Jason C Nov 12 '14 at 0:57
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    @Paul You are resistant to the idea that this is a welcoming community because if you accepted that it was, then that would validate the critics of your proposal here, which would force you to accept that this is a genuinely bad idea. So you are welcome to pretend we are evil if that's what it takes to discount what we say. Blame us, not your idea. That's fine, but then this may not be the community you seek. Unfortunately, I think it's counter-productive for me to try and argue with your subconscious rationalizations, and I will not continue. I have nothing new to add. – Jason C Nov 12 '14 at 1:21
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    Another to consider, the downvotes could be taken as the community reading, considering and saying 'no, thanks' to this proposal, it does not mean that they are being mean (disagree =/=rude or mean), it just means that many are considering what is best for the site, which is more important than what is better for a few individuals in this case. – user273376 Nov 12 '14 at 1:28
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    @Paul "I see, as usual, you guys cower away." - They aren't cowering away. They're providing you with reasoned arguments with data to back it up, which you appear to be simply dismissing because it doesn't back up the point you're trying to make. You're not listening to the huge amount of feedback that you're being provided, and people are just getting tired of banging their heads against the proverbial wall. They're not the ones who seem to have an axe to grind, and they're understandably just washing their hands of this and walking away. As I am about to do. Because it's 2 in the morning. – JonK Nov 12 '14 at 1:57
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    @Paul If you find you have a way of getting people to bang their heads against walls every time, you might benefit from some reflection! Realistically, it is more likely that the issue is on your end rather than with everybody who is not you (although we do have skeptics.se if you have a conspiracy theory; but be warned, they might be in on it, too). – Jason C Nov 12 '14 at 2:05
13

I think forcing answers is a bad idea. Anyone can vote how they want, pretty much. If they choose to downvote, it's not abuse. They are encouraged to comment, but not required to do so, because you can't force them to post a constructive comment, and these discussions often lead to heated arguments, which are not constructive either.

Here on Meta Stack Exchange, questions are voted up if people like them, and down if they don't. Leaving a comment is nice, but not absolutely necessary to send the message. The question you used as an example was obviously (to me) a bad idea, so I downvoted. I might have commented, but a comment I agreed with had already been posted, so I upvoted that instead. Same with this post.

It wasn't the post quality so much (although it helped) that caused the downvoting, so much as the content of the feature-request, which wasn't a good idea.

  • Thanks. I upvoted the answer just because you have the decency to make one. – user234810 Nov 11 '14 at 23:29
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    Spot on, for the record, I downvoted the question cited and also agreed with the comment made. I upvoted this answer because it I agree wholeheartedly with it. But the fact is, I do not have to and the namecalling above really convinces me to continue to not to. – user273376 Nov 11 '14 at 23:30
5

Votes (up or down) need to be anonymous and without cap or any action required other than the vote itself.

This is because we want, "need", people to vote, and cannot risk losing votes from users who wont be forced to make answer (or comment). Stopping people voting means you risk getting a less accurate representation of the general user opinion.

You also then only receive votes from user willing to answer (or comment), and by tunnelling votes to a certain "type" of person there is a danger of only getting a "certain type" of mindset/opinion each time.

Open community works as you get opinions from all kinds of people/thoughts/ideas, and while comments and answers are more useful in terms of raw opinion, simply having votes from different users is paramount to ensuring a varied mindset and opinion.
Even if they all agree, and even if it's 30 downvotes. the "varied" user mindset agrees this question (or answer) is terrible, poor, not a good suggestion, etc.

If nothing else, they are just as entitled to vote as anyone who is happy to or wants to comment/answer, forced or not.

How about forcing answers when there is rapid down-voting without any answers?

Sincerely, I get your logic, I do, and it's admirable your intentions are to improve the site by trying to get some answers out of people rather than a mass downvote attack (etc).

However, forcing answers for a downvote once a certain downvote threshold is met is not really realistic or useful at all.

Sorry, it's simply a bonkers idea.
Mad as a bag of frogs!

  • You'll just (mostly) get poor answers, so your intentions to bring about improvement is completely lost
  • You will lose votes, not good as mentioned above
  • Rapid downvoting is perfectly fine as it simply signifies a poor question, or poor proposal. This is a big part of the site, and why it works well within a huge community

You are also "essentially" suggesting a cap which potentially (and likely will) limit:

  1. How bad a question can be (determined by X max downvotes)
  2. How many users can disagree with the idea/opinion/feature request
  3. Allowing the first X users to the question to be able to downvote freely, and forcing the remaining ones to answer (or comment) is not fair, at all

These would be severely detrimental to the main premise of Stack, that good content is voted up, and bad is voted down out of sight.

  • You are correct, this would be detrimental to the main premise of SE, which does not have much to do with getting users from a broad base of interests outside of what is essentially STEM. Even consumer-facing STEM tangents are terrible, especially Android Central. Seemed like a perfect fit for SE, but nobody is interested in answering questions over there. That's because SE is terrible at recruiting and keeping users who are not core to STEM (but might be able to answer Android questions). This is just one way to try and encourage them to stay by giving them what they came for: an answer. – user234810 Nov 12 '14 at 3:42
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    They certainly will get an answer, if their question is clear and within the guidelines of the SE rules. – user273376 Nov 12 '14 at 3:47
  • @Paul STEM? not really - consider Cooking.SE, Photography.SE, Home Improvement.SE, Bicycles.SE and a lot more on the Site list – user273376 Nov 12 '14 at 3:53
  • @Gone What are the answer rates like on those sites? Seeing quite a few goose eggs on Home Improvement. – user234810 Nov 12 '14 at 4:01
  • @Gone Go look at Android Central and then come talk to me about answers. – user234810 Nov 12 '14 at 4:02
  • Th point is, the examples I gave are established and graduated sites, also consider the site English Language and Usage. – user273376 Nov 12 '14 at 4:03
  • @Paul no thanks, just answering to the incorrect statement you made your comment about STEM sites. – user273376 Nov 12 '14 at 4:04
  • @Gone Doesn't matter if they are 'established' or 'graduated' when nobody uses them. – user234810 Nov 12 '14 at 4:06
  • Of course people use them, what absolute nonsense. – user273376 Nov 12 '14 at 4:06
  • Does not mean that nobody uses them, as you're exaggerating, no point in discussing this. – user273376 Nov 12 '14 at 4:15
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    Even if the Android site was completely dead, I don't quite see how that makes the proposal a good idea. – Jason C Nov 12 '14 at 5:48
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    @Paul So if the Android site were dead, regardless of all other sites, then we could (somehow) conclude that the Android site became dead because of rapid down-voting on questions, and forcing the 10th down-voter to post an answer would have (somehow) stopped it / will revive it, and therefore this would be a good proposal? ... What? – Jason C Nov 12 '14 at 6:02
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    @Paul don't assume, I am in hospital and treatments do not run by your timetable, not that I have to answer to you. (That ma come as a shock to you, but I do not answer to you). – user273376 Nov 12 '14 at 6:58
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    @Paul "Because SE has various policies that send away people" SE has no such "policy"! Stack has a function (downvote) and it doesn't send people away - it's their decision to go away from their not liking people disagreeing. I've proposed a few things which were quite unpopular. I didn't run for the hills, I engaged in debate and learned about things I did not know, as well as others seeing a few points I had. It's not just up to those downvoting to debate this, and if the proposer runs away, what is the point of us answering/commenting anyway? – James Nov 12 '14 at 16:24
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    @Paul As per my answer, I see your logic and attempt to make an improvement. I don't disagree with the "potential issue" you have identified, I (as do most others) simply disagree with the "proposed solution". If you feel this issue is substantial enough to warrant a resolve, don't necessarily post a feature request, post a discussion, pointing out why you think it could be a big issue. However - make sure you have evidence, that is links to heavily downvoted questions with no comments or answers. I doubt you'll find more than a handful (Barring crap programming question of course). – James Nov 12 '14 at 16:28

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