I mostly like to browse the Stack Exchange sites, flagging, down/upvoting, and commenting. Sometimes, when I am looking at a question, I find an answer that is code-only or is just a link with one sentence. I go to downvote and post a comment basically saying "we discourage these types of answers on Stack Exchange, " but then I notice that the answerer is a 24k reputation user.

I then have second thoughts about commenting saying that, because I would look like a "newbie" to them with 350 reputation. Should I just downvote, or should I go ahead and post the comment anyway?

  • I've seen it a lot around Stack Overflow, and I assume that's just one type of answer they tolerate. I don't bother downvoting them either, as I would end up losing most of my rep.
    – Jamal
    Jan 18, 2015 at 4:35
  • 10
    Could you provide a few examples? I have 20k+ rep on Stack Overflow, yet I still can't say I'm always right or can flawlessly follow all policy.
    – Doorknob
    Jan 18, 2015 at 5:08
  • 1
    @Doorknob I had an example open up a little bit ago, but didn't keep it open. It was a code repeat that looked very similar to a previous answer, and it was just a code block. Posted by someone with 20.5k rep. Jan 18, 2015 at 5:49

5 Answers 5


Reputation doesn't preclude someone from adhering to site policies. It doesn't give people the right to answer poorly. Unfortunately, what you're describing is common: the higher someone's reputation, frequently, the less willing people can be to downvote them. I wish this bias didn't exist, but it does.

Short answer: if you think it doesn't belong or isn't good, downvote and comment regardless of reputation. Really, just do everything regardless of reputation. It's better that way.


If you call my attention to one of my really poor answers from the early day of Stack Overflow I'll not only either fix or delete it I'll also thank you in my mind.


Reputation of either an asker or answerer should play no part in whether you upvote or downvote because it is the question/answer that you are judging the quality of.

However, I would caution against making a comment on any post like "we discourage these types of answers on stack exchange" unless you are certain that you are representing the community view and not just your own. I prefer to comment from my own perspective, especially if I am expressing a view that others have questioned as representing community consensus previously. Perhaps say something like:

I find these types of answers unhelpful because ...

  • 2
    +1 for the because part. Don't become the person you are disagreeing with.
    – Ooker
    Jan 19, 2015 at 17:13

The high-rep-effect is real, I have high rep in Travel.SE and I sometimes get upvotes for really below average answers (1, 2), I guess when people see the rep they tend to upvote or ignore the downvote when they should, which is wrong. Just ignore the rep when you think the answer should be downvoted.

You will be amazed when you see the reaction from people with high rep when they get downvotes, they usually act faster than people with lower rep and tend to fix the bad answers quicker.

Regarding the comment, it is always a good idea to comment when downvoting, whether the user is a Jok Skeet or a user with 1 rep.


Note that if you noticed this in a review and marked it as a link-only answer you'd get a template comment added as well.

As such it is definitely what is recommended, as the other answers say.

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