This question already has an answer here:
- Encouraging people to explain downvotes 31 answers
The issue isn't about downvotes themselves, it's the abuse done by them.
On my time on Stack Overflow I have often noticed the phenomena of dissatisfied people downvoting questions without any given reason (in my/other posters) opinion and that makes other site users not even go into the question thread seeing all the down-votes or going in the thread to also down-vote to help the apparent "cause" of the other users wanting to close the question down for whatever reason.
I think the downvoting system rather insults the question asker rather then helping him improve his question. Downvoting a question needs to have repercussions under abuse just like upvoting should have.
More often than not people that have a low post count and ask their first question aren't going to ask it in a way some more veteran users of the site expect it to be asked and therefor they feel like the community much prefers abusing his post instead of explaining to him what he did wrong and giving him a way to fix it.
Most people do not even bother to suggest edits leaving the beginner Stack Overflow experience to feel extremely "toxic" at first to people. The same people that don't understand the in and outs of it.
So whats the solution?
Making sure people that downvote don't abuse it by showing them if that is one of the first posts the question asker asked.
Making sure to people downvoting / upvoting in an abusive manner carries consequences and their vote practically looses its value because its never used in the right context.
Downvotes to people with low post counts should need to come with a short explanation or choice that is shown to the question asker to explain to him what he might have done wrong to receive that down-vote.
The voting system is highly problematic in my opinion and needs a serious rework.