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This question already has an answer here:

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.

marked as duplicate by rene, S.L. Barth - Reinstate Monica, Infinite Recursion, user259867, tchrist Aug 1 '15 at 3:26

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    I'm not good at confrontation, so I stayed quiet during the active phase of this post. I'm sorry. I should have come to your aid while you were being badly mistreated, especially by the people who truly know better. If it was the first time I'd seen this behavior, I'd have felt that everyone, including you by the end, was just having an off day. Sadly, a few long-time Meta users are frequently rude. Many are quite the opposite, and are very vocal about the need for kindness here, which I appreciate. I've done my research and will bring my concerns to a staff member. Thanks for your courage! – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL Aug 8 '15 at 20:29
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    @Sue wow! Thanks buddy for reading my post – downrep_nation Aug 8 '15 at 21:21
8

In this question, you suggested that downvoters be required to explain their downvotes. In the comments, you rather thoroughly demonstrated two of the reasons this is a bad idea:

  • Explanations will get pushback from those who do not fully understand their rationale. This is not helped by the fact that a comment is usually a bad place to explain complex or nuanced ideas, and the fact that a downvote triggers an initial negative emotional response that is highly likely to seriously prejudice the reading of comments.
  • Explainers will get personally or generally insulted or revenge-downvoted for their politely-expressed opinions. The number of orphan comments on this question by others who responded to comments you left that are now deleted is pretty staggering… and the remaining comments are not all that friendly either. Revenge downvoting in particular could get pretty ugly with this scheme (chain reaction, anyone?), since it's unlikely you'd be able to completely eliminate it.

If you do think it's a good idea to explain all downvotes, I recommend putting this into practice yourself first; after, say, a hundred or so explanations on UX, you should have reasonable experience to use to argue that the downsides aren't so bad. (I was unable to find an explanation for the question downvote you left there. Perhaps I simply missed it.)

Note: I downvoted nothing on this page.

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    wow, thanks for the contructive feedback! i think you are right. there is an issue with commenting on downvotes because it defies the reason for their creation. but i think they need some form of change because simply downvoting something without giving any feedback also doesnt achieve anything in the long run. thanks for that answer tho. – downrep_nation Jul 31 '15 at 17:49
  • The number of orphan comments on this question by others who responded to comments you left that are now deleted is pretty staggering - it is indeed - Have flagged the comment streams as now being obsolete. Comments are ephemeral in any case. – user289879 Jul 31 '15 at 21:17
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i have often noticed the phenomena of dissatisfied people downvoting questions without any given reason

I have seen dissatisfied people up-voting everything...

downvoting a question needs to have repercussions under abuse

It does. Serial down-voting is punished as hard as serial up-voting. Having an opinion isn't punished. You can up-vote and down-vote anything you think is useful or not.

Making sure people that downvote dont abuse it by showing them if that is one of the first posts the question asker asked.

Usually, a 1-rep user can be considered a new user. Also, for the first post, there is already a review queue, which takes care of aiding new users to understand the system. This doesn't prevent down-voting, but it is a way to help out those people improve their questions. So is the Triage queue.

New users are encouraged to go through the tour, which helps them to understand what is expected from them. The duplicate finder helps to not ask the same question again. All these things are there to help new users.

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 recieve that downvote.

Please, don't go there. That has been discussed over and over again. 10 times this week alone. Votes are anonymous, period.

9

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 recieve that downvote.

You are going to generate down votes on this question for that suggestion. It's been discussed repeatedly across the network. Votes are anonymous. It should remain that way. If a user is motivated to provide a comment they will. Otherwise, you're going to get stupid comments:

asdfadsfadsfasdf

I downvoted this

I have to leave a comment here

etc.

Think about how you fill out a form on line. Do you always fill in the fields that are "required", but you don't think are important, truthfully?


More often than not people that have a low post count and ask their first question arent 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 StackOverflow experience to feel extremely "TOXIC" at first to people.

Downvotes aren't abuse. They are the community's way of indicating the post is not up to standards. Not all posts can be fixed.

Take a step back from the emotional response of getting a down vote. Think about how you respond then. Do you wonder why you were down voted? Do you look over your post and add more information, fix spelling, correct grammar, and improve your question? If so, great! Mission accomplished. You've improved your content and learned a bit about how the site works. If you don't at least take a second glance at your post, perhaps you should.

Stack Exchange is a large network. It has millions of users and millions of questions. We simply are not able to hand hold every new user through the process of becoming a high reputation user. Expecting someone else to make your post "on topic" is wasting everyone's time. As a new user, take a second to look around. Instead of obsessively filling in that empty text box on the internet, see why you should put in there to provide high quality content.


Your goal as a new user is to get an answer to your question. How do you accomplish this when you are "in the real world"? Do you walk into a room of people and start spewing sentences using poor grammar, no pauses, and long expositions about what you did last Tuesday that aren't relevant to your question? Or, do you approach the group with information about your problem (perhaps a small sample of code and an error message), a brief explanation of what your code did versus what you were expecting and all the time using easy to understand grammar?

Which of the two scenarios are more likely to get you a response offline? Use that approach here too.

  • asdfadsfadsfasdf I downvoted this I have to leave a comment here That would get that downvoter a spam flag, and bye-bye 100 rep. So, I guess explaining is a good idea. – Unitato says Reinstate Monica May 31 '17 at 16:20
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    @PrittBalagopal That is incorrect. 1.) There is no spam flag for a comment 2.) -100 rep penalty doesn't apply to removed comments. – Andy May 31 '17 at 16:26
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    WHAAAT? Then how come spams dont exist in comments? – Unitato says Reinstate Monica May 31 '17 at 16:31
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    Commenting requires users to have reputation. The vast majority of spam is created by 1 rep users. This reputation level can't post comments anywhere except their own questions. – Andy May 31 '17 at 16:32

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