On the Code Review site, there is this question.

This question has 25 down votes. That means that the OP only lost 50 reputation points; that could be easily earned back with an answer or two.

In my opinion, there needs to be more of a punishment for down-votes: if that many people all down-voted this post, the post is obviously bad.

My thought on the fix: ranked reputation loss.

-2 reputation is fine for a few down-votes: not everyone agrees that a post is good, and sometimes there may be a few serial down-voters.

However, as the down-votes increase to 4+ down-votes, there should be more of a penalty; maybe -3 reputation for each down-vote, or a flat 3 reputation lost immediately.

This pattern would repeat. Maybe at 6+ down-votes, the penalty raises to -4 reputation points for each down-vote.

  • 4
    Advice: the best-received proposals and feature-requests elaborate on what problem they're aimed at solving and how the site as a whole would benefit, relative to maintaining the status quo (and the best ones also explore the costs and trade-offs of any such change, and make a compelling argument for why the costs outweigh the benefits). But, realistically speaking, this question is almost certainly a dupe, so you may not be best served by putting a ton of effort into it (vs searching for the canonical dupe). – Dan Bron Aug 9 '15 at 20:17
  • 9
    Punishment is quite strong word... why do you want to hurt others? There are automated question bans for when the user is irredeemable - no need to make then feel extra bad about it... – ben is uǝq backwards Aug 9 '15 at 20:19

Your idea will likely do various things, but to point out 2 things as an example of contrast:

  1. Such a strong outcome will likely make them think twice in future and thus potentially provide better content, instil a sense of care in what they do - essentially what you wanted
  2. Instil a sense of fear to post, dismay, anger, and even spite, and their want to leave the site, not post again, or worse stay and rant, and downvote everyone else, etc - which we do not want

With (2), we'd be essentially being way over the top. Pushing people over the edge, and not welcoming them. I'm not saying we should be soft handed with users who waste our time or abuse site privileges etc, but there is a line to be crossed for various reasons.

This question has 25 down votes. That means that the OP only lost 50 reputation points;

Only 50 rep? That's quite a bit to lose on one question.
If a user doesn't take heed from that, especially 25 downvotes, then they are doomed at some point regardless of if you make it ten times harsher or not.

I think making it harsher would just make it harder for them to reverse their mistake and become a better user.

Don't throw the first punch

The site already has various checking mechanisms, such as if a user is repeatedly bad for the same reason or multiple different reasons, then they are penalised for it.

And this is a professional, fair, and civilised approach.

This approach means when they come to Meta to rant and claim some self righteous belief that Stack Exchange is rubbish, and all staff and users are a little group and no-one else is welcome in (usual crap), then we can show them the goodies (or baddies) which they did wrong.

As the site was fair on them and gave them a few chances, they have no leg to stand on and they are are the ones who took it too far.

This isn't about our being smug and pointing at them like a circus clown, it's about being fair, and when someone does rant about being downvoted a lot, questions constantly closed, or even suspended, there are valid reasons, and the site and community can retain a sense of civility and good virtue.

Burn them before a mistake, just in case

If we throw the "first punch" by being overly harsh, then we either have to expect punches to come back, or feel bad if they do not because then we essentially just bullied someone.

It's no good the very second someone "steps out of line" punishing them with extreme prejudice.
We all make mistakes, and some people are new to the site, or are not very good at writing good questions etc.
Sure we shouldn't let them post crap because of that, but a little nudge with downvotes and rep loss means they have a fighting chance to get back up and improve.

A better idea

I truly get your logic, wanting to show users they did wrong etc, but I think you can go too far.

I do believe that some of the penalties (not punishments) could probably be a little stricter - in their occurring sooner, and potentially longer (for bans etc).

And I don't think it was a good idea your using an example of a question of which the outcome has already pretty well shown the user they were wrong.

If you have an idea where perhaps a tweak to a certain penalty could be improved, then by all means have a think about why it is required, and how the tweak can make things better.

But going in guns blazin is not the answer in a civilised and community driven site :)


I can use this very feature request as great example of why it's a bad idea.

So as of now, 6 people disagree with the request. Suppose 30 people will disagree, does it mean you (the OP of the request) deserves to get -200 rep for that?

Answer is simple: no. It's not fair, and we can't doom a user based on a single "bad" post.

  • 1
    I have to disagree with your post; using my post is not a good example. This is meta; people are very strongly encouraged to down-vote not because they think the post is bad, but because they disagree with what is being discussed in the post. However, if I got -12 reputation on a normal SE site (say StackOverflow), then I believe I would deserve -200 rep. – SirPython Aug 10 '15 at 14:00

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .