I noticed some minor problem in the design of SO (and probably other Stack Exchange Network sites). So, I emailed them with the issue, and they replied me with a link to Stack Exchange Meta, so I posted it here and I got comments saying that the question is not clear and edits and a downvote! It's just a 2-line text saying:

Button styles do not look good on iOS Safari!

They first deleted my "bug" tag, and added a "feature-request" tag! This is not a feature I'm asking for, I've just noticed something wrong and I want it to get fixed.

Then I received a comment with 2 upvotes that I need to clarify the question!

And then I got an edit in which they just reversed my negative and positive words like:

all -> none

are not styled -> are styled !

Does that mean I should not say something when I think it can improve the site?

What's with the downvote? You just see a comment from someone with high reputation and think they must be right let's punish this stupid poster?

Here is the post.

People have edited my post so it's clear for them, but I'm still getting downvoted! I also added a screenshot, even after this I got downvoted.

It is a fact that "people don't read", there's a lot of research about this, you can search for results, the same thing happens here, I don't understand why everyone wants not to understand this.

You can't wake up someone who's just pretending to be asleep.

We all know that my question was not read completely, even here in this post I'm not sure if all downvoters have read the complete post and answer.

And we all know that criticizing someone who is an SO employee (according to comments) gives everyone the impression of me being wrong, before even going through my issue, while reading my post they have this negative attitude and that explains the downvotes. This is also a well-known human behaviour. Imagine a wise old man wearing tie and suite, against a hippy style kid are arguing, no matter what they say, most people look at it with this attitude of the kid being wrong.

And for that reason people even make stories to support someone who is predefined to be right in their mind:

Since your question was not clear he removed the 'bug' tag but later after your edit he reverted back to 'bug'.

They have no idea if it was an edit with me involved or not, but just make stories to make it look right according to what they think supposed to be right.

And please, I'm not against edits, I do edit myself. Read the title again, I think it should be done only if absolutely necessary, And if after your edit is done you leave a comment saying that "you should clarify", *makes people just downvote, if you believe you can edit the question, edit it to a level that no clarification is needed, if you can't why would you edit?

*Why first reactions to a post can influence further reactions?

The answer is that "People don't read", wow, look at here, a downvote and a negative comment from someone important, must be crap, let's downvote it. Next please!

That's what happens everyday, that's why they developed software to show you fake revisions to see if you are paying attention. Cheers and happy downvoting!

  • 6
    People edited your question to make it clearer, that's pretty much what happens here just more often on meta. The commenter basically suggested you add the text in your comment into the question, why not do that? Nobody except the downvoter knows why you were downvoted, maybe they thought the buttons looked fine as they are. This particular question basically reads as a rant and is likely to get downvoted itself and closed as not constructive. Sep 9, 2015 at 15:12
  • Also note that the person (Oded) who edited your tags is a SE employee. Since your question was not clear he removed the 'bug' tag but later after your edit he reverted back to 'bug'. Sep 9, 2015 at 15:18
  • @HackerKarma That doesn't make a good reason for editing the post before reading it! That was not after I "edited" the question, that was when I commented that it was a design bug!
    – user305073
    Sep 9, 2015 at 15:26
  • 1
    @RamtinGh as per the comments on the other linked post, I see the comment reply to Oded was more clearer than your question details. So, upon clarification he did reverted back to 'bug'. So, what are you trying to achieve here when the tag issue is fixed. Also, look he even added a 'design' tag which you missed initially. Sep 9, 2015 at 15:35
  • @HackerKarma Even without that comment and my first question ( buttons of stackoverflow on ios( safari ) are not styled properly ) is still a bug report not "feature-request" So what I'm trying to achieve here is why don't people Read the question before editing as said in the title.
    – user305073
    Sep 9, 2015 at 15:40
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    That's the wrong question. They did read it. They interpreted it in a certain way and found that it could use clarification. If they then "clarify" in the wrong sense, perhaps have a look at why it was unclear in the first place. Particularly so if I look at who the editors were.
    – Bart
    Sep 9, 2015 at 15:48
  • @RamtinGh look at the answer below... it says it all. Let's not argue here as the tagging issue has been corrected by the very person who misunderstood (due to lack of clear details) you. To me that's fair enough... no need to ask 'why didn't you read / understand on the first base'. We all are here to learn and contribute to improve the site. Sep 9, 2015 at 15:49
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    The "They" you are talking about is me. I didn't understand your original question. I actually interpreted it exactly the opposite of what you meant and asked if I understood correctly (and made edits following my understanding). And when you explained - I asked to clarify (and make edits following my new understanding). I guess I am stupid and lazy. Would it have been better if I had not commented and edited at all? I think not.
    – Oded
    Sep 9, 2015 at 16:02
  • @Oded Would not make much difference! people are still downvoting even after you made it "Clear"! and what is lost here is the original issue, would it have been better if I had not bothered myself taking my time to try to improve this site? I think it would!
    – user305073
    Sep 9, 2015 at 16:08
  • 2
    Thanks for reporting - however, if the report is not clear, no one can act on it. And not everyone may agree with your assessment (that it is something that should be fixed - perhaps some people like the buttons to match the OS?). This is a community - different people with different points of view. If they don't say what they want (and clearly), they can't be heard.
    – Oded
    Sep 9, 2015 at 16:13
  • 3
    No, it's not clear enough. That's my point. If people misunderstand, you're not clear enough. You have to find a way to get your point through. And when you've succeeded, don't spend energy on "why didn't those sillies understand me the first time?" They misunderstood because it wasn't clear. This is inescapable even though it stings. Sep 9, 2015 at 16:20
  • 7
    My point of view and that of other two people who downvoted. What was not clear to me was what the issue you were reporting. I don't live in your head - I can't read your mind. "are not styled properly" is subjective - what is "properly" - is it a clear description of the issue? Do you not think that "they are styled in the OS style instead of the site CSS style" is clearer and less subjective?
    – Oded
    Sep 9, 2015 at 16:21
  • 2
    No, @RamtinGh, edits do not make people think something is wrong. In general people vote questions up that make sense, whether they made sense on the first try or not. You are getting distracted from what you presumably want, which is different button styles in the app, by sticking to your guns about how you've been mistreated by people who can't be bothered to read your question. You will be happier if you read what others are telling you with an assumption that they mean well for you and your question, and want to help you. Sep 9, 2015 at 18:58
  • 3
    Instead of "Why don't people read the question before editing and commenting?", I want to ask "Why don't people put some effort when writing a question (or reporting bug)?". Reading the original version of your bug-report, I don't even have a clue what are you talking about, and what do you want. Compare (and learn) from another bug report posted clearly on the first post Sep 10, 2015 at 4:39
  • 1
    @Ramtin People have the right to vote. They will. You can't make them do it rightfully, just like you can't make them use water efficiently. The art of a meta person is to avoid getting downvotes. For instance, I downvoted because "what are you trying to do?" Just discussing that "They downvoted me for no good reason." isn't productive. What are you suggesting to improve that? Nothing bad about complaining, except that we get so much of it we're tired of it and this is also usually a waste of time.
    – M.A.R.
    Sep 10, 2015 at 11:36

1 Answer 1


I get paid to write words in English. As part of becoming someone who gets paid to write words in English, I had to learn a very hard lesson. This is true, whether you like it or not:

When you write something, and someone else doesn't understand it after the amount of reading they put into it, that means you didn't write it clearly enough.

I wish this wasn't true. I wish people were "stupid" or "lazy" or "not bothering to read" and that my knowing that was enough to make what I wrote ok. But it's not. It's up to me to rewrite it until it is clear. Clear enough even for stupid people, for lazy people, for people who are reading too quickly, for people who are operating in their second language, for people who guess after half a sentence what the whole thing is about and then start replying without even reading the rest. This is hard.

Sometimes, the way you realize someone misunderstood is that they "helpfully" edit your text into the very opposite of what you meant, or into something that makes no sense at all. This has happened to me at the hands of paid professional editors. When that happens you can't just put it back how it was. You have to undo their edits, and try again on your sentences to make them clear and obvious this time. And it does no good to blame them for not understanding what you wrote. You need to write it more clearly. This is simply a truth that cannot be escaped.

  • 4
    +1 correctly and succinctly said "it does no good to blame them for not understanding what you wrote" Sep 9, 2015 at 15:40
  • 1
    Thanks Kate, I do understand that, not all people are getting paid to write in English, but they have the right to be part of the community and not being bombarded with downvotes for just trying to make things better, Looking at the downvotes on my only 2 posts in this site makes me think that I should not use this site anymore!
    – user305073
    Sep 9, 2015 at 15:47
  • 17
    I didn't say you needed to write at a standard high enough to be paid for it. Rather, I gave you context for how I learned this lesson and how I'm qualified to tell that it really is true. As for your downvotes, those are different on meta - they are because people disagree with you. A criticizing tone (why do [so many] people [always] do the wrong thing?) will attract downvotes compared to a learning tone (what was it about my post that lead some people to do the wrong thing to it?). Don't go away, this is the place to learn how it all works Sep 9, 2015 at 15:49
  • 14
    These are excellent observations; I'd add that it is often impossible to write an explanation that will be clear to all readers; some of the best writers circumvent this by stating the same thing in multiple ways, but this can be challenging to achieve without becoming tedious. Hence the value inherent in collecting multiple (conceptually-identical) answers and multiple (cross-linked duplicate) questions... Also, the ability to use an editor's work to view your work through someone else's eyes is one of the most-overlooked educational aspects of Stack Overflow.
    – Shog9
    Sep 9, 2015 at 16:47
  • @KateGregory Thanks for editing the post, I've also added a screenshot and again I got downvoted, Even if someone like you makes the question clear, There is something other than quality of posts going on when it comes to downvotes! hope now you understand my concern.
    – user305073
    Sep 9, 2015 at 20:57
  • yes you got one more downvote. But I notice you got three new upvotes! Focus on the positive, people are now seeing the issue you're pointing out, and it might even get fixed. Sep 9, 2015 at 22:11
  • On the flip side, this question got a lot more downvotes... Sep 9, 2015 at 22:37
  • @PythonMaster Which means people don't want to accept the fact that they don't read the questions, and theeir reaction to a post is highly influenced by earlier reaction which is not always right.
    – user305073
    Sep 10, 2015 at 2:08
  • Well are you sure that they didn't read the question? Because they must have before editing. It's life, and people make mistakes and may interpret your question wrong. Sep 10, 2015 at 2:10
  • @PythonMaster Yes, I'm sure they didn't take enough time reading, unless you can tell me how "feature-request" could ever be related to my first post even with that "terrible" grammar, I'm clearly saying buttons are not styled properly, so getting them from wrong to right is absolutely a bug report and no feature request by any chance.
    – user305073
    Sep 10, 2015 at 6:28
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    You won't let go of this, will you @RamtinGh? Look, let's say something says "Save" and I think it should say "OK". My desire to change that is a feature request. On the other hand if it says Svae, that's a bug. See? So when you said "not styled properly" people thought it was just a personal preference. Once your meaning was made clear the bug tag was put back. And again, you cannot demand people spend more time reading. You simply must write more clearly, or put in the time with clarifying comments and accept initial downvotes caused by initial lack of clarity. That's just how it goes. Sep 10, 2015 at 11:57
  • @KateGregory correctly or satisfactorily. that's what properly means, if it's not proper then it's not correct. improper : not in accordance with accepted standards, especially of morality or honesty. if not in accordance with accepted standards it IS a bug, it's the same as Svae, has nothing to do with personal preference. I'm not demanding people to spend "more" time, but to spend "enough" time. and please note that We still had downvotes after the lack of clarity was fixed by you! That's not just how it goes then.
    – user305073
    Sep 10, 2015 at 12:09
  • 1
    This is like beautifully written.
    – enderland
    Nov 12, 2015 at 2:39