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Over my time using many of the Stack forums, I have of course asked questions that others thought weren't adequate. I could hardly see why and frankly, it felt somewhat unfair as I could spot many far worse questions than mine which were getting lots of up-votes.

This conundrum has meant that I have been almost incapable of getting my reputation above 5, making it very difficult to effectively contribute to the sites. I have seen my reputation go from almost 100, all the way down to 20 overnight because of one question or one answer (this is an exaggeration).

It's also not explained well how a question is defined as fitting for this site. Nearly all questions except research-able ones have some degree of opinion tied to them - be it in choice of method or choice of answer where there may be multiple. As a result, almost all of the questions I've had have fallen into this category and have received almost cruel responses. What few comments that are left tend not to offer suggestions for improving a question, but instead simply name a vague problem which is of no help what-so-ever.

This could be improved in two ways:

  1. Increasing the reputation penalty to a user who down-votes a question or answer, or add further requirements to allow a down-vote to be acknowledged.
  2. Decreasing the reputation penalty to a user when one of their questions or answers is down-voted.

The definition of a good question on this site could also be made more clear and understandable. I've asked questions and gone through the entire page on asking a question - making sure I've ticked every box - and then logged on the next morning to find it's on hold for not being specific enough, despite me virtually spoon-feeding all the information I have to the reader and all of the points related to an answer.

UPDATE: A slightly more significant change that could happen is that questions could enter an admission phase in which questions may be approved or edits suggested. Once 5 suggestions have been completed or the question remains fully approved for an amount of time, it is published to the forum to be answered. This then makes the down-vote virtually obsolete as all questions would be approved.

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    The penalty for being downvoted is 2 reputation. That's already trivial. You're saying we should reduce that to 1, which is even more trivial and inconsequential? – ArtOfCode Aug 8 '16 at 15:27
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    Rather than telling people not to downvote your questions, consider just posting good questions. That tends to work far better. Telling people not to downvote your bad questions is likely to increase the downvotes it receives. – Servy Aug 8 '16 at 15:30
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    I have seen my reputation go from almost 100, all the way down to 20 overnight because of one question or one answer. So you received 40 downvotes in one night? That should have been a terrible post! – Patrick Hofman Aug 8 '16 at 15:36
  • I haven't looked through all of your questions on all of the sites you've joined but this question with 7 downvotes is the highest-downvoted post that I can see you having (assuming it hasn't been deleted)... Can you either link to the question/s you're talking about or revise your numbers a bit? You seem to be exaggerating a bit. – Catija Aug 8 '16 at 15:51
  • @Servy you will notice that I have said in the question that I have received heavy down-votes on questions that I spent lots of time and effort, going through the page on asking good questions to be completely sure that I had done everything it suggested - so I can't really "[post better] questions" as the page on asking them is telling me my questions should be beyond acceptable. – user337773 Aug 8 '16 at 16:43
  • @Catija I have deleted a very large number of posts with far more down-votes, some of which are understandable, but I did have one very reasonable question about the atmosphere of small planets and asking whether a breathable atmosphere can develop, but I deleted it after I reached 16 down-votes and the question was put on hold for being "opinion based". – user337773 Aug 8 '16 at 16:49
  • @OlieAyre You didn't say that, actually, but even so, it seems to be not true, given that you yourself have said that you're regularly asking questions that can be solved with simple research. You've also demonstrated very poor research skills in posting this meta question without looking into what the site's quality standards are, the purpose of the mechanisms you're suggesting be changed, etc. – Servy Aug 8 '16 at 16:52
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    @Servy I suggest you read the post again. To quote the post:"I've asked questions and gone through the entire page on asking a question - making sure I've ticked every box". And then: "Nearly all questions except research-able ones have some degree of opinion tied to them - be it in choice of method or choice of answer where there may be multiple. As a result, almost all of the questions I've had have fallen into this category." – user337773 Aug 8 '16 at 16:56
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It takes five times as many downvotes to reduce your rep by one answer upvote. You have to attract an insane amount of downvotes to lose 80 rep: you really got 40 downvotes, plus 5 more for every upvote? I don't think the problem is the rep system here.

Honestly, I often feel a little bit underpowered with my downvotes. It's death by a thousand papercuts. That can be especially annoying when 5 votes gets unceremoniously eradicated by a stray upvote.

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    ... on an answer. It takes only 2.5 dvs on questions. 2-5 vs 2-10. – Catija Aug 8 '16 at 15:59
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To adress both of your suggestions:

  1. Implementing a penalty to downvote questions and increasing the penalty for downvoting answers is a very bad idea—Voting is an integral part of how the Stack Exchange system works and discouraging people from voting will seriously limit peoples ability to judge the quality of questions and answers.

  2. The penalty for a downvote (-2) is rather inconsequential already but it is there for a reason, it is there to encourage you to post good questions and answers. If you're getting enough of a penalty for it to significantly affect your reputation then you're doing something wrong. Get to know what is acceptable for the site you are posting on, do your research and post good questions and answers.

With regards to the definition of a good question, that varies a lot depending on which site you are on. There are common sense things that make a good question everywhere (like doing some research first) but anything that is site-specific should be taken up on that sites meta, not here.

With regards to your updated suggestion, you are suggesting a significant change to the entire way StackExchange works. In my opinion it is a terrible idea but regardless of that it's such a change that I doubt it is feasible.

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  • As far as the page on each forum that acts as a guide for posting a good question is concerned, near all of my questions shouldn't have received any negative views at all. I often go though that page word by word and make sure I've added in everything it it says makes a good question. So I post my "good question" and then the next morning it's on -5. Explain that. Is the page wrong? Or are the users wrong? Or is the site broken? – user337773 Aug 8 '16 at 19:56
  • The page may very well be wrong, but as I said that is a question for that site's meta not here, as each site has control over their own page... As for users, people are free to downvote as they please so there is no "wrong" in that sense, all you can do is make yourself familiar with what is accepted on that site first. – Cai Aug 8 '16 at 20:19
  • And as for the site being broken... It's by no means perfect but it is what it is. Most would say it is working as intended. – Cai Aug 8 '16 at 20:20

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