-5

I've noticed a certain pattern. If I post a question and within a few minutes, if it gets even a single downvote, the number of views for that question hardly ever increase, and then so do the votes. As opposed to this, a single upvote leads to many views. Why does this have to happen? Why do people neglect possibly good questions that just one person disliked?

  • 7
    because there are likely better questions to answer. Questions compete with each other, there's more of them than people to answer so answerers like to spend time on questions that can be answered and votes are a sign of answerability. – Robert Longson Jun 26 '17 at 7:03
  • 1
    @RobertLongson, I hate it when votes as considered a sign of answerability while people down vote questions just because they didn't "like" the question :) – PulseJet Jun 26 '17 at 7:04
  • 4
    People downvote for all sorts of reasons. The question being hard to understand or a duplicate is pretty common though. It is feedback that you need to do something and you should treat it as such. – Robert Longson Jun 26 '17 at 7:09
  • 1
    How do you think answerers should treat downvotes and why? – Robert Longson Jun 26 '17 at 7:11
  • 1
    @RobertLongson, they should probably at least have a look at the question and decide for themselves I guess? – PulseJet Jun 26 '17 at 7:13
  • 6
    There's 500 questions I could answer, I've only got time to answer 1 or 2, and I really don't want to wade through all 500 to find those 1 or 2 so... – Robert Longson Jun 26 '17 at 7:14
  • 1
    @RobertLongson, so basically believe in a single other person's ability to judge a question and choose to ignore it? – PulseJet Jun 26 '17 at 7:15
  • 1
    A net score of -1 could be anything from a single down vote to a +10/-11. A high vote tally means there are already a lot of people dealing with it so one more isn't needed. A low vote tally means it isn't worth looking at, fullstop. – Nij Jun 26 '17 at 7:26
  • 1
    @Nij, but my question is if it's fair to completely ignore a question that could be +0/-1 – PulseJet Jun 26 '17 at 7:28
  • 8
    You cannot control how people spend the time they volunteer here. When I get an early downvote the first thing I do is edit my question. – PolyGeo Jun 26 '17 at 7:37
  • Your assumption that Stack Exchange optimizes for you to get an answer to your specific question is false. The priorities are roughly (1) collect good answers to common questions; (2) don't waste the time of the people who answer these questions. – tripleee Jun 26 '17 at 8:10
  • The final outcome also depends on the tag. "What does 'null pointer exception' mean" in c will deservedly get downvoted and marked as a duplicate very quickly, whereas a question in an obscure tag like procmail will probably eventually get answered in spite of one or two downvotes, once somebody with domain knowledge decides to review the recent questions in this tag or just stumbles across it. – tripleee Jun 26 '17 at 8:22
  • Your premise might be wrong anyway, I love looking at heavily downvoted questions and I doubt I am the only one. – patricksweeney Jun 26 '17 at 15:33
  • I looked at this one. And I look at downvoted ones too. And I don't notice (or care about) that much of a difference in view counts based on score unless it's HNQ material, really. Most questions don't get a lot of views, regardless of score. – Jason C Jun 26 '17 at 22:18
7

If you are correct in your assertion that questions with downvotes get fewer views, I think it makes the case for asking clear and well-researched questions at the outset even stronger.

That way they should get early upvotes accompanied by more views and more reputation.

  • Politically correct, but the issue I was talking about is that there is still quite a probability that the first person who looks at it may dislike the question, reducing its potential to be answered by a lot. – PulseJet Jun 26 '17 at 7:10
  • 1
    I have had a question go from about -10 to +25 by listening to the early downvotes and editing quickly. Nevertheless, I wish that I had asked it more clearly at the outset. – PolyGeo Jun 26 '17 at 7:17
  • Slightly off topic to this particular question, but it really doesn't help when that single downvoter doesn't explain anything, and you don't get much more. – PulseJet Jun 26 '17 at 7:18
  • 4
    You need to treat explanation beyond what is in the downvote tooltip as a bonus. A lot more people can spare the time they volunteer to help give feedback on a question's shortcomings with their downvote. Would you want them to help less? – PolyGeo Jun 26 '17 at 7:25
  • 5
    @RadialApps - If you were to ask somebody a question in person, and it was not clear, they likely would simply respond by saying "What?". You should treat a downvote, in most cases, as an indication somebody is also saying "What?" when they read your question. You don't need an explaination in that case, a downvote is a signal there is a problem with your question, you should respond to that signal. At the end of the time, if you want that vote to be reversed, that has to happen anyways. – Ramhound Jun 26 '17 at 14:18
5

PolyGeo's answer addresses the real problem, but focusing on your premise, I do not see data to support it at all. For example, the last 100 questions on MSE (by creation date):

enter image description here

Or normalized by age:

enter image description here

I checked SU and SO too and they seem to show similar [non-]patterns.

This seems to show not only lack of correlation (in particular views/hour seems unrelated), but even suggests the opposite (negatively scored questions get more views). So I don't think the premise itself is correct.


Here is the data for that chart, which can be obtained from the API with the code snippet below:

views score  hours views/hour   creation_date
--------------------------------------------------------
   18     0   3.43       5.26   2017-06-26T19:23:36.000Z
   53   -13   4.11      12.90   2017-06-26T18:42:31.000Z
   12     1   7.30       1.64   2017-06-26T15:30:51.000Z
   21     6   7.52       2.79   2017-06-26T15:17:38.000Z
   60     4   8.90       6.74   2017-06-26T13:55:23.000Z
   10     2   9.12       1.10   2017-06-26T13:42:04.000Z
   27     3   9.70       2.78   2017-06-26T13:06:53.000Z
   43     2  10.73       4.01   2017-06-26T12:05:20.000Z
   48     1  15.00       3.20   2017-06-26T07:48:58.000Z
   90    -3  15.89       5.66   2017-06-26T06:55:50.000Z
   79   -22  20.81       3.80   2017-06-26T02:00:26.000Z
   48    -4  21.61       2.22   2017-06-26T01:12:46.000Z
   24     0  29.11       0.82   2017-06-25T17:42:33.000Z
    9     1  34.56       0.26   2017-06-25T12:15:18.000Z
   22     2  36.50       0.60   2017-06-25T10:19:16.000Z
   44   -10  38.21       1.15   2017-06-25T08:36:38.000Z
   20    -1  38.26       0.52   2017-06-25T08:33:26.000Z
   31    -8  41.45       0.75   2017-06-25T05:21:58.000Z
   22     1  41.88       0.53   2017-06-25T04:56:14.000Z
   48   -15  43.81       1.10   2017-06-25T03:00:39.000Z
  111    -1  45.17       2.46   2017-06-25T01:38:37.000Z
   97    -3  46.69       2.08   2017-06-25T00:08:01.000Z
   13     1  48.06       0.27   2017-06-24T22:45:46.000Z
   28     1  48.95       0.57   2017-06-24T21:52:18.000Z
  105   -18  49.11       2.14   2017-06-24T21:42:34.000Z
   19     2  50.50       0.38   2017-06-24T20:19:20.000Z
   67     4  51.47       1.30   2017-06-24T19:21:13.000Z
   21     2  57.44       0.37   2017-06-24T13:22:48.000Z
   61     4  57.75       1.06   2017-06-24T13:04:07.000Z
   86     1  61.71       1.39   2017-06-24T09:06:19.000Z
   24     1  63.55       0.38   2017-06-24T07:15:50.000Z
   16     1  64.69       0.25   2017-06-24T06:07:26.000Z
   53   -10  64.70       0.82   2017-06-24T06:06:57.000Z
   38     3  65.92       0.58   2017-06-24T04:53:51.000Z
   77     3  65.98       1.17   2017-06-24T04:50:22.000Z
   76   -12  66.77       1.14   2017-06-24T04:02:45.000Z
   91    -2  68.44       1.33   2017-06-24T02:23:00.000Z
   60    -5  74.35       0.81   2017-06-23T20:28:21.000Z
   72    -7  74.67       0.96   2017-06-23T20:08:38.000Z
   11     1  76.22       0.14   2017-06-23T18:35:59.000Z
   59    10  76.27       0.77   2017-06-23T18:32:43.000Z
   99     3  79.46       1.25   2017-06-23T15:21:18.000Z
   28     2  79.76       0.35   2017-06-23T15:03:30.000Z
   45     1  80.39       0.56   2017-06-23T14:26:01.000Z
   37     3  81.78       0.45   2017-06-23T13:02:34.000Z
   30     2  81.96       0.37   2017-06-23T12:51:27.000Z
   31     1  82.81       0.37   2017-06-23T12:00:48.000Z
   62     6  83.34       0.74   2017-06-23T11:28:53.000Z
   33     0  83.57       0.39   2017-06-23T11:14:58.000Z
   16     1  84.20       0.19   2017-06-23T10:37:22.000Z
   88   -21  86.96       1.01   2017-06-23T07:51:34.000Z
   95     2  96.31       0.99   2017-06-22T22:30:44.000Z
   38     1  97.75       0.39   2017-06-22T21:04:24.000Z
   97   -12  99.25       0.98   2017-06-22T19:33:56.000Z
   53    -3  99.93       0.53   2017-06-22T18:53:29.000Z
   38     3 100.05       0.38   2017-06-22T18:45:53.000Z
   15     1 100.22       0.15   2017-06-22T18:35:47.000Z
   68     4 101.61       0.67   2017-06-22T17:12:21.000Z
   44     3 102.71       0.43   2017-06-22T16:06:27.000Z
   51     6 105.29       0.48   2017-06-22T13:31:45.000Z
   77     4 105.45       0.73   2017-06-22T13:22:10.000Z
   47     2 105.85       0.44   2017-06-22T12:58:12.000Z
   36     5 111.19       0.32   2017-06-22T07:37:57.000Z
  236   -22 111.99       2.11   2017-06-22T06:49:48.000Z
   51    -8 112.30       0.45   2017-06-22T06:31:00.000Z
   37     1 113.82       0.33   2017-06-22T04:59:56.000Z
   91    10 115.10       0.79   2017-06-22T03:42:54.000Z
  169    -4 115.71       1.46   2017-06-22T03:06:25.000Z
   25     2 116.61       0.21   2017-06-22T02:12:25.000Z
  223    -8 116.68       1.91   2017-06-22T02:08:25.000Z
   51     8 120.42       0.42   2017-06-21T22:23:58.000Z
   15     1 122.22       0.12   2017-06-21T20:35:42.000Z
   10     2 123.18       0.08   2017-06-21T19:38:09.000Z
   11     2 123.81       0.09   2017-06-21T19:00:34.000Z
   13     1 126.76       0.10   2017-06-21T16:03:41.000Z
   50     4 128.49       0.39   2017-06-21T14:19:27.000Z
   22     2 128.50       0.17   2017-06-21T14:19:04.000Z
   16     1 128.72       0.12   2017-06-21T14:06:07.000Z
   52    12 130.59       0.40   2017-06-21T12:13:31.000Z
    5     1 130.85       0.04   2017-06-21T11:57:53.000Z
  125   -13 134.32       0.93   2017-06-21T08:29:38.000Z
   67     4 135.18       0.50   2017-06-21T07:38:03.000Z
   80    -5 137.50       0.58   2017-06-21T05:19:16.000Z
   59    11 140.00       0.42   2017-06-21T02:49:14.000Z
   40     2 145.46       0.27   2017-06-20T21:21:33.000Z
   35     3 146.56       0.24   2017-06-20T20:15:35.000Z
   45     4 147.38       0.31   2017-06-20T19:26:16.000Z
   27     1 148.52       0.18   2017-06-20T18:17:43.000Z
   59    -7 149.91       0.39   2017-06-20T16:54:18.000Z
   45     5 150.88       0.30   2017-06-20T15:56:08.000Z
   65     3 151.14       0.43   2017-06-20T15:40:36.000Z
 7675   205 151.82      50.55   2017-06-20T15:00:01.000Z
    9     2 151.84       0.06   2017-06-20T14:58:30.000Z
   63    19 153.61       0.41   2017-06-20T13:12:17.000Z
   66     0 154.33       0.43   2017-06-20T12:29:19.000Z
   13     2 154.65       0.08   2017-06-20T12:10:19.000Z
   34     1 155.27       0.22   2017-06-20T11:33:07.000Z
   96   -13 156.18       0.61   2017-06-20T10:38:36.000Z
   20     1 157.03       0.13   2017-06-20T09:47:21.000Z
   29     1 157.20       0.18   2017-06-20T09:37:00.000Z

function query () {
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    pagesize: 100,
    order: 'desc',
    sort: 'creation',
    site: $('#site').val(),
    filter: '!b9_nXoxcc622i('
  }).then(function (r) {
    var now = new Date().getTime();
    var result = 'views score  hours views/hour   creation_date\n';
    for (var item of r.items) {
      var a = (now - item.creation_date * 1000) / 3600000.0;
      result += col(item.view_count,5) + col(item.score,5) + col(a.toFixed(2),6)
              + col((item.view_count/a).toFixed(2),10) + '  '
              + new Date(item.creation_date * 1000).toISOString() + '\n';
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  • 1
    I would argue that MSE is not representative of the main sites. A lot of people like me actually like to click through on downvoted MSO/MSE questions to see if there's anything entertaining. – Mysticial Jun 26 '17 at 22:56
  • @Mysticial If you type "stackoverflow" in the site box in the snippet and click "Run", it appears to have the same lack of correlation (or possibly higher views for negative scores, but I'm just going for "not correlated"). At best I'd go for "higher views per abs(score)" (noting that I do not claim causation in either direction, either). – Jason C Jun 26 '17 at 22:58
  • All other factors being equal, for MSE/MSO, I generally click through on anything that's massively voted in either direction. On SO, I don't see the massively downvoted questions (<= -4) since they drop off the front page. I usually only find them via the 10k tools, the meta effect, or someone linking in chat. And I almost never click through on questions between -1 and -3 since they're the typical bad questions which I'm not interested in. – Mysticial Jun 26 '17 at 23:14
  • Negative questions get more views because the moderator tools pick up these questions and try to vet them through the various programs for improvement. – rlb.usa Jun 26 '17 at 23:32
-3

It's a common behavior across the community. Reason being, there are many people posting questions over the community. It will depend upon how fresh or old content you are posting. If there are some related questions present in the community before, people will downvote to reduce the duplication. Negative votes do attract some traction, but people who know their way around the community will understand that a downvoted post is not worth visiting. They would rather check post that makes sense.

Even your question title plays an important role in pulling a crowd. If it's new and well-framed people would be more interested to read on the description. But if a user fails to convey his problem, it means his description is as poor to read and waste time on.

People are looking out for something that is new and not yet solved. People want to learn new things; they don't want to waste their time on what they already know. Seasoned community users want to invest their time where it is more learning and challenges. If some question is generating upvotes, they smell it's something new on the block and worth a visit. Upvotes are also given if your question is well researched and descriptive.

It doesn't mean a downvote is a bad sign; sometimes when people visit a question and just search related question and find something, they will try to mark it duplicate. Downvotes are given when the question is not well-formed and is exact duplicate of some other question. So if you get even a single downvote, there are chances your question will be closed or deleted by moderators. So nobody wants to sail in a to-be-sinking boat. So anything which falls in such a category usually gets less traction. There are lots of question posted on community and people want to invest their time in the best ones.

Also blame it on the frequency of questions posted on community. Within minutes there are 10+ question posted. So after a while your question is long gone from the first page and you might have heard about the saying. If you have a dead body, better hide it on the second page.

  • Interesting your answer score is just as negative as the question (-4/-4). Guess people didn't like it? – rlb.usa Jun 26 '17 at 23:55
  • Haha @rlb.usa Its been worse. Its went down till -8 votes. I don't know who 4 people did upvoted it later. I don't know what I posted wrong. :P – Prabodh M Jun 27 '17 at 2:26
  • @pradobh M voting is a very finicky thing. It can be anything from verbosity to reputation to a single sentence they didn't agree with. – rlb.usa Jun 27 '17 at 22:31
  • @rlb.usa I Agree. – Prabodh M Jun 28 '17 at 3:01

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