I have read many posts on the pros and cons of the down-vote system. Reputation points have no real value, yet I feel insulted when a question I asked is down-voted. From a personal point of view, I feel as though my input is being rejected by an entire community.

It is hard to describe how it makes me feel when I pose a question that I would want to know the answer to, only to be subjected to hostility. This may not be the intent but it's most definitely the message I receive.

Should I take down-votes personally?

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    No, down votes are not personal. The SE sites are not a social network, somewhat blunt you could state: we don't care about users, we care about quality of posts. But for quality content you need a user and visitor base. So we have a be nice policy to streamline those cases where a discussion is needed to get content up to par. Voting is about content and in no way related to who or what you are.
    – rene
    Feb 5, 2018 at 21:35
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    When you were at school doing a mathematics test and the teacher marked your work, did you take any crosses as personal insults? Feb 5, 2018 at 21:44
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    You’ve asked a number of questions about downvotes recently. I suppose that means you’ve been posting questions and answers on a main site, like SO, and getting downvoted. Have you considered that that’s the core issue here, not the downvote mechanism? I recommend you simply take the time and effort you are current expending on Meta asking about downvotes and defending your position on them, and simply spend it on putting more effort into your SO posts. Downvotes are highly anticorrelated with the number of minutes spent crafting the posts. The more time, effort & attention, the fewer DVs.
    – Dan Bron
    Feb 6, 2018 at 11:53
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1 Answer 1


You should take it as a sign that the reader felt that the post was not useful. If that's something that's worth taking personally...then you can take it personally. I know I've at times felt that the fact that I provided a post that wasn't helpful to be a failure, and taken it as such. But of course there were other times where I haven't felt that a given person's opinion on the quality of a post is a reflection of me. It's a decision you'll need to make, and for each post.

Importantly however is to not just wallow in the fact that someone feels your post isn't useful. You have been faced with a problem; fix it. Work to figure out why others don't feel your post is useful, and fix those problems, whether it's a lack of information, too much information, a lack of clarity, poor presentation of your ideas, poor research, or any number of other problems.

Don't get mad at others for telling you that your post has problems, be thankful that they've taken the time to give you feedback, and use that feedback to improve your post. That is the most important thing to do. Whether you end up getting upset at yourself for having made a mistake that you needed to fix or not is not particularly important, what's important is that you fix it (or make your best attempt to do so).