The dynamics of many sites get totally whacked up once a post goes onto the Hot Network Questions queue. This is obviously by design and choice. However, the net result is that the entire character of a site stops working normally.

Now the association bonus does not allow people to downvote. So what they instead do is try to persuade others to downvote for them! Which means that the meta discussion under the post is now suddenly hijacked by people trying to argue the answer, often without any constructive criticism to the answer. This is a bit annoying, I would be much more inclined to get downvotes at least that would send a more usable signal to others. But this may not work as many people are quite negative voting averse.

So my naive idea was that: could we change the rep needed somehow so that those coming from other networks could downvote once per site, so that we don't accumulate disagreements in the comments below the answers users don't like? Or something better could be suggested.

It's not like the accepted and voted answers writers can actually do anything about the voting result. So even if the author would agree that something else may be more deserving in the queue, they can't change the accepted status. Also, there can be many reasons not to do too much edit anyway, so as not to just post rationalize somebody else's more deserving answer. At least by allowing down voting, something would happen. It is far less annoying to get the dissent as negative votes than as comments below, not nice but far less annoying.

  • 3
    Your post still needed some grammar edits. Also, we get tons of questions where users rant about their own posts getting downvoted; I edited the title so that users who simply read the title don't simply assume it's another such rant and downvote this. Mar 2, 2018 at 10:57
  • @Ano yes thank you. But anyway i am asking to get downvoted instead of getting complaints as comments. Which is way more annoying!
    – joojaa
    Mar 2, 2018 at 10:57
  • Most of the content of your post very strongly implies you're requesting this as a feature (which led to my initial edit). This might explain the current downvotes. I'd recommend making it clear from the beginning that you're just starting a discussion. You should explain the problem first, and then at the end say that "one way to solve this would be..." Mar 2, 2018 at 11:01
  • The problem described is real. When a question enters HNQ it goes haywire. I don't like the idea of giving casual visitors the ability to downvote. But it would be nice if we could give site regulars a bit more control over what happens in an HNQ. Mar 2, 2018 at 11:02
  • @Ano Perhaps, i don't mind down votes. It is far better than getting your answer hijacked by a meta discussion. Which is fine on Meta.
    – joojaa
    Mar 2, 2018 at 11:05
  • You'd not only attract a few downvotes, but also detract a lot of people who'd be willing to chime in on other possible ways to solve the issue. In theory, this shouldn't be the case, but this is what happens in practice. I really think you should make that edit (you know your post better than I do) so you get some better opinions. Mar 2, 2018 at 11:07
  • @Ano I agree,even though it may be a bit late now.
    – joojaa
    Mar 2, 2018 at 11:10
  • @joojaa It's not too late. In fact, usually a few such downvotes end up getting retracted once major edits are made. Mar 2, 2018 at 11:13
  • @Ano made some changes but i have to go now feel free to edit
    – joojaa
    Mar 2, 2018 at 11:26
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    tbh, just throwing a short auto-protect in it feels like a good way to deal with the peanut gallery. The same problems that upvotes would have also affect downvotes - that its done by folks unfamiliar with the site, gawking at what's either a flaming tirefire, or performance art of the highest order... that said, I'm not sure that would be good for cross site traffic Mar 2, 2018 at 11:27

2 Answers 2


HNQ does indeed cause problems; it's usually not the best questions that get selected, but the ones with the most "clickbaity" titles. And it attracts casual visitors who aren't domain experts.

But allowing a single downvote from people with the association bonus... sounds like fighting a problem with another problem. The original problem is that the association bonus allows people with little expertise to vote up. Should we also allow these people to vote down?

Also, where would that stop? Would that "one time downvote" apply... only to the question in HNQ? To one answer, or all of them? Should users get that right once per week? Then what if the same site has two HNQs in the same week?

So instead, I would argue that we should prevent HNQs from being voted up by casual visitors. We could give them some kind of "protected" status that doesn't just prevent answering, but also prevents commenting or upvoting by users that don't have 10 rep on the site itself (as opposed to the association bonus).

Or we could raise the rep required to upvote and comment above the association bonus. However, this would go against the idea of the association bonus, at least where commenting is concerned.

Given that HNQ is often clickbait and controversial issues, I'd rather restrict the rights of casual visitors, than expand them.

  • Yes my problem is that in this particular case the up voters haven't really voted badly. Its just that the accepted has accepted the answer way too early. Some people seem to be preferring a more robust answer about the topic whereas the accepted answer is on purpose simplistic to be on the askers level. Which some people object to. Now i could change the answer, but that would misrepresent the chain of events.
    – joojaa
    Mar 2, 2018 at 10:54
  • anyway im suggesting that the associativity bonus would act as if it were 125 points, if you now downvote once you drop into novoting territory
    – joojaa
    Mar 2, 2018 at 10:57
  • @joojaa Downvoting a question is free, so that would not get users into "no voting territory". Only downvotes on answers cost a point. Mar 2, 2018 at 10:58
  • Regarding the "accepted answer" - it has always been the OP's choice which answer they'll accept. We have a few requests for letting the community determine the green checkmark, instead. Those requests invariably get downvoted. Mar 2, 2018 at 10:59
  • Yeah, but i am specifically asking my answer to get downvoted.
    – joojaa
    Mar 2, 2018 at 11:00
  • OK so perhaps i'm thinking that down voting answers should require 101 points while down voting questions would need 125 or better yet 150
    – joojaa
    Mar 2, 2018 at 11:02
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    Formally suggested several years ago now: Prevent questions on hot list from being upvoted by casual visitors (only rep is from association bonus) Unfortunately it went nowhere.
    – jscs
    Mar 2, 2018 at 12:28

I think part of the problem with solutions like this is - its special casing things. Questions (and answers I suppose) are on HNQ for some arbitrary amount of time and as far as I know there's no real visibility of it for regular users (or even mods). That said, changing the 'rules' based on whether its HNQ or not seems... rather complicated.

It might be worth looking at the community rather than tweaking mechanics to sort this out - we have a mod tool that would work here - locks, but it feels somewhat heavy handed, and kind of would take the steam out of a HNQ almost as effectively as a closure. (The comment lock proposed here would be a more elegant option)

We could also be a little bit more proactive about policing such questions but as I said, visibility of HNQs isn't that great, unless you're stalking the HNQ list.

If we're having peanut gallery comments, once we get past 20 comments, mods get notified (or you can flag them). As such, rather than handing out pitchforks and torches to the mob, we can simply delete any comment that isn't really constructive.

So what they instead do is try to persuade others to down vote for them! Which means is that the meta discussion under the post is now suddenly hijacked by people trying to argue the answer, often without any constructive criticism to the answer.

So, flag it. Comments are not meant for discussion anyway.

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