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See this question:

Encouraging people to explain downvotes

considering the opinions expressed in there, I don't understand why downvote-explaining comments are disallowed:

enter image description here

Not every downvote can be converted into a suggestion for improvement - and it seems popular opinion on meta has it (or rather, had it, a decade ago...) that it's better to explain a downvote rather than not leave any comment.

marked as duplicate by Nicol Bolas, Pierre.Vriens, Pikachu the Parenthesis Wizard, Mureinik, Ward Jun 6 at 5:11

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 2
    What makes you think they're disallowed? I explain my downvotes nearly every time I use them. – Alex May 31 at 22:14
  • @Alex: See edit. – einpoklum May 31 at 22:17
  • I've never received that message. What site is that on? – Alex May 31 at 22:19
  • @Alex: Umm, StackOverflow... – einpoklum May 31 at 22:20
  • 3
    @Alex that's apparently because the comment starts with -1. See this answer to a related question by OP – Jenayah May 31 at 22:23
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    I think it's unique to StackOverflow. meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/277314/… – Alex May 31 at 22:23
  • 1
    The message actually does say to offer "specific guidance". By saying "don't comment on your downvote", it means don't only say that you downvoted, but explain why you downvoted. But I can understand how someone can be confused by the wording of the first sentence. – Kodos Johnson May 31 at 22:47
  • @Jenayah: But the "starts with -1" is just a way to detect downvote-explaining comment. And the red box says what it says. – einpoklum May 31 at 23:11
  • @KodosJohnson: It means what it says, and it doesn't say what you (or me) would like it to say. – einpoklum May 31 at 23:12
  • Thinking this to myself, I'm thinking that they don't want someone commenting something like "-1 because this solution is dumb". They want comments like "You are using foo to do x but you should be using bar because y" – Kodos Johnson May 31 at 23:59
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    Why would any SE volunteer curator care about any 'positive public opinion' from the masses of deadbeats who don't give a PHP about SE, it's other users or anything except getting their answer? Why would a downvoting curator pin a 'here is my username' target on itself so that s/he can be shot at on meta, blogs, tattler or facepalmbook? – Martin James Jun 1 at 6:27
  • @MartinJames: I'm not sure what you mean by "volunteer curator"; can you explain that term? Also, the only opinions I know how to gauge are those of commenters and voters on meta.SX (or meta.SE), so that's what I related to. – einpoklum Jun 1 at 10:34
  • @einpoklum - Anyone who answers a question is volunteering their time in order to do so. – Ramhound Jun 1 at 11:10

You are welcome to explain your downvote like this:

This doesn't consider the possibility of XYZ

or this

I tested this and it doesn't even compile

or whatever else you want to say. It should be "specific guidance" and not "what a stupid answer I can't believe you spent five minutes typing that". Such comments will be flagged.

But start that specific guidance with "-1" and you don't need to wait for a response to flagging - you'll be told not to do that. That's because in general saying "I downvoted you" isn't very nice, and the particular trope of starting your comment with "-1" is really not nice.

Why is it important to you to include that part?

  • It can be important because a comment does not necessarily indicate that you downvoted; and a downvoter may feel it is inappropriate / impolite / immoral to sanction or attack a person's answer without identifying themselves and giving the rationale for such an act. That is, many people believe that not saying you "I downvoted you" isn't very nice. – einpoklum Jun 1 at 7:54
  • Also - your rationale here does not agree with the text in the red box. If the intention is to say "start with specific guidance", it shouldn't tell people to just not comment on downvotes. – einpoklum Jun 1 at 7:57
  • Some nitpick on the 2nd example: Is "...it doesn't even compile" still within being nice? I realize you use it as an example but shouldn't we prefer " ... the compiler barks at me with error FuBar. Am I missing something". Just to make sure we set the right examples, for our Twitter followers and what not :( – rene Jun 1 at 8:12
  • Oh sure, it would be even nicer to say what error was given by what compiler. But that doesn't have to be the bar. "This is crap" is not actionable. "This doesn't compile" is. – Kate Gregory Jun 1 at 12:10
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    @einpoklum: "a downvoter may feel it is inappropriate / impolite / immoral to sanction or attack a person's answer without identifying themselves and giving the rationale for such an act" They should not feel that way. A downvote is not an attack, and thinking of it in those terms is wrong. I'm sure some people feel that way, but we should encourage people not to feel that way, not to justify that feeling. – Nicol Bolas Jun 1 at 16:45

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