On this site, I've not seen a whole lot of very upvoted questions, unlike on other sites.

But in the past couple of days alone at least two questions have been downvoted up to 26 times. I personally took very long to get to even the rep I have now on this site.

Why do you think that is? Is this site really that controversial?

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    Voting rules on this site are different from most other Stack Exchange sites. In particular, one common reason for downvoting is simply to indicate disagreement, usually to a feature request; see How does Meta Stack Exchange work?. Also, see How do I participate in Meta and not die trying? and the general What's Meta? help page. – Sonic the Curiouser Hedgehog Jun 24 '19 at 2:15
  • Yeah voting here’s weird. My question has -15 score, yet the thing it was closed as a dupe of after it already had 8 downvotes has +16 score. – Stormblessed Jun 24 '19 at 2:43
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    Why is downvoting a mob? Would upvoting be the same thing? Why isn't that a problem? – fbueckert Jun 24 '19 at 3:11
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    Another relevant discussion: Does meta have to mean murder? – Sonic the Curiouser Hedgehog Jun 24 '19 at 3:33
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    @Storm that logic is flawed. Surely you don't expect every variant of the downvote-require-comment discussions/feature-requests to get a score of 1075? – M.A.R. Jun 24 '19 at 4:31
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    On the other hand, you cannot have been looking very far there are maybe thousands of posts that have over +20 and hundreds that have >+100 – Mari-Lou A Jun 24 '19 at 5:37
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    @Mari-LouA I find your groupthink assumption mostly unfounded. It does happen sometimes (usually in close votes rather than up/downvotes) but how can you be sure it's herd mentality rather than most of the voters deciding the post in its own merit and not the score? It's more plausible for an unpopular opinion to go from +2/-10 to +4/-20, that's just probabilities, and not necessarily groupthink. – M.A.R. Jun 24 '19 at 5:48
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    @Marshmallow There is nothing about this question that is offensive, belittling, whiny, or aggressive in its tone, but it will continue to gather downvotes because it has already attracted a significant number. Maybe now some users will read my comments and refrain from downvoting, because on social media, and like it or not SE is part of the shebang, (some users will deny it and say that SE is not a forum), on social media people want, need, to feel part of a group, and expressing a vote makes them feel "not alone". That's how I see it. – Mari-Lou A Jun 24 '19 at 6:02
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    @Mari what is that observation? That downvoted posts tend to get more downvotes? What I'm getting at is that's not necessarily groupthink, i.e. it's not because others thought to downvote this. Meta.SE commoners are meta veterans such as yourself, and they're not that hasty or reckless in their judgement. – M.A.R. Jun 24 '19 at 6:03
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    @Mari RE your latest comment, I don't follow. When was it ever stated that those are the only (semi-legitimate) reasons for a downvote? – M.A.R. Jun 24 '19 at 6:05
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    @Mari I have, and again, why must someone not exercise their vote just because it's closed and sitting at -10? I quote "This will only invite more downvotes as it's true there is a somewhat herd mentality that governs this site." and I myself said "It does happen sometimes". It's the assumption that dismisses these pile-up votes as inherently groupthink that I find unfounded. – M.A.R. Jun 24 '19 at 7:07
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    @Marshmallow I am not denying anyone their privilege to cast a downvote, users can express their assent or dissent on announcements, feature requests, and discussion, but when a post is already closed as a duplicate and has (for example) -10 why continue to pile on the downvotes? It's a duplicate, which is supposed to have some value, it's not off-topic. – Mari-Lou A Jun 24 '19 at 8:03
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    If a post has 10 downvotes or not has absolutely nothing to do with whether I put a down vote on it. I will downvote (on meta) if I disagree with the post, or think it is not a good question. – Rory Alsop Jun 24 '19 at 10:04
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    @Mari-LouA: "It's a duplicate, which is supposed to have some value" No, being a duplicate in and of itself is not and should not be a shield from voting. Duplicates can be good or bad, depending on what is in them. Some duplicates are more valuable than others. If the duplicate is poorly phrased, for example, then it will attract downvotes. And that's not wrong. And on Meta, things that tend to attract downvotes are thinly-disguised rants against the community. Like this post. – Nicol Bolas Jun 24 '19 at 13:51
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    @Mari-LouA but title edited as suggested – anon Jun 24 '19 at 18:20

Meta is a strange, slightly odd, fickle beast.

It's kind of the internet equivalent of the agora – it's a chaotic place where ideas are brought out, argued over and occasionally there's a bar fight or two.

Critically as the prototype meta, we have folks voting meta-style (to agree or disagree), on topics of discussion (which don't do as well on main sites), announcements (which strictly are not questions and other such curiosities), but we have reputation like any other site...

Critically – It's the one place you can get a enhancement or feature aired out. Sometimes they even get picked up. And, well, sometimes folks are a little too enthusiastic over ideas the rest of the community isn't enthusiastic about. But this is the only way to gauge the sentiment of the community.

As one of the folks who actually got -27. I expected this, and didn't actually care about the reputation hit. I felt a topic that needed discussing kept coming out in comments, and it actually ended up better than I expected. (On the whole, my reputation is positive from that question). And well, more than reputation – meta is the collective memory of the network. You don't always remember just the good things.

And sometimes even the unpopular views need airing and discussion.

In some situations, some announcements are unpopular or controversial and they get downvoted too.

Voting on MSE is based on sentiment. And well, meta is one of the hardest crowds to work with. It's the nature of our audience – folks who are enthusiastic about the network and its workings, and its topic matter.

  • Ofc you don't care about -27 downvoted..... You have ~54k rep!!!! ;-) – anon Jun 24 '19 at 2:49
  • Love the comparison you made though – anon Jun 24 '19 at 2:54
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    @INLOwnerInnonetlife Its just a number. And honestly, past 10K (bit of a story there) and being a mod - the number literally is just an increment counter. I get no additional benefits from it. The 'work' behind the number - both in terms of posts, and stuff in the background, and the ability to influence folks is much more valuable. Do consider my reputation chart looks a little like i.stack.imgur.com/AWs0I.png (and this is typical for both higher rep sites for me) so... its just something you work at, and eventually the light goes on in your head and you get how this works ;) – Journeyman Geek Jun 24 '19 at 2:59
  • @JourneymanGeek Until I get 20k I can't participate in deleting blatantly off-topic questions. – Sonic the Curiouser Hedgehog Jun 24 '19 at 3:07
  • @SonictheBracketedHedgehog Well, I took aboooout 7-8 years to get there. – Journeyman Geek Jun 24 '19 at 3:24

I can think of a couple of factors off the top of my head why we get lots of voting here:

  • High regular voter/post ratio: We usually get around 5–10 on-topic questions here everyday, and often only one or two invoke reactions (maybe posts that liken downvoters to members of a mob? Hint, hint). It'd get a better statistician to prove this, but for what it's worth, it's only Monday and we already have several people who've voted more than ten times. My educated guess is there is more eyeballs here on the average post than most other places.

  • Lack of clear criteria for voting: Or "too many possible reasons for voting", if you prefer. I can upvote/downvote a post based on:

    • Usefulness: Subjective, but I can justify downvoting a heated rant merely based on the tone, not that people are ever required to justify their votes, but this is never true anywhere else with a reputation system. Someone who came here only to vent isn't really looking for a useful discussion.
    • Research: Duplicates that are often discussed or easily searched for can be downvoted just like any other site.
    • Disagreement: Voting is different on meta and all that. People sometimes downvote s or the like, even. Maybe they disagree with discussing it?
  • Easier invocation of reactions: Entangled with both the previous reasons, people can choose their stance far too easier on meta. A way bigger portion of questions here are like "Vim sucks" questions. You see posts with assumptions like that hit the Hot Network Questions, see lots of voting and commenting activity, and never seem inclined to drop off the list. The bar for downvoting is also low (and especially low these days), considering how often it has become to insult or accuse the audience of something.

Personally, I see far too many questions from folks who should have spent a week or two understanding the system better. People should be more skeptical of how good they think their common sense is, especially talking to an audience who's usually more familiar with the system, and consider why their brilliant idea hasn't already been implemented after more than a decade. That "die meta" post is a good read, even if it's outdated and doesn't touch on these issues adequately (in my opinion).


I think that the number of downvotes on this site reflects the large number of off-topic questions, and questions that users assess as being not useful for other reasons, which are posted here.

The tooltip for the downvote indicates that it should be used when posts are not useful.

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    Blatantly off-topic questions are a wholly different thing, however. The post author seems more likely to refer to valid Meta questions that get downvoted heavily, not to blatantly off-topic questions. Also, this doesn't address different voting rules on Meta. – Sonic the Curiouser Hedgehog Jun 24 '19 at 2:30
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    @SonictheBracketedHedgehog exactly – anon Jun 24 '19 at 2:49
  • @SonictheBracketedHedgehog I did not read anything in the question to suggest that the asker was asking about anything but any heavily downvoted questions. – PolyGeo Jun 24 '19 at 10:46
  • @PolyGeo But the author later confirmed what I was saying in the second comment here. – Sonic the Curiouser Hedgehog Jun 24 '19 at 14:47