I have been receiving poor upvote/downvote ratios on my questions on cs-theory. I've become upset over 1 downvote because of my poor ratio that could lead to a question ban.

This time my honest and best post has been downvoted. I've read up on stack-exchange's link for quality posts, but clearly this stack wants things to be in their language. I must admit they don't understand me or am under the impression that people downvote long posts because they don't like reading.

Well, given this particular project I'm working on its not quite possible to ask questions without long posts. People want me to write short posts, but under some circumstances questions may require a lengthy post. Just because its lengthy doesn't mean it should automatically put on hold, downvoted, closed etc without diligent due reason.


Can we implement a new process that addresses long posts to insure that the next time I create one its not downvoted?

  • 1
    I might post an answer later in the day, if I have time, that will argue the users who consistently downvotes are the long standing members, the ones who have become jaded and increasingly apathetic. I think it is endemic across the network, the larger any site, the lower the quality of new contributions, it then becomes a force of habit to downvote more and more posts as its core base feels increasingly frustrated by the real (or perceived) decline in standards or rigor. P.S I haven't read your question on CS Theory. Jul 6, 2019 at 7:51
  • OMG you got one downvote, one. cstheory.stackexchange.com/questions/44220/… On a question posted just 4 hours ago. That DV could be anything, a missing comma in the post, someone who is suffering from a splitting headache and found the post's length aggravated the pain... anything. Here's a tip from an oldie, never moan about downvotes unless it's serial down-voting. You risk getting banned from asking future questions? So post answers to easy questions to build up rep and respect among members. Best of luck. Jul 6, 2019 at 7:59
  • 5
    Long posts do not equal quality, albeit a long post shows effort and, possibly, a sustained thought process. I have found that on programming sites, being concise yet precise and accurate is highly revered. Lengthy posts are probably more sought after in language sites and sites that deal with human intra/interpersonal problems such as Academia, IPS, Workplace, Travel etc. Jul 6, 2019 at 8:09
  • 12
    I read your posts on CS-Theory. The downvotes on all your Qs are unrelated to their length. For each of your Qs, someone has explicitly told you they’re not up to the standards of that site, that you don’t know enough of the fundamentals, and your Qs reflect that, and removing that issue leaves no question to be asked. So again, this isn’t about length, it’s about content, and thus this Meta W has a false premise.
    – Dan Bron
    Jul 6, 2019 at 11:46
  • 1
    @Travis From one of your latest questions here it should have been quite clear to you, what you can do to improve your questions at any SE site. It doesn't have to do anything about the length of your question. You can post quite long but still completely off-topic questions at specific sites. Jul 6, 2019 at 13:52
  • @Mari-LouA I am not too sure about Academia SE. I have reviewed over 10k posts (yes, over 10k, please check my profile on Academia SE). It is my observation that lengthy posts usually get more downvotes and less upvotes.on Academia). unless it's very very good one. Most Academia users are professors/graduate students/researchers. They are busy. No time to read long posts. I think the OP may have a point. But, I don't want to judge the quality of his posts.
    – Nobody
    Jul 7, 2019 at 10:04
  • @Mari-LouA Here is an example on Workplace SE, it attracts more downvotes after the OP lengthened the post.
    – Nobody
    Jul 13, 2019 at 12:55
  • @scaaahu Not all long posts are the same. There's a difference between a well-meaning but meandering post that has a tendency of being repetitive and a post that contains the right amount of detail so users have a clear idea of the context and the history behind the problem. Saying that, the OP was successful in reopening his post. And I'd argue that the posts on Academia that enter the HNQ err on the long side. Jul 13, 2019 at 15:11

2 Answers 2


Can we implement a new process that addresses long posts to insure that the next time I create one its not downvoted?

Wouldn't that allow for abuse by users who are not like you? When implemented, users who are only capable of asking not useful, badly researched or unclear questions could overcome the stigma of down-votes by adding 20,000 characters of the Lorem Ipsum.

Voting, both up and down, is the content rating mechanism that sets SE sites apart from forums and blogs. The greater community of a site is pretty consistent in what content they deem useful, clear and well researched. On top of that, down votes are rare, despite popular belief.

So that leaves us to the content of your posts that are being down-voted. Did you consider asking on the per-site meta how you could improve your post? My gut feeling says that a lengthy question is probably deemed too broad and that is hardly useful for future visitors.

Down votes are rare, but if your posts receive down-votes, always look for ways to improve your content. Telling voters they are wrong is never a constructive way to counter the votes primarily because those that can cast down-votes got that privilege because they posted content that was well received. The model is that those who have earned upvotes know what good content looks like. It doesn't feel like that premise is wrong, specially given that this model has already worked for so long and has proven to be the thing that works.

The onus to improve is on the poster, not on the voter. Seek assistance on the per-site meta what you need to do content wise. Trying to assign blame to the voters will be counterproductive, everywhere, also here on this site.

In one of the comments on your question on cs theory there is this truth:

... you're not writing the question to yourself.

That is always worth remembering. The content we curate on SE sites are for generations to come. What is clear to you needs to be clear and useful to hundreds if not thousands of visitors of your question and their answer. If you rather being catered for you personally or are looking for open ended discussion style, free format back-and-forth interaction then more traditional forums are a better venue. The rather strict Q/A format isn't a good fit for that model.


You've asked three questions on the Theoretical Computer Science site and received replies to your concerns about the downvotes:

I'm not downvoting; but I notice that you still ignore my (hopefully good) suggestion of carefully studying/reading Sipser's "Introduction to the Theory of Computation" (and solve its exercises ;-) – Marzio De Biasi 6 hours ago

Let me try to interpret your idea: "Given the first partially filled row of a n^2xn^2 sudoku and a permutation operator (computable in P time) that generates the remaining rows; is it NP-complete to solve the resulting Sudoku?". Probably if you ask this simple question (adding more details about the permutator) it would not be downvoted ?!? Also considering the variants in which permutator is fixed or given as input. – Marzio De Biasi 6 hours ago

Another is:

The questions you pose are ... not posed in a very clear manner. The first does not appear to be grammatical or interpretable to me. The second question appears to ask for some kind of link between your Sudoku code and matrix multiplication. Yet, as far as I can tell, there is no clue or suggestion of why there should be any link whatsoever. – mhum Jun 26 at 16:40

You've also tried on our site Computer Science, the question you seem to be most concerned with there is: Pseudo-Proof of Constrained Sudoku is co-np, I say that because you asked only about that one on their Meta in this question: What to do if your best questions are getting downvoted? .

The answer for your question (the first link above) was offered by one of the moderators, and a comment to your question on their Meta (the second link above) offered by another moderator reiterated that advice, which is:

"I'd like to give some general advice. Before trying to tackle this problem, I suggest you spend a bunch of time studying the fundamentals. Set aside Sudoku and your ideas for a few weeks, and find an online course where you can learn complexity theory. That will give you a mathematical framework that, once you've learned it, you can come back and apply to Sudoku. Until you've done that, it is pointless to continue trying to frame questions like this.".

You replied and have a conversation (explanation) going on there. There's a common point being made in many of the comments. It's not the length, it's the content.

Downvotes on other sites can be for any number of reasons and asking about that here would be a duplicate. The moderators have offered a suggestion explaining why you are receiving downvotes there. Reread, address those concerns with edits to improve your question, and wait for upvotes - and everything will be repaired.

Downvotes here to a "feature request" are supposed to be because people don't agree that they want the feature to be implemented, it also doesn't appear that you've offered a simple and foolproof way to automatically determine if people understand a lengthy explanation.

  • You might try summarizing the problem in the first sentence or paragraph, and choose a title that will attract people interested in your question.

  • In the next few paragraphs try to set out your problem as simply as possible while also ensuring that it is completely described.

  • Finish your post with any additional optional information that addresses any questions that you might foresee.

That way if someone has a short attention span they get the most out of what little they have read. Don't expect that to be effective in all circumstances, I've caught people missing the first few words of the first sentence or not understanding short posts.

There are no Lifejacket or Lifeboat style badges for people whom write the questions, only for those whom offer the answers. People can downvote questions without penalty while downvoting answers has a small cost which some begrudge losing.

All the sites has a slightly different standard for up/down votes, both in frequency and deservedness. Just as there are some questions one can not answer and it's best to try elsewhere so too are there sites where you can't pose a great question that attracts a lot of interest; so try answering instead or find another site with a subject that you are better at writing questions for.

  • The newest question so far is this one. Maybe its the lack of a summary as an intro? I've had read up into a discrete mathematics book hoping that this is enough. cstheory.stackexchange.com/questions/44220/…
    – The T
    Jul 6, 2019 at 14:56
  • 9
    @TravisWells: "Maybe its the lack of a summary as an intro?" You keep coming back to this notion of "people are downvoting because it's long". Has it occurred to you that this is not why people are downvoting? Jul 6, 2019 at 15:02
  • @NicolBolas What is? I'm not sure I can read their minds. I took some of their advice (read fundamentals and I did get discrete math book). I need to figure out how to create correct posts. I'm just not sure how to do it. I have been frustrated and its my fault and not the downvoters. I just need to understand. And, I don't. :(
    – The T
    Jul 6, 2019 at 15:06

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .