2

I am trying to check if there are good/valid uses of "-1" comments.

I know this is not valid:

-1: Bad post.

But is this okay?

With all due respect, I don't think this is a very helpful response. There are many vague terms like "more or less established" and "anything earlier than the 15th century is ... written on a scroll". Since Coemgenus is asking for proof of his insightful conjecture, which it appears you cannot prove or disprove, I'm sorry, but I have to give you -1 on that.

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    Maybe valid, but "I have to downvote" is better: 1) shorter, and 2) more accurate since -1 might mean "-1 rep" which is wrong since it's -2. – Shadow 10 Years Wizard Nov 25 '19 at 11:41
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    @ShadowThePrincessWizard Then again, we all know +1, and by that logic it should be +10 :) – user45266 Nov 25 '19 at 19:18
  • @user45266 +1!! :D – Shadow 10 Years Wizard Nov 26 '19 at 7:07
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In my book, this counts as constructive criticism, which is one of the use cases for comments:

When should I comment?

You should submit a comment if you want to:

...

  • Leave constructive criticism that guides the author in improving the post;

You don't have to mention you downvoted, but it doesn't hurt that you do.

I do agree with (a part of) @Tinkeringbell's comment below that the formulation of the comment can be improved:

A part of constructive criticism is focusing on whatever the person did instead of focusing on the person themselves (So no 'you cannot prove or disprove' but 'this post doesn't prove or disprove'), another is to give recommendations on how to improve (which can be inferred from the example comment, but would be better if spelled out directly).

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    One side note: A part of constructive criticism is focusing on whatever the person did instead of focusing on the person themselves (So no 'you cannot prove or disprove' but 'this post doesn't prove or disprove'), another is to give recommendations on how to improve (which can be inferred from the example comment, but would be better if spelled out directly). So perhaps this comment isn't as constructive as it seems to be at first glance. – Tinkeringbell Nov 25 '19 at 10:33
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    @Tinkeringbell There is always person behind the post, focusing on content and not on person means that you don't care whether person is black, white, man, woman, alien, dog... high reputation user, low rep user. While one can always write anything tad better, like you did show in your example "no 'you cannot prove or disprove' but 'this post doesn't prove or disprove'", saying that first version is not constructive criticism and second is, IMO is just ridiculous. – Resistance Is Futile Nov 25 '19 at 11:10
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    @Tinkeringbell I don't have problem with striving to write in more neutral and more friendly tone. But for many people the difference between the two is almost invisible and it may require tremendous amount of effort to adjust writing habits. I would hate to see that people trying to be helpful in a bit clumsy way will get flagged as rude or unkind. Everything seems to be going in that direction. – Resistance Is Futile Nov 25 '19 at 11:16
15

Explaining how you voted is unrelated to providing contructive critisism. Just provide the feedback, don't even mention your vote:

With all due respect, I don't think this is a very helpful response. There are many vague terms like "more or less established" and "anything earlier than the 15th century is ... written on a scroll". Coemgenus is asking for proof of his insightful conjecture, which you have not attempted to prove or disprove.

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6

Voting is intended to be anonymous.

Whenever, I see someone including "-1" or "+1" in a comment I think they may be wanting others to follow their lead.

If you have a comment that can help a poster improve their post by all means make it.

If you personally think the post is useful, or not useful, then by all means vote accordingly, but I see no need to advertise that you have done so.

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3

This is okay. And mentioning that you downvoted, in the context of a constructive critic, can serve useful purposes:

  1. It gives a clear incentive for the poster to improve their post by taking your remarks into consideration (especially towards fresh users who don't have yet the "see vote split" privilege yet, and who may not even be aware they are downvoted).
  2. Some users don't like anonymous downvotes. At least if you say who you are, they can't complain about that.
  3. OP knows that you are the downvoter, or one of the downvoters. They can tag you back in a comment to tell you to check any improving edit. Then you can remove the downvote. Everybody benefit from this: OP gets the rep back, you did something nice, and the site gets better content.

So, that is why I always try to make it clear that I downvoted, and why. The only cases when I don't are for obviously off-topic posts, or posts so bad there isn't anything to say about it.

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1

I think the other answers agree, and the consensus is: it is okay to do so (as in: it is definitely not in violation of the rules of our communities).

Me, personally, I find such comments extremely helpful. And that goes both directions:

  • When you do +1: reason for upvote then the OP understands which aspect of his post was deemed most helpful.
  • When you do -1: reason for downvote, not only can the OP look into fixing that problem. The OP also has the ability to respond to the author of that comment, and notify them I agree: fixed or I disagree: for this or that. Which makes it easier for the person voting/commenting to remember to come back, and maybe change the vote.

Obviously, the second part about enabling a short "conversation" is more helpful in case of downvotes. Thus I deem the +1: reason for upvote less useful (and of course: announcing upvotes carries the risk of coming over as and now come voting on my answer).

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