Is it justified to downvote a complete answer to a question which does not show much effort on the asker's part toward solving the question? I believe this is a question applicable to most problem-solving-based communities on SE, but if it's needed, I'm writing with specific reference to questions on Math Stack Exchange.

  • How do you know the reason? Was there a comment with that information? Feb 1, 2020 at 11:33
  • The comment said something along the lines of, "The asker clearly did not put effort into showing he/she/they made a reasonable attempt to solve the problem, and we want to discourage this." For reference, making a reasonable attempt to solve the problem is strongly suggested when asking questions on Math SE.
    – paulinho
    Feb 2, 2020 at 15:53
  • 1
    I figured out my own solution a few years ago. I won't downvote a correct answer, but I have been seen posting comments such as "I didn't vote, but you may receive downvotes from others for answering a question that will obviously be closed" There's other explanations, but that's just how I handle things (mostly when they ask "why the downvote, it's correct") Feb 4, 2020 at 20:27

1 Answer 1


Notwithstanding that any answer should apply to the question asked, I think questions and answers should be assessed independently.

The guideline, which is available as a tooltip, when downvoting an answer is to do so when:

This answer is not useful

There are myriad reasons why a particular voter may find an answer to be not useful, but if an answers' usefulness is assessed that way by them, then they are free to downvote, and should not be questioned about that because it is their opinion.

If another user thinks the same answer is useful, then they are equally free to express that opinion using an upvote.

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