One thing that I have been doing that may hurt me is that when an answer gets down votes I delete the answer and rewrite it.

I don't just rewrite it because I have found that the down votes prejudice subsequent reviewers against my answer. I usually end up with a good answer that gets upvotes or at least remains at zero.

Although the official position is to rewrite the question or answer I have found that almost never works. This seems to me that my idea of bias against down voted questions is justified. How can this best be resolved?

  • 4
    "Can I go back and change the text of all of the down vote answers to the text of the zero or positive vote answers …" This suggestion (as I read it anyway) sounds like a combination of plagiarism and self-vandalism, and also something that would create duplicate answers, something that would clutter up the question. May 13, 2020 at 15:55
  • @JasonBassford I am just looking for the best way to do things. It is certainly not any sense of plagiarism for me to quote myself, that is not the way that plagiarism works. Most of my questions get down votes because they are very difficult questions from a very unconventional point of view. Likewise for my answers.
    – user520982
    May 13, 2020 at 16:55
  • If you don't provide a citation for yourself, it is a form of plagiarism. It's called self plagiarism. Especially here at SE, you can't just copy and paste text in its entirety from one answer to another. You need to provide a citation, and reference the original (even if you wrote it). It's also generally expected that you will provide additional text rather than just a 100% copy and paste. May 13, 2020 at 17:15
  • @Jason Although it is frowned upon because it would make duplicate answers that would clog up the system it is not plagiarism because both answers have the same username, thus providing the citation. It looks like this won't help me anyway. All of my down-voted answers were unconventional, thus there are no good answers to these questions that I can use to replace the down voted answers.
    – user520982
    May 13, 2020 at 17:19
  • No, you're wrong. I added a link to my previous comment. You cannot just copy yourself in situations like this without providing some kind of attribution. May 13, 2020 at 17:20
  • @JasonBassford See there you go. The actual meaning of the term Plagiarism proves that the term self-Plagiarism is incorrect. Plagiarism is the representation of another author's language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions as one's own original work. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism
    – user520982
    May 13, 2020 at 17:27
  • @JasonBassford People really hate it when I point out that their opinions are counter-factual and they vote me down as revenge. Did you just vote me down because I pointed out that your opinion about self-Plagiarism is incorrect?
    – user520982
    May 13, 2020 at 17:35
  • 4
    @polcott No, I did not just revenge downvote you. (Not that I'm under any obligation to say anything or that I need any kind of justification.) And you can nitpick the dictionary definition of plagiarism as much as you want. Self plagiarism is very much an accepted thing, and not only is it just as frowned on in academia as regular plagiarism, but it's also unacceptable here at SE. Whether or not you want to pedantically say it's not the same is beside the point. It's still not allowed. May 13, 2020 at 17:39
  • @RobertColumbia In my case I am getting voted down because my very difficult questions and answers are very unconventional. When I provide conventional answers these are usually very well received. I don't have any conventional question that I need answered because I can simply look up the conventional answer on Google.
    – user520982
    May 13, 2020 at 17:39
  • @JasonBassford You seem to be continually missing the point that because I always post with the same username thus always providing attribution it can't be any kind of plagiarism at all.
    – user520982
    May 13, 2020 at 17:42
  • I'm not missing anything. Just because you're the author of a post, that doesn't mean that you're necessarily the author of any of the content inside the post. (Although it's assumed.) What you copy and paste can come from any source. If you copy and paste without saying what that source is (even if it's yours), then that's either plagiarism or self plagiarism. It's text that's not original to the post. If what you post is what you manually typed, then everything is fine. If you've copied from somewhere else without saying you have, then everything is not fine. May 13, 2020 at 17:51
  • @JasonBassford I can't help but think that because the term self-plagiarism directly contradicts the official meaning of the term plagiarism that this is not just as ridiculous as the idea of self-theft when I pick up a book from one room and move it to another room.
    – user520982
    May 13, 2020 at 17:57
  • @JasonBassford The problem doesn't seem to be that I can't write good answers. As long as I stick to conventional answers I get up-votes or most of the time no votes. The real problem occurs when I provide unconventional answers. It seems that most people on SE consider unconventional as the same as incorrect.
    – user520982
    May 13, 2020 at 18:20
  • You don't need to edit the question to say that you've edited/will be editing the question, because we can see that from the edit history.
    – F1Krazy
    May 13, 2020 at 22:36
  • @F1Krazy In other SE forums they would ban me for a month for changing the wording of the question. I want to make sure that that does not happen here.
    – user520982
    May 13, 2020 at 23:09

3 Answers 3


Robert Longson's answer handles most of your questions, however...

One thing that I have been doing that may hurt me is that when an answer gets down votes I delete the answer and rewrite it.

Yep, that's hurting you a fair bit. Instead of seeing downvotes and deleting your answer, spend a bit more time when you first create your answer. Try to re-read it a few times from someone else's point of view. If you were to read this answer yourself, would you consider it an acceptable answer? Beyond that, is it an upvotable one?

When you do post your answer, continue to edit it in response to negative feedback instead of deleting it. Negatively voted answers that later get deleted directly lead to an answer ban. Editing is the ideal choice here. Deletion is a last resort.

  • I can't tell that an answer is bad until after I get feedback. What is perfectly fine and clear to me seems incomprehensible to other people. Time ans time again when I improve an answer or I improve a question the bias of the original down-votes seems to prevent any subsequent review.
    – user520982
    May 13, 2020 at 16:22
  • philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/72947/… This is a post with a correct and good answer that got voted down anyway
    – user520982
    May 13, 2020 at 16:27
  • @polcott That question was later closed as a duplicate. The downvote is probably to indicate that you shouldn't have answered there in the first place. Given that the duplicate target has a lot of well-written answers already, you should strive to make subsequent answers similarly high-effort and well-written.
    – Spevacus
    May 13, 2020 at 16:46
  • It couldn't have been closed as a duplicate before I provided the answer because closed questions do not accept answers. So generically if I post a perfectly good and correct answer yet it is somehow unpopular I must suffer with down votes?
    – user520982
    May 13, 2020 at 16:49
  • 1
    @polcott If it's a good and correct answer, then it'll probably be upvoted. If it's simply unpopular, it won't be seen at all, or will only be voted upon once or twice. If it's so-so, it won't gain upvotes or downvotes. If it's a duplicate answer, an unfounded answer, off topic, or fails to adequately answer the question, then it'll probably be downvoted (and with good reason.) I can't go through various answers of yours and determine their worth or answer why they were up or downvoted, I can only give you advice on how to better carry yourself as you continue to contribute.
    – Spevacus
    May 13, 2020 at 16:55
  • It is generally the case that I get down votes on my questions and answers because they are asked and answered from an unconventional point of view. People really seem to hate it when someone thinks outside of the box. What is the best way that I can ask unconventional questions so that they will not be voted down entirely on the basis that they are very unconventional?
    – user520982
    May 13, 2020 at 17:00
  • 1
    Explain why your thinking is different. Provide detailed and concrete evidence. Do note that this is global meta so you're unlikely to get any specifics here. You want your site meta for that. May 13, 2020 at 17:01
  • 3
    I think that it’s ok to delete an answer that’s being downvoted so you can fix it in peace and then undelete it, with the idea that you’ve hopefully shaped it into something upvotable. It’s the fact that answers would stay deleted and downvoted that would hurt OP.
    – Laurel
    May 13, 2020 at 17:43
  • @RobertLongson "Explain why your thinking is different. Provide detailed and concrete evidence." Initially when my ranking was very low they rejected it out-of-hand without any review at all. Now the reviews have gotten much better yet they continue to insist that I must be wrong yet can't possibly point out a single error.
    – user520982
    May 14, 2020 at 6:12
  • @Laurel The fundamental issue is that I am addressing things in a way that they have not been addressed before. Superficially this may seem like an error because it utterly ignores existing conventions and reformulates them from first principles.
    – user520982
    May 14, 2020 at 6:16

Can I go back and change the text of all of the down vote answers to the text of the zero or positive vote answers so that they identical lower vote answers will be marked as duplicate and not count against me?

Plenty of misconceptions here:

  • answer votes are independent of the fate of the question. If the question gets closed as duplicate, all votes on the question and all answers remain the same. Only when the question (or individual answers) get deleted, then the reputation is affected accordingly.
  • typically, votes express whether readers see content to be helpful and on topic.
  • and most importantly, it seems weird that you have so much answer content that is worth duplicating. If you encounter a question that you already answered elsewhere, then the proper action is to vote for that question to be closed as duplicate, not to duplicate answer content.

Meaning: your favorite term unconventional is deeply subjective. You might consider your content to be out of the box thinking, but others might simply see it very differently. There can be many reasons why your "rewritten" answers see less downvotes. For example simply less viewers.

And finally: yes, what I can observe about you from the content here, that is unconventional. But not in a positive way. To a certain degree, you create the impression that you think you know better about the rules of this place than anybody else. And that isn't a helpful attitude.

I hope that I am wrong, but that is how it feels when reading your comments. If you always act in such ways, I am not at all surprised that many readers consider your content to be not helpful, and thus vote like they do.

  • "answer votes are independent of the fate of the question. If the question gets closed as duplicate, all votes on the question and all answers remain the same." I was blocked from asking questions and one of the ways to get unblocked was proposed to provide good answers. I can provide good conventional answers that get up votes or at least avoid down votes. I also have a bunch of down-voted answers that I would like to fix. All of these answers are very unconventional.
    – user520982
    May 13, 2020 at 18:58
  • "To a certain degree, you create the impression that you think you know better about the rules of this place than anybody else." I can't help but utterly reject ideas such as self-plagiarism within the context of SE as utterly ridiculous as self-theft. If there is a third party publisher involved that shares in the rights on the basis of monetary remuneration that is a different case. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism
    – user520982
    May 13, 2020 at 19:06
  • 3
    @polcott "self-plagiarism" is a term in use. It does not denote a special case of plagiarism. French toast is not toast. You will likely find more success on this site if you spend more time trying to cooperate in communicating & less pedantically balking & mocking.
    – philipxy
    May 13, 2020 at 20:31
  • @philipxy My passion in life, my prospective future profession in artificial intelligence research and the primary reason that I am on any SE site is to explore the mathematical foundation of the notion of truth. Because of this when I see a self-contradictory term such as self-plagiarism is is like fingernails scraping a chalk board, and I must speak up.
    – user520982
    May 13, 2020 at 20:35
  • @polcott See my last comment.
    – philipxy
    May 13, 2020 at 20:40
  • @philipxy "self-plagiarism" denotes a self-contradictory term, thus a lie, and I really hate those. I am compelled by moral obligation to Truth (with a capital "T") to speak up.
    – user520982
    May 13, 2020 at 20:45
  • @polcott It's not considered appropriate to satisfy all one's uncontrollable urges in public. Bye now.
    – philipxy
    May 13, 2020 at 21:01
  • @philipxy Because people let things like this slide the populace loses its grounding in truth. This can have very dire consequences.
    – user520982
    May 13, 2020 at 21:10
  • @polcott: Since you are into "the notion of truth", I can recommend reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (I read it in a German translation, but others have also recommended it) May 13, 2020 at 22:19
  • @polcott You can enter a vegetarian restaurant and order a T-Bone steak all day long. But no matter how often you repeat that idea, and how often you try to convince other customers (who keep telling you: they do not serve T-BOne steaks here) that serving T-Bone steaks would be a great thing ... in the end, you are wasting your time. If you want a steak, the vegetarian place isn't for you. If you like the vegetarian place and what to enjoy it, then forget about ordering meat products there. That is exactly what I meant with my last paragraphs: people rarely come here to have lengthy ....
    – GhostCat
    May 14, 2020 at 5:44
  • discussions like this. Please let that sink in, and please avoid coming back telling me that I am wrong for reminding you that we do not serve steaks here, as steaks are so great.
    – GhostCat
    May 14, 2020 at 5:46
  • @GhostCat I only have one purpose coming to SE and that is to get enough feedback on my key unique ideas to make them clear enough to get published. I could be more diplomatic about this. I am really only working on the mathematical / algorithmic foundation of truth.
    – user520982
    May 14, 2020 at 5:55
  • @GhostCat I have had my work reviewed thousands of times and although the SE reviews are the best that I have ever gotten, they still boil down to people deciding that I must be incorrect entirely on the basis that is what they truly believe. a few top rated reviewers have been helpful in pointing out helpful resources.
    – user520982
    May 14, 2020 at 5:58
  • What brings you here doesn't matter. What matters is whether you accept that this network has its own set of rules and practices. Sure, many of them might need improvement, and sure, then it makes sense to start discussions to get the community to a consensus. But as said, balancing is required. There is no sense in trying to convince a mountain that it should move out of the way so that you get to your destination more quickly.
    – GhostCat
    May 14, 2020 at 5:59
  • @GhostCat Yes a balance is good. It is very hard to feel equanimous when I get question bans entirely on the basis that the reviewers don't understand that that don't understand the subject matter.
    – user520982
    May 14, 2020 at 6:02

Only questions can be marked as duplicates (of other questions). If you keep deleting answers in this way you may end up with an answer ban. You need to learn to take the time to write a good answer in the first place.

Look at other upvoted posts that have similar tags to yours. You can use the timeline to see if they had a negative score at the beginning of their life. Find some that only received upvotes and see how their wording differs from yours. Are they more detailed? Do they have references where you do not. Use them as tools to improve your posts.

There really isn't much you can do to rescue deleted answers that are near duplicates of answers you've subsequently, unless you can answer the question with a completely separate approach (then you can have two different valid answers to the same question)

If you raise a question on your local meta, a local moderator may dissociate one or more of your answers to get you out of the ban if you promise not to do this any more. They don't have to, but they might if you ask nicely.

  • OK then it seems that there is no way to avoid prejudice against an answer to get a fresh review of the new answer. When I have improved answers in the past I never get another review with an upvote. People seem to think that the original vote was justified no matter how the answer is changed.
    – user520982
    May 13, 2020 at 16:12
  • 3
    No, you have to learn to live with your mistakes, fix them and trust that cream eventually rises. May 13, 2020 at 16:13
  • Yesterday I provided a perfectly correct and well written answer and it was voted down anyway. I provided that it was perfectly correct by proving the textbook answer to back up my own answer. What can be done if good answers get voted down?
    – user520982
    May 13, 2020 at 16:16
  • 2
    Improve it, think about where you might have gone wrong. That's what I did here although I had some helpful commenters that pointed me in the right direction. In the end I reversed some of the initial downvotes and started getting upvotes. May 13, 2020 at 16:20
  • I have never had any edits that I make to any answer or question ever get the down votes reversed. I have tried and tried and it seems to be the case that the initial down votes always bias subsequent reviewers.
    – user520982
    May 13, 2020 at 16:24