Down-voting a question is like saying, the question is stupid.

I recently gave an example of some code I had written. I asked what would be the cleanest way to get the function that I was looking for. Not, hey can someone write me some code to fix this? My question got down-voted. Why? Some of the best questions that helped me, were the ones that got down-voted.

You say that it's about learning, but most of us learn by example. Why not ignore a question if you think it's stupid, why insult a person, and make them feel bad by insulting them with a negative indication for wanting to learn? This site has helped me very much, but I have never questioned myself about wanting to learn and asking a question until now.

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    I don't think a system where all newly asked questions are instantly no better than low quality/useless ones is a good one. Downvotes allow us to quickly and easily differentiate between them. – user400654 Feb 22 at 16:56
  • Learning from SO is great. Asking to be taught is a question better asked of real teachers, TA and profs. 'but most of us learn by example', well, there are quite a large number of examples on SO. You are ascribing motives for downvotes that are unjustified, unevidenced fake news and abusive/insulting to curators. I don't believe what you claim, and will not do so unless you can provide verifiable evidence instead of vitriolic rants. – Martin James Feb 22 at 20:06

Google and other web crawlers tend to not ignore bad or poorly written questions, so we have to encourage them to.

Failing that...

Stack Exchange's search is so bad that we have to encourage it to ignore bad or poorly written questions on a regular basis. The only means we have to accomplish this is with downvotes.

These aren't meant to be personal attacks on you or anyone afflicted by it; it's more a vote of rating the quality of the question itself. If the question is poor, then taking steps to improve it is the best option for everyone.

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    How downvotes makes web crawlers ignore a post? I might be missing something basic, but as far as I know votes have no impact on searches done by external crawlers. Only deletion has effect, as it hides the post from web crawlers. – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Feb 22 at 17:08
  • @ShadowWizardisVaccinating: I was hoping, at least. – Makoto Feb 22 at 17:24
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    That would be nice feature, does Google have meta site? ;) – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Feb 22 at 17:27
  • @ShadowWizardisVaccinating - I would say a question getting downvotes, then places it in the queue, which results an extremely poor question being deleted. This prevents that question (and any answers to that low quality question) from being indexed in the future. Wouldn't it be wonderful if downvoting was enough to prevent high visibility to a bad question though? – Ramhound Feb 22 at 17:50
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    @Ramhound sure, but the answer doesn't mention anything about deletion, only downvote. (It's trivial for us that downvotes can lead to deletion, but for people not familiar with the system, it's not.) – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Feb 22 at 17:58
  • This question created some very clear, and understandable replies (thanks, by the way). Not to mention, that there are enough helpful people who think the question worthy of their time, but it got downvoted 20+ times already? – Lorenzo B Feb 23 at 0:42

Down-voting a question is like saying, the question is stupid.

Well, that's not really what a down-vote means, or was ever intended to mean. Rather, the purpose of down-votes is to indicate that there are issues with the question, as defined by what Stack Exchange thinks a good question should look like. This allows the vast amount of content to be rated in a way that's useful for users searching for information.

As mentioned in the tool-tip when you hover over it, the reason for downvoting could be that the question is not useful, or that it's unclear, or that it lacks research effort. None of these mean that the question is "stupid", nor is it meant to be a personal attack in any way, even though it can feel like that at times.

I suggest looking at the down-votes on your question as constructive feedback that says: "This question can be improved". Focus on how you can do that; the Help pages have some useful guidance on how to go about this. There may also be comments on your question indicating what you can do specifically for the question you asked. Incorporating that feedback will result in your being able to ask questions in a way that will not attract downvotes.

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    ... and which may attract upvotes instead. – PolyGeo Feb 22 at 19:48

A downvote isn’t saying that “this question is stupid”, it’s saying “this question is not suitable for this Stack Exchange site”.

As an example, it might be that the question would provoke a lot of good discussion - but if any and all answers are ultimately matters of opinion, it will be downvoted and closed, because the Stack Exchange model does not easily accommodate opinion in most of its sites. That makes it a poor question for Stack Exchange, but not a “stupid” question.

  • Not true either. If a question "is not suitable for this StackExchange site”, close vote should be cast. On topic question can also be downvoted, and many times they are, based on the content and the lack of things. – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Feb 22 at 17:06
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    @ShadowWizardisVaccinating - Not everyone can cast close votes, and downvotes often accompany flagging a question as "having other problems". – Jeff Zeitlin Feb 22 at 17:43
  • "the question would provoke a lot of good discussion" - That is problematic since Stack Exchange communities are a discussion forum – Ramhound Feb 22 at 17:48
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    @Ramhound - take the full context: a question that should be closed as opinion-based might still be a "good" question in the sense that it can provoke a lot of good useful discussion but not in a way that is suitable for SE. That makes it a poor question for SE - and it's still not a stupid question. – Jeff Zeitlin Feb 22 at 17:51

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