When my question gets down voted, I always ask why my question got down-voted in the question's comments. I don't always receive a response and this leaves me confused. If I do not get a reason behind the down vote, can I just post a question on the meta site and ask for help in improving the question?

  • 6
    "I don't always receive a response and this leaves me confused." - people who downvote don't always (or usually) stick around to see if they're asked why, and the comments won't ping them.
    – bobble
    Jul 11, 2021 at 0:21
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    @bobble Thank you for the response. I understand that but my goal is to ensure the questions I ask are of high quality.
    – a_sid
    Jul 11, 2021 at 0:50
  • 2
    It depends on the site's community whether such questions would be received well on a site meta, but to increase your chances, you should focus less on the downvotes and more on improving the question. Jul 11, 2021 at 0:56
  • @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog Thank you for the response. I put a fair amount of thought into framing questions for Stack Exchange websites. These days when I post a question, I am certain I asked it in the best possible way. Despite that, my questions sometimes get downvotes. In such cases, I cannot identify the reason behind the downvotes. Hence, I ask for reasons and I often am not given the reasons.
    – a_sid
    Jul 11, 2021 at 0:59
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    Don't EVER ask on meta "why my question was downvoted?"; it's extremely rare for such a question to be well received. Asking how to improve your question, on the other hand, is fine in most cases.
    – 41686d6564
    Jul 11, 2021 at 1:08
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  • @41686d6564 Thank you for the response. Asking how to improve your question, on the other hand, is fine in most cases. I see. So could I then ask on the SO meta site how this question can be improved?
    – a_sid
    Jul 11, 2021 at 1:50
  • Now I do not understand why this question got down voted..
    – a_sid
    Jul 11, 2021 at 4:10
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    are you aware of meta effect?
    – gnat
    Jul 11, 2021 at 5:50
  • @gnat Thank you for the response. I do now. I still do not understand though why this question got down-voted. Is it because I contributed to meta effect?
    – a_sid
    Jul 11, 2021 at 6:23
  • 3
    no way to tell for sure but some may find the title misleading, specifically the part about "not given a reason". As you can find in the linked post about mandatory feedback, default reason is indeed always given, in the tooltip of downvote button, meaning this part of your title makes little sense
    – gnat
    Jul 11, 2021 at 6:28
  • @gnat Thank you for pointing out this detail. The essence of this question is if it is acceptable to seek help on meta sites to improve one's posts on Stack Exchange websites.
    – a_sid
    Jul 11, 2021 at 6:35
  • 1
    Related: Encouraging people to explain downvotes Jul 11, 2021 at 10:41

1 Answer 1


Technically you can.

I prefer you, and many others, don't. Or at least not at the first downvote.

You say:

I always ask why my question got down-voted in the question's comments.

Don't do that. That is not where comments are for. It is noise. I've flagged the two comments you left under the same question. Use comments only to clarify the post.

A vote indicates usefulness for future visitors. It is always a judgement call by the voter and it is therefore pretty useless to have each and every vote explained because judgement calls don't lend themselves to be rule-lawyered. Besides usefulness, clarity and how well the question is researched are other criteria questions better abide to.

A voter is most likely to never return to your question again. If you pick up four comments within eight minutes of posting and you need to edit your question due to that, you have the explanation of the downvotes. You were too quick with posting and should have given it another hour or so. There is plenty of time to prepare a good question, but only so little time to fix it once it is live.

One of the mistakes many users that ask about downvotes make is: Asking for things they are already told. If there are comments under a question that point out an issue or suggest researching topics you have already got the feedback you're asking for. Posting on Meta will then be seen as: I've happily ignored all guidance already provided to me, but instead I continue whining about a downvote. The meta crowd sees no reason to go gentle when they suspect this reason from the OP.

In the end, if you still insist on coming to Meta, you still have to do the same research, and the same due diligence as if you post on Meta. It is worth keeping in mind that the Meta regulars optimize for the knowledge base towards the future. They have no emotional bond with your question, and they honestly don't care. Only if they see possible value for generations to come might be lost, they will guide OP's and rectify mishaps. The onus is on you to explain where the value is in a question that received a downvote. If Meta doesn't get convinced the Meta effect might backfire a bit.

TL;DR; Can you ask on Meta for help in improving a question?
You can, but only if it is 100% clear that a question has value, all possible options to improve have been exhausted, all comments have been addressed and the Help and question checklist are applied. I have also written this guidance for a slightly different use case, but you might find that advice useful as well.

  • Thank you for the elaborate response. I've flagged the two comments you left under the same question. For this particular question, I genuinely didn't understand what was wrong with it so I was considering posting on SO's meta site. I also then thought it may not be the best idea to run to the meta site whenever I feel I am not getting feedback on my question's quality. Hence, I decided to ask here first if it is appropriate to do so i.e. ask for suggestions in improving my question.
    – a_sid
    Jul 13, 2021 at 6:25

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