Possible Duplicates:
Meta FAQ page should include more verbiage about downvotes.
Why do people take downvoting on meta so personally
Why are downvotes different on meta?

Downvoting on Meta Stack Overflow should mean one of two things:

  • On feature requests/bugs, it means "I don't like your feature, I don't think it should be implemented"
  • On discussions - your question is really badly formed, gibberish, or plain boring.

(Enlighten me if I have missed something)

Now, several times recently, people have down-voted some "discussion" questions that I asked, that I don't think were badly formed.

My theory is that these down-voters mentally mistook my question for a feature request, and down-voted to show their discontent at the feature request.

Am I correct in understanding that questions that are closed as duplicates should not be down-voted just for being duplicates (rather, it should be closed as such)?

  • 6
    Well, this was begging to be down-voted, I know, I know :)
    – ripper234
    Apr 12, 2010 at 5:32
  • 11
    downvotes on Meta tend to indicate disagreement in addition to the bad question and i'm bored meanings. that meaning isn't limited to feature requests. Apr 12, 2010 at 5:51
  • @random - actually, the first is not really a dupe, more a "consequence" of this question.
    – Gnoupi
    Apr 12, 2010 at 8:23
  • 4
    This question has all the hallmarks of "Don't downvote my questions, no matter what you may think of them." @gno
    – random
    Apr 12, 2010 at 8:28
  • 1
    Downvotes in part look to discourage bad behaviour. Asking dupes would be considered bad behaviour.
    – random
    Apr 12, 2010 at 8:50
  • 3
    well, if it makes you feel any better, I did change the front page filter threshold on meta from -4 to -10 .. so any given question can survive a lot of downvoting before being banished away from the front page. Apr 12, 2010 at 12:14
  • @Jeff - That's a quite useful, but are you sure about the -10? this question (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/46308/…) currently has -8 and is not found on the front page anymore. (or maybe this change occurred after the last edit, I don't know)
    – Gnoupi
    Apr 12, 2010 at 12:45
  • Irony overflow.
    – MPelletier
    Apr 12, 2010 at 13:28
  • 2
    Funny, I was about to write up something calling for more downvotes on questions.
    – Aarobot
    Apr 12, 2010 at 14:04
  • 1
    @Jeff: since meta is a low-traffic site anyway (where posts can survive for a day on the front page), and downvoted questions are still useful discussion topics, perhaps it might be easier and simpler to simply remove the front page filter for meta entirely?
    – Ether
    Apr 12, 2010 at 14:53
  • @random - see this question about dups and "bad behaviour" - meta.stackexchange.com/questions/46420/…
    – ripper234
    Apr 13, 2010 at 5:47
  • Also, none of the supposed dups for this question are feature requests, so I don't understand how can this be considered a dup (well, except this one which is certainly not a dup to my feature request: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/15251/…)
    – ripper234
    Apr 13, 2010 at 5:47

1 Answer 1


Besides the usual "voting is anonymous, and it's up to each individual to vote for whatever reason" yadayada, here are some typical reasons for downvoting on meta:

  1. On feature requests: The voter disagrees and thinks this would not be a good feature.
  2. On discussion questions: a) the question is a de-facto feature request – see 1.; b) the OP bases his question on assumptions that the downvoter disagrees with; c) the question is just a rant that's unhelpful or close to offensive
  3. On bug reports: a: lack of freehand circles in screenshots; b) bug is not easily reproducible
  4. On support questions: a) the question is a de-facto feature request – see 1.; b) it is an actual support question, but includes a "this stupid site doesn't work" outburst
  5. On any question or answer: a) the voter wants to call Commander Keen; b) the post mentions Commander Keen

Here are the data dump-based probabilities that you end up with a negative score on your question, based on the tag:

                 total count  with score < 0  percentage
bug              1392         38              2,73%
support          1613         71              4,40%
discussion       3808         364             9,56%
feature-request  2789         356             12,76%
  • -1 for mentioning the C-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named... Apr 12, 2010 at 6:56
  • 1
    added 3b: bugs should be reproducible or we will downvote them mercilessly.
    – Ether
    Apr 12, 2010 at 14:55

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .