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So I asked a question on here last week, it was down voted 3x for absolutely no reason and as a result no one followed up my questions or helped me solve the problem.

I since reposted the question with LOTS of extra content and examples and the ENTIRE source code. My question was downvoted and I was called a sociopath and spammer for reposting it.

Every where else I post I have been met with people interested in helping out, here I've had just as many comments saying my post is bad (with absolutely no feedback) as actual helpful answers.

What am I doing wrong? I have been polite and given as much information as possible and whilst I have had a few brief suggestions I have been met with by downvotes and people calling me a spammer/sociopath. I have responded to all suggestions and comments as well, I am at a loss as to why I am getting this response.

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    People very rarely do things for "no good reason". Maybe you should consider your idea of good is off. You should have edited your first question with updated info, not made a new one and added other posts. I think it may have been a bit harsh, sure, but don't try to move all the blame from yourself.
    – GManNickG
    Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 2:32
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    @rolls is referring to this and this. As for why the downvotes? No clue. Grumpy C programmers? It would've been nice if they'd left a comment, but you can't always get what you want. Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 2:39
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    @rolls: If you cared to provide links the commentariat might have something to weigh in on. There is some risk, of course, we might decide that we also don't like you posts, but the usual results have included some advice on how to do better in the future. Edit: I see that the links have been found. Still, that should have been your job. Really. Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 2:40
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    @rolls: You could do yourself a huge favor and clean things up in the first question (also copying pertinent info from the second question, if any), delete your answers on the first question, then delete your second question. That would bump your question back to the front page and give everyone another chance to see the question as you had originally intended. Perhaps a second "clean" run will yield better results. Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 2:43
  • I would have edited my first question but it had 3 downvotes so it wouldnt have been seen by anyone. here is a link to the post I will edit my first post and see what happens stackoverflow.com/questions/4029159/…
    – rollsch
    Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 2:56
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    @rolls: Just because it's at -3 doesn't somehow mean it's magically invisible, people still go in those all the time. Often, people will up-vote to counter-act them if your edit was good, too.
    – GManNickG
    Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 5:09

4 Answers 4

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Being downvoted sucks, particularly when you are just starting out. I totally understand why this can be frustrating.

Looking at your question I have a few suggestions that could help out in future:

  1. Never repost a question, people will pick up on it and get upset. Instead edit your question to include additional information.

  2. Very long questions (aka. wall of text) are very difficult to deal with. Be careful with your edits, don't suddenly turn a clear 8 line question to a 200 line complex piece of code. Isolate the problem, describe it clearly. Nobody wants to read through 200 lines of code to figure out what is wrong. It is not fun.

  3. Ask yourself, is this question / answer going to benefit others? There is very little value in having information on SOs archive which has no value for others. Questions/answers that are going to only benefit you are less likely to attract upvotes.

  4. Try to sound professional at all times, use of profanity can lead to people getting touchy and upset

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One thing that stuck out for me in this question was the unnecessary use of language. The "crap" and "sh_tloads of samples" parts. I personally don't have a problem with it but there are professionals that visit the site daily (often while at work) and have language filters in place which gets them in trouble for it. Don't use that type of language just because. I'd think that is the primary reason for it.

I don't know the timeline for when you received those downvotes but you should always put updates into your question rather than a separate answer. That might not explain the downvotes on the question however as people usually downvote the "answer" instead.

The downvotes on your follow up question are likely because you are essentially asking the same question again. Again, you should put your updates in by editing your current question, rather than asking again (with the same kind of language and updates there).

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    Sorry in the future I will refrain from using that language. The issue with updating my first post was I thought the lower the vote the lower it appeared on the first page and with -3 almost no one would see it?
    – rollsch
    Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 2:59
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    @rolls: No, it doesn't work that way. Every time your question gets edited, it jumps to the top of the "front page". Also, there are other ways to see your question (such as the questions tab or via search). Getting downvotes usually indicates a poorly written question, but it doesn't mean the question will never be seen. Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 3:08
  • Thanks for that, I will delete my 2nd thread then.
    – rollsch
    Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 3:19
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Just a guess, but it appears you did not attempt to make any effort to ask a specific, targeted question. In general, the more specific the question you ask, the better the responses you will get -- and "hey this is spewing crap, here's 100 lines of code" is not specific at all.

With only a very little bit of effort you could have likely reduced your code sample down to a dozen lines or less that still exhibited the problem symptoms, and then it would be much easier for an expert to be able to spot the issue. As it is, you're just wasting everyone's time by making them do the initial steps for you, which does not garner good will.

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    This is an important skill: isolating the fault. Programmers who don't learn learn it 1) will never be able to debug very well and 2) won't find many people willing to help them debug. Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 2:46
  • I did reduce my code down to 4 lines and if you read the whole post you will see 'If you didn't read up here is the specific lines causing the issue' everywhere else I posted the question I was asked to post the entire source code so that is exactly what I did, I guess you cant win though, too much source and people complain, not enough and you aren't telling the whole story. I honestly thought it was pretty specific, my program is printing data after I have called Fclose(stream), that doesnt make sense at all and is pretty simple. In my first post I did reduce the code down massively.
    – rollsch
    Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 2:57
  • @rolls: four lines? I see way, way more than that. You still aren't removing everything that is irrelevant. Conditionals aren't relevant. Variables that are never checked or read from aren't relevant. Huge amounts of output spew with no context is not relevant. Put forth some effort into producing a succinct code sample that demonstrates the problem.
    – Ether
    Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 3:07
  • I have since updated the post to include more detail, but yes 4 lines was the length of the call to snprintf
    – rollsch
    Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 3:13
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Well, here's one thought: You started your second question with the following:

Someone downvoted my previous question for no good reason so I got no responses, anyway I am reposting it so it will get some reads.

I think that's pretty much begging for downvotes. Start treating the community with the same respect you want to be treated with, and learn how to use the system - as GMan mentioned in the comments, you never "repost" questions here, you edit them.

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  • Well I dont really see how saying that is begging for downvotes, I honestly did not know the reason for it being downvoted and no one here has really specifically addressed why, just minor points like using the word crap twice in it, every other comment was about my 2nd thread. Why was my first thread deserving of 3 downvotes?
    – rollsch
    Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 3:08
  • @rolls: That is not the issue. The issue is that you've taken a confrontational tone instead of politely asking what you could do to improve your first question. And then you also reposted your question (an action frowned upon in any community on any platform) instead of following the guidelines and editing your original one. You made the right move taking the discussion here on meta instead, but even here you start off with a confrontational statement ("I got downvoted for absolutely no reason!"). That's inviting downvotes.
    – Aarobot
    Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 3:10
  • I'm sorry, Ive updated and edited my posts and removed my 2nd thread, all I wanted was some help and people to explain why I got downvoted, I do appreciate the comments though.
    – rollsch
    Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 3:21
  • @rolls: no one can answer definitively, unless they were one of the doenvoters themselves: all votes are anonymous. The answers are saying, in a sense, "this is how I might have downvoted you, if I came by this question", so it is still a valuable explanation.
    – Ether
    Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 15:01
  • @Aarobot The fabulous technology of this site permits long tail subjects. A down vote without any sort of justification seems counter-productive. I've benefitted from answers to questions with zero or less scores. Does "tyranny of the majority" mean anything to you? Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 23:42
  • @unh - what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?
    – Aarobot
    Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 0:09

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