I don't like seeing negative score as the value of a question. I don't know, maybe it's just me, but it just does not look good when a question has a -1 or -5 score.

This is especially annoying when someone adds a negative vote to your question. I even feel offended when my own question suddenly becomes a -1 or lower.

I have a feature request: Allow negative votes as before but when displaying a score, show the 0 score instead.

This may be implemented easily like score=max(0, score) or something like that.

The negative votes will still be allowed but will only affect questions that already have some positive score, will have no affect on 0 scored questions.

What do you think?

  • 45
    I think you're about to be very offended. Keep in mind this is meta though, a downvote could simply mean disagreement with your proposal. Nothing personal :)
    – Brandon
    Commented Nov 19, 2010 at 20:45
  • Ok. No problem. But still, if I don't care about scores for the question at all, I think there should be some type of user settings where user can customize thinkgs like 'don't show question score'
    – Dmitri
    Commented Nov 19, 2010 at 21:01
  • 8
    @Dmitri - I bet you can write a greasemonkey script to do that.
    – user27414
    Commented Nov 19, 2010 at 21:03
  • For now I've found beautiful solution: I added the DIV[class="votes"] to my "AdBlock for Chrome" and now I don't see any of the scores on questions page. Simple and it does exactly what I wanted
    – Dmitri
    Commented Nov 19, 2010 at 21:05
  • 2
    This is interesting. In the past, there have been discussions about people who don't like negative numbers, but always in the abstract. Can you explain why you dislike negatively scored posts? And why you feel offended by them?
    – Pops
    Commented Nov 19, 2010 at 21:08
  • 28
    This is the opposite direction I want the site to go -- I think people's reputation should be able to go negative just like posts Commented Nov 19, 2010 at 21:09
  • 7
    I think instead of lowering the score, a downvote should raise every other questions up by one Commented Nov 19, 2010 at 21:17
  • 8
    @oracle - I like that idea so much I think you should be promoted to mod. Of course, I think mods should have no powers and the existing mods should be promoted to "site-magicians".
    – user27414
    Commented Nov 19, 2010 at 21:22
  • 3
    This reminds me of playing sports where nobody wins and nobody looses. Don't take life so seriously.
    – Beth Lang
    Commented Nov 20, 2010 at 3:59
  • @Michael I think one should be able to upvote or downvote people.
    – Eldros
    Commented Nov 20, 2010 at 7:27
  • @Dmitri: Thanks for the idea. I strongly agree. In fact this is a long time passed since you posted this request. I should tell that I have came across the same idea and have posted that on the meta of serverfault (which later marked as duplicate of this request and moved to stackoverflow and I am here:-) ). I wanted to vote up our common request here but lack of rp, may be later. Thanks anyway
    – F.I.V
    Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 4:29
  • 1+ (I would try to upvote you but silly me, realize that I don't have enough grits to do that yet) Commented Jan 7, 2014 at 20:29
  • meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/390178/…
    – user1228
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 20:10

4 Answers 4


A negative vote is a signal that you need to change something to your question. Sometimes the question is vague and misunderstood. Or it is inapropriate for this site. Hiding those, makes you blind for that signal. Which is a bad thing.

Most downvotes are with comments. Read them, and if you agree, correct it, else you can put a comment back.

But in any case the downvote is not for you but for your question. We all get our share of downvotes. Don't be mad or sad, just watch and learn.

Please read the faq and ask questions if things are not clear. In the end we are all busy shaping this interesting part of the internet.

  • 9
    Do you have evidence to support the claim that most downvotes are accompanied by comments.? My experience suggests otherwise. Commented Mar 3, 2013 at 23:39

It's not just you that feels offended by having negative score. However, that doesn't make it any wiser to do. Try thinking of the downvote not as being directed at you, but at what you just wrote. That won't work if you get worked up over a B- on an essay, though...

Being able to accept criticism is an important component of being active on the sites. People aren't infallible and downvotes are a method to guide people in the right direction. On the parent site, they point out flaws that you should be looking for instead of despairing. On the meta site, they point out disagreement, perhaps to think whether the feature is really a good idea.

To top it off, showing a 0 even for a negatively scored question is just a delusion. One which no one will learn from. 0 means "neutral", meaning there is ambivalence. But negative means "warning", and unless everyone else is wrong that means you have some wrongs of your own to be righting. Hiding from your errors isn't going to fix anything.


Showing a negative score serves a purpose, just like a positive score does. When you're the poster, it tells you that you need to refine your question to make it better. When you're looking through questions, it tells you that a question is of low quality.

(and on meta it tells you that people disagreed with a suggestion)

  • 1
    @user27414: I have to respectfully disagree. The coupling between loss of rep and loss of privilege is too great, which is part of why downvotes are taken so personally. Downvotes are personal, because of this tight coupling to loss of privilege. Commented Mar 3, 2013 at 23:42

Pretty much this approach was tested on Stack Overflow in October 2019 for two weeks. The community was polarized (+103/-172 as of May 13, 2020) about the fact of the experiment alone.

The detailed results of the experiment were not released; however, in this post, some information is presented. From how I read it, there is no clear benefit from implementing this functionality, and, potentially, it has a negative effect from certain angles.

Therefore, I would say that this feature is unlikely to be implemented and effectively is in this form.

You must log in to answer this question.

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