For context, take a look at this question and answer regarding

  • the cause of generally low quality Answers on SO (please, let's not get distracted and argue that, take it as given for this question), and

  • the obstacle to SO evolving into a site that is capable of providing higher quality answers, and answering higher level questions.

  • 3
    -1 for trying to appeal the reception of your earlier answer without adding a thing to the discussion. Dec 21, 2010 at 21:52
  • You probably should have made this a feature-request using the answer. Not sure why your other answer was so downvoted, but since I don't agree with your answer here, I would probably downvote it if it was a feature request. Dec 21, 2010 at 22:09
  • 3
    Having almost 3 times as many downvotes as upvotes on your profile is a sure sign, SO is just not for you. Forcing it won't work. Create your own, the area 51 link is at the bottom. Dec 21, 2010 at 23:37
  • 1
    SO works because it allows people to ask questions quickly, get answers quickly, and read and process those answers quickly. The answers don't have to be 100% correct and can be 'low quality' as you like to refer to it, but as long as it helps the asker in some way, SO has done its job.
    – Daniel T.
    Jan 28, 2011 at 1:50
  • @Daniel T If the answers are low quality, then how do you propose that it helps the person in any way? I would content that only an answer that is 100% correct should be accepted.
    – andrew
    Feb 11, 2011 at 10:11

2 Answers 2


I think that one reason for what I think you see as incorrect downvotes, is that people downvote because they disagree with the way something is said rather than the actual technical contents of a post.

I'm not sure if I think that's good or not, since good technical answers should not be downvoted, but at the same time, there's no reason to write rude answers either. All in all, after seeing some of your answers I'd suggest that your answers would probably be downvoted a lot less (and upvoted more) if you followed the third section of the FAQ: Be nice.

  • This. Stack Overflow has a very polite culture, and tends to react negatively to rudeness, even if the content is otherwise good. If that doesn't work for you, SO may not be the right place for you.
    – Pekka
    Dec 23, 2010 at 12:31

Ok, so I have identified the problem. Far be it from me to identify a problem without identifying a solution.

The cause is the FaceBook style immediacy of low-tech responders; their feeding frenzy. That's fine, they can have their virtual activity, but the problem is these people have the power to vote down answers on subjects that they are actually have no experience or knowledge in (they may have read one page from a google search, but that is not knowledge).


Change the rep required for voting down to 3,000.

  • Give that power to people who have earned it by actually staying at SO long enough to earn it; and by providing enough answers that have been accepted by more than three friends.

  • Take that power away from people who have joined only last week., and only answered a few low-tech questions.

Basically kill the consequences of the Piranha Effect without killing the piranha activity.

  • 5
    Most users of low reputation tend to be hesitant about downvotes, which is not exactly a good thing anyway. Downvoting bad data is a very important part of the site. If you restrain the ability of users to downvote bad content only to the upper echelons, then it reduces the number of people who can identify bad content and lets it linger for much longer than it should. In fact, downvoting is quite important as poor post records are actually used to throttle identified suppliers of low quality questions.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Dec 21, 2010 at 21:10
  • @Grace. I understand that, and I am not disputing that; I am addressing something beyond else, which you are not addressing: that user with low rep vote down good answers, due to lack of knowledge. What I am saying is raise the bar for voting down, to get and keep capable users. Dec 21, 2010 at 21:33
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    Low reputation users are just as capable of ruining the site with upvotes as they are with downvotes. Actually, they are more capable because they don't lose anything to upvote and can do it far earlier, without any real limit. Getting downvoted for a high tech answer is demotivating, but so is watching a worse answer get upvoted for barely any content. I'm unconvinced that bad downvoting is as serious a problem as you are illustrating it, compared to all else we have.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Dec 21, 2010 at 21:39
  • @Grace Note I agree. New users shouldn't be allowed to upvote so readily.
    – andrew
    Feb 11, 2011 at 10:20

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