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Is it now discouraged to ask for reasons for downvotes as a comment?

I see many comments asking for downvoting explanation being flagged.

I understand those comments could be interpreted in two different ways:

  • Plain whining and/or complaining, usually due to frustration
  • An earnest of the poster's desire to understand the post flaws

As the three words "Why the downvote?" are not enough to fully understand the poster's intentions, I guess one should be consistent about flagging (or not) this kind of comments, (almost) irrespective to any other consideration.

I am curious about how the community manage this.


2 Answers 2


I would not view such a comment worthy of a flag if there has a been a downvote without some comment as to why the post was downvoted. We've long held that downvotes ought to be accompanied by an explanation that helps the poster learn from the experience. Asking for an explanation seems to me to be a request for understanding and greater knowledge and shouldn't be flagged as inappropriate.

  • 5
    Down-voters aren't notified of comments. If they felt like commenting, they would have done so when they down-voted.
    – Shog9
    Mar 18, 2011 at 22:54
  • 3
    Interesting enough, this post has been closed (righteously) as a dup. But the original post got answers favoring the flags .., life is difficult :D Mar 18, 2011 at 23:07
  • Down-voters ought to be notified of comments. So should people who close questions. At least half of them will never otherwise find out that there's such a thing as politeness. Feb 28, 2017 at 1:56

Well, there is possibly a misunderstanding with comment flagging.

Questions and answers can be upvoted, downvoted and of course flagged. But comments can only be upvoted and flagged. Maybe some users treat the flag as a downvote due to misunderstanding of the system.

Luckily several flags are needed for a comment to be removed. And these suspicious flagged comments seldom got more than 1 flag (as far as I have seen).

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