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Should we have a policy about “too much downvoting”?

Without giving any names, the subject is pretty much the question.

It's a question about etiquette. There is a saying about raising children

You have to find 10 things to praise them about to balance the effect of each wtf

I am all for down-votes, in fact, I don't believe a 0-downvote Stacker is a good Stacker. This shows a superficial concern for rep burn hurting the correct classification/ranking of posts, which is what the up/down bidirectional votes are geared towards.

However, when the ratio tends towards 2:1 in favour of down-votes, it seems to paint an overall negative picture. Is it really possible that the majority of posts are "not useful"?

Supplementary question: What would you consider a "healthy" ratio?

  • Aw, Richard, I'm hurt! ;) – Pollyanna Mar 19 '11 at 13:17

Someone who downvotes often might be a janitor, who downvotes the bad posts out of the way. Stack Overflow needs such people, to counterbalance the pity-upvoters you've recognized as harming the site.

How many good and bad posts you see depends a lot on your reading selection. Busy experts who only visit tough questions that they can either answer or learn from are unlikely to cast downvotes. Social workers who go out of their way to help promising newbies (with edits, friendly advice, …) and drive desperate cases away (with downvotes, close votes, …) are likely to cast many downvotes. Both kinds of people are valuable.


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