We have this relatively new feature where a question that gets closed as "not a real question" or "off topic" (not migrated) receives a downvote from the Community user. Sometimes the poster comes back and clarifies/improves the question, so then it can get reopened - but when it does, the Community downvote sticks around. This seems strange to me: if the question is good enough to get reopened, it probably no longer deserves that downvote. So can the reopening process also remove the Community downvote?

The example that prompted this request (in response to McDowell's comment) is Doppler effect of sound waves, which I closed because it seemed like a pointless question (roughly speaking). Later on, the OP came back and clarified it, which made it good enough to reopen. However it was still at -1 vote total after I reopened it.

EDIT: (mis)quoting from To Downvote or Not to Downvote...or to Wait?:

If the question is not useful as it is because, for example, it contains something that makes the question not "real", or not 100% on topic, then you can down-vote it. It's important, IMO, to remove the down-vote when the question is fixed, as the down-vote is not for the user who wrote an inappropriate question; the down-vote is for the bad or off-topic question.

Ergo once a question is no longer bad or off topic, it no longer deserves the downvote.

Since this feature has been implemented, I've regularly been closing questions as "too localized" or "not constructive" when they really should be closed as "off topic" or "not a real question," just to avoid discouraging the OP with that extra downvote for when the question is edited into shape. It really seems silly to have to use the wrong close reason for that reason.

  • please provide a specific example to back up your argument.
    – McDowell
    May 14, 2011 at 0:02
  • 5
    Not in favor. If you post a question that's bad enough to get closed, you ought to lose a little rep, even if you later make it better. You did something that makes you two points less reliable in the eyes of five of your peers. If you fix it, your question gets reopened, but you still posted a stinky question to begin with.
    – jscs
    May 14, 2011 at 3:30
  • 7
    @Josh: I would argue otherwise for two reasons: (1) if you lose rep for posting a bad enough question, it stands to reason that you should gain rep for improving a question enough [to get it reopened], and (2) it's my understanding that the primary purpose of votes is to indicate the quality of the question, not to reward or punish the poster.
    – David Z
    May 14, 2011 at 6:44
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    I disagree that it stands to reason: rep is (intended to be) an indication of your trustworthiness, your understanding of the system, and the respect of your peers (perhaps among other things). If you do something stupid, that index goes down. If I were to borrow my friend's bicycle and crash it into a telephone pole, I would still be considered less trustworthy even after I had the wheel and fork replaced.
    – jscs
    May 14, 2011 at 7:04
  • For point (2), you're right about the word primary, but if there were not intended to be some element of punishment/reward, then there would be no rep attached to votes at all. I believe that the -2 you get from a downvote is supposed to sting a little and make you think about why it may have happened. I realize I may be sounding a little "fire-and-brimstone" here, but that's not really my intent; my opinion would be different if the loss of rep from downvoting were greater. As it is, I think it's just about the right number.
    – jscs
    May 14, 2011 at 7:05
  • 1
    It seems like this has now been implemented - at least, I'm seeing it in action on Physics.
    – David Z
    Dec 19, 2011 at 9:05
  • I had the same question.I posted a question which got down votes immediately.I edited the post and it got some up votes.And from 8 or 9 down votes it reached to 3 down votes.It became a good question after improvise but how then it can still have don votes?I am sure no one can find it unconstructive.
    – Mistu4u
    Jul 24, 2012 at 6:09
  • Yeah, this is now obsolete. (and should have been marked as status-completed for a while anyway, I think)
    – David Z
    Aug 13, 2013 at 23:30

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure of the value of this.

The only cases I can think of where it might be of value is when a poor question is closed as off topic rather than being migrated.

However, the post score is reset on migration (thanks Cody) so there's no need.

If the question is reopened by community votes after editing into shape then if it's any good it will gain up-votes which will more than compensate for the the single down-vote.

  • But migration resets the score to 0, so I'm not sure why it would be useful even in that case. Jul 15, 2011 at 10:27
  • @Cody - damn - I forgot about this. OK - it's even less useful. I'll update my answer.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Jul 15, 2011 at 10:31
  • 1
  • @sarnold fascinating post, not sure what that has to do with improved posts after edit
    – sq33G
    Nov 18, 2011 at 1:52
  • 1
    @sq33G, only that stackers have lamented for years that not enough people vote on questions, even good ones. I disbelieve the if it's any good it will gain up-votes claim.
    – sarnold
    Nov 18, 2011 at 1:56

I is opposed FWIW. The community downvote is a tax on laziness. It's nice (if unusual) if the OP gets it right on the second try, but the tax, in my opinion, remains. Next time around, they can put a little more work into their question.

  • 1
    Questions are often closed for reasons having nothing to do with laziness, though.
    – David Z
    Jan 17, 2012 at 2:44
  • @David with the exception of "too localized", which of the other close reasons don't indicate lazy research?
    – Farray
    Jan 17, 2012 at 3:04

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