I have a question associated to a down-vote I received on stacked overflow.

Are there automated causes for down-votes, or community-centric assumptions towards posts that might get an automatic down-vote by someone viewing the answer?

I posted an answer to Best way to reverse a string which resulted in it later being down-voted.

Was the answer itself insufficient, or is there issues with answering older questions, editing frequently (3 times in ~40 minutes) or what have you.


PS: Is there a general area that describes community behavioral standards that might be handy in cases like this?


Is there a general area that describes community behavioral standards that might be handy in cases like this?

There are no "behavioral" standards for downvoting. People can downvote for whatever reasons they choose. Obsessing over why your answer was downvoted is, in general, unproductive. Unless you start seeing a pattern, or you've only received downvotes (i.e., downvotes but no upvotes), you shouldn't waste much time worrying about it.

Downvotes are meant to be anonymous, and casting a downvote does not require the user to leave a comment explaining why (s)he downvoted the post. Some users are in the habit of doing this, others have stopped because it's rarely appreciated and it just results in a flurry of "but why did you have to actually downvote for that reason?" whining by the original poster. I fall into the latter camp most of the time. Asking why people downvoted your post on Meta is slightly better than asking it in the comments on said post, but only slightly.

In this case, my executive opinion is that someone simply didn't like your answer. They probably disagreed with your approach to the problem, or disagreed with the conclusion of your analysis. That's perfectly okay: they have every right to do so.

Answers can also be downvoted for (this is not by any means a comprehensive list):

  • Technical inaccuracy
  • Irrelevance to the question
  • Blatant plagarism without attribution
  • Their tendency to lead the user down the wrong path or encourage generally bad practices
  • Blatant promotion of one's own products without disclosure of relevant affiliations (what is effectively relevant "spam")
  • Cross-posting the same answer to numerous questions
  • Poor formatting, unintelligible grammar/syntax, and/or stylistic issues

You could argue that some of these things should be fixed through edits, flagged for handling by a moderator, or whatever else. Often users will do that, too. But the point still remains that they are all common reasons for casting a downvote, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with any of them as reasons for doing so.

As to the rest of your question, there are only two scenarios where downvotes are automatically cast:

  1. Questions that are closed as "not a real question" and "off topic" (but not migrated to another site) get an automatic downvote from the Community user.

  2. Posts that are flagged as spam get an automatic downvote from the Community user for each flag that is raised. If those flags are dismissed as invalid by a moderator, the downvotes are removed. Otherwise, if the flags are valid and acted upon, the post will be deleted at a -100 reputation point penalty to the original poster.

  • It's not so much that I'm dwelling on receiving a negative mark against my reputation. Since I'm new it doesn't really mean anything to me. The main concern is I wanted to be sure that there wasn't anything I was doing wrong, in this particular instance. – Alexander Morou Jul 25 '11 at 12:51
  • Welcome to SO and MSO, @Alexander! SO has a large enough community now that incorrect voting will take place with non-trivial frequency. Try not to let it get you down. Thanks for coming here and following up! – Pops Jul 25 '11 at 20:20

Are there automated causes for down-votes, or community-centric assumptions towards posts that might get an automatic down-vote by someone viewing the answer?

An answer is automatically down-voted if it is flagged as spam; the down-vote is caused by the action taken from a user, though. There are not automatic down-votes caused by users who watch an answer. Questions closed as "not a real question" and "off topic," excluding questions that get migrated, get an automatic down-vote.

If by "automatically down-voted" you mean an answer that is surely down-voted, then answers that are not correct are surely down-voted; for other cases, such as comments posted as answers, an answer could be down-voted. Consider that the tooltip showed when you hover the mouse on the button to down-vote reports, "This answer is not useful (click again to undo)". The reason of down-voting is (in some cases) subjective, and (for example) you could get a down-vote for the tone used in the answer.
For questions, the reason of down-voting can be different. The tooltip shown in this case is, "This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful (click again to undo)." Also in this case, the reason of the down-vote can be subjective; for example, if you keep asking questions that are off-topic, you could get a down-vote for a question that is off-topic.

  • Well, by automatic, I meant more community posting standards. As in, someone views a post and thinks that it's insufficient to meet the requirements to be posted, and is thus, spam, like you said. – Alexander Morou Jul 24 '11 at 20:40
  • @Alex "insufficient to meet any requirements" != spam. – Arjan Jul 24 '11 at 20:43
  • So from what you can tell, what do you think it was down-voted for, logically speaking? – Alexander Morou Jul 24 '11 at 20:46
  • @Alexander, I've no idea. Taking a QUICK look, I'd be tempted to think that the accepted Oct 23 '08 answer were better (upvotes, accepted, shorter, seems to be using some internal methods). I wouldn't downvote without reading yours, but without reading your answer one might not see claims like works nearly as fast as Array.Reverse on long strings, and much faster than Array.Reverse on shorter strings. I don't know, don't worry, move on. (No need to keep the 1st version in there though!) – Arjan Jul 24 '11 at 21:15
  • Oh, @Alexander, only now I see there's many other answers already. Are you sure it's no a dupe of one of those? – Arjan Jul 24 '11 at 21:19
  • I used a stackalloc like one of the previous posters because of the benefit it provided; however, the method employed by that post is inefficient. It iterates through the entire string, whereas when you're reversing something of a known length, you really only need to go through half of the length, since you can switch one for the other, and so on. The submission I posted is a variant of a few of the posts above and others from previous experience in the topic. – Alexander Morou Jul 24 '11 at 22:12
  • From my testing it's the quickest of the bunch on short and long strings. There's a variation out there that works a touch quicker on strings that are up to 40 characters in length, but beyond that, it's still bested. – Alexander Morou Jul 24 '11 at 22:14
  • @Arjan Mr.Arjan is this a logical reason to downvote just because someone's answer is nearly the same with someone else's?I just want to know.And I am asking this for general not talking about about Morou's answer. – Bastardo Jul 25 '11 at 12:08
  • @JohnnyCageWins Without to talk of this specific case, there are users who down-votes a question that is saying the same thing said by another answer; the tooltip that appears when you hover on the button to down-vote says, "This answer is not useful (click again to undo)." Clearly, two users can be writing their answers at the same time, and they could write the same answer without to be able to see the answer being given by the other one; it is all to see to which degree the answers are similar, or saying the same thing. – kiamlaluno Jul 25 '11 at 12:35
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    @JohnnyCageWins: I've downvoted answers that have quite blatantly plagiarized my own. I think that's perfectly reasonable. – Cody Gray Jul 25 '11 at 12:57
  • @kiamlaluno yes Mr.kiamlaluno that is what I am saying and that is why I am asking if downvoting for such kind of reason is logical or not.I mean you said downvoting means "This answer is not useful".If two answer are nearly the same then does this mean one of them is not useful while the other is accepted as answer? – Bastardo Jul 25 '11 at 13:36
  • @Cody Well Cody, you are very aggressive about these subjects, that is what I'd expect you to do :).However, I want to ask wouldn't you feel bad if they write their answers at the same time with no information about what the other guy is writing? – Bastardo Jul 25 '11 at 13:40
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    @JohnnyCageWins: I disagree that I'm aggressive about downvoting. My upvotes to downvotes percentage on SO is 86.7%, quite low for someone who has cast as many votes as I have. And no, I wouldn't downvote someone just for coincidentally having the same answer as I did. I wouldn't even downvote them for being similar, especially not if they were submitted at similar times. I'm just saying that I have downvoted someone for nearly copying and pasting one of my answers, without even bothering to change the names of the variables. All they did was leave out one of my lame jokes. Offensive! :-) – Cody Gray Jul 25 '11 at 13:49
  • @Cody +1 for smile.With you are very aggressive about these subjects I meant meta questions/issues/problems, not downvoting and I know that is for getting the best results.Well, if an answer is certainly copied then it is certainly reasonable to downvote but if it is not certain I would think again.Also,commenting on that answer might solve the situation a bit. – Bastardo Jul 25 '11 at 13:57
  • @JohnnyCageWins An answer that duplicates what reported in another answer is not really useful; somebody already said that, and the second answer doesn't add anything. Clearly, if the answers are given in the same time, then it's different. For what happens to me, I sometimes start to answer a question that has no answers, but I then got distracted or involved in another task, and I cannot complete the answer as quickly as I normally would; sometimes, there is somebody else who already answered, and I could have given a similar answer. It is still different from copying another question. – kiamlaluno Jul 25 '11 at 13:59

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