I've mentioned that the "down-votes" are poorly commented. In fact, I didn't receive a single comment on a down-vote yet :).

This is a little bit confusing if you come from communities like StackOverflow. They are nearly on a riot if someone down-votes without a comment.

Should we encourage (and how?) people to do so or is it quite common in other communities to not comment while down-voting?

  • As a beginner I also found it disconcerting to be doe voted and not know why. It still bothers me somewhat, but I just learned to let it go. However I do think a doe vote should be justified so the poster can know why. – Escoce Dec 7 '15 at 19:21

this has been asked on every SE site ever, basically it's covered by the main SE meta:

Encouraging people to explain downvotes

The comments are there for people who want to explain their downvotes.

The only thing I can think of is an AJAX reminder for users when they cast downvotes

Please consider adding a comment if you think this post can be improved. After the first downvote, we can't say we didn't remind them, and honestly that's as good as it gets. Forcing a comment will end in even worse results.

edit: this is now implemented and live for users with reputation below 2000. It is shown on every downvote until you get to 2k.


Require a comment explaining the reason for the first downvote on a question

It tells me, the reader looking for a good answer, that I should look at the other answers first. I generally find this sort of education very useful.

Remember, the primary audience for these posts is folks looking for answers; yes, it can be used by folks writing answers as a way to educate themselves, but that's more of a nice side-effect than anything. If I'm pressed for time, I care a lot more about leaving some artifact for those readers (who might well include myself at some point in the future) than I do about explaining to an answerer why they're terribly, tragically wrong.

For more discussion of this matter, see: Encouraging people to explain downvotes


I think we should encourage it, as it helps the OP update the post accordingly, however there is no mandate to enforce it - votes are supposed to be anonymous. All we can assume if no comment is left is:

From our FAQ

Voting up a question or answer signals to the rest of the community that a post is interesting, well-researched, and useful, while voting down a post signals the opposite: that the post contains wrong information, is poorly researched, or fails to communicate information.


This is unfortunately a problem with SE as a whole. The folks that run this site think voting should be anonymous.

However anonymity breeds vandalism and gives cover to those that downvote for other than legitimate reasons. Questions are peer-reviewed, and that's a good thing, but unfortunately we are left with no way to crowd-judge the judges.

The person that thinks your post is wrong may actually be the one that is wrong, but without any explanation we'll never know. All votes should be public, but the SE folks seem adamant about not doing that. Unfortunately we have to live with the consequences.

On a separate topic, I've been tempted to do something about your posts, but haven't. You are asking way more questions than seem legitimate things you actually want to know. It seems you are seeding the site with topics that are of interest to you. We all understand there will be topics here that each of us has no interest in. That's OK when it happens naturally. However, it's a lot more aggravating when it's done artificially. How would you feel if I flooded the site with 5 questions/day about something you have no interest in? People coming new here need to see a mix, not just the narrow topics any one user cares about. Give it a rest already!

  • The anonymity has also its benefits. If all votes were public, I am sure we would see never ending comment wars on a personal level. And on your side topic: I do not care about archery either, but I think question seeding is great as long as the question are well posed. – imsodin Dec 8 '15 at 20:27

I know from personal experience that downvotes can be frustrating, even more so if you cannot mitigate anything due to the lack of feedback. Still I think downvoting must not generally be explained. It is just the shortest way to express that you disagree with an answer and do not want to see it at the top. This is especially prone to happen in "gray" areas, where there is no factual right or wrong. This is often the case on TGO. I downvote without comment when I generally disagree and leave a comment, when I think it could (easily) be amended (to my reasoning) with some adjustments.

The whole system is a democratic process of selecting the best answer with all its benefits and downfalls. The anonymity assures the freedom of opinion, on the other hand it is also a cover for bad behavior. Luckily enough I personally am not aware of the second and I think this community works fine as it is.

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