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Someone (singular or plural) seem to be down voting a lot of my answers. I do not really care that much about a meaningless reputation number. However, I do care about the overall quality of this site. So, here comes my plea:

When you down vote, would you please leave a feedback as to either how to improve the question or why you think the answer is erroneous or irrelevant?

I would be happy to edit my answers to make them more relevant but I cannot do this if all I have is a +7/-1 with no explanations whatsoever. It is possible that this is a vendetta from someone but I am not a mod and cannot check who down votes me. I really hope no one is that pathetic on this site... So, down voters:

Make your reasons be known so the site content gets better.

Pretty please, with sugar and a cherry on top.


After taking my own advise and leaving feedback, I got so much abuse that now I just down vote and leave it at that. Clearly, I was not as jaded then as I am now.

  • Report it! And if the Mods here don't help you, contact team@stackexchange.com – Eugene Seidel Jul 29 '13 at 8:40
  • I see you've been blitzed with systematic downvotes in the last few hours. me too! not sure what it all means. – Tea Drinker Jul 29 '13 at 9:01
  • How do I contact the mods? I can flag specific posts but i cannot find a button for it? – Sardathrion - Reinstate Monica Jul 29 '13 at 9:03
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    Sard ... in both our cases a bounty has also been placed on an old question where we are currently the only answer. as if to say "pleeeeeeeeeeease, someone do better than Sard and Tea's terrible answers." coincidence? – Tea Drinker Jul 29 '13 at 13:24
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    @Sardathrion It sure seems like someone's revenge downvoting you. Please contact SE directly, the moderators can't do much about it. – yannis Jul 29 '13 at 15:22
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    Any news yet, Sard and @TeaDrinker? Please let us know how well the SE team are helping you. – Eugene Seidel Jul 31 '13 at 9:29
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    @EugeneSeidel i got some rep back yesterday. it said "user was removed". it doesnt say who the user was. i don't know if that was mods or SE HQ. but welcome i guess, either way – Tea Drinker Jul 31 '13 at 9:32
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    @EugeneSeidel: Ditto here. I was apparently down voted 30 times in a short period of time. The user who did this asked to be removed and thus was. – Sardathrion - Reinstate Monica Jul 31 '13 at 12:26
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    Absolutely. IMO, on some sites, those that touch on issues that are very personal: politics, religion, etc - which includes this one of course ('history is written by the victors') downvoters should be required to submit an explanation to moderators for their vote. Several SE sites have been severely compromised in quality because of personal or politically/ideologically motivated down-voting. One expects that on open public opinion blogs, but these sites are supposed to be venues for serious discussion. – user2590 Aug 1 '13 at 21:28
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    @Sardathrion : " I do not really care that much about a meaningless reputation number". I think one should care about the number a bit. Those numbers are there to provide an incentive - competition and the gratification of increasing your points, combined with the 'fear' of losing points, makes for better comments: a form of accountability. (Which is why I am so against allowing unexplained downvotes - no accountability, except for -1 point on your score) – user2590 Aug 2 '13 at 6:14
  • I've changed my mind on this issue in the last few days, and now agree with @mark-c-wallace, unfortunately he deleted his answer so I can't upvote it. – Lennart Regebro Sep 9 '13 at 7:47
  • I am innocent of downvoting you. I am also struggling to understand in what way downvoting impacts "the overall quality of this site" if "you not really care that much about a meaningless reputation number". Perhaps you do care after all :) – Drux Mar 1 '14 at 13:39
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    @Drux: A downvote means that the question/answer is bad in the downvoter's view. Thus they are saying "this is bad". Not leaving a comment translates as "but I am not bothered to improve it or state why it is bad". – Sardathrion - Reinstate Monica Mar 2 '14 at 16:41
  • @Sardathrion ok, I see. – Drux Mar 2 '14 at 21:06
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There is a reason for anonymous voting. People vote anonymously because they can express their opinions without fear of retribution. H:SE is doing better, but explanations still invite as much personal abuse as they do changes to questions.

I'll continue to strongly advocate anonymous voting; public voting is an incentive to abuse.

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    The current system isn't wholly anonymous though. It can be possible to work out who has downvoted from the data presented in the tables of users. Particularly if downvotes are cast on Sundays! We don't really have enough questions per day to create that level of anonymity. – sempaiscuba Aug 31 '17 at 17:15
  • Happily, I don't really care about the reputation and I'm pretty thick-skinned. I'll flag abuse where I see it, and otherwise just carry on doing what I'm doing. – sempaiscuba Aug 31 '17 at 17:15
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    I think I'm willing to take abuse from anyone who works that hard. I'm thinking of coining another law "Anonymity is the best anondyne to obnoxious behavior. The internet encourages obnoxity." – Mark C. Wallace Aug 31 '17 at 17:18
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    In the intervening years while leaving feedback, I was insulted, abused, and derided for being helpful. Now, looking back at this post i see the well intension that got crushed by abuse. Clearly, I was not as jaded as I though I was… – Sardathrion - Reinstate Monica Sep 1 '17 at 12:12
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A few jumbled thoughts:

  • I've been hit too in the last few hours. It is frustrating when your old posting history is clearly being "trawled" and lots of old (and well liked - as in historically upvoted - posts) are all being hit with -2. But at the end of the day, it matters so little.

  • Eugene says "Report it!" as abuse. However, there is a theory that a user may (even objectively and impartially) find one of your posts rubbish and have a look at some of your other posts and mark them down too. It isn't necessarily a vendetta.

  • Downvotes are a really important part of the site, and help with site quality. As does closing.

  • You say you are not a mod so cannot see who is downvoting you. I'm almost certain mods can't see this either.

  • A last point to justify commentless downvoting. If my downvote and comment is very aggressively challenged by the poster (leading to a long comment war) then I can feel put off adding a comment to the downvote the next time. In other words, to reflect your title - a plea to downvoted posters - don't take it too personally. Edit your post if you think the downvoting commenter makes a valid criticism. If you think his point is bogus, move on.

  • I don't believe we stack mods get the ability to see who casts what votes either on questions or on individual users (unless I'm missing something on the interface, which is certianly a possiblity). The way such misbehavior is generally detected is by special SE scripts. So I don't think asking for Mod help if you suspect abuse does much good. If someone is really being abusive about it, the scripts should catch it. – T.E.D. Jul 31 '13 at 14:20
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    @T.E.D. To see a user's general voting patterns (over certain thresholds): history.stackexchange.com/admin/show-user-votes/<user-id> (mod link in a user's profile -> info tab -> votes) - That said, the info there is a bit useless, if a suspicious pattern shows up, more often than not it's after the script has kicked in and reversed the votes. And if the script hasn't caught the votes, then there's nothing mods can do, SE must get involved (assuming there's actual vote fraud going on). – yannis Aug 1 '13 at 11:12
  • Thanks @YannisRizos . It looks like for a user like Sardathrion who has a lot of rep from a lot of different sources, it would have to be pretty eggregious to make the list there though. I don't even see any downvoters on his list (which is a better record than I can boast). – T.E.D. Aug 1 '13 at 13:14
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    @TeaDrinker - I was also hit with 'user was removed' guy. – user2590 Aug 2 '13 at 6:09
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    +1 for the last bullet point. – NotVonKaiser Aug 2 '13 at 12:52
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I don't downvote that much and do try to provide an explanation when I do, but when I see that my reason for downvoting is already in there, I generally don't add a "+1" post. It's not helpful and I think that in its own way it encourages more comment-argument. It's also against SE guidelines to do so.

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    Well, in that case you could upvote the comment in question. That way the question's author knows the complaint is likely a general issue. – T.E.D. Aug 1 '13 at 18:05
  • Yeah, that's generally what I do. – NotVonKaiser Aug 1 '13 at 20:38
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    @T.E.D. - Perhaps a bigger penalty for an unexplained down-vote would help things. -50 for a downvote without explanation might go a long way towards improving things... – user2590 Aug 2 '13 at 6:16
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    On a similar note, I imagine that a 100 point penalty for misspelling words would really fix the issue of people having to come in and edit new posts. It's also using a stick of dynamite to open a small hole in the ground when a shovel can be used. The bottom line is, getting downvoted costs very, very little in the way of reputation (what is it, 2 points per downvote) and otherwise all it does is push an answer towards the bottom of the page. I think that accepting downvotes in a Zen-like manner is the best way to go here. – NotVonKaiser Aug 2 '13 at 12:51
  • @JohnCraven No. It does not work that way. All it does is push an answer down. No one ever finds out why the answer is bad. Unless the reader is very knowledgeable (in which case, he wouldn't be there) she or he will have no choice but to reject the entire post it in its entirety – Apoorv Khurasia Aug 2 '13 at 13:32
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    The answer still exists. I and I believe most people who read SE sites tend to look at all the answers. Yes, they will tend to give the ones with higher vote totals more weight, but that is exactly how SE works. People downvote stuff. It happens. I'm sorry, but you're going to have to get over that sense of "ZOMG PEOPLE DISAGREE WITH ME ON THE INTERNET" if you're going to enjoy posting in the SE community, no offense. – NotVonKaiser Aug 2 '13 at 13:54
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    I agree with John - to be honest hefty penalties for unexplained down votes is like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut; the problem is the lack of an explanation not the down vote. All the penalty would do is stop the down vote. – Kobunite Aug 2 '13 at 14:05
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I'm a relative newbie here. But I have noticed that across SE some are very quick to downvote. While there are obvious situations which possibly justify downvoting- such as a question asking whether Hitler was an alien, I do feel that giving first time posters a chance to understand the modalities of SE would be in good spirit.

Also, sometimes a simple comment such as "This is not what I asked for" is possibly a better way to handle than a downvote- which is, to be fair, overly harsh when it is simply an answer that is off-track, but possibly researched. Again- I do understand that there are obvious situations which are deliberately obtuse or so completely incoherent that they do demand censure.

I feel a little less rigidity in "History" which is subject to interpretation anyway, would make the site more welcoming for freshers. Your thoughts on these?

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    I see your point, but I think the opposite: people should be completely free in upvoting or downvoting questions, and doing so we would get better results overall. – o0'. Mar 22 '14 at 23:34
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I've been downvoted 3 times. On one occasion, I reviewed the downvoted answer I had given and thought 'Yes, my post answer deserved that' so fair enough (even though the downvoter didn't give a reason).

The two other occasions (concerning two different questions) annoyed me as the reasons given were clearly untrue (they also voted to close, but no one else did). There should be some kind of appeal to moderators to review such cases (but maybe the moderators would be swamped...?).

Downvoting is negative, and negativity rarely has any benefits, but inaccurate or offensive posts should definitely be downvoted to discourage such posts. Otherwise, give people a chance to clarify.

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    I've had my share of downvotes, but people rarely say why. I suspect that a few of them were simply because my answers (with cited sources to support my assertions) didn't agree with their personal beliefs. I try to provide the best answer I can, beyond that it is out of my hands. :) – sempaiscuba Sep 20 '17 at 13:47
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    And therein lies the problem. Voting (up or down) according to personal beliefs undermines the academic credibility of the site. As another (very high reputation) user stated somewhere, this is what you get when you let democracy judge academic quality (I may have slightly misquoted him but this was the gist). – Lars Bosteen Sep 21 '17 at 9:41
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    The problem is that when you let some system other than democracy judge academia, you get a torrent of personal abuse. If you prohibit voting based on personal beliefs, you create a system in which only approved personal beliefs are permitted. I don't want to participate in such a forum. I accept that I will receive a number of downvotes based on telepathic messages from the voter's goldfish. If my answer is good, the upvotes will dominate the downvotes. The alternative is unacceptable. – Mark C. Wallace Sep 21 '17 at 11:15

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