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I downvoted this answer : Can we find the perimeter of a triangle given only its base and height? , because the answer was really bad. But to my surprise, 1 point was deducted from my reputation (https://math.stackexchange.com/users/93616/sawarnik?tab=reputation). I don't mind that much, but what, why .. this has happened?

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    $\begingroup$ -1. You really should've tried the help pages first. $\endgroup$ – Lord_Farin Nov 1 '13 at 13:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Lord Farin Fine, but my question is "why"? $\endgroup$ – Sawarnik Nov 1 '13 at 13:20
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, so you meant to ask "What is the reasoning behind downvotes costing 1 reputation?" That's not what I read. $\endgroup$ – Lord_Farin Nov 1 '13 at 13:22
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    $\begingroup$ Ya, because as you said I wasn't aware of the rules [a bit silly in my opinion], so this was more like a surprise, but as you may have read, my real question was what you said. I am more surprised by the blast of downvotes on this and delete this once I get a proper answer, which more or less Arthur has given. $\endgroup$ – Sawarnik Nov 1 '13 at 13:26
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    $\begingroup$ The point is that downvotes should be carefully administered. For example, in the answer you link to the answerer is a new user and so I personally feel that an explanation of how to improve their answer would have been more constructive than a downvote. $\endgroup$ – user1729 Nov 1 '13 at 13:29
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    $\begingroup$ @user1729 In this particular case, the user was inactive for months, and had done nothing other than that answer. That is why I had refrained from doing what you said. $\endgroup$ – Sawarnik Nov 1 '13 at 13:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Sawarnik Ah, okay. I didn't spot that. Then I agree that a downvote is not inappropriate. $\endgroup$ – user1729 Nov 1 '13 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ Also note that upvotes and downvotes on meta don't affect your reputation. $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Nov 1 '13 at 14:15
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    $\begingroup$ @Sawarnik: I'd like to point out that downvotes on meta questions are not the same as downvotes on regular questions. On meta, they are supposed to indicate disagreement with the question's premise rather than being a sign that the question itself is poor. $\endgroup$ – Cheerful Parsnip Nov 1 '13 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ @GrumpyParsnip Well, not exactly. It's not like you aren't supposed to downvote poor questions on meta, it's just that downvotes on meta sites also signify disagreement. $\endgroup$ – Dennis Meng Nov 2 '13 at 0:32
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This is completely by design. See the privilege page:

What happens when I vote down?

When you vote down, you are nudging that content "down" the page, so it will be seen by fewer people. Voting down answers is not something we want you to take lightly, so it is not free.

  • Downvotes remove 2 reputation from the post owner.
  • Downvotes on answers remove 1 reputation from you, the voter.
  • Downvotes on questions are free. (Why?)
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