This post is inspired by something that recently transpired. Looking through the question edits, this is what I thought of the question:
- Content-wise, I agree with T.. and Matt E that it is a reasonable question to ask on this website. Furthermore, that content is already visible in the original version of the question.
- Language-wise, however, it was unfortunate that the original phrasing of the question made the post more provocative and "cranky-sounding" than it actually is.
Now, I would like to make a small suggestion for the future. In general I see relatively little point in voting down a question to -5 or -6. The community has already made a point that the question is no-good by showing a score or -2 or -3. The excessive downvotes seem a bit unnecessary to me. This sentiment especially applies to questions asked by relatively new users who may not have completely acclimated with the social norm on this website.
Now, in the case of a question/post so devoid of mathematical content, my personal bias prevents me from complaining as loudly. But in the case as above, where the question can be reasonably re-written with minor modifications to both be mathematically interesting and not "shockingly offensive" (taking a very prudish point of view here; I find the original version slightly disagreeable but just that), excessive down-votes effectively prevents the redemption of a reasonable question upon re-writes and edits.
Therefore I would like to ask users to pause before casting that down-vote when the score is already negative. Instead of joining the down-voting bandwagon, maybe it is better to leave constructive criticism as comments as Qiaochu did for that linked question.
(Note: please share your thoughts on this general issue below. Specific discussion about the "Do zero and infinity exist" question should be left at the other meta discussion linked at the top of this post.)