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It is possible that downvoting a post results in deletion of of a question; the precise rules are however a bit tricky.

  1. Before downvoting, is it necessary to check if a downvote would lead to (very likely, say assuming absence of further vote on an old thread) autodeletion in the (near, say a week) future? (Or, what would be the appropriate notion of 'near'?)

  2. If so, in which way should one need to modify or reconsider a decision on downvoting based on this check?

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  • $\begingroup$ Obviously this question does not live in a vacuum. But please try to stay ontopic and answer the questions asked. $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 12 '14 at 22:27
  • $\begingroup$ The question got a vote to close as 'unclear what is asked' Please, what is unclear? Is it necessary or not do a check if, say, my vote will result in deletion of the question in a week absent any other vote? Yes or no? (In the sense of what is the etiquette.) $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 12 '14 at 22:33
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    $\begingroup$ Every on-topic post (both on meta and on main) tries to solve some problem. I'm sure you (are not just doing sociological research but) have some problem in mind — could you please be more explicit, what (in your opinion) the problem is? $\endgroup$ – Grigory M Jul 12 '14 at 22:40
  • $\begingroup$ (Otherwise the answer is 'everyone is free to vote in the way they like'.) $\endgroup$ – Grigory M Jul 12 '14 at 22:40
  • $\begingroup$ @GrigoryM recently there was quite some noise on meta about somebobdies downvotes having as a result the deletion of posts. Not few people talked about gaming the system in that context. I did not understand the precise scope or point of these remarks. So, I am seeking clarification on one aspect of the related etiquette. My motivation is to be able to comply as much as possible with the etiquette of this site when I downvote. If you are of the opinion the answer is a simple 'no' please provide this answer. $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 12 '14 at 22:45
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe some people also want the option on the table that it is not just not necessary to consider the effect, but that one should ignore the effect. For otherwise, "gaming" is just a matter of quantity. $\endgroup$ – Michael Greinecker Jul 12 '14 at 22:54
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelGreinecker if somebody wishes to answer that it is not only not necessary but even should be avoided they are certainly welcome to do so. I asked the questions I wished to have clarified the most. I did not propose anything. In the hope of being clear I asked question I feel are quite precise. Still somebody thinks it is "unclear." Should this be tagged "support" instead? $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 12 '14 at 23:15
  • $\begingroup$ Also to reiterate, I have no desire to discuss anything but the questions asked (or direct modifications thereof). I only brought up the "gaming" as I was pressed to provide some immediate usecase for the inquiry. $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 12 '14 at 23:21
  • $\begingroup$ The problem from the question is crystal clear. If someone can't or willfully refuse to understand the problem described in the question, that's really sad. $\endgroup$ – VividD Jul 13 '14 at 6:38
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    $\begingroup$ For completeness: the unclear vote was taken back. Thanks. (Now, still two think the question is off-topic, but this being IMO obviously absurd I will not pay further attention to it.) $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 13 '14 at 9:40
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    $\begingroup$ Now, it is a duplicate ;-) As is quite clear I was aware of that question. This is not at all a duplicate. Especially what answer to my question could one infer from that question? Here, the question could be paraphrased as "Assume I want to downvote something. Should I be prevented from this if it has as a consequence that something gets deleted?" There the question could be paraphrased as "Assume I want to delete something. Is it alright to downvote for this purpose?" This is really not the same thing. $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 13 '14 at 13:07
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    $\begingroup$ Guys! Stop it with the close votes. This is certainly different than the marked duplicate, and it is also certainly on-topic. If this question gets closed, I (for one) will vote to reopen. Please review this thread: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/13831/… $\endgroup$ – apnorton Jul 13 '14 at 16:24
  • $\begingroup$ @anorton I also oppose closure of this question; it's certainly not a duplicate of the one marked. $\endgroup$ – user61527 Jul 13 '14 at 21:18
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No, one does not need to keep the auto-deletion flowchart handy and refer to it before every vote. I'm pretty sure that most users are not aware of the exact criteria for auto-deletion, or even of the existence of the process. This does not make their votes any less valid or ethical. In fact, one could say that paying no attention to the externalities of voting is the ideal way to vote.

Automatic deletion is meant to relieve users from some of the tedious housekeeping tasks, not to slow them down with extra considerations.

[...] no work required from the folks on the site - no need to close them, no need to run them through the wringer here on meta or in chat, no need to do anything but just vote and then ignore them and let the system do its thing. [...] As we continue to work on systems for emphasizing quality over crap, this sort of automatic cleanup system will become an increasingly-important method for keeping the underside of the proverbial rug from becoming too dusty. -- Shog9


The other aspect -- downvotes intended to push questions toward deletion -- has been discussed elsewhere. Very few users would take the effort required to carry this out. It's much easier to not look under the rug.

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    $\begingroup$ By contrast you make "wild speculations" about the motives and knowledge of voters. Tangentially, it could be seen as a bit offensive to imply others are so careless as to not pay attention to content mentioned and even linked to in a post they upvote. (@BillDubuque ) $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 13 '14 at 13:18
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    $\begingroup$ Don't patronize voters, @BillDubuque. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jul 13 '14 at 16:22
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    $\begingroup$ @This and quid, I have no clue what either of you are talking about. I merely pointed out very pertinent context that is essential in this discussion (indeed, it is what sparked this discussion). Posting random comments based on false and misleading premises (designed to attract upvotes) is not a constructive way to proceed. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Jul 13 '14 at 16:28
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    $\begingroup$ @BillDubuque Answer score is not a factor in deletion unless the question is closed. If people like to answer questions that are likely to be closed, that's their choice. They've been warned by the Help Center: "Not all questions can or should be answered here. Save yourself some frustration and avoid trying to answer questions which..." $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jul 13 '14 at 17:34
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    $\begingroup$ @BillDubuque The votes on that post are 11:27 at present; more than a quarter positive. I'll take the support of a few concerned members over the outrage of robo-answerers. As for low-score answers to closed questions... people who don't vote have to live with the decisions of those who do. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jul 13 '14 at 17:49
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    $\begingroup$ I answer quite a few questions in full knowledge that there will likely be no upvotes, and that the novice user may not know about accepting. The motivation is to encourage a certain usually quite concrete way of thinking about the problem. I view downvotes to force deletion as deliberate sabotage of my work. $\endgroup$ – André Nicolas Jul 13 '14 at 20:26
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    $\begingroup$ @AndréNicolas thank you for your remark, however the current thread is not about downvotes to force deletion. Please try to stay on-topic. $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 13 '14 at 20:35
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    $\begingroup$ The import of the comment was I should think clear, and is directly connected to the question. Of course someone, before downvoting, should think of the damage it may cause. $\endgroup$ – André Nicolas Jul 13 '14 at 20:42
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    $\begingroup$ @AndréNicolas you said explictly "downvotes to force deletion" which is decidedly not what this thread is about, it was the subject of a different thread. Your second comment now feels more on-topic but is really not the same thing as the first (you might consider leaving an answer). That this difference is blurred by many, which is harmful in my opinion, is indeed the motivation of this entire question. Please keep this separate. Thanks in advance. $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 13 '14 at 20:52
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    $\begingroup$ I think there should be systematic upvotes to counter the vandalism. I am perfectly happy to turn my answers (slowly!) into Community Wikis if that will facilitate things. $\endgroup$ – André Nicolas Jul 13 '14 at 20:58
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    $\begingroup$ @Thisismuchhealthier. Characterizing the $27$ downvotes you've received on the linked thread as "outrage of robo-answerers" seems to be ignoring the reality of the situation. As one of the most prolific close-voters (and deletion-voters!) on the site, I also oppose your actions; I feel that it's quite wrong that you're simply going to ignore the massive community feedback you've received. $\endgroup$ – user61527 Jul 13 '14 at 21:14
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    $\begingroup$ @Thisismuchhealthier. So it sounds like you're simply going to ignore community opinion on this matter completely, and continue in your destructive campaign. I find that terribly arrogant and sad. $\endgroup$ – user61527 Jul 14 '14 at 5:56
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    $\begingroup$ @T.Bongers yes, the context is arguably relevant and OP (of ans) and I both mentioned it. What I object to is this thread being abused for organising campaigns against some perceived vandalism. Those that want to do so should at least have the courtesy to do so in the thread dedicated to the actions in question or a new thread or where ever. Yet not here. $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 14 '14 at 9:51
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    $\begingroup$ @T.Bongers it seems that the deleting campaign of "This is much healthier" is only an (important) part of his higher order goal to straighten/introduce some more "SE culture and way of doing things" on Math SE too. This would also explain why he completely ignores that many things are handled different on Math SE than on most sites in the network, disregards the disagreeing community feedback he obtains, etc. His unfiltered admiration for everything Shog9 and other SE celebrities say, think, suggest, etc strikes me quite odd. Please keep up the nice welcoming Math SE specific way of living. $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Jul 14 '14 at 11:27
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    $\begingroup$ That said, I do agree with him most of the time. Like here: "be careful when you seek appreciation: I've closed far, far more questions on Stack Overflow than you, and not once have I ever been thanked for it. Called a Nazi? A pedantic jackass? A blockwart? Yes, in spades. But never thanked. If you're not doing it because you believe strongly that it is a good and right thing to be doing, you're going to find yourself unhappy regardless." $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jul 14 '14 at 15:17
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It's as much a practical consideration as an etiquette or ethical proposition, but I would not impose such a burden on Community members. I think I understand concerns expressed recently on this topic, but for me it doesn't translate into a prescription for voting conduct.

Sometimes poorly worded Questions result in generous and informative Answers, not only here but in other SE sites. Review queues tend to present the Question in isolation, though Reviewers can drill down to see if the OP has engaged in Comments attached to those Answers that help to clarify the Question.

Perhaps I have suffered a downvote or two on Answers to Questions someone thinks should never have been asked. I'm okay with that, just as I am with the cases where upvotes go unexplained. If you are using your upvotes to identify good content and downvotes to identify poor content, hey, I salute you!

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