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The problem:

When up/downvoting a post (particularly for downvoting), it is often useful to leave a comment explaining why you are doing this so that the post can be improved, or so that the poster knows why the voter thinks the post is bad.

However, the only way to do this at the moment is to post an actual comment, which removes the anonymity of the vote; there are many situations where a voter may not want to do that.


The potential solution:

When a user votes on a post, they are given the option to add an anonymous comment to the post to explain their vote.


I was hoping for some input on this suggestion, and whether others feel that this problem is worth addressing.

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See Allow users to leave an anonymous comment when voting with , and linked threads there.

For one thing, enabling anonymous comments is more likely to produce abusive comments than helpful comments. If you are leaving a helpful comment, there is no need to be anonymous.

Also, a comment of the form

I downvoted because your estimate does not imply convergence a.e.

is inferior to

Your estimate does not imply convergence a.e.

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Just spitballing here, but...this feature doesn't seem to blend well with the community's ideology, and I can see it being abused.

First, this is a meritocracy and not a popularity contest. This is one thing I find attractive about this site; people rise to the top based largely on the quality (and wit) of their contributions to the community. If you are worried about offending someone by downvoting their post, then you are taking the system the wrong way. If you are worried about losing someone's friendship because you downvote his or her post, then he or she is taking the system the wrong way.

Second, anonymity is already a given. You are not forced to reveal your true identity. For instance, I use a character's name from Midsummer Night's Dream, since I enjoy that character. Your true identity is kept private on this site. If you are worried about people seeing the opinion of the guy behind the avatar, on the other hand, then you do not value your opinion enough.

Of course, this is just my (somewhat less-than-humble and inexperienced) opinion. I'm sure there could be benefits to this idea, but as I see it, it is not worth the hassle.

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