As we all know, "voting is different on meta": since there is no reputation attached to votes, it's possible to freely upvote or downvote questions and answers based on whether you disagree with them or not. (The FAQ says this is only for feature requests, but it appears to have been taken as a general principle.)

The problem is that when a question is downvoted below -7 or -8 (not sure about the exact number), it disappears from the front page altogether. But having seven or eight people disagreeing with you doesn't mean that the issue shouldn't be discussed at all, in my opinion. It can also happen that the first people who stumble on the question disagree, but later other people could have agreed.

I guess this was implemented to weed out evidently terrible questions from the front page of the main site (where the volume justifies it). But the volume on meta is much lower, and in general I dislike attempts at shutting down the discussion on meta (except in cases of duplicates or completely off-topic questions) -- otherwise there's just no place to discuss it.

I can see a few options:

  • The current situation is OK for everyone;
  • Downvoting shouldn't mean disagreeing anymore on questions;
  • Questions shouldn't get thrown out of the front page when they gather a large negative score.

Of these three my preference goes to the third one.

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    $\begingroup$ If this gets downvoted enough that it gets off the front page, I will be very sad. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 10:05
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    $\begingroup$ Posts disappear when they reach -8. (Versus -4 on main site). I'm happy to get rid of rants in this way. Reasonably written posts with which some people disagree don't get downvoted that far, in my experience. $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 10:07
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    $\begingroup$ @Behaviour These rants can probably be closed ("unclear" or "opinion-based") in most cases, and then deleted immediately by 20k users -- if that's what you want to achieve. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 10:09
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    $\begingroup$ Well I'm motivated by this example (and the linked duplicate): they're both at -9, and it's clear that almost everyone is opposed to the suggestion, but there's no need to completely shut down the discussion, the consensus is already clear. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 10:11
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    $\begingroup$ The Knuth question is at -9 and it I see it when I view this page (ordered by recent activity). It is not shown on this page. (At least I do not see it.) Different users view the questions on meta/main differently; I think that still a large number of users has an opportunity to see the question. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 10:14
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    $\begingroup$ It has been discussed before, that closing and deleting posts on meta is often an overkill. Sure, in some cases (like someone flooding the meta with repeated requests for the same thing) it can be deemed appropriate, but usually it is good to avoid too many closures and deletions. Downvoting is a middle ground for me. Removes the question from sight, but it's still around so people inclined to look for it can find it easily. People just need to be aware of that fact and check the "Questions" page, rather than the front page, from time to time. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 13:12
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    $\begingroup$ How do they disappear? When I first go to this page, yes, they are gone; but as soon as I hit "Questions", all are shown by order of time stamp. This applies to iphone and windows/Linux desktop. So it's a reflex to always do this as soon as I go here. It appears some prefer to not see sufficiently downvoted questions, which I don't understand; but as their recovery is so easy, I don't see the harm - and to suggest changes to what votes mean (or how they are accounted for) based on this is extreme overkill. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 23:27
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    $\begingroup$ This is another thread where I feel squelching discussion is inappropriate, even if the OP's views are unpopular: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/18799/… $\endgroup$
    – user7530
    Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 1:57
  • $\begingroup$ Do you all really believe that everyone, or even more than a small fraction of everyone, looks at the "Questions" page instead of the front page...? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 8:09
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    $\begingroup$ @NajibIdrissi I'd say that the only a small fraction of users open the Questions tab. But also, only a small fraction would want to see the posts that are already stomped into the ground. And these groups overlap. $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 8:29
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    $\begingroup$ There's a difference between "shutting down discussion" and "hiding from the front page." Shutting down discussion is something like closing questions because you disagree with them, while hiding from the front page still allows discussion--it just slows down that discussion because few people want to discuss the issue. $\endgroup$
    – apnorton
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 20:12

1 Answer 1


The current situation is mostly OK with me.

I prefer to limit downvote-to-disagree to feature requests (as Help Center recommends). Other questions can be downvoted for the usual reasons: poorly written, no prior research, not useful.

Either way, downvoting serves as a

mechanism that marks stupid questions and gets them out of the way. It doesn't have to be a closevote: a closed question still takes up space. -- Your Common Sense

I am glad that a recent poisonous discussion of a particular username dropped out of the way, and that a more recent string of “You are doing everything wrong” rants followed the suit. The system works.

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    $\begingroup$ Both precedents you cite actually required moderator's intervention (in particular, 'recent string' you're talking about disappeared because it was deleted). $\endgroup$
    – Grigory M
    Commented Jan 3, 2015 at 16:43
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    $\begingroup$ This happened after they were voted -8, @GrigoryM. First they vanished from the active questions list because of downvotes. Only afterwards were they deleted by a moderator. The first question had no moderator intervention, as far as I know, except for regarding certain comments therein. $\endgroup$
    – user98602
    Commented Jan 3, 2015 at 16:44
  • $\begingroup$ come to think of it, that makes sense $\endgroup$
    – Grigory M
    Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 17:08

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