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Why is it that people down vote an answer without even bothering to comment what is the problem?

On many cases I find that people down vote my answer and I am not able to figure out who has downvoted my answer and hence can't ask for clarification. Is there any way out for this?

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    $\begingroup$ Lack of time. Not wanting to enter a discussion. Considering it self-explanatory. Etc. A way out is to follow meta to learn common reasons why people down-vote. Another is to not care that much about isolated down-votes. Still another could be to write better answers or to chose the questions one answers more carefully. But hey, you got a hat for it after all. I have the same. Cheer up! A down-vote is not the end of the world. :-) $\endgroup$ – quid Dec 24 '14 at 14:23
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    $\begingroup$ You have (presumably) some specific Answer(s) in mind, but have not identified it for us to consider. Perhaps a checklist of possible and/or common reasons for downvoting could be articulated, but I'm not sure this Question is on-topic, even for Meta.Math.SE. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Dec 24 '14 at 14:29
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    $\begingroup$ It might be part of certain people s deletion campaign, to achieve this they downvote even correct and useful content ... $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Dec 24 '14 at 14:39
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    $\begingroup$ Having looked at the latest down-vote that I could find, there you got a comment in fact. Albeit it was off. This is a bit annoying.; but then errors happen. Why that commenter did not follow up is however unclear in a bad sense. But it seems unrelated to you current question. $\endgroup$ – quid Dec 24 '14 at 14:49
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    $\begingroup$ It's also possible that maybe the commenter is scared that you might take revenge by following into his profile and downvoting his answers in return, also the commenter may have had previous bad experiences like that? $\endgroup$ – The Artist Dec 24 '14 at 15:41
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    $\begingroup$ @quid: Also because they hate you over meta arguments, or just because they hate you for no reason, or sometimes because they feel strongly against you but don't yet know they hate you... there are plenty of reasons. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 24 '14 at 16:35
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    $\begingroup$ related: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/9404/in-praise-of-silence and many other discussions on meta $\endgroup$ – Grigory M Dec 24 '14 at 17:29
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    $\begingroup$ If I remember well, I have downvoted few answers of yours due to their low quality. $\endgroup$ – user26857 Dec 24 '14 at 17:44
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    $\begingroup$ In a system where the community's voice is heard we also hear the voice that we don't want to hear. Best option is to ignore it. $\endgroup$ – Ali Caglayan Dec 24 '14 at 20:07
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    $\begingroup$ Since you're new to meta, you may be surprised at the downvotes; I think it's helpful to point out that voting is different on meta. A negative score (on meta) doesn't necessarily imply your question is bad; in this case, it means that people disagree with you. Also: I make use of the greasemonkey autocomment script to explain the most common reasons I downvote (e.g. disagreement on meta or no effort question on main); hence, one may notice that many of my recent comments are identical. $\endgroup$ – apnorton Dec 24 '14 at 22:36
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After this question I've read a few of your answers. At least some of them had mathematical mistakes (some were later fixed) pointed out in comments (e.g. 1, 2, 3...).

Downvoted 4 also is incorrect, btw.

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The whole point of the voting system is to crowdsource the evaluation of the usefulness of an answer, for the purpose of ordering them and summarizing the community's opinion (although the quantity upvotes - downvotes is not the greatest way to use this input), automatic housecleaning, and other various purposes.

Thus, I upvote or downvote answers to contribute my input to this evaluation when I have input to contribute.

The idea of commenting has nothing to do with this process, except in the cases where I opt to delay offering my input until after some dialog.

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I'm sure there's a lot of truth in the Answers posted above, but the elephant in the room is: trolls.

I had a recent encounter where a user became combative when I pointed out errors in his Answer, and within the hour I had several down-votes on Q's and A's I had posted months before.

I also once got several down-votes on an Answer where I made a distinction between "divergent" and "non-convergent" that some people apparently hadn't been aware of. Rather than lose the Rep points, I deleted a useful Answer.

Revenge down-votes would be a fairly easy pattern for the site to detect, warn abusers about, and flag to Moderators. This feature should be implemented, IMHO.

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  • $\begingroup$ The site detects (and reverses) serial voting (both upvoting and downvoting). So I guess you are trying to say that you consider the algorithms used to detect it insufficient? $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Oct 7 '15 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Oh, thanks for the info. I didn't know there was already some effort at detecting it. Some of the Commentors above apparently didn't know either, because they said that fear of revenge down-votes was the reason people didn't Comment to explain their own down-votes. $\endgroup$ – Jerry Guern Oct 7 '15 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ Gee, what a surprise, my Answer got down-voted! :-) $\endgroup$ – Jerry Guern Oct 7 '15 at 17:48
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I am new to Math Stack Exchange and am uneasy with the voting system. I don't see how it adds value since it is numerical rather than conceptual and it also allows the ignorant to opine without explaining themselves.

Voting without comment or answer is the worst blister. It is confusing and thus, worse than meaningless. In my opinion, if the point of the web site is to help people, then interaction or silence should be required not anonymous unexplained numerical valuations.

Presumably people ask questions because they have a sincere interest in understanding. Anonymous valuations discourage that. They are Kafkaesque and in my opinion should not be permitted.

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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps you could propose a solution which took into account the various arguments put forth in the past against such a requirement (e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4, and the links therein). $\endgroup$ – Antonio Vargas Mar 31 '15 at 23:51
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    $\begingroup$ "Presumably people ask questions because they have a sincere interest in understanding." I think that after you get more experience on this site you might change your opinion on this. $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Apr 1 '15 at 0:35
  • $\begingroup$ A few pointsIf people ask questions that are crankish - at some point close down the thread. $\endgroup$ – Joe S Apr 1 '15 at 11:28
  • $\begingroup$ A few points - If people ask questions that are crankish - at some point close down the thread. - Do not vote without also answering. Your vote should clearly be associated with you answer. - Do not permit votes without explanations. - Cancel out any votes if the the answer or comment shows lack of understanding. - Encourage dialogue. Reward an exchange more than a single response. - Give people the benefit of the doubt until they are proved to be cranks.Don't assume that they are insincere. People will trust someone who is consistently helpful.They don't need a score. We are not lab rats. $\endgroup$ – Joe S Apr 1 '15 at 11:36
  • $\begingroup$ For instance in this exchange there are anonymous downvotes. Those people are avoiding discussion. Shame. $\endgroup$ – Joe S Apr 1 '15 at 11:39
  • $\begingroup$ Upon serious reflection, I have decided to stop participating in this web site until you abandon your voting policy or modify it so that voters can not vote anonymously and without explanation. Your current voting policy is unacceptable for an intellectual forum. $\endgroup$ – Joe S Apr 3 '15 at 12:00

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