I registered an account for Math Exchange this morning. While trying to learn Latex and type neatly the solution for the user Cherry_Developer in here and here, I got down vote. I get very unhappy about it.

  1. My solutions are corrected and appropriate to the math level of the questioner.
  2. It costed me time and effort to type neat answers for her.

Later, I realized that the forum has a rule of not solving the "Homework" questions,etc.... I would like to suggest that for the new user, can we receive warning messages before getting the down vote? This is very unprofessional for ME to treat a newcomer that way

Update 092115:

The reason I got down vote is because I provide a full solution for the OP, instead of the hints as she requested. It was due to my careless, I apologized for that. Since the questions were trivial and there were many good answers, I decided not to change my solution. It would be a good lesson for me to read carefully the request of OP.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to MSE. Try not to feel too bad about this. It was to an extent bad luck that this happened. At the level of detail you used it would IMHO be better to spell out explicitly why you discarded the other possibility: $a=-3$ and $x^2-2x+3=-11$ respectively. The reasons were probably clear to you, but because students worldwide fail to even spot the other solution in many a case, not doing that may leave some doubts in the minds of users evaluating your answer. $\endgroup$ Sep 21, 2015 at 6:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thank you @Jyrki. I was overwhelming with the Latex syntax. I will write a detai solution next time. $\endgroup$
    – HN_NH
    Sep 21, 2015 at 6:49
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ And, yes, how to handle homework questions is a divisive issue. These two questions you answered were IMO of sufficient quality for you to not need to worry about that. You can learn about this issue simply by perusing old questions. You can also read the heated discussions in meta, but, frankly, for your peace of mind it may be better not to. $\endgroup$ Sep 21, 2015 at 6:54
  • 18
    $\begingroup$ Rather than mathematical inaccuracies, the main reason for the downvotes might be that these two answers, quite detailed, negate the OP's explicit requests "Please point me in the right direction so that I could find the solution by myself." and "Please do not provide the solution. I only want hints to guide me in the right direction.", respectively. $\endgroup$
    – Did
    Sep 21, 2015 at 8:22
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Do not be discouraged by the downvotes on your question here on meta. $\endgroup$
    – JRN
    Sep 21, 2015 at 10:45
  • $\begingroup$ Don't worry about downvotes and don't take them personal. A random downvote without a comment happens to all of us, but if they pile up, you should be worrying. $\endgroup$
    – M.A.R.
    Sep 28, 2015 at 18:05
  • $\begingroup$ I dislike downvotes. The only time they seem useful to me is for an egregiously wrong or inappropriate answer which the poster is aware of and does not address. This case is rare. Otherwise, since few downvoters explain their motivation or offer suggestions, they serve only to aggravate. Useful for Pop Idol, but not so much for MSE. $\endgroup$
    – copper.hat
    Oct 1, 2015 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


A couple of things

  1. Votes on meta don't mean the same as on the main site. A downvote can mean that people disagree with your position, it doesn't necessarily mean that people don't value your post.

  2. IMO a downvote should always be accompanied by a comment. The comment should explain what is wrong with the post. If a comment already exists, I think it is enough to upvote that comment with the downvote of the post. I think comments can help in situations like the one you are in because they explain what the problem is. That way you have information that can help you edit the post and make it better.

  3. If you receive a downvote and if you realize the problem, you can always edit the post to correct the mistake. I think you should always take this approach. After an edit, you might then have the downvote removed. This don't often happen because people just downvote and then forget about the vote. It makes sense that you should revisit a downvoted post later to see if the mistakes have been corrected, but not all do this. Once in a while you will have someone downvote you for no reason. No comment is posted and you are just left blind. So:

  4. Don't worry too much about it.

  5. As Jyrki explains in the comment above, this answer was probably downvoted because you didn't explain the choice of $a=27$ well enough. Personally I don't think this is too much to deserve a downvote, but I also think it might be too much to derserve an update (I will think about that). But I am sure that if you correct the mistake (by editing your answer), then I would be happy to upvote your answer. In fact, I like the details that you present.

  6. This answer isn't good and deserves a downvote. The OP here specifically asked for hints and not a complete solution. I assume that you just didn't read the question carefully enough. I have several times made the mistake of not reading a question carefully. Just delete your answer, or edit it so that it isn't a complete solution.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Thanks for taking the time to write up this balanced and detailed analysis. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Sep 21, 2015 at 15:05
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Another reason for leaving a comment on downvote is that if you edit away the reason for the downvote, with a comment you can notify the comment author, and thus allow him to reconsider his downvote based on the new version. $\endgroup$
    – celtschk
    Oct 2, 2015 at 0:29
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ I don't agree that a comment should always accompany a downvote. As a matter of fact, most of the time it's totally unnecessary. I downvote questions that show no effort/are badly formatted and if they show no effort to make a post, they won't care about what I have to say. I downvote blatantly wrong answers which don't need a comment. Answers that are wrong but on the right track I usually comment and most of the time don't downvote. I rarely comment when I downvote because there's rarely a need to. $\endgroup$
    – user223391
    Oct 2, 2015 at 16:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .