# When someone gives you -2 points

How to find the reason for someone giving you a -2 for a previously answered question that had been given 10 points?

• As Ron Gordon once told me, Leave the downvoters to stew in the toxic goulash of their own making. You may politely ask for the reason behind an apparently nonsensical downvote, but the downvoter is not compelled to provide it. The reputation system stands on anonimity, and you are simply staring at the bad side of it. Just look at the other way. – Jack D'Aurizio Oct 20 '17 at 0:20
• @Jack: I was told recently that goulash gets better every time it is reheated. What does it mean for downvoters, then? – Asaf Karagila Oct 20 '17 at 9:47
• @AsafKaragila: toxic goulash gets more toxic every time is it reheated, so the metaphor is probably suggesting not to lose sleep over downvotes, before it becomes a major problem :) – Jack D'Aurizio Oct 20 '17 at 9:50
• @Jack Sorry but what are you talking about? Surely you cannot endorse the statement "Leave the downvoters (to) stew in the toxic goulash of their own making" with no qualification? Equating every downvote to a "toxic goulash of the downvoter's own making" is a sure way to destroy the equilibrium the whole site is based upon. This is frightening... – Did Oct 20 '17 at 16:16
• @Did: Let me be clear: I did not equate every downvote to a bad thing. I simply sympathized with the OP about the fact that nonsensical downvotes happen, and there is little to do about them, except to focus on the positive side of sharing the knowledge. – Jack D'Aurizio Oct 20 '17 at 16:34
• @Jack I'd answer "Leave the upvoters and rep whores to stew in the toxic goulash of their own making." – Namaste Oct 20 '17 at 16:54
• Dear asker of this question. Get used to it. It happens. One answer upvote: 10 pts. one answer downvote -2. So you gained 8 points for your answer. Get used to receiving downvotes if you plan to continue answering. I get an occasion downvote on questions of ten or more upvotes, from 2013! Should I post to meta every time an upvoted answer of mine, which I posted a few months, or a year, or three years or five years ago, gets a downvote? What if everyone posted to meta each and every time they received a single downvote they don't understand? – Namaste Oct 20 '17 at 17:03
• @amWhy I agree with your advice to the OP. But, "rep whores" - really? – Mark McClure Oct 20 '17 at 19:18
• @MarkMcClure Search for "help vampires and rep whores" on Meta.SE, or on this site. I rarely rarely use such terms, and it's not the best choice; but it's had uptake on SE for a very long time. – Namaste Oct 20 '17 at 19:22
• @amWhy I think that is a real problem downvotes to users who think that his/her answer was right, (or those who don't receive a positive exchange as answer accepted, a comment appreciating the work, an upvote), because my belief is that this site stands on altruism. The reputation for each user means a different thing. What is the meaning of a downvote (-2)? Seems few, but it maybe can have pernicious consequences. From my viewpoint has no importance, with exception of malicious votes. And I believe that in the world of mathematicians, we want to put a logic even in colloquial discussions, – user243301 Oct 20 '17 at 19:28
• @user243301 I don't think I've said anything contrary to that. But you also need to realize that there are too many non-altruistic answers as well. Answering a question $\not\equiv$ being altruistic. And some downvoters and/or closers are motivated by sheer altruism, to keep this site useful, and sound, by simply being janitors. So, I don't like over-generalizations, that's all. And what you say does nothing to challenge what I said when I addressed the asker. What I get is why haters-of-downvotes don't also argue against unwarrented upvotes? That's the bigger problem, on this site! – Namaste Oct 20 '17 at 19:55
• No, @user243301 I'm not talking about "hate" here; simply different perspectives, most all of which are valid. Disagreement $\neq$ hate. Down-vote $\neq$ hate. And what about most users, who both upvote and downvote, who close some questions, but vote to reopen others. You're making a false dichotomy. – Namaste Oct 20 '17 at 21:11
• Then I'm sorry @amWhy , my comment was about your expression haters-of-downvotes. English is not my native language and thus I have misinterpreted this expression. – user243301 Oct 20 '17 at 21:12
• @GuyFsone Could you be a little bit more specific as to how that relates to the question here? – Simply Beautiful Art Oct 23 '17 at 14:08
• @RonGordon Duly noted, then you forgot the crucial qualification "serial" in your comment. Actually the whole comment by Jack, not only the part that is quoting you (apparently, out of context), expresses a very precise point of view on downvotes, which, while in line with their past activity on the site, I find highly disturbing. How to understand "you are simply staring at the bad side of it. Just look at the other way" if not as a general, a priori, disqualification of downvotes? How do we know that user348749 is "staring at the bad side" of the rep system? How do we know ... – Did Oct 27 '17 at 15:54

I pose a frame challenge.

Nobody gave you +10 points, nor did they give you -2 points. What happened is that people used the ratings system built into the site. This is not dissimilar from other sites with user-generated content that ask users to rate content.

The site used those ratings to give you +10 points in an effort to encourage the kind of content people want to see, and also to give you -2 points in an effort to discourage the kind of content people don't wan't to see.

The question you mean to ask is:

Why did one person dislike a post that another person liked?

and you can hopefully recognize the futility of posing it as an abstract question.

• This. So much this. Votes are not like grades in an exam. – Jyrki Lahtonen Oct 22 '17 at 7:50

Any user with 15 points can vote up on any question or answer they want, and any user with 125 points can vote down on any question or answer they want. The default is that no reason is given. To communicate specific feedback on the post a comment would be used instead. The voting provides a sort of rating system, inevitably with a lot of noise, but on the whole appears to be useful, especially if more people vote more often.

Want more upvotes on the site? You can do your part by voting up more on useful posts. As for our own posts, we are unfortunately psychologically programmed to be affected even by the noise, but votes are not necessarily even intended to communicate anything to the poster, but rather are a user's use of their rating privilege on the site.

• I think the reason for is the shock of one or two downvotes on their own will encourage people to improve a bad post, but they don't mean much when mixed in with $10$ upvotes. – Toby Mak Oct 21 '17 at 1:14
• Sorry, I meant $10$ points for one upvote. Even though the downvotes don't reduce your reputation by that much, the score still shocks people with a bad post enough to change their post. – Toby Mak Oct 21 '17 at 2:02