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Suppose I see an answer which I find highly inappropriate and misleading (disclaimer: this is not only hypothetical, I have a particular concrete situation in mind). Is it unethical to post this answer in chat and justify why I think it should be downvoted in order for it to get attention and be appropriately downvoted?


For the sake of transparency and in order not to let people conflate things, the answer which I am alluding to here has no connection at all to the one I talk about here.

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    $\begingroup$ We openly do this already in CRUDE, and we don't try to hide it. See also: List of chatrooms $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Dec 4 '17 at 0:27
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    $\begingroup$ Just to add to @SimplyBeautifulArt's comment, downvoting is definitely not the main point of that room. As explained in the link given in the previous comment: "The acronym stands for Close/Reopen/Undelete/Delete/Edit." But it is natural that if a post is bad enough for somebody to suggest that it should be closed or even deleted, then it might also attract downvotes from people who vote to close/delete. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Dec 4 '17 at 0:31
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your responses. So, I guess there is still no definitive answer? $\endgroup$ – Aloizio Macedo Dec 5 '17 at 4:41
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    $\begingroup$ "I guess there is still no definitive answer?" ?? The two comments you received above are pointing at a very "definitive answer", it seems. $\endgroup$ – Did Dec 7 '17 at 9:17
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    $\begingroup$ @Did I don't follow. Simply Beautiful Art implies that CRUDE is very appropriate, Martin implies that it is not that appropriate (even explicitly saying that what describes the room does not cover it), a comment which has ten upvotes. What is the definitive answer? $\endgroup$ – Aloizio Macedo Dec 7 '17 at 23:29
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    $\begingroup$ CRUDE, @AloizioMacedo, is not a place to go to arbitrate a dispute, not is it meant primarily/only for seeking others to downvote an answer one doesn't agree with. If you believe a post should be Closed, Reopend, Undeleted, Deleted, or Edited, then head to CRUDE. It's just not a place to go to ask strictly for downvotes, just as it is not the place to go to ask for upvotes. I trust you're a bright person: so all this feigned confusion is rather unbecoming to you. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Dec 10 '17 at 0:06
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy I did not feign confusion. To be honest, it is a little insulting to suggest that. I think I know where you're coming from, and I ask of you: please don't extrapolate data of me based on a single controversial post on meta. $\endgroup$ – Aloizio Macedo Dec 10 '17 at 1:15
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    $\begingroup$ Aloizio You've left far more data, in CRUDE, here, and elsewhere. But, I'm glad you're learning. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Dec 10 '17 at 1:18
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy Until some days ago, I had zero participation in chat (indeed, still have, but I am trying to begin to learn how it works. You must have seen me entering the room sometimes). I have zero intuition with chat. $\endgroup$ – Aloizio Macedo Dec 10 '17 at 1:21
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy Let me clarify then: based on a single controversy (all that data you seem to refer to is related to this). $\endgroup$ – Aloizio Macedo Dec 10 '17 at 1:31
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    $\begingroup$ Very well, then, Aloizio. I am not here to argue, nor to offend. I'm sorry if I upset you, that was not my intent. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Dec 10 '17 at 1:40
  • $\begingroup$ :P whoops for my poorly worded comments. Sorry for any confusion I may have inadvertently caused. $\endgroup$ – Simply Beautiful Art Dec 16 '17 at 2:37
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Not just to ask for down-votes alone

You should not just ask for down-votes. If it is bad enough asking to get it removed with vote to delete or flags would be appropriate. But if an answer is bad but not wrong and does NOT warrant a delete vote then don't just request down-votes. The user could come back and fix the answer if you leave a nice comment.

I come from a different SE mostly and that is where my opinion comes from. I am not just a 110 rep user from math

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This is not really an answer to your questions - but it seems that the discussion veered towards the role of a specific chatroom which is closely related to this.

From the comments below it seems that I might have caused a bit of confusion. (I have copied them here in case some of them get deleted.)

So just to clarify, the room CRUDE is suitable for discussion about posts you consider low quality or incorrect. I will quote from the room description in the list of chatrooms): "The acronym stands for Close/Reopen/Undelete/Delete/Edit. Sometimes the review queues and other tools are not sufficient or specific actions need more discussion. This room is for such cases and related discussions."

So the room is a reasonable place where to ask if you find something wrong with a post. It might happen that other users there disagree with you. (You have been on this site long enough to see that opinions on closures, deletions and similar issues might vary widely.) It might happen that they agree and they will also downvote or even vote to delete. And, of course, it is possible that you get no response. (But the room is now much more active than it used to be.)

I mainly added my comment because "we openly do this already in CRUDE" might gave the impression that it is a place where some users meet and choose a target who to downvote to oblivion. (At least to a person who only saw this short comment and did not bother to click on the links provided in the comment.) So my comment was intended just as an addition/clarification of a previous comment. (As I have explicitly mentioned also in that chatroom.)


We openly do this already in CRUDE, and we don't try to hide it. See also: List of chatrooms -- Simply Beautiful Art

Just to add to @SimplyBeautifulArt's comment, downvoting is definitely not the main point of that room. As explained in the link given in the previous comment: "The acronym stands for Close/Reopen/Undelete/Delete/Edit." But it is natural that if a post is bad enough for somebody to suggest that it should be closed or even deleted, then it might also attract downvotes from people who vote to close/delete. -- Martin Sleziak

Thanks for your responses. So, I guess there is still no definitive answer? -- Aloizio Macedo

"I guess there is still no definitive answer?" ?? The two comments you received above are pointing at a very "definitive answer", it seems. -- Did

@Did I don't follow. Simply Beautiful Art implies that CRUDE is very appropriate, Martin implies that it is not that appropriate (even explicitly saying that what describes the room does not cover it), a comment which has ten upvotes. What is the definitive answer? -- Aloizio Macedo

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There's a subtle but, IMO, significant difference between:

Am I the only one who thinks that this is a really poor answer?

and:

Hey everybody, downvote this answer!

Basically, yes, it's OK to discuss specific answers in chat (or elsewhere) and to ask others to take a look at them, which, if the answer is indeed bad, might lead to it getting downvoted. (However, one should be careful not to violate the "Be nice!" policy while doing so — in particular, try to stay polite and objective, and focus on the answer itself, not on its author.)

On the other hand, asking other people to downvote an answer just because you say so (or because they're your friends, or for any reason other than their personal evaluation of the answer's quality) is, at best, poor etiquette. At worst, it might be considered abuse of the site (e.g. "intentionally abusing the system to manipulate someone else's reputation", to quote the help page on serial voting), and it's possible that moderators might decide to intervene if they find you doing it blatantly enough.

Of course, in practice there's a wide gray area between these two extremes, and, without the ability to read minds, it's not always easy or even possible to tell if a particular comment is intended as a legitimate request for independent evaluation or as abusive voting manipulation.

The general rule of thumb, however, is still clear enough:

  • Asking people to look at an answer and vote it up/down depending on what they think: OK.
  • Asking people to downvote an answer if they agree with you that [insert legitimate reason to downvote here]: probably OK.
  • Asking people to downvote an answer just because you say so: don't do that.

In any case, if an answer is truly bad, you won't really need to tell other people that it's bad. It's usually quite sufficient to just draw their attention to it, and let them draw their own conclusions. (See also: What is the "meta effect"?)

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