I am asking this question because more and more frequently, I feel that people treat and experience downvotes as offensive. To give one example, I just stumbled across this question:
which at the time had a score of $-2 + 2 = 0$, so two downvotes and two upvotes. There also was a comment stating:
"why the downvotes? He is a fairly new contributor (4 questions asked), let him know his mistake."
Now, I am somewhat confused and would like to ask for clarification: Is a downvote considered offensive or insulting? Why does the feature even exist if it is considered so? I thought that it was perfectly fine to downvote a question which misses context.
I am asking because a downvote is a really easy way for me to communicate that something needs improvement, while explaining it in a comment requires the bit of effort that might just keep me from doing it, especially on mobile. I understand that an explanation is better, but isn't a downvote better than nothing?