My understanding is that you lose $2$ reputation when you do so. I would like my reputation to be as high as possible, so I don't want to voluntarily give up points. I do my best to assist in low-effort posts by inlining images, asking the OP what their thoughts are on the problem, and voting to close for lack of context when it is clear that it is a PSQ. However, am I expected to downvote a question or answer that is "bad," for lack of a better word? Or is this up to my discretion?

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    $\begingroup$ Note you don't lose reputation points when you down-vote questions, and it's only $1$ reputation point per answer down-vote. $\endgroup$ Dec 18, 2019 at 9:06
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the clarification @JohnOmielan. $\endgroup$
    – Math1000
    Dec 18, 2019 at 9:28
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    $\begingroup$ "lost" reputation from downvotes is returned if the downvoted item is deleted, and you can remove your downvote if the question/answer is improved (at least to your satisfaction) so there's not necessarily any permanence to this. $\endgroup$
    – postmortes
    Dec 18, 2019 at 9:35
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    $\begingroup$ I feel that the emphasis should be on comments and other assistance, such as you say you already do, rather than on downvotes. This positive action has a stronger impact on the site, as for example it has the potential to improve future questions. On the other hand, downvotes without feedback are usually not helpful. So keep doing what you're doing and don't worry. $\endgroup$
    – user1729
    Dec 18, 2019 at 15:12
  • $\begingroup$ @user1729 One reason I'm asking this question is because sometimes I'll see (poorly-written) questions with 3-4 downvotes and no close votes. It confuses me sometimes. $\endgroup$
    – Math1000
    Dec 18, 2019 at 16:49
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    $\begingroup$ @Math1000 I don't know why that is. Not everybody who has enough reputation to downvote has enough to close-vote, which is a factor (although how significant a factor I don't know). $\endgroup$
    – user1729
    Dec 18, 2019 at 17:00

1 Answer 1


It's your time that you're putting into keeping MSE in line, to say nothing of your reputation. Spend those resources as you wish. Everything I've read from SE has lead me to believe that they appreciate our moderation efforts and our reputation is the basis for the trust they have that our judgment represents the will of the community.

Speaking for myself, I have cast 1357 votes, and only six were downvotes. I think they may have all been in my first month. (It's hard to tell, since your profile page only shows you the undeleted posts you have downvoted.) If I were to cast a downvote because a question or answer were bad, I would feel obligated to go back and undownvote it if the question had been improved. So the only time I seem to do it is when a question is bad and the poster has doubled-down on the badness in comments.

If someone posts an answer that is wrong, I'll give them a comment (which sends a more precise message to the questioner and the community). If it's trivial or repeating a previous answer, I just move on with my day. And if it's not mathematical, I flag it. Even if my rep wasn't penalized for downvoting an answer, I wouldn't feel a need to have that arrow in my personal quiver. But we all have our own strategies, so blessings to the people who do use it!

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    $\begingroup$ If you want to check when you used your downvotes you can go to your profile page - activity - votes - downvote section. $\endgroup$
    – Zacky
    Dec 18, 2019 at 13:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Zacky True, but that only shows undeleted posts. For instance, my view only shows two of my six downvotes. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a data query that would show all of them, but I haven't searched it out. $\endgroup$
    – user694818
    Dec 18, 2019 at 13:51

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