I downvoted an answer (to this question) because I didn't think that the answer addressed the question well enough. There wasn't anything wrong about the answer, but I just didn't think that it actually answered enough of what was asked about?

Was I wrong in downvoting for this reason? I am not asking if indeed the answer was satisfactory, but if it is okay to downvote an answer because it isn't complete in some sense? I am not whining.

Note, I just want to make sure that I understand when it is acceptable to downvote and I fear that I might have made a mistake with this specific one.

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    $\begingroup$ The discussion in comments on the question in question (so to speak) shows what many might consider to be ideal down-voter behavior. About 10% of my votes are down, but I usually only comment if it's a well-established user. $\endgroup$ Apr 22, 2012 at 0:39
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    $\begingroup$ I usually first try to engage the answerer with a comment indicating what I think is the problem, rather than downvoting directly. I would suggest, as a service to the person answering, that whether you cast the downvote or not, you let them know that in your opinion the answer does not really address the question (and perhaps why). As to when it is "acceptable"... people downvote for all sorts of reasons (and sometimes one things that for no reasons). $\endgroup$ Apr 22, 2012 at 0:40
  • $\begingroup$ Some related discussions about downvoting: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/1826/… meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/3028/… $\endgroup$ Apr 22, 2012 at 6:28

1 Answer 1


upvote means the answer is useful. downvote means the answer is not useful. If the answer answers some of what was asked, even if it doesn't answer much of what was asked, it's useful, and deserves an upvote, not a downvote. I figure anyone who makes a sincere effort to be helpful, and doesn't write stuff that's just plain wrong, deserves an upvote. That's not to say you can't upvote and at the same time leave a comment expressing some dissatisfaction with the answer.


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