I recently looked at the Data.SE site. After viewing other people's queries, I decided to write one of my own. You see, I have only cast one downvote thus far in my SE career, but I have cast more than $610$ upvotes. I was curious to see if this was typical: http://data.stackexchange.com/mathematics/query/94621/downvoters

It appears that most people cast more upvotes than downvotes. However, there are some people who have cast significantly more downvotes than upvotes. (This is more noticeable on SO than Math.SE.)

I mentioned this in chat, and someone suggested that the system not allow someone to cast more downvotes than upvotes. I wanted to know the community's thoughts on this proposal--are there some downsides to this idea that I'm overlooking?


It appears there was once a policy that StackExchange had against casting disproportionately large numbers of downvotes. However, that text in the blog entry is crossed out, so it makes me wonder why they changed.

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    $\begingroup$ User $-1$ would be in trouble: math.stackexchange.com/users/-1/community $\endgroup$ Feb 1, 2013 at 5:15
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for the query, -1 for the feature... $\endgroup$
    – draks ...
    Feb 1, 2013 at 8:21
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    $\begingroup$ Are there any upsides to this idea? You should really give some sort of reason when you make a feature request. $\endgroup$ Feb 1, 2013 at 8:55
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not aware that this policy was ever in place. Jeff Atwood proposed it and it was strongly rejected by the community. $\endgroup$ Feb 1, 2013 at 13:03
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    $\begingroup$ I think it's rather informative to be able to see which users behave this way (It seems to reveal something about the users.) Since the vast majority of people have a lot more upvotes, and the "reward" given by upvotes dwarfs the punishment delivered by downvotes, there does not seem to be a reason that downvoting needs hamstringing. $\endgroup$
    – rschwieb
    Feb 1, 2013 at 14:11
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    $\begingroup$ @ChrisEagle I probably should have marked this as a discussion rather than a feature-request... :) I kinda wanted to see what others thought about downvoting more than upvoting, and if it needed to be discouraged. $\endgroup$
    – apnorton
    Feb 1, 2013 at 19:11
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    $\begingroup$ Another person sent out in chat a query that sorts by relative downvotes, rather than net downvotes. This is interesting as well: data.stackexchange.com/mathematics/query/94936/… $\endgroup$
    – apnorton
    Feb 2, 2013 at 1:52
  • $\begingroup$ By the way, essentially this same query already existed. You can just search for it. I have used it many times. $\endgroup$
    – GeoffDS
    Feb 10, 2013 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Graphth Oh. Thanks. :) I think you're referring to this one: data.stackexchange.com/mathematics/query/94938/… This is equivalent to the relative downvote query (oops). My original one is unique as far as know, though. $\endgroup$
    – apnorton
    Feb 10, 2013 at 15:22

1 Answer 1


Some questions, and especially answers, should be downvoted. If we put in a policy further discouraging downvotes, it may mean that some of those necessary downvotes will no longer occur.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm not 100% sure what accepting means in meta, but I think that I'm using it right. This answer is getting several upvotes (and none down), and thus I think it voices the community's opinion on the topic. I also think it makes a good point, and gives a good reason on why a policy change like that should not be enacted. $\endgroup$
    – apnorton
    Feb 1, 2013 at 22:06
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    $\begingroup$ @anorton he ones who significiently have more downvotes than upvotes are by definition called sourballs :-P $\endgroup$
    – Dilaton
    Feb 3, 2013 at 11:15

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