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85

I am not so surprised by a lack of symmetry in some situations. While an upvote usually stands for everything is fine / this contribution is useful / I am glad I learned something today , a downvote usually stands for something is not quite right. In such a case it is very useful for the downvoted person to know what is not right. In order to preserve the ...


57

You're too old for this... stuff. Your contributions are greatly appreciated, beyond downvotes. If we find someone is messing with the system, we will do our best to cease it. In the mean time, don't lose sleep over votes. At any rate, people have different views on usefulness, and perhaps you find yourself in front of a question you deem useful and lovely, ...


50

Jack, I imagine that I am somewhat older than you and perhaps I have thought about my mortality in ways you have not. (I do not know this of course, just a guess.) As I have pondered the rather dim truth about my remaining time able to work out neat integrals, I have developed an immutable iron law that governs everything I do in all walks of life, ...


47

I am strongly against downvoting complete solutions, and I believe such behavior would have a negative long-term impact on the site as a whole. I went over my reasons in detail in this past answer, A Consolidated Homework Policy, and I have pasted a large portion of that answer below. I also want to link to Professor Hamkins answer to the question What do ...


37

It should be neither closed nor downvoted, if anything because both are quite contrary to the whole spirit of the mathematical endeavor!


36

This kind of behavior is rude and unacceptable. On the other hand, asking for a reason for the downvote is reasonable as long as no accusations are made.


36

Neither behaviour seems particularly exemplary: Clearly, if the user is aware that a question is a duplicate, the appropriate action is to vote to close as a duplicate. But, we should probably assume people are just trying to help. So, let's not be too critical if they answer a duplicate. Downvoting solely for meta reasons seems to be generally regarded ...


36

Naturally, as the site grows, the number of votes of either kind goes up. The trend is shown below: upvotes per day in blue, 10*downvotes per day in red. (Multiplied by 10 to be roughly on the same scale). As you can see, recently the number of downvotes reached 10% of the number of upvotes. For better readability, open the image in another tab. The time ...


34

I'd like to take a moment to say that downvoting is not inherently bad. Both upvoting and downvoting have played a very important role in the day-to-day operations of the site. While there are many reasons a user might downvote a question/answer, the thread binding them all together is that the user does not like an aspect of that question/answer. Perhaps ...


34

I sampled maybe 10-15 of your questions, and it seems that the downvotes are all on those that you answered yourself. I didn't find anything objectionable with any of your questions at all, so I assume that this is not a coincidence. I can share a guess, and a maybe unfortunately necessary recommendation. The site has been used by some as a form of scratch ...


33

No, it is not abusive to downvote for no stated reason.


33

You ask if you are wasting your time. I looked through some of your answers from the last (little over a) week, here are some comments that OPs left for you: Thank you very much, This helped me a lot Thank you for your time and answer! ... Very cool, thank you. Thank you very much for your response. Ok. Thank you so much for your help. I learned a lot. Ah, ...


32

There are so many approaches and reasons to upvoting and downvoting here (=Math.SE, not Meta) that it is IMHO largely pointless to attempt to codify them. A discussion is, of course, ok, if for no other purpose than to vent one's frustration. To simplify matters somewhat let me attempt to break them into three categories. It would be a miracle, if even a ...


31

The goal is to improve quality. This means that downvoters better tell what should be improved. Particularly since readers may not be able to detect the presence of downvotes. Generally, it is my impression that downvotes by themselves have so little weight that the author of the downvoted post can often afford to simply ignore them. That course of non-...


30

When I noticed for the first time that a non-negligible amount of rep can be obtained from answering dupes while there is no "reward" for dupe-closing, I also considered downvoting dupe-answerers who "should have known better". But, apart from realizing that rep is but a transient shadow (though having >3k is a nice thing...), I learned that some of these ...


29

Let me present a different voice here (from the other moderators). If you hover your mouse over the up/down-vote arrows for an answer, the caption that pops up is "This answer is useful" versus "This answer is not useful". And considering that we are a Q+A website, I am uncomfortable with a strict correctness-based approach to voting. Let me expand a ...


29

There are many possible reasons for down-voting that have nothing to do with correctness in a narrow sense, including: DVer thinks the answer is too sloppy. DVer thinks the answer is too terse. DVer thinks the answer is redundant. DVer thinks the answer is too clumsy. DVer thinks the answer uses needlessly advanced tools. Or, DVer thinks the question just ...


29

It disappoints me that the admission I don't explain my downvotes anymore because I get abused when I do so. and the subsequent plea Can you all be nicer to downvoters so that we don't feel disinclined to explain our downvotes? is responded to with discussions of When, how, and why you should explain your downvotes or should you even cast ...


28

The downvoting means that some users thought the question was ill posed or ill suited to the site. If you disagree with those users, you have no obligation to refrain from answering the question. It's as much your right to think the question is worth answering as it's the right of those other users to think the question was bad. Actually, I think your ...


28

This question is the logical equivalent of "Can we be nicer to the tax collector?" We certainly need the tax collector so that we may function as a society. Without the tax collector, we lose the ability to govern ourselves. Yet, when the tax collector calls us, do we thank him/her? ADDENDUM Along these lines, perhaps we can take some cues from the ...


27

I understand that the consensus of the community about downvoting is that each one has its own personal reasons to downvote, and should not have to justify that. Yes, but there is one major exception, which is that one must not vote based on the identity of the post-owner. Shortly after I explained the downvote, my answer was downvoted with no reasoning....


26

Bad answers should be downvoted if you feel you have the expertise to conclude that they are bad with some confidence. This is useful information you are communicating to other users, who may not have such expertise, and it is worth communicating. I agree that there is some conflict of interest here, but it's not enough to end someone's career or anything.


26

It is impossible to notify downvoters; the possibility to do so comes up from time to time as a feature request (that might have some merits but is also open to abuse). The situation was handled quite well. You took the time to help the users that asked a question in quite a bad way (I mean especially the first case) and were told so be others via the ...


25

There is a discussion on meta.SO about this. While all the answers and comments are interesting, the answer given by Jeff Atwood, one of the two creators of the StackExchange network, says that people do not need to explain their downvotes (or at least, not enough so that they face any repercussions from not doing so), but a reminder that one can explain one'...


24

I sometimes recognize a question as a duplicate, but that happens rather rarely. If I felt obligated to actually check whether a question is a duplicate before answering it, I'd just stop answering questions altogether.


24

Everything's up to you, of course, but my rules of thumb are: Downvote a question as a helpful hint to other users that it may not be worth their time to try to read and understand the question. Downvote an answer as a way to indicate to the asker that there are enough problems with it that it shouldn't be trusted (and those serious problems are either ...


24

Disclaimer: I hadn't seen your question before following the link in this meta question. I'm basing this answer on the first revision of the question. The title is the title, not the first sentence of the body. The question appeared to start (and still does) with a parenthentical sentence which is lacking context, and that's a bad first impression. This is ...


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