I am relatively new to this site and I use StackOverflow as well as U&L very sparingly as I find that most of what I want to know is already there. However, one thing that I keep experiencing here which I did not face in StackOverflow is that my questions keep getting downvoted without any proper explanation as to what exactly is wrong with it.

To date, I have asked two questions on here and have not given any answers (except if you count the one on my own question) and both times my questions have been downvoted without literally anyone pointing out what was wrong with my question.

I have no qualms about rephrasing my question if I have been unclear or deleting my question if it is deemed off topic. If I am misinformed about something, I think pointing it out in the comments is a much better solution than downvoting without any explanation and leaving me to guess what I did wrong.

I can take the downvotes if I have asked a bad question, however, I was under the impression that someone from the community would at least tell me what I did wrong before doing so. That is at least what used to happen on SO. I have tried asking in the comments of my questions as to what I did wrong, but to no avail. I hope someone here can explain to me where am I going wrong.

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    I also think there is a growing problem of down vote abuse in this site and the system should find creational ways to deal with this awful problem. I just opened a meta thread about down voting abuse in a well phrased and well formatted question I opened here. – JohnDoea Jan 23 at 1:15
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    I think I have seen a question similar to mine here regarding the same problem a long time ago. I just don't understand the point of downvote abuse. Where is the fun in that? – Yuki.kuroshita Jan 23 at 9:51
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    In fact this meta question also had one downvote for some time – Yuki.kuroshita Jan 23 at 9:52
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    I faced a similar problem with closing votes. Two of my questions were closed. The first with a single critical comment (but unsure if the commenter even voted for closing!). The second one without any comment; some closing votes even came after I had accepted an answer! For this one I got it reopened without difficulty by flagging it for moderator attention. I think closing votes and question downvotes should be conditioned to making a comment beforehand. EDIT: I'm not a very new user (>1000 rep). – L. Levrel Jan 23 at 10:41
  • I see 2 of your questions on the main site, one of them has score 0, the other has score 1. These two questions don't seem bad for me. Did you delete your downvoted questions? – peterh Jan 23 at 11:34
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    Suggested edit for this question. "downvoting without explanations do happen in StackOverFlow as well". – evilMinion Jan 23 at 11:40
  • @peterh No, these are the questions that were downvoted. There got more upvotes than downvotes so it became alright, but if you see my reputation chart, you will see the downvotes are there – Yuki.kuroshita Jan 23 at 11:43
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    @Yuki.kuroshita , well I experienced that myself in SO. Sadly I do not have proof as those questions were eventually deleted. I wish more people are aware of these netiquettes medium.freecodecamp.org/… In this article he specifically mentions to write comments,especially when you downvote a question. – evilMinion Jan 23 at 11:57
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    Please note that leaving a comment when downvoting very often opens the downvoting user to abuse. I almost always leave comments, and I very often need to deal with retaliatory downvtes or aggressive comments, complaints etc, which completely ignore the reasons I gave for downvoting. So while I get that it can be annoying to receive a downvote without a comment, one should also remember that leaving a comment when downvoting is rarely considered useful and usually is taken as an attack. Unfortunately. – terdon Jan 23 at 12:01
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    @terdon First of all, kudos for your habit of leaving comments,explaining the downvotes. If you downvote (with a proper reason,hopefully) and provide a clear explanation to the downvote,and Still the others decide to attack that,then the problem is with them and not you right? We often get criticized for trying to do the right thing, but should we stop doing them because of that? ;) – evilMinion Jan 23 at 12:07
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    I understand that some people can be irrationally abusive toward people trying to help them. But I think improving the quality of questions on this site (or anywhere else on stack exchange for that matter) comes first. If someone is verbally abusive, we can just walk away. And also there is also the option of never mentioning that you downvoted. One can just mention what is wrong. Someone who takes this as constructive will edit the question accordingly and the downvotes will automatically stop. The poster also never finds out who downvoted but gets to know what was wrong with the question. – Yuki.kuroshita Jan 23 at 12:11
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    @evilMinion, the link you shared is pretty much what I am feeling – Yuki.kuroshita Jan 23 at 12:17
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    @Yuki.kuroshita if you leave a comment on a post that has a downvote, the OP will assume you downvoted 9 times out of 10. This has happened to me very often. More importantly, you have posted 2 questions and each received one downvote. Don't you think you might be exaggerating when you say your questions "keep getting downvoted"? I mean, all it takes is one user having a bad day to cast two downvotes. I don't see how you can draw any conclusions from only 2 data points. – terdon Jan 24 at 15:24
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    A solution could be quotas for downvotes. Max 4 pr week. Perhaps more if high reputation. Some see themselves as some sort of police or curators to keep the quality of questions high. Might stem from frustration of not being able to give constructive answers. (Of course some questions deserves to be downvoted. Badly written/unintelligible ones) – Kjetil S. Jan 30 at 14:46
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    @terdon Excellent point. The system should could avoid much of that kind of retaliation by preventing a user who was downvoted publicly (ie, the downvoter left a comment) from downvoting any of that user's posts for 48 hours or something like that... – Jonah Feb 2 at 20:18

I also tend to comment when casting down- or close-votes, unless there are already comments that express my concerns.

There are many reasons why you might have received downvotes. It could be simply that the downvoter was having a bad day and didn't like your question. It could be that the downvoter was quickly scanning through several questions and didn't spare the time to write a comment. There's no way of knowing.

I get that it's frustrating to take even a small hit to your reputation, but I think there's 2 main things you can take away from the experience:

  1. don't take it personally: it's not about you. It's possibly not even about your question.
  2. take it as an opportunity to be self-critical about the question you wrote, and look for ways to improve it. The Stack Overflow "how to ask" page is full of good advice.
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    There are people who get a bit ... evangelical ... or maybe over-protective ... about the SO/SE Q&A format. I have received many downvotes that I think are undeserved, and I think one reason is that some people use them to punish people for providing answer to questions they think are "unworthy". Again, you just need to shake it off and move on with your day. – glenn jackman Jan 24 at 13:47
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    Today I learned that "evangelical" carries negative connotation. – Tim Jan 24 at 14:46
  • Although I agree that "it's not about you", it should be about the question. "This question is not useful" – user202729 Jan 30 at 4:22
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    When you say "small hit" to reputation, keep in mind that the "small" is a relative term, and felt much more by @Yuki.kuroshita, at a rep of ~200, as opposed to one in your echelon with a reps 50,000+. For someone who is trying to ask a good question, it's especially bothersome. – Randall Feb 1 at 22:36

My best guess would be that the downvotes may be due to the way the questions are scoped. Rather than ask for the best solution to accomplish the original goal, the questions instead ask how to make a particular solution work. In both cases, the solution proposed is something that is contrary to industry practice. Some of the comments on the questions discuss some of these concerns, and suggest better ways of achieving the original goal, but the original questions are not being updated accordingly. This can make it appear that the more standard suggestions are being discarded, which can lead to downvotes; everyone here is a volunteer, and wants to feel like their contributions are worth something.

A way to avoid the downvotes might be to edit the original question based on the new information you receive from comments and answers. What people will often do is add an "EDIT:" or "UPDATE:" section at the bottom of the question body. This allows them to maintain the original text for discussion and context while acknowledging contributor ideas.

  • Okay. I usually clarify the questions in the comments. I will remember to integrate all the suggestions people say in the comments into my questions. – Yuki.kuroshita Jan 23 at 23:23
  • And in the question about .profile, my question, if you give it a thorough read (I admit it is very long) it is whether it is advisable to do something like that through script. – Yuki.kuroshita Jan 23 at 23:27
  • In the progress bar question, I thought my question was valid, as I wanted as general a solution as possible, like without installing anything extra. People did say that it would be difficult to do it, but it was possible as one person answered, which is the accepted answer. I realise that I should have added all the concerns people raised in the comments into the questions themselves. – Yuki.kuroshita Jan 23 at 23:37
  • I will edit the questions as required soon. And my point was exactly that I did not have a problem with the downvotes, my problem was with the lack of an explanation. This answer which you have given here, had it been present on the original questions, would have told me right then and there what was wrong and I would have made the questions better. – Yuki.kuroshita Jan 23 at 23:42
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    Regarding editing, I wrote this three months ago: … … «Imagine you wrote a paper for school, or a report for your job, and you got it back with a note “Not good enough — try again.”  Would you resubmit the same paper with corrections scribbled in the margins and a pile of yellow sticky notes on it?  Of course not.  You would rewrite the entire paper to be coherent, with a logical sequence and structure.  You would include all the information that needs to be there, probably just once, at an appropriate level of detail.» – G-Man Jan 30 at 4:15
  • Yes, as G-man said, please don't add "Edit" or "Update" sections! Just edit directly and re-write the question as though you had the information there from the beginning. There is no need to show what is new and what was there before, we have the edit history for that. The questions you post here might be read by someone many years later, and they don't need to know that this paragraph is an "Edit", they just need to be able to read the question clearly. – terdon Feb 2 at 11:10

@Yuki.kuroshita, I see nothing which would indicate you're violating forum conduct.

With that said, I've noticed there's an erosion of the experience across the Stack Exchange -- so you're not alone. It's still better here though when compared to that cesspool of misinformation Spiceworks.

So just keep what you're doing. Be a part of the community -- both ways: helping others and getting help yourself. If someone downvotes you, don't take it personally. It's their problem and NOT yours.


There's a discussion here on SO meta, about mandating of feedback for downvotes:


Often you'll find that if you comment on your own question requesting an explanation for a downvote, you'll receive a useful reply.


Yea, I've posted a couple serious questions here I got freaking grammar corrected and just plain ignored. someone tried to tell me my swap needed a mountpoint or some crap. My answer: this stackexchange just has a lot of *nix elitists that read more bug reports than they make. If this were a youtube channel I'd say its dying. In my book, this place is considered a last resort/ last ditch effort to see if some snob can brag about how he fixed it soooo goood when (S)HEE had this problem so that I may be able to get enough info to fix my problem.

PS Now that I think of it I've gotten more help from comments of YouTube videos.

  • I don't see too many elitists here -- but there are a lot of clueless nitwits who are pasting search results and then get angry when not rewarded for their "efforts". If you catch some jerk who had the same problem as you and brags with their fixes, you can consider yourself quite lucky! Like most ad-driven media, this site is geared towards regulars/obsessive users which are role-playing with sockpuppets and giving each other likes. This creates the illusion of a "vibrant" community and drives ad profits. Real-life noobs, snobs or trolls are quickly weeded away by trained moderators. – qubert Jan 31 at 20:15
  • Posts like this one make me wish there was a vote up option for "this post wasn't that bad." I'm sorry you've had the frustration you've experienced here. That said, I would say SE in general is a place where one should go to look for simple stepwise improvement. I've learned more here by researching questions to find answers for them than I have from reading answers. It would be a lot more except for a few rare very good answers. – Ed Grimm Feb 3 at 4:07

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