Having prepared a post on uncommented downvotes I was directed to previous discussion (thanks for the pointer @jeffschaller), but having read through a selection of these I was left with an even larger void in my comprehension.
We upvote because we see value in someone's work. That is obvious. It's there for all to see.
We comment when we see something wrong, or maybe can give some small improvement that does not justify a
If we plagiarise an answer then there is usually some attribution (a link or an acknowledgement) in the post recognising this. Credit where credit is due.
If we see how an answer that can be significantly improved, or we have an alternative, then we post it to the benefit of all.
So we can agree; we can help; and if we disagree we can just post to show the right way. All very constructive.
So where is there any constructive value in a downvote? It just seems to say "this post is wrong, but I can't be bothered to tell you or anyone else who sees this post why it is wrong"
It can't be to express preference for another answer on the same topic. Just upvote the other answer. Job done.
So, why do we have downvotes at all?
@jeffschaller I like your reference. It makes exactly the point about lost/absent information that I have tried to make but from the other side of the fence.
@fra-san I read these references yesterday and they deal with uncommented downvotes. That wasn't the point I was trying to make.
@muru Your link refers to downvoting on questions and these are also subject to explicit moderation in review, even removal. I would agree that as users we benefit from this feedback that our questions need clarification but I would also say that I see few downvoted questions without a comment explaining why, or a pointer to the guidelines. Constructive.