Background info : All the existing answers to soneone's post about printing out high-bit bytes were along the lines of :

  • "It's a locale setting problem, and you must go to LC_ALL=C/POSIX to get around it" (variations of the same motif)

I offered a clean solution that is completely agnostic to locale settings, showcasing how one could print any byte even in UTF-8 locale, or vice versa, print any UTF-8 character even in POSIX/C/byte-mode.

And my reward for sharing that tidbit of information was having my reputation dinged for some minor and inconsequential typos.

I've even seen answers to questions with factually false statements (easily provable with just Unix one-liners), while that answer got the most up-votes.

So what exactly do people value here?

English isn't my mother tongue, so if grammar spelling and punctation is valued above all else, I simply have to resign to that fact while also picturing others in a similar boat where their actual efforts were being completely overlooked, and become increasingly reluctant to even speak up, comment, or offer any solutions, out of concern, or even fear, to protect their reputation value.

I don't have much of a reputation value to begin with, since I'm a rather new joiner, and I already feel this way — imagine how the more seasoned ones would feel when no good deed goes unpunished.

  • 2
    Just talking for myself, I value readable, interesting questions and well-written, easy-to-follow answers that answer the question at hand. I value people who learn from others, and that are willing to pass knowledge on. I dislike help-vampires, and "try this" and "cargo cult" answers, or answers with little or no explanation. But that's just me.
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Commented Jan 20, 2022 at 14:37
  • Which answer? This one? unix.stackexchange.com/a/686792/170373
    – ilkkachu
    Commented Jan 23, 2022 at 10:00
  • 1
    Also... if it is that one, there only appears to be one other answer in addition to yours, so saying "all existing answers" focused on the locale is a bit misleading...
    – ilkkachu
    Commented Jan 23, 2022 at 10:29
  • No one values security on this website, and since no one understands "pen-testing/cybersecurity" I got often downvoted for answering such stuff. STUFF that I've been working 7 years on. I pretty much hacked hundreds of universities, public places, neighborhoods at that time. I know what I'm talking about. BUT say anything about cybersecurity here and you got 30 monkeys jumping you with a stick rod ready to punish you. EVIDENCE none of my cyber securities answers survived on the stack. They will praise you for answering "how to deactivate your mouse using GUI" My 2 cents for this community Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


Since you haven't linked to the specific post you are referring to, it's hard to be very specific, but in any case, looking at all of your answers, I can see you have received exactly two downvotes. This just means that two people (or even just one person who voted on both posts) out of the more than 16 thousand users with enough rep to downvote, chose to cast a downvote on two of your answers.

None of us can know who did this and only the person who did it can know why. I can tell you that as a general rule, I don't think people here tend to downvote for typos, so I really doubt your interpretation is correct. People vote for personal reasons and it's impossible to know what was in every random downvoter's mind at the time they chose to vote.

All that said, I am going to guess that you are referring to your answer here:

Why does awk's printf interpret character values greater than 127 as multi-byte characters?

As explained above, we cannot know why the person who voted chose to downvote, but I have to say it is really strange that you undid a helpful edit. I have now redone it because the edit was a clear improvement, fixed various minor language issues and didn't take anything away from your answer. Please don't undo such good edits. This is a collaborative site and if you are not comfortable with others editing your posts, especially if you object to such clearly helpful edits, then you really will not enjoy your time here since this sort of collaborative editing is a very major part of how we do things.

Anyway, I really doubt the downvote was in any way related to your typos or to the fact that you rolled back a useful edit. I would instead guess that the downvote is simply because your answer is not answering the question. It seems quite correct and interesting, but it isn't answering the question asked. The post asks:

What is the significance of 0xc280, and why does awk output that character instead of 0x80?

Your answer doesn't address this at all. Instead, it gives ways for awk to print out an arbitrary byte. Which is interesting and can be useful, but isn't an answer to the question asked.

These sites have their own set of rules which can be surprising and confusing to new users. One of the more important ones is that, unlike traditional forums, we are very strict about everything posted being either a question or an answer to the specific question. Useful and interesting discussions that are not providing a direct answer are not wanted here.

So, to answer your main question: we value correct information that provides a solution to the problem or question posed in the Question. We also value clear writing, and encourage everyone to edit each other's posts so we can ensure high quality and up to date answers as much as possible. We do not, however, welcome discussions or tangential posts no matter how true or interesting they may be. This is just not the right place for them.

  • 2
    OTOH, there already was an answer that told the "why", and in practice, people asking "why doesn't this do what I want/expect" also implicitly want to know "how do I get what I expected". It wouldn't be very useful to have to post another question to get the workarounds if one made the mistake of just asking the "why" the first time... Stephen's answer also tells the "what to do instead", and no-one is going to blame him on that. Also this falls back to the conflict between answers having to be independent, and the arguable lack of usefulness in repeating the same things in many answers.
    – ilkkachu
    Commented Jan 23, 2022 at 11:13
  • @ilkkachu if something has been said, there's no point in repeating it. There is nothing wrong with having just one answer posted. Also, I hadnt voted on this, I don't know why the downvoter voted, I am just giving one possibility. That said, I disagree that asking "why does this happen" also implies "how do I get what I expected". I often know the latter and ask a question only about the former. Finally, if you answer the question asked and add something extra, that's great. But don't post an answer just to add something extra, that's noise.
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Jan 23, 2022 at 11:30
  • I'm noticing that the "method" discussed in the answer is unexplained, contains "magic constants", and in general lacks text describing the code. It triggers my "try this" downvoting-finger.
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Commented Jan 26, 2022 at 11:45

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