"Questions that are deemed sufficiently off-topic may be closed by the community". At the moment, it seems like questions that are even just a little bit off-topic - or might be off-topic, but hasn't been agreed on yet - are being closed or having close votes. I don't think it's possible to see where down-votes have been cast, so it's possible they are occurring too, but given that there aren't any negative-vote questions, it seems unlikely.

My understanding was that if a question isn't very good - if it's badly asked, unclear, or just not really an interesting question - then the appropriate action was to down-vote it. If it just totally doesn't belong (i.e. there's a clear consensus that it doesn't belong, and isn't close) then vote-to-close.

Am I wrong about the intended use of the question down-vote? If not, does it not apply during a beta? (e.g. in a beta is the use of close-votes favoured over down-votes?)

  • 3
    You can see up and down votes by clicking on the vote total when you reach 750 rep on a beta site - 1000 on a graduated site.
    – Zypher
    Commented Jan 22, 2011 at 21:58

2 Answers 2


Downvotes are not discouraged, people just don't like being on the receiving end.

Votes are yours to cast as you wish. You can vote on whether or not a post is worth the time to read. Question votes also help in their weighting when searches are done. The higher the score, the higher they will rank in the site search.

If you want to see the negatively voted questions so far, search:


Sort by votes and jump to the last page(s).

If you want to see which questions have close votes on them, you'll need to reach the reputation level that gives you access to some of the moderation tools. Or view each and every question.

Questions that are unclear, vague, or ill-fitting for the site should be closed. Downvoting is just another metric.

  • That search doesn't show downvotes, just questions with low votes, unless the voting has gone below 0. Unless I'm misunderstanding, you can't tell if (e.g.) a 3 vote question has 10 up and 7 down, or just 3 votes.
    – Tony Meyer
    Commented Jan 22, 2011 at 20:51
  • I would guess that people like being closed less than they like being downvoted. IAC, that doesn't really answer the question: they will like/dislike it just as much out of beta. Are we meant to be casting close-votes (during the beta particularly) rather than down-voting?
    – Tony Meyer
    Commented Jan 22, 2011 at 20:53
  • What does IAC stand for? @ton Commented Jan 22, 2011 at 20:56
  • Sorry: "in any case".
    – Tony Meyer
    Commented Jan 22, 2011 at 20:57

People might be focused on getting the inappropriate questions off the site. Keep in mind, when a new user arrives, the first thing they see is a list of questions. Those questions are going to serve as a template, indicating to the new user "these are typical questions".

Also, most people's reputation scores here aren't that high yet, and downvoting someone costs you a little rep. When your rep is three digits, you might be a little more miserly with downvotes than you would be if you have rep in the thousands.

I often use voting more for answers than questions in any case. If information is blatantly wrong or obviously well-written and factually correct (yes, I will downvote for bad writing and numerous typos), I'll vote appropriately. That doesn't mean it's the correct way to use votes, it's just what I do.

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