Downvoting, downvoting, downvoting. I feel as if this site sometimes goes to hard on new users at times. I know when we downvote, we get a type of message saying to comment or suggest something to improve the question. But how many people actually do that. I think everyone has been a victim of downvoting before at times, but how many people actually bother to say why the question was bad/wrong?

When I see this or when this actually happens to me I find it at times rude, unhelpful and does not allow the asker to ever correct the question or improve on possible future contributions he/she may do for the site in the future.

I may be, being a bit bias here and I do admit sometimes I downvote silently without commenting (So don't get me wrong on this), but if you look at it from the victims point of view it is actually quite irritating and does not allow the user to correct the mistake/mistakes they may have done. I am not asking you to stop downvoting, but perhaps when doing it try to soften it by adding what might need work or why it was bad so it doesn't seem like you're being overly aggressive (which I think is the case). Also think about it mentally in a way. Example: To you -2 or even -3 may not seem like a big deal, but to the person or victim of it, it is really heavy and a huge confidence downer.

I hope this question actually kind of changes the way people think on this site, but I am open to your suggestions too. :) Does anyone agree/disagree with this? Why/Why not?

Note: I am not asking you to hold new users hands or to completely stop downvoting, but I think it is far better when you do downvote is that you actually comment on what was wrong with the question. Finally, to be perfectly honest I think -2 is enough to tell the user that their question is bad unless it is pure spam.

Don't mind me though, I just thought it would be interesting to hear some feedback on this. What do you think?

  • 2
    related post on meta.se – phantom42 May 12 '14 at 13:02
  • 1
    I almost always leave a comment when I'm downvoting (which really isn't frequently) or doing a VTC and I find the majority of the time it is not well received, is not welcomed by the user, and that the user wants to start arguing with me, which is exhausting and petty (most of the time). I feel it's the right thing to do, though. I suspect I've gotten retaliatory downvotes before, but I don't really care about that or points, etc. I agree with @DVK in his comment below that making feedback anonymous would elicit more feedback; it would likely bring out the trolls, too, though. – Slytherincess May 13 '14 at 18:39
  • I think the problem here is that you are thinking of the person being downvoted as a "victim". You used that term multiple times in your question. They are not a victim of anything. They just have a poor or incorrect answer to something. – Charles Boyung May 16 '14 at 5:41

Yes, it is always a good idea to comment explaining your downvote. It's how people learn from their mistakes; particularly new people.

I sometimes upvote someone else's comment that explains why I'm downvoting, instead of creating my own comment, but I generally try to leave some indication.

However, many people don't, and for a variety of reasons (some I can't refute).

For example, identifying yourself as a downvoter opens you up to retaliatory downvotes, if the person you are downvoting has enough reputation.

Comments explaining downvotes can also easily lead to discussion that is more suited to meta, or not suited to this site at all.

It may also be difficult to phrase comments explaining a downvote in a way that is not going to come across as rude or condescending.

Some people also browse the site from mobile devices, where they may find doing anything more than voting and reading to be cumbersome and/or frustrating.

In short, commenting to explain a downvote is helpful, but don't expect everyone to do it.

  • 5
    Anonymous stock (template) downvote-accompanying comments were proposed a couple of times on MSO/MSE, and would resolve all of the issues (being anonymous; they won't lead to retaliation or personal attacks; being templates they can be worded to be non-inflammatory). Yet, as usual, SE ignores this great idea. – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 12 '14 at 15:36
  • 1
    @DVK -I gave you an anonymous upvote on your comment :-) – Morgan May 12 '14 at 18:02

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .