It is allowed, but probably not to be encouraged
Outside of certain prohibited voting patterns (for example, those that target certain users), people may use downvotes however they choose.
On the other hand, there are certain guidelines for upvotes and downvotes, as conveyed in the Help Center and tooltip.
As noted in your question, the Help Center ...
Yes, Absolutely, Without Reserve.
First of all, at the risk of repeating myself:
Users Should Downvote However They Want
Downvoting on Stack Exchange is anonymous for a reason. As long as a user is not abusively downvoting (that is, they are targeting a specific user, and not the questions themselves), SE has always quite openly asserted that users can ...
I've forked "Most Downvoted Answers" to show the most downvoted questions.
The top 5 (at the last edit)
1) What is “DON'T PANIC” a reference to on the dashboard of Elon Musk's car? (71 downvotes)
2) Is Captain America gay? (48 downvotes)
3) Has George R. R. Martin described the color of Daenerys' pubic hair in any book? (40 downvotes)
4) What is JK ...
I've noticed that you have a strong tendency to go on the offensive when anyone makes a comment that you disagree with. You comment-flood them with multiple responses explaining why they're wrong, and double-down by then posting (poorly received) meta questions seemingly in an attempt to taunt them. You don't listen to the responses you get and rarely do you ...
StackOverflow Meta - Why do you lose reputation for down-voting?
Main points of top answer copied here:
The motivation behind it is to put emphasis on up-voting or not voting at all. This way, down votes will carry more weight and it will also prevent users from abusing the system by down-voting excessively.
According to what Jeff/Joel discussed on ...
Let's have a look at the negative-scoring posts from the first page of your questions.
How to identify a magic user? (Closed)
How did Harry make glass disappear in London zoo without a Wand? (4 CV)
Children performing magic before they get wands is covered explicitly several times in canon.
And covered in another question
Because pointing out plotholes is boring, and most of us that have been here a while are beyond sick of seeing them, for the following reasons:
Most of them are not plot holes. A "plot hole" is a very specific term for a place where there is a direct contradiction between two parts of the script that happened on-screen. Just because something isn't ...
You can use the Stack Exchange Data Explorer to do this kind of thing:
SELECT TOP 10 PostId, COUNT(*) AS [Count]
FROM Votes v
INNER JOIN Posts p ON p.Id = v.PostId
WHERE v.VoteTypeId = 3 AND p.PostTypeId = 1
GROUP BY PostId
ORDER BY 2 DESC
The most heavily downvoted question (that has not yet been deleted) is post 114500 with 40 downvotes; that post is:
I've downvoted some of your questions but not the ones you mention here. I rarely comment when I downvote because the purpose of downvotes is not primarily to give the OP feedback, it's to give someone else who comes along an idea of what "the community" thinks of the question or answer.
You keep posting (here on meta) that you're certain that your posts ...
I really don't see the problem. A single user could cause you to loose at most 546 rep this way (right now). That seems to be what you gain about every two to three days! Note that sock-puppets do not count: You need at least 125 rep to even cast down votes.
Reputation is a number. It doesn't even cost you anything to increment other people's rep count. And ...
Guidelines? We don't need no stinking guidelines!:
I think this question (and some others here recently) misses the point: voting is a mass activity. If lots of people vote based on their own understanding of what "clear, useful, and well researched" mean, then the net score is a measure of how good the question is.
To me, statement made in one of sample ...
The publicly available information certainly looks suspicious: your posts were downvoted at 03:29:28, 03:29:32, 03:29:35, and 03:29:59 this morning. They were all questions (which are free to downvote), and there's not much of a link between them - particularly the Buzz one - except that they were all posted by you. This makes it look as though someone was ...
I'm one of the downvoters here, both on the question and the answer.
NB, obviously the whole explanation below only engages me. I'm not speaking for the other voters, who may have other reasons to up/downvote.
I downvoted the question because it was too broad (and voted to close as such).
I downvoted the answer because I felt it was not helpful. Not ...
I'm posting this as a 2nd answer because it's quite different from my first answer and it only occurred to me after re-reading your question for the fourth or fifth time. And this may be the root of the issue. The problem is I'm not good at sugar coating and this answer assumes that since you have asked for a critique of your posts that you're willing to ...
While there's always the possibility that you've been very cleverly targeted, a look at your recent Q+A would strongly suggest that you're not being targeted at all.
You've had 27 downvotes in the last 30 days, which certainly seems an unusually high number until you start to break things down:
4 came from this off-topic (and now closed) question
I have had many of my questions/answers downvoted only once without any given reason. So, I can understand what you are saying.
But here is what I have to say:
At the moment, the only option is to upvote to compensate the effect of their downvote, but this requires us to either upvote something we would probably not have upvoted before, which I dislike ...
There are two underlying premises about voting on SE that you need to keep in mind:
The first is that in a crowd-based system (like voting on SE), it's the aggregate and relative results that are useful, not individual votes.
If a "lot" of people vote on a "lot" of posts (questions and answers) then - in general - "good" posts will end up with higher votes ...
This Q&A here explains a bit about the serial voting reversal script and links to the more detailed post on meta.SE:
Is this serial voting?
A script runs every day and looks for patterns of multiple votes that are inappropriate. The details of what qualifies as inappropriate are secret, but the script catches both serial up- and down-voting. The ...
The "penalty" is explained in the help page for the "vote down" privilege.
What happens when I vote down?
When you vote down, you are nudging that content "down" the page, so it will be seen by fewer people. Voting down answers is not something we want you to take lightly, so it is not free.
Downvotes remove 2 reputation from the post owner.
While voting is anonymous and users are of course free to vote however they like...
Users are not necessarily encouraged to downvote questions purely because they are duplicates.
The help center explains the reasons for downvoting:
Voting up a question or answer signals to the rest of the community that a post is interesting, well-researched, and useful,...
The question currently has a score of -13, so its score is too low to be bumped to the front page:
Questions with sufficiently low score will not be bumped when either they or their answers are edited. The "sufficiently low" threshold is -4 on SO and new SE sites, and -8 on MetaSO (as of Aug 25, '10 -- see Grace Note's comment).
I'm not aware of an ...
I've given some of your questions upvotes and a few of them downvotes. Most of them I've just been "meh" about, but I tend to skim over a lot of content here. None of that is specific to you, and it's definitely not personal.
We're not required to provide feedback on a downvote. In fact I've seen that discouraged, because it gives posters who feel they ...
Downvoting any answer costs 1 rep. This is not a "penalty" but rather to discourage people from arbitrarily downvoting answers.
In some cases, rather than downvoting, we should be editing the answer to improve it, especially if the problem(s) are simple things like spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
I think the first thing you'd have to do is give an example of this happening, and then we could talk about whether it's harming the site.
When have you seen this happen? I just had a look through the first page of the most recent questions and don't see any signs of every question and answer being downvoted.
I didn't look as closely at the next 2 pages ...
There is already a system to detect malicious voting patterns and correct the reputation accordingly.
If someone serial up-votes and down-votes your answers/questions, you have to wait for at least 24 hours. When the script is run, your reputation will be corrected to pre-malicious-voting level.
Read this page for help.
Quoting from the same page:
No. Not for the reason described.
As discussed in the earlier question Should all questions without explicit canon answers be closed?, the lack of a canon answer does not make a question invalid or bad.
I, myself, tend to only downvote questions for the reasons described in the hover-text:
The question does not show any research effort
The question is not ...
There are two ways to answer this question:
Users Should Downvote However They Want
Downvoting on Stack Exchange is anonymous for a reason. As long as a user is not abusively downvoting (that is, they are targeting a specific user, and not the questions themselves), SE has always quite openly asserted that users can downvote whatever and whenever and why ...