I think it would be useful and clarifying; and may it be anonymous.


2 Answers 2


Down votes already contain stock explanations:

For a question: "This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful."

For an answer: "This answer is not useful."

I think these are pretty clear. Simply hover your cursor over the down vote arrow to see them.

I don't feel down votes are "superfluous" in a community driven site. Flagging for moderators should only be used if something violates the TOS or is inappropriate. And while meta can be used to discuss issues with a question, it shouldn't be littered with commentary on every question or answer a user feels is "not useful".

The down vote allows a user to show their opinion without any great impact. I mean it is only a -2 to rep. For someone simply browsing the site, seeing some questions/answers with lower votes clearly indicates that other users don't feel the question/answer useful and they may wish to pay more attention to those answers/questions with higher scores.

You can't force people to comment when down voting. There's already the pop up urging users to comment, but if they choose to ignore it, they have that option.

  • Actually, there is a penalty for question down votes. And I'm pretty aware of what could or could not happen in terms of mis-votes. It's not like I'm new here. The entire point of a community driven site is no one user has that much impact. Honestly, if anyone is that concerned about votes, they are probably here for the wrong reasons.
    – Scott
    Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 10:59
  • And the comment above made much more sense before @xxx deleted his/her comment.
    – Scott
    Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 11:34
  • Thank you, @Scott. I do know the actual SE explanations, but I'm curious (may be too much?:)). I thought the idea of just labeling the given down-vote (e.g. "wrong advice" or "off-topic" etc) would clarify the mistake for a down-voted author Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 11:38

The down-vote functionality is the result of over engineering, in light of the other tools available it's superfluous .

It's enough for a post to have a score of zero if it is not useful. If the post is bad or inappropriate users can flag it and moderators can remove it. If a user finds that they have a problem with a post they can post a comment against the post or raise their concerns on the meta site.

The down-vote by virtue of it's very nature can only have a negative impact.

  • I strongly disagree with your point. A downvote is an easy way of saying that you think the information in a post is invalid, incorrect or unhelpful. Votes are SE's way of ensuring good content floats to the top and the chaff falls to the bottom.
    – Vincent
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 11:46
  • @Vincent the idea is that invalid, incorrect or unhelpful posts get no votes. valid, correct and helpful posts get votes. that way good content floats to the top. if it's wrong don't vote for it or leave a comment saying that it's wrong and why, downvoting is ambiguous.
    – user18962
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 10:15
  • I'm afraid people don't upvote enough for this not getting any votes to work properly, at least on this site. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree :)
    – Vincent
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 10:20
  • @Vincent someone on another site have given a very good description of what the downvote is, I think it illustrates some of it's weeknesses quite well, see the answer to Questions about odd in-game functions. what you say about people not voting is certainly a valid point worth thinking about, though I feel that it's more of a problem on small sites with only a few users
    – user18962
    Commented Jan 10, 2015 at 13:09

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