I found that the downvote for questions is growing larger recently, some questions like mine and this one from uhon get downvoted, and the people who downvote the question didn't give an explanation or how to improve the question. I know the rule of downvote is listed here, but we to consider some people are newcomers like this one, it is important to let them know how could they improve their questions in the future, not just leaving a downvote, and that particular question got 2 upvotes and 2 downvotes, with no constructive advice in the comment section. The site should encourage people to ask questions, and if they make mistakes, tell them how to get better. When you leave a downvote and don't give any feedback to that person, it is not helping anyone.

  • $\begingroup$ Similar question in chemistry.meta: chemistry.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5056/… $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 6:08
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    $\begingroup$ Sometimes folks leave only a downvote because they think the question is inherently poor and there is nothing that can be improved on. Sometimes it's because they don't have the energy to go back and forth on what is wrong with the question--you could argue the latter is unfair, but it is what it is since downvotes are necessarily anonymous and at user discretion. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage Mod
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 13:05
  • $\begingroup$ @called2voyage Well, in my opinion, if that's the case, then vote for close the question should be more appropriate. I agree with the second half of what you said. That's the cost of anonymity. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 13:40
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    $\begingroup$ @JacktheRanger The downvote privilege only requires 125 rep, whereas the close vote privilege requires 500 rep, so a number of users who mostly participate as readers have access to downvote but not close vote. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage Mod
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 14:23
  • $\begingroup$ @called2voyage That makes sense. Maybe the site will balance its rep system, but I don't think its anytime soon. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 14:33

1 Answer 1



A stack exchange site and its community of users is a truly amazing thing! The internet is full of all kinds of places with all kinds of environments, but there are precious few that are completely open and available to the whole internet, for experts and novices that are as calm, quiet, welcoming and informative as a good, healthy Stack Exchange site.

This happens in part because of discussions and compromises among its community members and amplification and implementation of community consensuses by its moderators along with their gentle guidance.

There's a different but related discussion: A modest proposal to increase question quality.

There is a balance between keeping the site welcoming to new users and slightly unusual or incompletely informed answers, and keeping the overall quality of the question and answer collection from dropping.

Attracting and keeping new users is critical for site health, as is maintaining interest of existing users who are contributing quality posts already.

As pointed out in comments below the question, anonymous down votes are a standard part of the Stack Exchange experience and the way SE works is the result of knowledge and experience over almost two hundred separate SE communities and cultures, over a decade, and over tens of millions of posts.


What I call "drive-by down votes" are here to stay. They ebb and flow. There can be a string of them, then sometimes they stop. That there's nothing we can do to affect them directly is baked in to SE. So let's see what else can be done when we see this happen to others:

  • up vote if you see promise in a question by a potentially discouraged user who may not yet understand how to improve their question.
  • accompany that up vote with comments/suggestions how to improve
  • or just make a helpful edit yourself as long as it doesn't conflict with the author's intent.
  • leave a comment of the type "Don't worry about the down votes, try again with a different question..." along with helpful suggestions.

and when this happens to us:

  • when we're relatively new, some down votes can sting. I remember when I started in SE and I saw a few down votes collect I felt like my ship was sinking and all aboard were perishing. Don't worry (so much) about it!
  • instead, look for clues what those down votes might be about if there are any, or just leave a comment "Why the down votes? Suggestions on how I can improve this question are most welcome!"
  • Some down voters take their votes seriously and will click "follow" under the question and be notified of any edits or comments, and may come back to respond. Other more experienced users may have a better idea what might be going on and leave comments as well.
  • If the "ship is sinking fast" you can always temporarily delete the question and perhaps post a different but related question. That might give you some insight into why some folks see this question as low quality.
  • Some folks are adherents to the tool-tip advice. Hover a cursor/mouse over the up and down arrows and advice appears (not sure about phones). It suggests we vote based "shows research" or "lacks research". In other words, some people will just down vote a point-blank "What/Why is X?" question if it does not show or demonstrate that the author has tried to answer the question themselves. I do not strictly adhere to this advice and many do and many don't; sometimes a questions is sufficiently thoughtful or complex that it's a challenge to even begin to research, like a "I just don't understand this" or "I don't know where to begin".
  • In critical cases where you'd really like to get the question answered and answered sooner rather than later, ask a "Why is my question being down voted? What can I do to improve it in order to receive answers?" here in meta.

Basically, stick with it, learn, adapt, don't sweat a few down voted or closed questions, instead ask more and better ones, and come back later to refine/adjust/revise.


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