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There are times where a question does not have enough information and the question is down voted. During the time the user is editing the post several other users come along and down vote as well. By the time it is fixed the users already have received several down votes. Would it be valuable to give the user time between down voting to fix the issue? Maybe the question would be locked for down voting for a few minutes to have time to react to the first down vote. This happens mostly to newer users and it may be discouraging especially because so many people down vote without providing comments.

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    The most basic fix is to ask good questions. If downvotes start flooding in and you are editing your question to try to improve it, perhaps leave a comment that you are doing so. – Adrian Larson Sep 2 '16 at 14:33
  • @AdrianLarson I agree, but this is more of a new user problem. I like your idea to add a comment, but can new users immediately add comments? For some reason I thought that it is a privilege that is granted along the way with Stack Exchange. I think you need at least a rep of 50. I could be wrong though... – Blair Kristin Sep 2 '16 at 14:57
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    That's Comment Everywhere. You can always comment on your own post. – Adrian Larson Sep 2 '16 at 15:01
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    @AdrianLarson okay that makes sense. I still feel like there needs to be something that prevents this. Honestly I feel like users who down vote without a comment should be down voted. Without comments down votes aren't constructive. It takes such little time to welcome them and explain how questions should be asked. I've gotten so much out of Stack Exchange that I want everyone to have a good experience. I started on here with no certifications and now I have 3 because of sites like this. – Blair Kristin Sep 2 '16 at 15:28
  • It does cost 1 reputation to downvote. – Adrian Larson Sep 2 '16 at 15:35
  • @AdrianLarson I think it should be higher when people down vote without comments. Down votes are only good when constructive. – Blair Kristin Sep 2 '16 at 15:38
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    Think about how you would implement that for a moment. That said, some exchanges have a prompt when downvoting that a comment makes it more useful. Maybe we could turn that on. – Adrian Larson Sep 2 '16 at 15:40
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    @AdrianLarson I think that the idea of a prompt would be great. The main thing is I want people who join the site to feel like the site offers constructive criticism and help, because the users on here are extremely helpful. I've even learned a lot from users that down voted something I posted when they posted comments and edits. It's all about being constructive even when communicating something negative. – Blair Kristin Sep 2 '16 at 15:47
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    I completely agree with turning on this feature, if it exists! It annoys me immensely to see a new user blasted when they first join and post without receiving any constructive comments on how to improve their post. I want this to be a friendly place where people aren't afraid to ask questions and are "educated" on how our forum works when they first post. That's what the 1st time post review queue is supposed to be about. I just wish those posts came up faster for review. – crmprogdev Sep 3 '16 at 13:29
  • @crmprogdev I totally agree with you. I've learned so much from this site that I would hate for someone to get the wrong impression immediately and leave when the users on here are actually VERY friendly and helpful. I can't say enough good things about the users on this site. I just wish people would always comment so that down votes are constructive. – Blair Kristin Sep 9 '16 at 19:57
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I propose that we turn on whatever system exists for alerts whenever someone downvotes a post. That is how others who had the same frustration dealt with it. The message they chose to display was:

Please consider adding a comment if you think this post can be improved.

I'm all for turning this feature on, if we can.

  • This doesn't really address the post's main point though.. rate-limiting downvotes to give the OP time to update. ("Would it be valuable to give the user time between down voting to fix the issue?") Personally, I'm against that idea and I'm in favor of your suggestion, but they are largely different ideas. – JDB Sep 6 '16 at 19:57
  • I disagree. This is an existing feature that attempts to address the same core problem. Implementing a new feature may not even get approved, and would then take time to develop. It sounds like this is basically a switch our moderators can flip if we ask them to. – Adrian Larson Sep 6 '16 at 20:00
  • I like your proposal (I assumed that popup was active on all sites). I just don't think it directly addresses the OP's primary request: rate-limiting downvotes. I don't think there's much evidence to suggest that the popup increases the number of comments on highly downvoted posts. People who feel like commenting are going to comment, and people who don't won't. That popup is more of a training tool for new/inexperienced users. – JDB Sep 6 '16 at 20:08
  • Perhaps rate limiting is not the right approach. Posts generally have to be pretty blatantly against the guidelines to get piled on with more than 3 or 4 downvotes, and that doesn't seem like an overly punitive consequence. It's effective at teaching people what the community will tolerate. Usually someone will chime in with the links to help center ([help]) and How to Ask ([ask]), which are really all that's usually needed on those anyway. I think adding those links via comment is the right approach. – Adrian Larson Sep 6 '16 at 20:13
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    I've verified that the popup is turned on for this site. It's only active for users with less than 2k rep, which is why you can't see it. (Like I said... it's really only meant as a training tool for new users.) i.stack.imgur.com/oBf0b.png Don't worry... I cancelled the downvote ;) – JDB Sep 6 '16 at 20:14
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    Didn't even realize that was a point-capped feature. Well, I guess my main argument is just that someone should leave a comment, and mostly only the worst 1% or less of posts fit within this edge case. – Adrian Larson Sep 6 '16 at 20:17
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Leaving kind and instructional comments, especially for new users, is a great way to create a welcoming community.

However, rate-limiting downvotes doesn't seem like it'd do much to assuage a new user who has posted a less-than acceptable question. I've seen plenty of examples of users completely freaking out on Meta over a single downvote (even on posts that have received several upvotes), so I don't think that receiving two downvotes is that much more painful than receiving one.

Once a post has received 3 downvotes, it's removed from the main page, which sort of limits the damage already. You don't have bad posts hanging around attracting more downvotes... they are automatically hidden.

However, the ability of the community to swiftly and decisively respond to spam and abusive content would be greatly hindered by rate-limiting downvotes. Getting content off the home page is exactly what spammers don't want you to do, and every extra minute that their content is seen by users is money in their pocket and incentive to post more.

So, rate-limiting would have relatively little benefit but could do a lot of damage to the community. The best solution is: be nice, and leave a comment.


For context, here's a query of all (not-yet-deleted) questions with a score of less than -3 posted by a user with less than 10 rep and where the question has 0 comments. There aren't that many... currently 2. Note that this is not live data... there's a data dump (monthly, I think) and many questions end up deleted before that data gets dumped. Perhaps someone with access to live data (and who can see deleted questions) would like to elaborate, but I'm not convinced this is a rampant issue.

  • Yes, ultimately, we simply need to comment in these cases, although often (as in the case with your first query result), the post simply gets closed, and the close reason should communicate to some extent what is wrong with the post. Sometimes for the truly awful posts I will simply vote to close instead of leaving a comment. But I try to make it rare. – Adrian Larson Sep 6 '16 at 22:28

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