Following up on How Can We Encourage Civility? .

Should we downvote poorly posted quesitons/answers until modified, even though someone is a newcomer?


1 Answer 1


I'm of the opinion that it's not productive nor is it helpful to downvote questions from newbies and I'll give some of my reasons why.

  1. It's my opinion that if you're going to downvote, you should explain what's wrong with the question (or answer) that you're downvoting.
  2. Heaping downvotes on a newbie doesn't help them learn how to use the forum if you're not explaining what's wrong with their question.
  3. For most, it's already intimidating enough to ask their 1st question in the forum to begin with without being bombarded with downvotes should they make a misstep.
  4. Newbies have only 5 Reputation to lose, so the downvote has little if any impact.
  5. I've observed that some will seem to "pile on", knowing their points will be returned once the question is closed. My thoughts are:
    • The behavior doesn't help the newbie learn to use the forum.
    • The behavior seems malicious and intimidating to a newbie.
    • It definitely isn't welcoming, as in "let us show you how to use our forum".

Finally, I'll add that if it were entirely up to me and the platform supported it, I'd require that users comment on what's "wrong" when they downvote. I think people need to know why they're being downvoted so they can learn from it. To me, a downvote without a comment tells me very little I can learn from.

  • great answer, I agree, a comment is absolutely necessary. A simple downvote is meaningless. I did not mention it in my question, but usually, yes, a comment is/should be accompanied by a constructive comment
    – glls
    May 12, 2017 at 20:30
  • to point 4, a few down votes does not really hurt anyone. I think thought that there are systems in place for users who consistently receive down votes re question quality. I thought I read that somewhere...Agree with the rest, not like it matters though lol....+1
    – Eric
    May 13, 2017 at 2:46
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    I don't downvote much and not on an absolute newbie, though if somebody keeps posting the same question again and again without responding to the comments on how to improve their original question I will do it.
    – Dave Humm
    May 15, 2017 at 10:54
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    @Eric I think you're referring to these two things from the Help center: Why is the system asking me to wait a day or more before asking another question? and Why do I see a message that my question does not meet quality standards? These should take effect for the cases you describe as well Dave, but some change usernames & need to be reported to a Mod.
    – crmprogdev
    May 15, 2017 at 12:25

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