The answer here, appears to have been written by someone pretty new to programming:


The code will work, but anyone with some experience would quickly recognise what @DavidReed has pointed out, that the loops shouldn't be there because they're going to seriously harm performance on an large file.

It's been flagged as "low quality" which is maybe a little harsh, yes if I was reviewing a pull request with that code in, I'd ask for changes before accepting it, but effort has been made and "low quality" also gets used for answers that contain a single link. OTOH, the answer doesn't include any information on typing it into the VF page, but it sounds like OP could do that.

What I'm questioning is the fact that it's got two down votes, but only a single comment explaining what's wrong. This isn't very welcoming to a new user of the site, or to someone new to development in general... I've left a comment, not sure if I'm barking up the wrong tree but I guess we'll find out.

So, is the general consensus that these downvotes are a bit on the heavy-handed side?

  • Similar question I asked last year: salesforce.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2706/… Jan 23, 2019 at 18:00
  • I downvoted it, I'll be honest. At the time it was a lump of unformatted code, on a 2yr old question (which has a solid answer), and the code in the answer is weak at best - the comments point it out right away. Add in some poor grammar and a "please upvote" at the bottom of the answer and it comes off as a meh answer that probably wouldn't get flagged or edited - so downvote and move on. It also isn't in a function or method that can be called or re-used (tbh thats bonus points). Jan 23, 2019 at 18:34
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    I made an edit to fix some of the grammar, and formatting I mentioned, but I still don't think its quality code worth upvoting. Personally, one of my biggest problems with the stack is that Ill never see this answer again after voting (unless someone posts it on meta). If the code or content was improved, I wouldn't see it, and wouldn't ever change my vote. I'd really like to see the answerer clean up their code & post an edit. Jan 23, 2019 at 18:37
  • I will cop to being the other downvote. I downvoted the answer because the code needed significant changes to be viable, as called out in my comment, and because the poster was asking for that relatively poor content to be upvoted. Perhaps I should have called out the latter point too, but I don't like to give the impression of piling on with a thousand corrections on a new poster. Since @battery.cord has fixed the issues with the answer, I removed my downvote, but I would love to see the poster engage meaningfully and make those changes.
    – David Reed
    Jan 23, 2019 at 19:17
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    I tend to be fairly free with votes in both directions. If it's overzealous to downvote a post like this, I'm happy to hear encouragement against, but I do think that a downvote can be an appropriate indicator that content doesn't meet expected standards. Not that it's to anyone's benefit for a post to end up at -MAX_INT, or to get only vote-based feedback and no guidance.
    – David Reed
    Jan 23, 2019 at 19:19
  • I'd actually failed to spot that it was an old question, so that does work against the answer IMO. Thanks for sharing your opinions on it, I'm still on the fence but I don't think you're wrong.
    – Matt Lacey Mod
    Jan 24, 2019 at 2:26
  • I mainly think that its not great to downvote without comments as I think we need to guide people on how to improve and get doing giving a reasonable answer.
    – Dave Humm
    Jan 24, 2019 at 15:50
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    I am sharing a experience my former colleague when he joined stackexchange. On his first answer someone gave him downvote. He Asked in comment why someone did that but no one replied. I don't think he ever gave an answer again. So I think for new users we should be little lenient and gave them explanation in comment what is missing. Jan 24, 2019 at 19:02

1 Answer 1


Given the comments above, I believe the following reasons were reasonable contributions to the downvotes:

  • Question was 2 years old
  • Begging for upvotes
  • Code was not formatted
  • Code was of dubious quality

Old questions can have good, new answers, and formatting is mostly a matter of training.

I remember seeing this in one of the review queues (low quality perhaps?), but I don't remember what I chose to do with it (probably skipped it as it didn't fit one of the canned deletion responses, there was other community involvement, and it didn't feel like saying "looks OK" was the right thing to do).

My general approach is that if I'm going to downvote something, leaving a comment is required except for the most blatant and obvious (something like re-asking a question multiple times where the previous question did have guidance in the comments that was not taken to heart). Even if I'm just regurgitating the "welcome to SFSE" script, you can't fix a problem you don't know you have (except by accident).

I know that I've downvoted without comment on a few occasions but, by keeping discipline, I feel that I can avoid jumping on a voting train (might be a personal bias, but I think that people tend to vote more, and in the same direction, after the first vote is cast).

I take this as doubly true for new users.

The point that battery.cord makes is also relevant. Unless I specifically keep the question opened in a tab/bookmark, once I've cast my vote there's not anything to bring me back to re-evaluate. Even if I leave a comment telling a user to @mention me so I can be notified and come back after an edit, users, and especially new users, don't necessarily do that (or do it correctly, if they're new to StackExchange sites).

Maybe we can petition the StackOverflow staff to add a feature to notify downvoters if an edit has been made.

My thoughts on the downvotes

Given that this was a new user, I don't think I would (and haven't) downvoted. Engaging the new user to improve their solution (a bit harder in this case since I don't know if new users can chat even if invited to a room created by someone else) feels like the best solution to me here. David started it off, but I'll be looking to expand on his comment.

There is some cause to warrant the downvotes, and I don't really think we went overboard in this case. If it had gotten to -4, -5, my feelings would be different.

I like that the user made an effort to explain their code, but at the same time, I agree that I wouldn't upvote this answer based on its merits alone. I do occasionally upvote things to offset what I think are unwarranted downvotes, and give more consideration to new users.


I don't think we went overboard
At the same time, we could have done more for this user without the fear of overwhelming them
Aim to always accompany downvotes with explanations
Think twice before downvoting a new user

  • 4
    "Maybe we can petition the StackOverflow staff to add a feature to notify downvoters if an edit has been made." This would be a really great feature.
    – Matt Lacey Mod
    Jan 25, 2019 at 1:46
  • 1
    I pretty much agree with your Takeaway here. I feel for new users, simply getting no upvotes conveys the communities intent well enough, downvoting them on their first ever contribution with little help offered is likely to just turn them away for good.
    – Matt Lacey Mod
    Jan 25, 2019 at 1:47
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    Honestly, a part of me assumed the user wasn't acting in good faith. I see a lot of "new" accounts posting low quality answers on old content frequently. I did also flag the post "vlq" - however I am unable to find the results of the flag in my history. Personally I tend to run a little "hot" & try to avoid arguing in the comments under a post over content. Ill be re-evaluating my personal biases & looking more towards what I can improve, instead of what moderation actions I can take in the future. Jan 25, 2019 at 14:42
  • 1
    I've posted about this before on this stack - whenever a question I voted to close, or a answer I downvoted or flagged is edited, I want to know. I want to review that content again. I usually only interact with a post once - but they can edit it as much as they want. Most flags & votes are "fire and forget", which helps remove content from the site, but doesnt help the user understand how to improve their content, or create more "quality" content. Imo this is where a lot of users fill the gap via commenting. Jan 25, 2019 at 14:46
  • 2
    I agree with the idea that we should work to guide new users to participate productively, and be kind in doing so. But I also want to push back just a bit on the idea that not receiving upvotes is enough of a response to low-quality or inaccurate contributions. Stack Exchange is a knowledge base that we, as a community, curate. I think there is an important place for downvotes as a way of saying not to the contributor but to all future visitors "This is not accurate, this is not good practice, this is not a legitimate alternative to other answers".
    – David Reed
    Jan 25, 2019 at 15:34
  • We always say that comments are temporary (he says, writing a comment). If an answer is not corrected and improved in response to our commentary, and is not deleted, one or more downvotes from the community is a "curation" act that signals to future visitors that we don't think that's the right way for them to solve this question. I also strongly share @battery.cord's sense that we need a better way to reward and recognize improvement in response to votes and comments.
    – David Reed
    Jan 25, 2019 at 15:35
  • 4
    @MattLacey (and others that I can't additionally @mention...) I'm gathering information to make a post over in SO's meta, and came across the mentorship project, which seems interesting if it'd ever land on the larger SE network. At any rate, I'll probably spend several days composing this feature request (maybe I'll start a new question here in meta to act as a draft). Wish me luck, and probably a flame-retardant vest of some sort.
    – Derek F
    Jan 25, 2019 at 18:07
  • That mentorship project got me wondering if we could have a chat room on sf.se to do something similar. Sadly, the rooms expire, and you cant directly link to them in the UI. Theres only one chat link, and its tucked into the site switcher. Would absolutely put my name in for mentorship. Let us know once that post is up - we can provide support on the other meta. salesforce.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2745/… Jan 25, 2019 at 19:41
  • @DerekF Best of luck! Sounds like a good plan :)
    – Matt Lacey Mod
    Feb 4, 2019 at 0:15

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