I have been wondering this for a while now. It seems that opinions vary on this subject. Many people claim that if an answer is factually correct, then there really is no reason to down vote it. One thing that has always bugged me is if I take the time to ask a well thought out question, and within 5 or 10 minutes someone answers the question by really just restating things I already clearly demonstrated that I knew in my question, and then they throw in some snippets from documentation.

This really tends to annoy me as it seems as though its just a ploy to get the 1st answer and try to get some up votes. while I agree an answer like this has nothing factually wrong, I am inclined to give this a down vote, as it really doesn't make an attempt to answer the question, and is just restating facts.

What are peoples thoughts on how to handle answers that

1) restate the issues of the question


2) Directly quote documentation when the question was clearly more in depth and the person who asked the question likely already had this knowledge.

Just looking for some best practices here. As I said, I lean towards a down vote, if nothing else to push the person to edit the answer and actually put more time and thought into it, but wanted to ask the community if that's too harsh?

  • I should add, that I agree in some cases, documentation snippets could be a suitable answer. I am talking more about situations where the question is not a beginner question, is clearly a bit more advanced, and documentation really doesn't solve or address the question that was aksed Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 15:47
  • The more esoteric the subject matter of the original post, the more the doc snippet may actually be very helpful to some other reader who 'discovers' that there is more doc out there that s/he may be unaware of. In my case (years ago), it was months before I realized there was useful doc in the SFDC Object Reference Guide.
    – cropredy
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 20:08

3 Answers 3


I think it's important for the one asking the question to briefly note that the standard documentation has already been searched. Then if someone pastes anything from the standard docs a down vote is encouraged.

But if there's ambiguity about this point and it could reasonably be assumed that the questioner may or may not have found the answer in standard docs, then I think it's perfectly fine for people to do this. At a minimum, the person took the time to locate and provide related info.

However, if it's tangential or otherwise appears to be just a quick attempt to grab points with no added value - especially if it's clear that "the person who asked the question likely already had this knowledge" - then thumbs down, imo.


Sometimes I won't vote, sometimes I downvote, depending on the circumstances. If the question might be confusing or poorly worded I tend to give the answering users the benefit of the doubt, but if the responding user clearly didn't read the question and is not constructive I'll downvote and provide a comment with an explanation to point out how the answer does not address the question and suggest a revision.

  • Yea, that's pretty much where I stand with it as well, I just wanted to see what others thought Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 18:55
  • I think if the documentation actually answers the question fairly directly then it's ok, if it just hints at the solution however then it's not really an answer and as such should be flagged/downvoted IMO.
    – Matt Lacey Mod
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 23:20

I don't think there's anything with downvoting more liberally than has been done to date. Many answers that are just copy/paste jobs of tangentially related documentation add nothing to the discussion and on that criteria are worthy of a downvote.

If the documentation quoted adds to the discussion I have no issue with it, but as a community I've very, very rarely seen downvotes used, but they're a vital part of keeping out low quality content.

  • I tend to agree with you. While in some cases, documentation can add to the discussion, I just see many cases where its a copy and paste job and little to no thought went into actually answering the question. Just wanted to make sure I wasn't being a 'bully' or anything by using the down vote, because like you, I hardly ever see it. I have seen answers that I would consider worthy of a down vote that go weeks without anyone down voting it. Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 20:55
  • Right, I don't see hard and fast rules about downvoting based on the content, the only guideline I use is "does this add value to the conversation". If the answer is "meh, maybe to somebody" it's neutral, anything less gets a downvote. Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 21:03
  • I like that. I will likely take on that approach as well. Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 21:04
  • Just to add perspective on one side of the issue, because of the point penalty on downvotes, and because I'm generally too close to a privilege's required reputation level (I'm not terribly high ranked), I'm often reluctant to downvote unless it's really particularly bad/misleading, or flag it if it's egregious. I am more likely to leave a comment to address what in the answer may need work or why it's bad. Commented Jan 4, 2022 at 19:24

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