I find increasing questions/answers getting downvoted without any reason. I understand downvoting question is necessary when they offtopic, or when they dont follow the rules of SFSE or if they are ones which ask you to code for them or just have the wrong answers .

As much as its essential to downvote, i think its even more important to let know the user why it was downvoted especially if its a new user so they can change the question or answer next time. That i think would improve the overall quality of the site and not put off new users in making use of SFSE.

Would like to know if the community thinks the same way i do

  • I saw the anonymous downvote on your question a day or so ago and didn't understand the reason for it myself. I'm confident there are as many different reasons why people downvote as there are members here. I don't think everyone uses the same criteria. There also appears to be a certain amount of safety that the anonymity of being on the internet affords people to do as they wish without being held accountable for their behavior.
    – crmprogdev
    Oct 27, 2014 at 20:05
  • good point... shd it then be mandated to enter a comment when some one clicks on down vote ?? and may be make it optional for some one who has 2K or 3K reps .. Oct 28, 2014 at 3:02
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    @crmprogdev i agree with you on anonymity and i am really not in favor of forcing someone to write a comment just bcoz they downvoted, but would like to see moderators or other senior members explain why there was a downvote specially if its a new member, which many do already. I think most people change the way the ask or answer a question if its pointed out to them what mistakes they are making.
    – Prady
    Oct 28, 2014 at 6:02
  • If this is about a specific question, it may help to mention it in your question as an example. Oct 28, 2014 at 8:47
  • @SamuelDeRycke its not about a specific question. But i was really confused when someone downvoted a question i had put up within seconds of posting it. i thought this could be really very disheartening for a new member and was hence the reason i bought this up
    – Prady
    Oct 28, 2014 at 12:34
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    I can see reasons why people downvote anonymously. In fact, I've done it to some answers from users because some of their answers are to totally off-base, yet are given as if fact - and when I have tried to explain in comments and have a discussion, I am shrugged-off and criticized. I think that there are answers that are sub-standard and that sometimes the person answering may be so curmudgeonly that there is no sense in reasoning with him/her. Therefore, the only way for an answer not to appear at the top of the list is to downvote it. Oct 30, 2014 at 2:41
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    As a new user, upvote or downvote is important because I can know whether I need to improvement or as encouragement to ask/answer those question.Personally I think it is normal if people upvote without reason but downvote with no reason is not quite acceptable.It's like you can love it without reason but need a reason to hate it =)
    – unidha
    Oct 31, 2014 at 1:44
  • dang ! jus got hit by anonymous down vote today.. not sure if there is an option to force the users to enter comments during down voting.. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/135/… Apr 20, 2015 at 6:11

2 Answers 2


Yes I agree, and I think the reason why are pretty much summed up in your question.

Down-votes give a signal to the quality, but they lack guidance to improvement.

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    I make it a habit to leave a message with a downvote, because I would expect the same courtesy. Often times, writing the comment makes me realize that a downvote isn't necessary, either. I think of it more of a check and balance system, because I'm forced to think about why the downvote is necessary. Other SE sites seem to be more hostile than SFSE with downvotes and lack of comments, though, compared to SFSE, but that might just be because I spend more time here and haven't given the others a chance.
    – sfdcfox Mod
    Oct 28, 2014 at 18:55
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    @sfdcfox Some of the other SE sites are definitely MUCH more hostile. I accidentally posted something off-topic on one of the other boards.... and the downvotes I got wasn't the hostile part. It was the extremely poorly mannered and offensive comments that made me leave and never go back. Downvoting without comments doesn't seem near as bad to me. I try to make a point of leaving a comment if I downvote unless someone already commented my same feelings. There have been a couple of times where I simply didn't know what to say though when the question itself confused me.
    – dphil
    Oct 28, 2014 at 19:50

I believe this is the question in which you are referring.

deduping existng leads and contacts

I just went and looked at it and upvoted it. This is however one of those questions that is in a gray area. While I do think the question is valid and provokes some good, intelligent conversation, it could be argues that its not a good Stack Exchange question as there isn't a specific answer. It is somewhat opinion based.

In looking through the helo though I did find this

Some subjective questions are allowed, but “subjective” does not mean “anything goes”. All subjective questions are expected to be constructive. What does that mean? Constructive subjective questions:

  • inspire answers that explain “why” and “how”
  • tend to have long, not short, answers
  • have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone
  • invite sharing experiences over opinions
  • insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references
  • are more than just mindless social fun

I believe the question falls in here which is why I up-voted it.

I guess I can only guess that the down-voter felt the question was primarily opinion based and too broad.

As far as the discussion around down-voting in general, I agree that it should be an unwritten rule that a comment should go hand in hand with a down-vote.

  • I am really not too worried it was downvoted. That was precisely the reason why i didnt link the question. i really liked the last statement is your answer. An unwritten rule that a comment should go hand in hand with downvote. The whole idea behind this question is to have an unwritten rule to post a comment when its a downvote.
    – Prady
    Oct 29, 2014 at 12:36
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    I follow that unwritten rule, and can only hope others do as well. Like @crmprogdev said though, not everyone follows the same criteria, so we just have to try to lead by example and hope others follow suit. Oct 29, 2014 at 13:30
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    I don't think I've ever left an anonymous downvote myself and I generally only downvote answers that are factually incorrect. The StackExchange platform obviously allows for anonymous downvotes by design, and while it's definitely courteous and arguably more useful to comment, we must remember that one of the goals of StackExchange is to avoid uneccessary discussion. I definitely think that there are times where there is no need to comment, for instance, if somebody else has already done so. This particular question is a poor fit for the site, but since it has an answer I'll leave it as is.
    – Matt Lacey Mod
    Oct 31, 2014 at 3:00

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