I'm still kind of new to StackExchange and I wonder if it's best practise to vote a question down if the original submitter doesn't react on comments which ask for further information. If yes, what would be an appropriate time to wait until the question really should be voted down?

I'm asking because I found this quite interesting question where the submitter didn't react for two weeks.

  • While we're on-topic I wonder if anyone can explain why my question was downvoted. Was this sheer group dynamics or was my question posted in the wrong place of SE? What did I miss from the FAQ? Downvoting this because missing something from the FAQ is OK, I just wonder if people bother to state this in comments. At Skeptics.SE they point it out. Commented Oct 3, 2012 at 21:49
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    Downvotes here on meta are not the same as on the main site. When we downvote here it simply means we disagree and/or thinks it's a lousy idea. Commented Oct 3, 2012 at 22:59
  • @JohnGardeniers OK, I see. Was a irritated a little :) Commented Oct 3, 2012 at 23:01
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    Also note that you neither gain nor lose rep by votes here on meta. Commented Oct 8, 2012 at 22:11

3 Answers 3


You're free to use your votes absolutely anyway you see fit, which you see irrefutable proof of here (no way that question objectively merits 158 upvotes).

However, I don't think you'll find anyone who says it's a good use of a vote to downvote a question because the OP takes longer than you'd like to respond to comments.

That said, I'll happily downvote questions that are too vague, incomplete, etc. and undo my downvote (or even reverse it to an upvote) when/if I notice the OP including more information in his question, sufficient to make it a useful question.

And speaking of voting on questions and the behavior of the original poster, there are more than a few examples of questions being heavily downvoted because the OP was being an ass. (One recent one can be found through a Meta thread here, another is here.)

I think we'd like to believe the downvotes were because the poor behavior of the OP stripped the question of any value, but it would be pretty naive to think that the majority of the downvotes were for any reason other than ~you're pissing me off, have a downvote, @%$hole.

  • +1 for the rat's nest, I can see why people upvote this. It's about sheer sympathy :-) And as of downvoting in general, I think you're right. Considering this, I can't make a conclusion if the posting I was referring to in the first place did deserve this. But I think I now understood a little more about how things should be working. Thanks! Commented Oct 3, 2012 at 21:44
  • @HopelessN00b you ignorant slut! If you want an example of insane voting, this is the question to use! (Now everyone go pile more upvotes on it :-)
    – voretaq7
    Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 15:21
  • @voretaq7 I prefer the term manwhore, thankyouverymuch. :p And it seemed more appropriate... or pertinent, perhaps, to pick the one month old example over the year old has-historical-significance-but-is-not-a-good-SF-question example. Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 15:25

If you hover your mouse over the downvote it says

This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful ...

You are free to vote as you see fit, however, I don't think that downvoting because someone is slow to respond to a comment is an appropriate use of a downvote.

  • Allright, I see. Didn't know that you can see the downvote reason if you hover over the downvote. Thanks for the clarification. Commented Oct 3, 2012 at 18:52
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    @Alex: It's not a reason it's guidance.
    – user9517
    Commented Oct 3, 2012 at 18:54
  • Not sure what you mean by "guidance"? For whom? The OP? To tell him "man, you need to sort out your question and make it more specific"? Commented Oct 3, 2012 at 21:46
  • Guidance for the person about to cast a vote. Commented Oct 3, 2012 at 23:02
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    On the flip side of what @Iain said, there's nothing wrong with downvoting a bad question/answer and leaving a comment on how to fix it, as long as you come back at some point and remove your downvote / give an upvote if they've fixed the problems -- letting a downvote sit for something that's been fixed is unfair.
    – voretaq7
    Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 15:23

I wouldn't consider downvoting only because the poster doesn't respond but I do downvote if the lack of response means the question is poor and a response could have saved it. In such cases I'll also often cast a close vote.

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