It seems like we have a lot of new folks on the main site now, and every once in awhile I like to answer the "why did I get a downvote???" or "you hurt my feelings" or "you are elitists" type comments, which is almost exclusively due to a lack of research effort. I'm trying to save any potential new half decent users.

I don't generally bother on closed questions since the reasoning shows up.

Do we have any kind of specific landing page we aught to use when that comes up? I've looked at a couple of the help pages but I usually just use a screenshot of the tooltip when a question is voted down.

2 Answers 2


I think this blog post by Jeff Atwood explains the original SE philosophy regarding voting best:

... therefore, the only logical thing to do is to maximize the happiness and enjoyment of answerers. If this means aggressively downvoting or closing unworthy and uninteresting questions, so be it. Without a community of people willing to answer questions, it really doesn't matter if there are questions at all, does it?

The only official help is this help page regarding the vote-down privilege which explains a bit:

When should I vote down?
Use your downvotes whenever you encounter an egregiously sloppy, no-effort-expended post, or an answer that is clearly and perhaps dangerously incorrect.
You have a limited number of votes per day, and answer down-votes cost you a tiny bit of reputation on top of that; use them wisely.

Personally I always like to point out that nobody complains about getting an up-vote and gaining some fake internet points without a extensive explanation.

I use the AutoReviewComments action script with the following pro-forma text to explain downvotes on a Question:

By philosophy and design votes are anonymous and neither voting up nor voting down requires any mandatory explanation. The tooltip that appears when your mouse pointer hoovers over the down button states: "this question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful". Also questions can attract a down vote when not well written, not quite on-topic or missing details.

I rarely use it but I also made a slightly different stock answer to explain downvotes on Answers:

By philosophy and design votes are anonymous and neither voting up nor voting down requires any mandatory explanation. The tooltip that appears when your mouse pointer hoovers over the down button next to answers states: "this answer is not useful" which may be subjective. The instruction is to vote down on any egregiously sloppy, no-effort-expended answer or one that is clearly and perhaps dangerously wrong. We also don't like spam or answers that only contain links/code/commands.

  • Thanks HBruijn. I'm an avid greasemonkey / tampermonkey user and that script combined with your canned answer looks about a perfect solution. Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 18:04

My experience has varied here. You have some rogue mods that downvote and put legitimate questions on-hold for no objective reason (other than possibly not understanding the question). Case in point: TLS auth issue: '[email protected] "via" SendGrid.me' email is dropped by Exchange
I've stuck it out, but personally find the approach too extreme and exceedingly pedantic very often.

  • 5
    The question you link to was not put on hold by any of the moderators (rogue or otherwise) but by 5 different community members...
    – HBruijn
    Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 5:03
  • @HBruijn, Regardless, whomever they are, there was still no justifiable reason for putting my question on hold. Re-read it and tell me if you can find one, but I personally cannot. Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 13:15
  • You guys can downvote my comment all you like, but I objectively have a valid point that needs to be addressed if you want to be the slightest bit inclusive to newcomers, as Tim said. Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 13:30
  • Glad to see I'm not alone in my opinion here, far from it actually: meta.serverfault.com/questions/6701/… Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 14:45
  • 2
    Despite the fact that UI on Meta offers the same explanation as the main site when your mouse hovers over the up and down buttons, on meta votes don't impact your reputation. Down votes should be seen as disagreement to a statement. -|- My background is mainly Linux and Unix and although the question you link does not make my eyes bleed from bad formatting or numerous typo's I also can't determine if it is interesting and worthwhile. My only objective observation is: 1 person found it interesting enough to answer, 5 others decided to cast close votes rather than ignoring it.
    – HBruijn
    Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 14:49
  • 2
    Thanks, @HBruijn. I think you stated the issue exactly (at least for my question, in particular): "..found it interesting." This is ridiculously subjective criteria for a question! I am a SysAdmin for a business with on-premise Exchange, so Exchange interests me. However, I have little-to-no BSD experience, so a question you post about UNIX may not interest me in the slightest. Does that mean it's invalid or unworthy of SF? Of course not! Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 14:58
  • 2
    interesting enough to answer
    – HBruijn
    Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 15:46
  • 1
    Still too subjective. Power/ego-trip on this site is rampant (I don't mean you, just in general). SF needs to adapt or it will die. Spiceworks is already taking over, from what I'm seeing. Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 16:46

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