This is not a complaint, and I don't care about the points.
I just find ironic amusement in the response to my answer to Execute root commands through ssh user.

A user asked about an error message he was getting:

It seems to me that there is a problem with the combination of ssh -t and sudo -S, but I don't get it.

It received a few comments and three answers, but none of them actually answered the question:

  • Use Ansible.
  • Configure SSH to allow non-password root logins.
  • Your System Administrators need a quick slap round the head.

These are all good ideas, but they didn't solve the OP's problem.

This site is about "managing information technology systems in a business environment", so naturally all the responses ignored the immediate problem, looked at the overall situation, and gave good advice about completely different, far more reliable and secure, and far more complicated ways of accomplishing the task.

Perhaps the question was so simple it didn't occur to them what was actually being asked.

Today, four days later, I replied that it was "simply a shell quoting problem" and gave a correct version of the command.
The OP replied:

Wow! That solved the problem! Thanks for answering my question so straight forward.

Now, had that happened anywhere else, my answer would have at least received a few up-votes, not only for giving the right answer, but because even the experts hadn't been able to answer it.

But instead, because it's this site, it got a down-vote, and without any comment of course.

The question was simple, the answer even more trivial, but no one would answer it, and the one correct answer it did receive was downvoted.

I understand why it happens like this, but still find it amusingly strange.

  • 1
    Like Ward stated, the OP didnt upvote your answer nor marked it as answered, which by itself is a problem. (which make the downvote hurt more as the OP didnt gave the point associated with the answer). To talk the downvote, please note that the most upvoted answer try to dissuade the OP to do that, as if the user dont get root access than it's maybe because is IT team dont want them to do that. (To note it, I dont delete such comment even if it's a thanks comment, as it leave a trace that it answered the OP, even if he forgot to note the answer)
    – yagmoth555 Mod
    Oct 5 at 15:44
  • Yes, I'm not even claiming that my answer didn't deserve a downvote. But that's my point here. Neither the question nor my answer were directly related to what this site is all about, while the other answers were concerned with that, and so much so that they ended up not answering the question. I find it amusing that this situation actually makes sense in this context. Oct 5 at 16:29
  • For a question borderline on topic as the user was directed to professional's way to do what he wanted to do, I like the fact that the question was not downvoted to hell like it would had been on SO. Your answer was downvoted just one point possibly to just show that it was insecure, but you could state a disclaimer; "it's not secure, but do it that way if you still want to do it" to prevent such downvote.
    – yagmoth555 Mod
    Oct 6 at 13:31

1 Answer 1


I don't agree with your premise that the way people vote here vs. other SE sites is different (worse) than other sites.

First of all, downvoting without a comment is totally fine on all SE sites. It's a concern that's been discussed endlessly on virtually all SE sites and the outcome has always been the same - downvotes don't have to be explained. So there's nothing strange about the lack of comment.

The overarching answer to your question/concern is that voting doesn't actually work well on most SE sites. Voting works best/properly when there is lots of voting activity - lots of people voting on lots of questions and answers. The overall accumulation of votes (up or down) gives a good indication of the quality of a post.

But on every single SE site that I'm active on, there are meta discussions about lack of voting. It's clearly a common issue: on most older sites, there isn't as much voting as there was when the site was new. When there's not much voting, things like what you're complaining about can happen: a good (later) post like yours is unlikely to get many votes at all, and it might happen to get a downvote that isn't matched by any upvotes.

Actually, your answer is an example of a situation that comes up a lot: the OP says your answer was great, but they don't vote it up themselves.

  • "I don't agree with your premise that the way people vote here vs. other SE sites is different (worse) than other sites.". Sorry, I really wasn't saying it was worse, or even bad. In fact it wasn't really about voting. My point was that this site is so specialized with "IT in a business environment" that the people answering questions, without being aware they are doing it, force that perspective on questions that are totally unrelated to it (and perhaps shouldn't have been asked on this site). The answers were to the problem that should have been asked, not the one that actually was. Oct 4 at 22:50

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