I suppose this may belong to meta but I am unable to post there, so please move it there if you have the permissions to do so

I have been following this site for a few months and also asked a couple of questions over different periods of time.

I find it very helpful that people can exchange so many ideas, however, one feature I find regrettable is the fact that downvoting is often not entirely clear, especially if it is not supported by at least a comment about the reason for being downvoted.

(see, for example, this question about career advancement in a family business - how do I know what I can improve there? How do I know what's wrong about it?)

The worst part of it is that when a question is downvoted, it has little chance to attract visibility and thus further help to be improved.

I feel there have been a large number of very legitimate questions that have been downvoted for unknown reasons; how can anyone say for sure that those reasons themselves were not subjective? Since the scope of this site is to actually be objective, I feel there should at least be a justification for why a question should be dropped from the visibility list.

With a clarification, the user asking the question, or other users, may at least have a chance to improve the text and bring it back to being on-topic, thus leaving some space to making the question more productive.

I believe this would result in a win-win situation and increase cooperation on the website instead of causing negative feelings.

  • 2
    discussed in depth in Encouraging people to explain downvotes and in multiple similar meta questions
    – gnat
    Apr 21, 2014 at 11:34
  • It wouldn't be unreasonable for downvotes to be accompanied by a "reason", but that isn't the way the community works. Apr 21, 2014 at 12:23
  • 2
    @joeStrazzere - And it wouldnt work because I would keep getting flagged for my custom reason "Because the OP is a moron and did not bother to actually read the question" Apr 21, 2014 at 14:00
  • @Chad - yes, I'm sure such comments would get flagged. Apr 21, 2014 at 14:12
  • related: What to do with unexplained downvotes
    – gnat
    Aug 10, 2017 at 22:05

2 Answers 2


This has been discussed many times before on MSO... well, MSE now, and it's as good as it's gonna get. There will be no mechanism to force people to explain a downvote, and thus, most people won't. As to why, three main reasons:

  1. People will type anything in a textbox to "get past it," so forcing people to comment on a downvote results in a lot of garbage.

  2. 6 comments all saying "your post sucks" are not useful, and do more harm than good.

  3. There's already a tooltip next to the downvote button. Read it, as it covers the vast majority of downvotes. Not like you're entitled to an explanation of a voter's vote anyway.


I downvote most often because I think the answer is wrong. Telling the poster that I think they are wrong is not helpful. the downvotes do that on their own.

If an answer is wrong then the only way to suggest a fix is to suggest they delete their answer. Since many of the answers are opinions and it is just my opinion that it is wrong I do not even want to suggest that and would have an issue with someone else suggesting it.

For this reason alone I think this is a suggestion that should not be implemented.

  • 4
    Comments removed: let's keep comments focused on improving site content and not criticizing other users please. Apr 22, 2014 at 17:38

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