This user frequently posts blunt, somewhat strongly worded answers and is getting voted down repeatedly for them.

I've posted the most recent above, but a quick search can point out many others.

I've seen a pattern in what gets voted down when it is not actually a bad answer.

  • An unpopular political opinion
  • A blunt or harsh answer backed by real-life examples (as opposed to blunt or harsh for it's own sake
  • A contrarian opinion.... I.E. one that goes against the grain of popular posts.

I would hate to see this become an echo chamber where any contrarian opinions are squashed, but I am starting to see the signs.

What can we do to address this? Or is this a non-issue and I'm worried about nothing?

  • 6
    That's exactly what upvotes and downvotes are for. Nobody's suggesting deleting his posts, but if someone disagrees with the resolution he is proposing than they can downvote it. Is it a valid answer? Yes. That's why you don't delete it. Is it a good answer? That's a matter of opinion and that's where the downvotes come.
    – Chris E
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 14:38
  • 5
    For better or for worse Stack Exchange is, by necessity, based on "the wisdom of the crowds". You can try to persuade people that their opinion is wrong (assuming you could find them), but other than that you cannot change what they will or will not vote for.
    – Kaz
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 14:40
  • 5
    Based on this user's reputation, he has a lot of upvotes too. I don't see any issue that needs addressing. Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 15:25
  • 3
    when done right blunt answers are rewarded not penalised. Look at this example (its later revisions had to reflect the edit done to question but original wording is what gained it hundreds upvotes and made it canonical)
    – gnat
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 16:59
  • 1
    Kilisi is one of the more polarizing users on the site but I'd argue he's also one of the essential ones, often providing a different perspective than the core group. He has a fair amount of experience that our main demographic (IT people working exclusively in the West) lacks. He also doesn't mince words in the advice he gives, which is why he also seems to attract more downvotes than others.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 7:27

4 Answers 4


Something to keep in mind is that blunt doesn't immediately translate to downvotes. An answer can be downvoted for other reasons.

Being contrarian is fine, but only if you understand that in many cases, being contrarian results in negative repercussions. Answers that do not acknowledge these and/or discuss how to mitigate them should be downvoted!

It is important to realize that this site isn't just an intellectual game that we play, but that real people come here with problems they are facing in their actual lives. The answers we write here have possibility to have a lot of real life impact. People can get fired or get raises or get jobs -- or not -- because of the guidance and advice here.

You don't get a chance to just "copy/paste hit compile and try!" like you can on Stack Overflow.

This is why I am a strong believer of the "back it up" rule, at least the "why is your answer correct" policy. Ultimately The Workplace needs to give people information they can use to guide their own decisions. Why's help with that, particularly contrarian types of answers.

I think there are multiple independently valid reasons to downvote the answer you referenced other than what you posted in your list, though I've not voted on it and did not see it until this meta post.

  • 2
    Best answer because of this: "People can get fired or get raises or get jobs -- or not -- because of the guidance and advice here. You don't get a chance to just "copy/paste hit compile and try!" like you can on Stack Overflow." A very deep and salient point, one we should all remember. THIS group on SE, more than any other can be life-changing for some people, and we shouldn't take that lightly. Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 13:04
  • The answers we write here have possibility to have a lot of real life impact this is why i didn't agree with that post. I don't really like real life example which sounds like "i did so much that job, so i expect every one to do it" (yes it's caricatural). I already heard enough of the arguments like "they are peoples who have no problem working 10h a day, so you shouldn't have any problem", "you are expected to be passionate about IT, so instead of formation, learn of your own time". Well no thanks, and i will reject them. I agree startups require commitment though but then hire better.
    – Walfrat
    Commented Sep 12, 2016 at 7:31
  • 1
    However i think i did upvotes kilisi more than i downvoted him. I don't upvote that often and even less when it comes to downvotes.
    – Walfrat
    Commented Sep 12, 2016 at 7:32

I think @kilisi would tell you that since he isn't playing the point game, downvotes are interesting and slightly annoying but not a serious discouragement to posting what he considers his best advice. That's certainly been my own position.

But downvoting is parent if SE's design, and reasons for downvoting range from "this is flat-out wrong" to "this is not what I wanted to hear, even though it's probably correct." The only way to fix that, really, is to redesign SE from scratch.

Which might not be a bad thing to do, but we ain't gonna do it here. For now, it is what it is.

  • 2
    Honestly, the higher my rep gets, the less I am annoyed by it myself. I don't play the point game either, but for some reason, my answers are better received. I don't understand why, because I've seen questions we've both answered and I actually thought his to be at least as good as mine, if not better. Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 15:56
  • 7
    Some people do react to style. Nature of the beast.
    – keshlam
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 16:57

I reckon it's a non issue.

Best to let the people decide what to vote for without hindrance I reckon, it's their site.

That said, I promise to delete any answer of mine which reaches 250 downvotes.

  • 4
    "Best to let the people decide what to vote for without hindrance I reckon, it's their site." - well said! Commented Aug 28, 2016 at 20:05
  • 2
    I want to thank you for your contributions to this site. I always enjoy reading your answers, and I am grateful for the opportunity to understand your perspective on things.
    – Lumberjack
    Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 16:38

I don't think we penalise blunt answers per se - as a personal example, this answer of mine is pretty blunt (some would probably go so far as to say "very blunt"), but yet still got a decent number of upvotes and no downvotes. On the other hand, as Lilienthal has mentioned in the comments, it is an answer which pretty much fits with the prevailing view of how Western IT workers would view the situation, which I suspect is a large part of the difference.

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