Is there any hard and fast rule on which, or which combination are appropriate?

Is there a situation where a down-vote does not warrant a close vote (if you have the required rep)

Is there a situation where a close vote does not warrant a down-vote?

When voting to close, should we be mindful to include a comment beyond the VTC reason? I know that we're not required to, but does it help at all.

In short, is there any sorting algorithm of reacting to bad posts?

  • No. There are no hard and fast rules here. Everything is contextual. Just use your best judgement. Feb 6 '17 at 13:43
  • 4
    I sometimes upvote well-asked duplicates. Feb 6 '17 at 14:09
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    Have you checked main meta? "When is it justifiable to downvote a question?" is the Holy Grail of downvote posts while this and this thread cover the interaction between a DV and a CV.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Feb 6 '17 at 19:58
  • @Lilienthal yes, but my mind couldn't wrap itself around the gestalt. Feb 6 '17 at 20:47
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    Possible duplicate of Why was my question edited/closed/downvoted? Feb 7 '17 at 15:50
  • @IDrinkandIKnowThings That question doesn't answer mine at all. Feb 7 '17 at 16:00
  • Then it should be updated to include what ever question you have that is not covered there. That is the canonical question covering this topic. Feb 7 '17 at 16:14
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    @IDrinkandIKnowThings Those questions are completely different. Richard is asking "how should we moderate?" The question you link is asking "why was I moderated?" Additionally, the linked question says nothing about the differences between using downvotes and close votes.
    – David K
    Feb 7 '17 at 16:14
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    @IDrinkandIKnowThings How about the entire question not being covered there? I am not asking about why anything was closed, I am asking about what action, or combination of actions should be used. and why so rude? Feb 7 '17 at 16:36
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    One of my personal rules is if a question starts with "So" or "OK so", then I downvote it without reading the rest.
    – Masked Man
    Feb 7 '17 at 16:37
  • @MaskedMan yeah, those openings get my attention too Feb 7 '17 at 16:45

My internal sorting hat judges everything on a Q by Q basis.

  • An off topic question is not necessarily a bad question. It could be something that we simply can't answer here (because it's company specific or because it's purely opinion based.
  • Sometimes there are just stupid questions that are on topic. Trolling (or suspected trolling) falls in that category. In that case I downvote it but leave it open.
  • Sometimes they're both and in those cases, they get both. A rant without a question may fit in this category. A rant without a question that is ranting about something that in my admittedly personal opinion is a stupid thing to rant about (ex. "I don't like my coworkers perfume that doesn't make me sick but how to I get her to change?") would likely get both.

One of the things that it's not just important, but crucial to remember is that our opinions of the question should be kept separate from whether the question is on topic or not. There are tons of questions that I think are ridiculous but on-topic. So I exercise my right as a community member to express my opinion through a vote, but I exercise my responsibility as one with some mod tools to not close it, because as stupid as the question may seem to me personally, if something is on topic, it deserves to stay open.

Last I checked there's no "I think it's stupid" reason on the close box. :)

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    This was a huge help to me. I take my right to review seriously and want to do right by the community.
    – Neo
    Mar 24 '17 at 14:31

is there any sorting algorithm of reacting to bad posts?

No, there is no algorithm. I think every question should be considered on its own merits and not in a mechanized manner.

I tend to downvote questions that don't show any research effort. I tend to comment on questions that are unclear. I tend to downvote questions that are not useful.

I don't vote to close too often, since I think The Workplace does far too much "closing". But when I do vote to close, it's usually when I think the questioner isn't even trying to show research, be clear, and be useful.

If I think the questioner is trying hard, but not quite getting to the level of "good question" I try to help via commenting and editing.

When voting to close, should we be mindful to include a comment beyond the VTC reason?

It's not necessary to explain every upvote, every downvote, every comment, every edit.

The gamification of the site doesn't require explanations for everything. And the hover text of the arrows is often sufficient explanation anyway.


I've actually even combined upvote + vtc on some question. They measure two different things in my opinion.

Voting on the question is about the quality of the question.

I upvote questions that are clear, contain all the required details, have the right tags and show that the asker has taken the time to think about their question and what we might need to answer it. Even if the question turns out to be off-topic.

I downvote questions that are unclear, contain too few or irrelevant details, have terrible spelling/grammar (of the "didn't proofread" kind, not the "bad at English" kind) or otherwise show that the asker has not taken the time to think about their question.

Voting to close is about whether the question is a good fit for this site's goal.

I vote to close questions that either need some work to be answerable or are not a good fit for the site. Those of the first kind hopefully will get the needed work and be reopened, while the latter probably will be removed later.

But in both cases, even when the question is closed, I feel that a user who put in effort to help us help them by investing the effort to make a good question deserves an upvote for it. In the end, we want users to post good questions and that means teaching them what a good question looks like and where to post it.

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