We do not have a problem with drive by downvoting... we have a problem with people wanting to attack those who try to post a helpful answer being attacked for their efforts in the comments. And then whining when their comment they spent all of 2 seconds thinking about, gets deleted.

I think if we remove the suggestion to leave a comment on down voting then this will reduce this sort of chatter and may help improve the overall tone of comments here.

I am not sure if this is something we can customize at the workplace or not but I think it would be helpful

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    As per meta this notice only shows up for users below 2k rep. This is also a site-wide feature and not something sites can opt out of. Before we even consider opting out you'd have to convince SE to make that possible. – Lilienthal May 16 '17 at 18:14
  • try to post a helpful answer being attacked for their efforts in the comments: I don't think I've ever seen this happen? Do you have an example of this? – Martin Tournoij May 16 '17 at 20:30
  • @Carpetsmoker Just because you did not find it helpful does not mean that it was not posted with the intent of being helpful. How about right here. – IDrinkandIKnowThings May 16 '17 at 20:50
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    I am confused; I merely asked for clarification? Obviously you feel there is a problem to solve, and I'm interested to learn more so we can find other ways to solve it. – Martin Tournoij May 16 '17 at 21:07
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    @Carpetsmoker For the record, IDrinkandIKnowThings is most likely posting this as a reaction to this comment. (And no, I'm not following you around. I saw this in The Water Cooler.) – jpmc26 May 16 '17 at 23:02

Well, a little common sense could come in handy as well.

If a constructive comment is left, that's one thing. If a comment like "This answer stinks" is posted, it will get some unwanted attention, which IMO is not a bad thing.

You can downvote and post something constructive without essentially saying "make this post the way I want it or I won't reverse my vote".

There is a significant difference between .....

"-1 this is terrible advice! "


"I think you should consider that XYZ should also be considered in your answer".

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    I think it just comes down to the semantics. SE has been known to do stupid things like disallowing comments that start with +1 or -1, but starting with "I am upvoting/downvoting because ..." or putting +1 or -1 elsewhere is ok! Also, "Downvoted because doing this without considering XYZ is terrible advice" and "Downvoted because you did not consider XYZ" are not really so different, people choose one or the other depending on how strongly they feel or even based on their language proficiency. – Masked Man May 16 '17 at 18:31
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    @MaskedMan it may at times seem like a distinction without a difference, but tone does matter. I once edited a question for tone and it went from -5 to +22. Now, comments don't get voted down for tone, but they can get deleted for tone. The "Be nice" policy is always a good rule to follow. – Old_Lamplighter May 16 '17 at 18:41
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    I think you are asking alot with some of our users to use common sense when posting a comment. I would probably never comment if i did. – IDrinkandIKnowThings May 16 '17 at 19:14
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    I don't really see much difference between "The problem with this answer is the missing X" and "This answer can be improved by adding X". Neither of them sound like a violation of the Be Nice policy. I agree that comments like "Ha ha, you are such an idiot, how could you miss X" should be flagged and deleted, but I think it goes too far to extend that to all sorts of comments that use a somewhat negative choice of words, while carrying the same meaning. – Masked Man May 17 '17 at 0:55
  • @IDrinkandIKnowThings :D now THAT was funny. – Old_Lamplighter May 17 '17 at 12:46
  • @MaskedMan I think that refraining from editorializing is the key. At this point I think that putting a -1 on a comment, in general, irritates people. Avoid words like stupid, idiotic, horrible, et cetera, and I think it goes a long way. We're here to help, after all. – Old_Lamplighter May 17 '17 at 12:47
  • Does content that endorses verbally abusing other members of your company warrant a stronger reaction than "I think you should consider..."? I think it certainly does. What language do you recommend for very strong negative reactions, where "I think you should consider..." simply doesn't express the severity of the problem? – jpmc26 May 17 '17 at 23:27
  • @jpmc26 Remember the "be nice" policy – Old_Lamplighter May 17 '17 at 23:28
  • I'll rephrase my question. What language do you think expresses a very strong negative reaction and complies with the Be Nice policy? – jpmc26 May 17 '17 at 23:29
  • @jpmc26 Well, you can start by not accusing someone of being abusive, and go from there. While you're at it, you may want to refrain from misrepresenting what people say. Just a thought. – Old_Lamplighter May 17 '17 at 23:32
  • Okay, but what language can someone use? What would you use to address content you believe to be extremely toxic? – jpmc26 May 17 '17 at 23:34
  • Or alternatively, if you wouldn't comment at all, what would you do? – jpmc26 May 17 '17 at 23:42
  • Is there a custom to reverse votes? Ever? – Weckar E. May 18 '17 at 7:40
  • @WeckarE. It's encouraged, actually. If there is a good edit, especially./ – Old_Lamplighter May 18 '17 at 12:39
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    Also, leveling a strong criticism at a particular body of text in a post is in no way equivalent to assuming bad intentions. It is a statement about the effect or quality of the post, no more and no less. "Assume good intentions" is actually better suited to protecting a strongly worded criticism; if you can't find an explicit accusation directed at a person, then this part of the policy tells you to assume the criticism was directed at the post, not the person. Assuming that a strongly worded criticism has bad intentions turns the policy on its head. – jpmc26 May 18 '17 at 14:48

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