There seems to be a general downvote trend in poor questions lately. I don't disagree when one needs to downvote to express dissatisfaction. In the past, I noticed that poor questions were left at 0 and voted to be closed.

Given the current trend:

  • Does this affect the number of poor quality questions?
  • Does this encourage the authors to revise their questions or refrain from asking at all?


  • Original question was posted (0 score)
  • Joe's commentary that better focused my question (0)
  • My responses to Joe (0)
  • Anthony's answer (0)
  • Additional commentary exchange (0)
  • Two Down-votes (-2)
  • My commentary on how downvotes don't offer additional information (-2)
  • This revision to better focus my question and title question (-2)

If a similar analysis was conducted on currently downvoted questions (whether new or experienced SE users) what would the result be? The following is a short list of possible scenarios.

  • Revised, subsequently upvoted, and left as-is.
  • Revised, subsequently downvoted, revised again, etc.
  • No Revision, deletion
  • Deletion
  • Do you think poor questions should be left at 0? – Joe Strazzere Jan 1 '18 at 1:22
  • Wouldn’t the vote to close be enough to signal that they need to revise their question? My take is that the negative score would instead demotivate them to not try at all. – Frank FYC Jan 1 '18 at 1:43
  • Some don't like to vote to close. Some folks feel that closing a question demotivates people even more. I suspect most questions that are closed don't get edited and re-opened. So I assume you think it's better to leave poor questions at 0 and just close them? – Joe Strazzere Jan 1 '18 at 2:05
  • In short yes, seeing a negative score gives no feedback as to what should be done, other than people have downvoted the question. However, seeing a closed or on hold at least gives some feedback as to the nature of the closure even if it is ‘generic’ (see the different categories when you vote), the next step would be qualitative feedback in the form of commentary from other users as to what should be done. – Frank FYC Jan 1 '18 at 2:10
  • @JoeStrazzere take for example this literal meta-question. The two downvotes thus far signal that two individuals downvoted, but the votes don't tell why they downvoted, was it because the question is incorrect, was it because the discussion topic was dumb, was it because they didn't like my profile picture? The lack of additional information doesn't build a productive means of offering feedback to the OP and answers from users (two goals of the SE system). – Frank FYC Jan 1 '18 at 7:06
  • 1
    I assume the downvotes are because: "The question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful". Actually on Meta that isn't always the case. On the main site, the comments seem to provide most of the hints. Certainly the reasons for voting to close aren't very informative. – Joe Strazzere Jan 1 '18 at 12:22
  • @JoeStrazzere given that comments are optional, would requiring a comment when downvoting be a better solution model? This would accomplish both goals of increasing qualitative feedback and increasing the cost of downvoting, therefore making users more reluctant of downvoting in absence of reason. – Frank FYC Jan 1 '18 at 12:36
  • 2
    I think it would be silly to require a comment for every downvote. And I don't think the current model needs a solution. I understand your concern, but don't share it. – Joe Strazzere Jan 1 '18 at 12:41
  • Understandable, hence my question and the discussion. Thanks for your time and input as always. – Frank FYC Jan 1 '18 at 12:44

Your question highlights a good reason to explain reason for down-voting and to guide the OP (unless OP is being deliberately offensive / trolling).

I feel the down voting should continue but also the person who did downvote should be encouraged to explain their reasoning. I looked through your answers and really like how you guide the OP in arriving at an answer, encouraging them to see all perspectives, and sharing personal experiences when appropriate.

Save for deliberate trolls, I feel the encouragement and teaching of the OP to SE rules (Be Nice, real answers have real answers...) should be done when downvotes are used, especially for new users.

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