I'm sure many users have experienced the dreaded "Downvote with no explanation."

This causes many problems, such as unexplained loss of reputation, lack of knowledge of how to improve a post (which brings down the site's quality), and many other things.

I would like to propose a system that will force users under 500 reputation to leave some sort of comment as to why they downvoted. It can have pre-canned comments like the "Low-Quality Posts" queue. It should also have the space for custom answers.

However, to protect the voter's identity, a new section would need to be created. It could be a simple link under a downvoted question/answer, like View Downvote Reasons. The OP (or a mod) can click this link and view all the downvote reasons, but not the names of the poster. This will allow the post to be improved, and not need the voter's identity to be viewable. (No revenge).

Theoretically, this could also be used so moderators can over-turn downvotes if they feel like they were just spam or evil.

Inspired by this.


1 Answer 1


Quoted from Gilles's answer on Down voting consequences ahead of this question being marked as a dupe

When you downvote, a pop-up appears suggesting that you leave a comment. Mandating a comment has already been proposed many times on the main Stack Exchange meta site. It was shot down because

  • votes are anonymous, so you should not have to reveal your identity when you downvote;
  • often you're not the first to find the flaw in the answer, so you would upvote an existing comment rather than post your own;
  • sometimes “you're way out there, read the other answers” is the only thing you need to say, and that doesn't really warrant a comment;
  • you can't realistically prevent someone from posting a comment then immediately deleting it.

In short, downvoting carries a symbolic penalty (1/10 of an answer upvote); you are encouraged, but in no way obligated to comment.

  • Fourth paragraph deals with the anonymity issue. You can easily add point 3 as an option. Not the first? Do a counter like CVs do.
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 3:23
  • Also, not a comment. It's a private screen that's visible the OP (and maybe the mods). No usernames or anything.
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 3:24
  • @Whaaaaaat you've missed the point of this post then.
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 14:06
  • I don't think downvoting per se is the problem, there has to be a stick to go with the carrot. Some questions could be so horrible that any comment would be a waste of time. I do think there's a problem with some people trying to bring in others to get certain questions downvoted. I've been on the receiving end, eventually a moderator had to step in, delete and repost the question! I'm inferring that's the sort of behaviour the question is really about..? Downvoting is essential, but can be abused.
    – Thufir
    Commented Oct 10, 2014 at 9:14

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