I have received a negative vote today for no apparent reason (Sorry for my English written skill, am from Venezuela) and i was wondering is there some kind of anti vote system that checks or at least asks for the cause of the negative vote so the user that created the answer/question knows what to fix.

In my case i believe to first tell in a comment what is missing, wrong, etc.. so the user can fix it before receiving a negative vote. That way 2 things can be achieved:

  1. The user fixes the problem and it looks better for future users.
  2. The user feels better since the site is not oriented towards who has the more votes (at least positive ones) but who has better explained answers/questions (in this part i suck since when i ask questions i tend to make them very bad..sorry again)

So basically, to know for a "Why do you think this question/answer deserves a negative vote" mechanism that ensures users do not get a magic negative vote without knowing why or what to fix to get it right.

  • 1
    It may or may not always be that your post is lacking in quality, or clarity, it may just be that the user did not like your answer. Either way, I up-voted you in that question, as I did find your answer to be useful, and clear.
    – Alan
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 0:13

2 Answers 2


We ultimately leave it to the community to counter unreasonable downvotes with upvotes. The best you can do is improve your posts, but there is no mechanism to demand that users explain themselves when downvoting. Of course we encourage users to leave a comment explaining why they voted down, but ultimately we won't force them to explain themselves. Note that the privilege of downvoting (125 rep) kicks in after the privilege of commenting everywhere (50 rep).

Another mechanism that safeguards against false downvotes is the fact that they only cause you to lose a little bit if reputation, easily offset by a single upvote. I suppose it's just a fact of life, there'll always be questionable downvotes.

If a user tries to 'attack' someone else with a lot of downvotes, we do indeed have an automated mechanism to detect them, and cancel their votes. There is no manual override, it kicks in at some undisclosed point.

  • 1
    The problem, I've experienced, downvotes occur on disliked opinions. These negatives effects badge achievement, discouraging community involvement. Negative votes would be fine - if they were just opinion and did not have a negative impact on community involvement (badges). Commented Jun 17, 2011 at 6:47
  • For opinion posts as outlined by @SyborgiaAlphas, is Community Wiki better for opinions some may disagree with?
    – nanofarad
    Commented Oct 18, 2012 at 10:35

Hey Cyrex, I really hope it wasn't me. I earned myself a 'critic' badge yesterday because I accidentally down-voted a question that was perfectly legitimate in my view. I immediately undid this by up-voting it but the damage was done and I earned a dodgy badge.

I wanted to post something similar up here on meta afterwards but didn't in the end because I didn't know whether such a question was warranted (there are similar types of questions in other metas for example).

Nonetheless, I felt bad as I'd potentially annoyed a user with what could be viewed as trollish activity but which in fact was merely an accident.

  • You should also be able to click the down arrow again to revoke your downvote. (I'm testing this on your post. You shouldn't see any down votes from the time of this comment even though I "earned" my Critic badge. Please excuse the experiment.)
    – idbrii
    Commented May 6, 2011 at 18:19
  • Haha, no problem. Be my guest. Let me know how you go @pydave.
    – boehj
    Commented May 6, 2011 at 18:29
  • It's been 30 minutes and I don't see any negative on your history boehj, so I think we successfully removed our downvotes. It probably doesn't get added to their rep until the vote is locked in.
    – idbrii
    Commented May 6, 2011 at 18:50
  • Cheers for clearing this up for me. It's a little unintuitive to click the down-vote button again rather than clicking up, but it's something I'll try to keep in mind.
    – boehj
    Commented May 6, 2011 at 18:55
  • 1
    Being a Critic isn't bad. It's worse to leave an answer with upvotes if it's incorrect or even harmful. I also downvote non-constructive, subjective questions with titles like "Why does X not work in Ubuntu? Nothing works!" and a body full of rants.
    – Lekensteyn
    Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 14:09
  • @Lekensteyn: Agreed. But a dodgy critic is still a dodgy critic. :) I've gotta get out the downvote whip more often in fact. Today might be the day!
    – boehj
    Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 15:44
  • 1
    @pydave All votes instantly change rep. You can test this by upvoting someone and refreshing the page. The rep number next to their name will change. EXCEPTION: No votes on any Meta site count. That is why your vote on this post didn't affect boehj's rep.
    – John
    Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 18:15

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