Today I've edited out a part of a question which stated:

I have already searched related questions but was not able to find my solution so please don't down vote my question.

[screenshot showing Ask Ubuntu search]

The paragraph and the picture were changed to this line:

I have already searched related questions but was not able to find my solution.

OP now has provided additional information that was asked. This gave them the occasion to revert the edit by putting the whole "please don't downvote + picture" again.

IHMO asking not to downvote is inappropriate, or at least can be considered "noise". It could be counter-productive as well, leading to the opposite effect. I agree that explaining why a question should not be considered a duplicate is appropriate, but I am referring to the part asking not to downvote (or it could be "please don't close" as well).

Hence, before risking an edit war: what is the community consensus on this?

  • 8
    Unless it's actually a good question, normally such notices encourage myself and others to downvote such question. >:D
    – user364819
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 21:57
  • 10
    @ParanoidPanda AHA, then I should add a "please don't upvote this answer" to my answers :) Commented May 23, 2017 at 6:18
  • 2
    @JacobVlijm: Yes, and encourage them to accept someone else's and not your own! ;)
    – user364819
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 8:00
  • 15
    Please do not upvote this comment. :P Commented May 23, 2017 at 12:07
  • Considering the noob-bashing downvote-orgies, i think its totally valid.
    – Gewure
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 12:22
  • @Gewure, you might have confused this site with Stack Overflow. Commented May 24, 2017 at 18:52
  • Indeed, Andrea. SO got sometimes toxic lately. I confused this with SO-Meta, sorry
    – Gewure
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 19:37
  • If it's the only thing to be removed from the question, i would not bother removing it. I don't find that little information too distracting! It could even attract some people to help the person (Yes, that one can be me). There was a time when I used to edit just to remove thanks, but these days I leave some thinking if they're willing to thank us, why remove?
    – Anwar
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 14:30
  • @Anwar I agree with you but the edit was done to also fix some typos and punctuation (which the OP reverted as well). Also the "please don't downvote" had a completely useless picture just to "prove" that OP searched (actually that he read the list of suggested questions when typing it). The picture consumes space and bandwidth. Commented May 25, 2017 at 14:35
  • @AndreaLazzarotto Oops! I completely missed the revert part of the OP! I think then it should be re-introduced into the question as Kaz said in his answer
    – Anwar
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 14:49
  • I'm struggling to think why anyone about to downvote a comment would not do so just because they were asked.
    – user12753
    Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 15:09

4 Answers 4


Ideally a question will contain as little as possible yet as much as necessary to answer it. Request from the question author about how they’d like their question to be viewed don't belong in the latter category.

I usually remove this kind of content with an edit note saying “remove fluff”. I don’t address what the content of the fluff was because if it mattered I wouldn’t have removed it.

As for a potential edit war: I wouldn’t wage one over something this insignificant. However, I’d write a comment to address the repeated reintroduction of irrelevant statements into the question and explain why they harm readability and therefore its author’s interests.

  • Let's try again... I will redo the edit and see what happens. Commented May 22, 2017 at 22:15

You've come to the same conclusion in your question but you're asking for a slim answer to a broad question. Just in case people are only skimming, I'd like to be thorough.

Maybe. It depends on what they're saying:

  • "I couldn't find an answer elsewhere" is unnecessary. If you had found one, why are we here?

  • And social commentary and ultimatums like "Don't close this, [I've had a bad day, I'll start World War 3, I'll stop using Ubuntu]" is also unnecessary, bordering on actionable.

  • But what about "Please don't close this as duplicate, I've tried x, y, z and none of those solutions work [because a, b, c]"? I would earnestly encourage that, even including the leading plea to highlight the fact.

I think it's also important to justify your edits. Removing fluff for the sake of removing the words "thank you", or "please don't close because" is probably not the best justification. Fighting to make sure they stay out is definitely not worth it.

  • Always a pleasure to read your nuanced answers Oli. Commented May 24, 2017 at 10:50
  • Yes, I basically agree with that. Especially the third point is not "don't downvote", it's a "I don't think this is a dupe because" which is of course fine. :) Regarding the last part, I edited also to fix some puctuation and upper case stuff... then I removed the plea. I just noticed the OP reverted my punctuaction fixes as well. :\ Commented May 24, 2017 at 20:01
  • 1
    We should also appreciate most people are human and we shouldn't shoot them for just writing in their natural style. I'm sure most of us have heard of the word "skimming" and are adept at skipping over "thank you", "please" and "my dog ate my homework" and "I hate putting $(( in front of math statements in bash" which we might see from time to time on the site. To make a long story short I agree and +1. Oh right saying +1 is also non grata :D Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 2:20
  • @WinEunuuchs2Unix LOL for "most people are human". Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 11:56
  • @AndreaLazzarotto: On the internet nobody knows you're a dog. Commented Jun 23, 2018 at 15:38

No, it is not appropriate for a question or an answer, nor is it at all useful. As David said, such a thing is "fluff." However, it can go even further.

Downvotes on the main site are not used here as a "disagree" or "dislike" button. It's used for posts that have problems content-, formatting-, or information-wise. Downvotes are meant for bad posts (as determined by the voter). Asking for users to not take moderative actions (e.g. downvote, close, delete, etc) is more or less admitting to some problem with the post. While this doesn't apply to the linked question as much, it's still a consideration to take into mind.

And, as some users point out, things like "please don't downvote me" will in fact attract downvotes. While this is not the right course of action to take just because of this text, it is a valid argument for not having that text. People can't resist the big red shiny button with the giant "DO NOT PRESS" label on it.

If you see such things, it's best to edit out quietly like you would other useless content. If the OP rolls back, edit again and leave a comment. If it escalates into an edit war from there, flag it for a mod and move on.

  • 2
    For the same reason when you ask in chat "please someone star the message above" that will get starred and not the one it was asked for :-D
    – Rinzwind
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 6:40
  • @Rinzwind Jokerdino has done that to me twice :D Commented May 26, 2017 at 14:25

There was an incident in AU a few months ago with a poster frequently asking for upvotes. It was decided repeatedly doing so was inappropriate but the occasional time to instruct new users was ok. IIRC Kaz brought this issue up initially.

Assuming what's good for the goose is good for the gander the same rules would apply to this question. ie If a user for the first time asks not to downvote, ok just inform them of free speech and voting in democracy. If it becomes a bad habit then just gang up and downvote the living daylights out of him and let it be known the plea to not downvote was the reason.

There is no doubt a tendency to gang up here, but gentlemen of war should always fire a warning shot across the bow. Oh yeah, if you want to downvote this answer happy hunting :p


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