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Down voting consequences

Sometimes down-voting is done without leaving proper comments or reason. The person next-in-line commenting on the post telling them what's wrong might be misjudged for down-voting. This tends to be unpleasant for both the parties. Apart from that, it's always nice to know what a person is doing wrong to get down-voted so that they don't repeat it again, making AskUbuntu a little easier on the editors.

This is a feature request which I am pretty confident will benefit a lot of people and just make AU better on the whole. So, is it possible to have the user fill out a comment or a form just like what pops up when a post is flagged (which can later be attached as a comment to the post) when a user down-votes a post?

  • 4
    .detov-nwod dna tnemmoc a tfel I Feb 22, 2012 at 7:50
  • 2
    I left a comment and voted too.
    – jokerdino Mod
    Feb 22, 2012 at 8:07
  • Yup, I see how this could also cause chaos but there might be a possible solution which I've written in a comment to Oli's answer. Feb 22, 2012 at 14:26
  • 4
    I don't like this idea. Voting should not only be anonymous, but a total free-for-all. Nobody should have to give reasons for a down-vote. If you've earned the privilege to down-vote, I trust you to use your best judgement. Feb 23, 2012 at 22:22

2 Answers 2


I'm for this. Not quite as you suggest but something like it. As Lekensteyn says, a key principal of voting here is the voter's anonymity and that's the way it should be.

So how about a new dialogue when you try to downvote? As soon as you click the down-arrow, you're forced to pick a reason. Something like this:
enter image description here

  • Perhaps there should be an open-mic "other" reason where the user can specify their reasons without it becoming a comment.

  • Posters and moderators would be able to see the vote reasons but not the voters.

  • Moderators would be able to overturn dodgy votes. That is, if a moderator sees negative votes for an incorrect reason or one that has since been fixed, they can remove them, as they would a flag.
    This should require a vote from moderators so that one mod can't go rogue.

  • The people who voted against something should be notified when that something gets edited with the incentive that if they go back and cancel or reverse their vote, they get their lost rep back.

This does take more time (at least three clicks vs one) but I honestly thing it's worth it. Answers on the site deserve a downvote reason.

Disclaimer: That might just be because I've had a couple of downvotes recently.

  • What about question down-votes? Your dialog handles only answers. Feb 22, 2012 at 11:39
  • Sure, my example is only for answers but the concept should be exactly the same for questions, just with different reasons.
    – Oli Mod
    Feb 22, 2012 at 11:50
  • I like the idea somehow. It would give the user valuable anonymous feedback. You should consider posting that as a nice feature request. Feb 22, 2012 at 12:11
  • Love the idea and yes there should definitely be an open-mic "other" reason. I am totally for the moderators having super-powers and the "make changes and fine-waiver" part, but why should it be just the posters and mods who are able to see the vote reasons? imho, it'd be better if everyone saw the anonymous reason for the downvote, so that they don't commit the same mistake when they post. Also just another thought, if a user is spamming instead of proper vote reasons, they are given a certain amount of strikes before they get a rep-hit or something. Feb 22, 2012 at 14:24
  • Yeah perhaps the vote-reasons should be available to anybody who can see vote counts. I'm just thinking in terms of UI clutter. I do think think that if we [mods] overturn a vote we get to say what happens to the rep (refund if the vote was based on an old version, keep if the vote was clearly malicious) but I think it's important that the system keeps votes anonymous (even from us) until it becomes a serious issue. Perhaps mods should be alerted when a user has had a significant portion of their votes overturned so we can contact them...
    – Oli Mod
    Feb 22, 2012 at 14:29
  • Anyway, I'll try to bring this up with the community team.
    – Oli Mod
    Feb 22, 2012 at 14:30
  • I can do that in a userscript, will just give you a popup and a few pre-fab'd reasons for the downvote. if anyone is interested that is. (won't be anon... )
    – rlemon
    Feb 22, 2012 at 17:04
  • @rlemon the problem with that is the people who installed it are probably the sort of people who would leave a comment anyway. Forcing people to give a reason is there to stop people just drive-by downvoting things for no real reason.
    – Oli Mod
    Feb 22, 2012 at 17:18
  • I love this concept, it could go really far towards eliminating serial downvoting that is rare enough to duck the sensor (3pm reversal script) and stopping people downvoting simply because they don't like the truth or don't believe someone genuinely did tests to prove it.
    – sbergeron
    Oct 4, 2014 at 16:03
  • This seems an excellent idea to me. Jul 2, 2015 at 5:53

I see what your concerns are about, but requiring users to comment for a downvote is bad because:

  • Posts that are clearly wrong (e.g. dangerous) will receive many downvotes. If each user needs to comment on their vote, the comment list grows huge
  • Voting is anonymous. While it may be preferred to have comments for downvotes, not everyone may feel for commenting on a post

In case you are worried, there are already mechanisms to check for vote bots.

Currently, a popup is shown that requests the user to comment if you think that the post can be improved. Maybe an improvement to this would be opening the comment form and focusing it.

  • Cool, I know there exist bots that make sure no one's gaming the system but, it would just be a nicer place with comments in conjunction to a downvote. I like the idea of opening a comment form and focusing it when a post is downvoted :D Feb 22, 2012 at 14:17

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