There is something I have seen in both stackoverflow and askubuntu. That is happening way more at stackoverflow but even at AskUbuntu.

There are questions with minus ratings and negative votes (for instance -1 or -2) aimed towards simple or obvious questions. As far as I know voting down is used to indicate a question which lacks quality. As Privileges-Vote Down states:

When should I vote down?

Use your downvotes whenever you encounter an egregiously sloppy, no-effort-expended post, or an answer that is clearly and perhaps dangerously incorrect.

I do not think that questions that expect an obvious answer should be voted down. Some examples with minus votes are:

Dual Boot Ubuntu and Windows 7 on 1TB

Why is Ubuntu more laggy than Windows 7 home on netbook

Does a firewall come with KDE?

How to install firefox from tar.gz?

Are these questions dangerously incorrect? Or do they show no-effort?

I find all of them correct, even if most of them expect an obvious answer. For example, it may seem quite obvious how to dual boot Ubuntu and Windows7, and sometimes how to install a program from tarball is three simple steps.

But that is why these users created their accounts and posted a question expected to get an answer from us.

I mean, we have all have had to start from somewhere. A lot of us have had a "Is it plugged in" moment. And programmer start learning a language by writing their first "Hello World!" program.

So why do other experienced users tend to downvote these types of questions like the above ones?

Why don't we try to be modest and help even the new users. Is it hard?

  • 7
    You know Nick, AU/SE is supposed to be a democracy, and it's assumed upvotes will cancel out the few rogue downvotes. You have 40 votes per day, yet in the 6 months you've been here, you've voted a grand total of about 50 times.. May I recommend you do your bit to correct this injustice: put your AU vote-money where you mouth is and exercise your vote up privileges on intrinsically worthy questions as well as those where you think downvoters have unfairly ganged up on newbies?
    – ish
    Aug 10, 2012 at 17:16
  • 2
    I upvote questions/answers that I find interesting and worth attention, what else should I do?
    – dlin
    Aug 10, 2012 at 17:19
  • 8
    If you do not think a question should have been voted down, vote it up!
    – ish
    Aug 10, 2012 at 17:21
  • 1
    I upvoted the ones you linked to that I felt needed an upvote, and to my surprise they didn't have any upvotes to begin with! Aug 10, 2012 at 17:22
  • 2
    "Voting up is how the community indicates which questions and answers are most useful and appropriate." If you think they are going to be useful give them a vote, save them from the down-votes, edit them, comment for more information, ect.
    – Mateo
    Aug 10, 2012 at 17:24
  • @Nick since you are so deeply concerned about this and the issue obviously is close to your heart, perhaps you could do a little bit more?
    – ish
    Aug 10, 2012 at 17:26
  • 3
    I don't know about you, but rants never fix anything.
    – RolandiXor
    Aug 10, 2012 at 22:52
  • 1
    Sorry Nick, I could have upvoted this if it was a bit more objective. I almost did actually, but your approach should be one of trying to understand the reasons for the downvotes instead of launching an all-out attack on the community. While I appreciate the "be nice" gesture, if askers don't come back and follow up on comments, they're probably not going to elicit a positive community response. Hope this helps!
    – jmort253
    Aug 12, 2012 at 6:20
  • 4
    I totally agree with Nick
    – LnxSlck
    Aug 21, 2012 at 0:45

6 Answers 6


Here's my take on the four. Remember that both presentation and content of a question matter; as Nick commented, most of us have a life outside of AU and cannot spend a lot of time trying to pin down the essence of a very poorly phrased or unnecessarily long question.

  1. Ubuntu and Windows 7 on 1 Tb hard

    • Notice the title, which is why the question probably never got more of the upvotes it may have deserved.
    • The OP already has a partitioning scheme in mind - the table details 7 partitions; but in the question it looks like he's asking for a general recommendation. This confusion could have led some people to thing the question was too localized, while others may have thought it was overbroad.
    • The OP knows about platters, and the precise model number of his HDD; perhaps he could have taken a moment to tell us exactly how many platters are on the drive?
    • Bottom line: the question boils down to: Does the number of platters/density affect partitioning and what do you think of my partitioning scheme in the table?. Good question, but ruined by the OP's jumbled presentation and lack of a response even after some of these issues were pointed out in the comments and a general answer was given.
  2. https://askubuntu.com/questions/172532/why-is-ubuntu-more-laggy-than-windows-7-home-premium-on-netbook

    • This question fits the "no research effort" bill to a T. One line, no details of why it's "laggy", such as "the cursor freezes", or "Firefox takes 2 minutes to start up" etc.
    • This is a variant of the very common one-liner "Why is my Ubuntu slow?", and without further details or follow-up, there is no practical option but to close these questions.
  3. Why is SSH not accessible after installing KDE on Ubuntu Server?

    • I agree with those who've said this is a valid question - it most certainly is and I would (did) upvote it.
    • The downvote may have come because the question was "abandoned" by the OP - notice he never came back after asking it, thus precluding the possibility of every really solving his problem. Some may associate such behavior with "lack of effort"...
  4. How to install firefox 14.0.1 from a tar.bz2 which is located in /usr/downloads?

    • It's a fair question, but we can't go around answering every single "How do I install X program from a tarball?" question. And everything @aking1012 said.
    • Notice that the OP is certainly around (last seen 2 days ago), but never bothered to respond to four commenters who were each concerned and wondered why he simply wasn't installing Firefox 14 via the normal update channels.
    • I wouldn't downvote it, but if abandoned it could probably be duped to a canonical "How do I install binary software packaged in a tarball?" question.

First one: subjective question low quality down-vote is understandable
Second one: lacks details needed to give a real answer low quality down-vote is understandable

Third one I don't understand the down-votes

Fourth one: we can't possibly field-

  1. How to compile each and every package from source
  2. It is a duplicate of general tar.gz compilation instructions
  3. /usr/downloads is a non-standard location to download a tar.gz that will, in all probability, introduce permissions issues...
  • 2
    You are correct.
    – jrg
    Aug 10, 2012 at 17:09
  • 3
    Why downvote a duplicate when we can just close it as a duplicate? Aug 10, 2012 at 17:23
  • @JorgeCastro - I agree, but it might be users that can't vote to close yet and are out of flags. Aug 10, 2012 at 17:25
  • 7
    running out of flags in this case seems like an edge case to me. Aug 10, 2012 at 17:26
  • On main, I pretty much only downvote something I think is a duplicate if it's a duplicate of another question by the same user. I do not do this to punish the user--rather, I do it (often also upvoting their other question) to help establish the original question as the one in which work should occur. Aug 10, 2012 at 22:04

I would disagree. These questions are often duplicates of more-obvious canonical ones, which may be more general, but do solve the problem. By looking at the mouseover text of the downvote button, you will see that it states:

This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful (click again to undo)

and since a search on AU or Ubuntu documentation can find usable answers, these questions "[do] not show any research effort".

  • 2
    You are also correct.
    – jrg
    Aug 10, 2012 at 17:09
  • 1
    The hover-text metric is what I consider canonical also.
    – ish
    Aug 10, 2012 at 17:20
  • 5
    "and since Google can easily find answers" - that is a horrible excuse, people ask questions here because usually the results of something on google are out of date blogs or forum posts. Aug 10, 2012 at 17:24
  • @JorgeCastro fixed.
    – nanofarad
    Aug 10, 2012 at 17:25

Ok so out of these four:

This can probably be a duplicate for What's your recommendation on drive partitioning schemes for a desktop and home server?

but he has some other specific questions about platter size and stuff I can't find on the site, so that question might actually be able to be made really interesting in general with some editing.

This question is unanswerable and hasn't had a single edit since it was posted. It's getting the same amount of attention that the poster put into it (not much).

This seems like a legitimate question to me, in fact, it's the 5th ranked search result for "kde firewall ubuntu"!

Also seems like a legitimate question to me if it had more details on the specific version of firefox, if not it's a duplicate.

So, out of 4 questions, only one is pretty horrible, the others are fine; vote accordingly! In fact vote often: http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/10/vote-early-vote-often/

You don't need to be technically skilled to upvote questions, mostly just make sure the question is communicated clearly.

As for the duplicates I don't know why people downvote duplicates, we actually want duplicates to help make crosslinking across the site to be more thorough and strengthen the likelyhood of someone finding an answer from search engines.


We would love to see you, or anyone else, answer them, if you can. It's a community.

Why don't they try to be modest and help even the absolute "noob" by not trying to show themselves as superheroes? Is it really that hard?

Yes, sir. It's really hard. It is highly subjective. There are people who edit questions, answer them and make things better. And there are people who are just not patient enough, or to quote you, 'arrogant'. Though I don't find any justification to that statement of yours.

  • I have about the same reputation as you and yes, I try to answer. But I also have a life and don't spend 24/7 answering questions.
    – dlin
    Aug 10, 2012 at 17:15
  • 1
    Sorry if you found it insulting.
    – dlin
    Aug 10, 2012 at 17:22
  • 3
    Perhaps you could spare 24 seconds seven times a day, and upvote any questions you feel have been discriminated against by the downvoting mafia?
    – ish
    Aug 10, 2012 at 17:23
  • @Nick No problem. :-)
    – nanofarad
    Aug 10, 2012 at 17:24
  • @izx of course!
    – dlin
    Aug 10, 2012 at 17:25
  • 3
    @Nick Contribute, or move on. And Reputation, who cares? Dont answer because you need reputation. Answer when you have a good answer. If there is no answer yet, instead of complaining, try to do something. May be join chat and link that question. someone may try to fix it.
    – Mahesh
    Aug 10, 2012 at 17:25


Above, if you would have read correctly, AU users try to clarify about the details that led them to ask it. Down-votes due to non-response from OP may be obvious.

In other questions too, you may notice that there was no response from OP. If OP himself is not interested in providing more info to make it a better QA format, then it may be a obvious reason to downvote it.

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