I cannot understand why this even allowed here. I mean, is this a game or something ? I can see everywhere downvoting questions and answers without a specific reason. I would like to see this stopped, please.

I would suggest either a massive loss of reputation when a user downvote a question or answer without a reason, or not allowed at all.

Think about it(of course I speak about main AU, not meta) and be informed that a comment doesn't reveal who downvoted the specific question/answer. But this way we will avoid the lightly downvoting.

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    This has been addressed so, so many times. Do we really have to go over it again? – Seth Jan 5 '14 at 3:38
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    @Seth I couldn't find the duplicate. Please mark it as duplicate if that so. – NickTux Jan 5 '14 at 3:40
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    Ok, fair enough. Lets mark it as such then. Sorry about the... quadruplicate :-P – NickTux Jan 5 '14 at 3:59
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    Why do you think that a downvote is without reason? How could you know? Don't forget that downvoting needs minimum 125 rep, so the voters are not some idiots, and the downvoter also lose 1 reputation if he downvotes. Actually I think there are less downvotes on the site than it is needed. – falconer Jan 5 '14 at 12:18
  • @falconer and it's a bad thing to reveal the reason? It's something that is secret? I didn't speak about idiots (you said that), I spoke about lightly or in some cases irresponsible downvoting. – NickTux Jan 5 '14 at 12:58
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    @NikTh Secret voting means the reasons are secret too, or the voting won't be a secret anymore. And if a someone downvotes and gives a reason, who would decide that that reason is fair? Another voting on that subject? – falconer Jan 5 '14 at 13:04
  • @falconer the comment doesn't reveal the downvoter. What if I downvote your answer and I write as a comment "very helpful indeed" :P . The revealed reason, a true reason would be helpful for improvement. A simple downvote is not always clear. And I said on an other comment, in main AU is not a matter (or it shouldn't) of opinion. It's about correct/helpful answers and false/dangerous/unhelpful posts, or answers that an improvement is needed. Anyway, there is no matter to discuss it more. This is already a duplicate, the decisions are already made.. :) – NickTux Jan 5 '14 at 13:10
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    FWIW, I'm with you.... I've campaigned for anonymous downvote reasons (like close reasons)... But whenever it's suggested, it's bombarded with downvotes... meta.stackexchange.com/questions/144851/… (that's +44/-22) It's pretty controversial and that suggestion is for optional feedback. – Oli Jan 6 '14 at 15:42

Copied shamelessly of Anna Lear answer which is also my standing (through previously didn't express it well):

If you really care about enforcing integrity in voting, you should also be asking for explanation of upvotes. Some people upvote with good reason, some out of sympathy if they see a downvote, some because they didn't even read your post but think it must be good if it already has X upvotes, etc.

In the end, the anonymity of the voting system is what makes these sites useful. Always having to explain downvotes would destroy their anonymity and expose downvoters to potentially harsh criticism from those who disagree with the downvote. Not to mention that knowing that you have to explain it (even if an explanation already exists or is obvious) would further discourage people from downvoting.

The system right now is simple. Think a post is useful? Upvote. Think a post is unclear/not useful? Downvote. It doesn't need to be more than that.

Most of the emphasis was mine ;)

So, what's the problem here? First, people here doesn't vote enough... not up or down, if you ask them for a second click they will vote less. Second, people here is too nice to downvote. Third, people is not honest enough to downvote bad, crappy, <insert your subjective reason here> posts. Fourth, they are already several guides about how to write good and awesome answers and questions. If I have to explain each time why I downvote or upvote something obvious, we are doing it wrong and people will steer away Ask Ubuntu (or Stack Exchange for what matters).

The reason to upvoting or downvoting posts are in a nice tooltip over the button: This question doesn't show research effort; it's unclear or not useful (for questions) and This answer is not useful (for answers) that also could mean "you are wrong".

If anyone wants a compiled list of reasons why people downvote questions of answers, please check Jon Skeet's questions:

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    The explanation of upvoting is simple as that: The answer was helpful. But there could be 100 reasons where an answer/question downvoted. What are these reasons ? Why don't give a reason to the questioner/answerer to improve his/her question/answer but you downvote it without one ? – NickTux Jan 5 '14 at 2:55
  • Good point! It really depends on how you look at it. – RPiAwesomeness Jan 5 '14 at 2:55
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    @NikTh most of the time the reason is obvious and a plain view. Formatting, lack of information, unclear of what your final goal is, blatantly offtopic, several thousands of times asked (in the case of the question), missing a restriction or condition of the question (in the case of answers), etc... etc... etc... – Braiam Jan 5 '14 at 3:00
  • @NikTh I added one of the most reasons why people downvote questions/answers. – Braiam Jan 5 '14 at 3:06
  • No,no, I don't agree with Anna's perspective. And a comment doesn't always reveal who downvote(if you care about anonymity). Who downvote the question here? me ? no. I added the comment and the close vote only. Who downvoted the answer here and why ? It's so obvious that this is a game for some people. So we have to stop this game I think. – NickTux Jan 5 '14 at 3:07
  • @RPiAwesomeness read above – Braiam Jan 5 '14 at 3:09
  • @NikTh if you think is a game, you are correct. The game-like aspect of SE is... well, expected. People like to help another and if it comes with some kind of reward, better. If your answer was downvoted just think that the voter didn't found your answer helpful and move on... If it helps OP, good, if it doesn't, good too. Remember that we are a party of jackasses, and being honest is over being nice when it comes to votes. – Braiam Jan 5 '14 at 3:14
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    It's fine to disagree with Annas' perspective but it has been strongly suggested that downvoting without reason is vandalism and there was mention of "dogs", IIRC. I disagree with that. The tooltip for downvoting is the "opposite" for the upvote. If the upvote is understood, the downvote is equally understandable. Or isn't it? Of course, anything can be misused, even anonymity. It's a simple matter of a person or persons who feel that a downvote is unjustified to cast upvotes :) – user25656 Jan 5 '14 at 3:14
  • @vasa1 "that"? the vandalism part? or something else? – Braiam Jan 5 '14 at 3:15
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    That = by downvoting without providing a comment I'm vandalising the site. – user25656 Jan 5 '14 at 3:16
  • No, I disagree with this quote. I didn't speak about vandalism or something. But a downvote without a reason is like an answer without explanation. i.e. "Run this command and should be fine.end". So by disallow the downvote without a reason or give a strong reason to the downvoter (like a massive loss of rep) to write and explain why, the questions/answers here could be more...qualitative ? – NickTux Jan 5 '14 at 3:23
  • The full answer containing the reference to vandalism and dogs is here: meta.askubuntu.com/a/7583/25656 – user25656 Jan 5 '14 at 3:25
  • @NikTh the downvote is already discouraged, voter lose half what the target post -2/-1, also if you read the history on MSO no feature request to force the downvoter to explain the reasons of its votes had any good end. You must just learn to live with them and move on ;) – Braiam Jan 5 '14 at 3:28
  • If you've downvoted before and provided an explanation, there's a chance you'll end up in an argument. Why should I provide a reason if the post is rude? Why should I provide a reason if the post is spam? Why should I provide a reason if it's clear (to me) that the poster hasn't bothered to read the FAQ or search the site? Anyway, as has been suggested in the answer I linked to, those who want to downvote without reason should just go away :) – user25656 Jan 5 '14 at 3:29
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    @vasa1 if the post is rude or spam there is no need to downvote it. You flag it for moderation attention straight away. Anyway as Braiam said, the history can reveal things. So this feature-request will have the same "fate", I guess. :-) – NickTux Jan 5 '14 at 3:38

Precisely! I think that it should be general policy to flag or comment before downvoting. Spam should be downvoted as soon as you see it and certain very bad answers/questions, but very sparingly.

Like the text after downvoting says: "Please comment if you think that this system can be improved". Comment first! See if the user can't fix it, we want to help people, not deter them just because they don't know the way this site works.

Also, seriously, who down-voted this?

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  • What the heck! I got down-voted within 5 seconds of posting. – RPiAwesomeness Jan 5 '14 at 2:52
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    Here is a matter of opinion. There is no reason. I agree with your perspective I upvote, I disagree I downvote. But in main AU it is not a matter of opinion, it shouldn't be. It should be a matter of good/helpful/correct Q/A and bad/poor/dangerous/false Q/As that need improvement. So a reason should added to help for improvement or even deletion. – NickTux Jan 5 '14 at 3:10
  • I agree with the OP. It's especially not helpful to have your questions downvoted without explanation. If someone upvotes an answer or question, it's probably because: 1) It was a good answer, 2) Or interesting question, or 3) The q or a helped someone, or 4) All of the above. If someone downvotes a question without an explanation, than I am just sitting here thinking "Huh... did I ask a stupid question or did I miss something obvious...?" I for one think an explanation of why a vote was casted would be really helpful. – Chev_603 May 26 '15 at 13:38

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