From the understanding that the criteria a user votes +/- on answer is that the answer was useful or not, what would it take to ensure that downvoter leave a comment before their vote is registered?

  1. Could having them leave a comment anonymously, if that is what is preventing them from leaving a comment, help?

  2. Another suggestion is that, in the event of only negative votes, and if the answer has been properly supported, and if the user who answered flagged the mods, if the mods may maintain the voting at '0' if there appears no justifying reason for the negative votes.

Not giving up! Seeking solutions!

3 Give a value of -0.5 to negative vote w/no comments and maintain -1 vote w/comment? i.e incentivize leaving a comment.

Comments especially for a downvote do provide the feedback required so that modifications can be made to enhance the answer.

  • 1
    Commenting on a down vote (like I'm doing now) is etiquette. You don't enforce etiquette! Aug 10, 2014 at 5:24
  • dowvoting because pttttfffff.
    – Caleb
    Aug 10, 2014 at 7:02
  • 2
    See how helpful that was? ^^^^ That's just one on many reasons this is never going to happen. Other reasons have been discussed ad nausium on Meta Stack Exchange and the feature request emphatically declined. It's simply not compatible with the way the system works.
    – Caleb
    Aug 10, 2014 at 7:04
  • 1
    I think you are all missing a point. How does a downvote with no comments assist with the aims of this site?
    – user13992
    Aug 10, 2014 at 8:02
  • @bruisedreed disagree. Any chance to point me to link that downvoting is etiquette. Either one is aiding in shaping an answer or they are not.
    – user13992
    Aug 10, 2014 at 8:09
  • Thank you Ward for answering and for your comments and thank you bruisereed, curiousdannii, and Caleb for your feedback and comments. I appreciate your attention to me even when this topic has been discussed ad nausium. This is just me, though, I always seek solutions ...
    – user13992
    Aug 10, 2014 at 8:36
  • 1
    A down-vote is an aid to shaping a question/answer that requires little effort from the voter - it's a strong signal that you're doing it wrong & you should think again. A comment is an aid to shaping a question/answer that requires more effort from the commentor - taking the time to do so is a courtesy. Aug 10, 2014 at 10:58
  • 1
    "that requires little effort from the voter" This is the most important consideration: I've voted more than anyone else on SE and there's no way I'd've voted as much if I had to explain every singe downvote. Aug 10, 2014 at 16:43
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    You seem to be hung up on voting being for the person receiving votes. It's not primarily about that at all.
    – Caleb
    Aug 10, 2014 at 21:17
  • @bruisedreed You appear to be giving your own interpretation to this.
    – user13992
    Aug 10, 2014 at 21:49
  • @Caleb If this was working great and people were happy about it, why would would it need to be discussed ad nauseusm as you say it has been? It seems the site/the user who could make a change are not open to feedback perhaps that's why a feature that provides no useful feature continues to stay.
    – user13992
    Aug 10, 2014 at 21:53
  • @FMShyanguya It gets discussed ad nauseum because there are always new people (like you) that come along and ask the same question that's been asked before. Sometimes the peoplet that have been on SE a long time will simply point newcomers to the existing posts. In this case, you've had a lot of information given to you but you don't seem to have absorbed most of it. Spend some time on multiple SE sites instead of just over month on one site and then see if you can come up with a better proposal. Aug 10, 2014 at 22:11
  • Spend some time on multiple SE sites instead of just over month on one site and then see if you can come up with a better proposal. This is useful, thank you!
    – user13992
    Aug 10, 2014 at 22:14
  • Can't shake the feeling that this must be a tool for those who do not want to change the system.
    – user13992
    Aug 11, 2014 at 22:22
  • 1
    @FMShyanguya Don't know if you are aware, the voting on all meta sites is more subjective by convention. A vote on a proposal, like this one, simple shows agreement or disagreement. Since there are no rep points on the meta site, this shouldn't be a problem.
    – user3961
    Aug 13, 2014 at 5:37

2 Answers 2


This has been discussed repeatedly on many meta.SE sites and it's never going to happen. There are too many problems with requiring comments when you vote:

  • Voting is already low across every established SE site that I follow. If you require a comment in order to vote, it'll result in even less voting.
  • Some questions and answers are so obviously bad that requiring a comment would be a waste of time.
  • Related: the tool-tip that shows up on the downvote button is usually a good enough explanation
  • There's no way to make sure the comment would be of any use. My comment could be "Downvoted because hjgaopfqofjof fjfoijfjfioej"
  • There is some risk of retaliation if comments aren't anonymous
  • In some cases, an existing comment captures what's wrong with a post, so it'd be a waste of time for someone else to have to type in the same comment.
  • Even if the person who gets the comment/downvote doesn't retaliate, they often don't take it well, arguing about the feedback, which becomes an even bigger waste of time.
  • Or (as the OP did recently), the person who gets the comment simply ignores it - another waste of time.
  • What do you propose to do about cases where one person leaves a (negative) comment but doesn't downvote? Shouldn't that also count against the post?

That's all off the top of my head, look on meta.SE if you want even more...

  • There is some risk of retaliation if comments aren't anonymous obviously you never read my question fully. Please see my second paragraph.
    – user13992
    Aug 9, 2014 at 20:34
  • Of course I saw that part, but that's not the only reason people don't leave comments. Aug 9, 2014 at 20:42
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    One more point: often someone else will have already left the same comment you would.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Aug 9, 2014 at 23:30
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    @FMShyanguya Anonymous comments wouldn't solve these objections and would bring a whole host of abuse opportunities. We have enough problems with non-anonymous comments; we surely don't need to add more.
    – Caleb
    Aug 10, 2014 at 7:10
  • @Caleb And there is no way to identify those who are abusing the system by downvoting and hold them accountable?
    – user13992
    Aug 10, 2014 at 8:12
  • 4
    @FMShyanguya Downvotes are not an abuse of the system, they are part of how the system is itended to run. And yes they are anonymous on purpose.
    – Caleb
    Aug 10, 2014 at 9:05
  • No wonder we are not making progress. abusing the system by downvoting is not equivalent to downvoting.
    – user13992
    Aug 10, 2014 at 21:54
  • 1
    @FMShyanguya Then you'd better give a clear explanation of what the difference is - how can the system recognize it? Aug 10, 2014 at 22:05
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    @Ward I believe no response is required ...
    – user13992
    Aug 10, 2014 at 22:23
  • @FMShyanguya This would require a non-anonymous voting scheme, where at least the mods would have to see who made the comment, and therefore the downvote. Voting always was and always will be anonymous to everyone. In fact, only a few of the developers on the SE staff have access to that data and it is supposedly hard to get. The very nature of voting should not be hindered by any requirement, agreement, convention, rule, etc. They are what they are and over several posts over several days you can get a good idea of how a site works with only votes to tell you if the posts are good or not.
    – user3961
    Aug 13, 2014 at 5:43
  • And the rep adjustments encourage good posts and discourage bad posts. The system is actually very successfully without comments, and indeed ran for about 18 months without them at all in 2008 and 2009. They added comments not so people could say why they voted one way or the other, but so they could address specific issues with posts, like erroneous facts.
    – user3961
    Aug 13, 2014 at 5:46
  • @fredsbend Thanks for the history. I have come to accept it. I felt a bit better when Caleb told me that there wasn't any evidence of targeting. But the one on the receiving end wouldn't necessarily know it. It is annoying when one is putting in the effort to make great posts and contribute to the site. Thank you for the professional communication and for the support.
    – user13992
    Aug 13, 2014 at 6:49
  • @fredsbend I think that history plays a huge role in the resistance to change. Those used to how they were introduced to the system and how they used the system, to them everything is just fine, to them has worked well, why change it?
    – user13992
    Aug 13, 2014 at 21:36
  • "Some questions and answers are so obviously bad that requiring a comment would be a waste of time." But it is probably not so obvious to the poster, otherwise they wouldn't have posted it. More significantly, I keep seeing downvoted questions and answers for which I have no idea why (other than possibly personal disagreement with the idea) they were voted down. If there is something wrong with my post (or someone else's) I'd like to learn what it is, not simply be told that it is wrong. The current situation is very frustrating. Apr 15, 2019 at 18:54
  • "In some cases, an existing comment captures what's wrong with a post, so it'd be a waste of time for someone else to have to type in the same comment." Exactly. But it shouldn't be too onerous to expect people to upvote that comment before they are allowed to downvote the post. Similarly if no one else has commented against the post yet, perhaps your reasons for downvoting aren't as strong or reasonable as you think they are. Downvotes should be cast only for a good reason. I'd rather see downvotes that are more meaningful and reliable, even if it means fewer downvotes in total. Apr 15, 2019 at 19:03

Here are some relevant pointers from Meta.SE on this subject. BillyMailman provided this answer that points out what the 'official' response from SE has been:

The first was marked in this revision, by Jeff Atwood, around July '09. A quick look at the accepted answer on that question shows it was posted, by Jeff, around that same time. Thus, the accepted answer can be taken as the official position.

The other question there was similarly marked by Jeff around August 2011. He didn't post an answer, so the official position is mostly just "No.", though SE employees have explained in several places that anonymous commenting of any sort is basically a non-starter, due to potential abuse.

Further reading:

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