Down-voters should be required to give a reason, as a comment of a certain word length, for their down-votes.

cf. Meta.StackExchange.com question "Why isn't providing feedback mandatory on downvotes, and why are ideas suggesting such negatively received?"

  • 5
    This will never happen. Requiring explanations would just result in spammy comments, and open legitimate downvoters up to revenge actions.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Jan 24, 2022 at 1:55
  • @curiousdannii Some sites suggest down-voters make a comment.
    – Geremia
    Jan 24, 2022 at 1:56
  • 2
    On a personal note, I have never asked downvoters to explain themselves on any of my posts! Should upvoters be required to explain why they up voted a post?
    – Ken Graham Mod
    Jan 24, 2022 at 2:17
  • I wonder if anyone has proposed eliminating down-voting.
    – Geremia
    Jan 24, 2022 at 3:56
  • 2
    @Geremia I don’t think the answer is eliminating down voting. That would remove part of the functionality of SE sites, noting that puts good questions on top and bad ones in the ground.
    – Luke Hill
    Jan 24, 2022 at 23:28
  • Ya, they should toss the dv's. It is useful on highly technical web-sites (which SE came out of), not so much for web-sites about religion. May 11, 2022 at 17:40

2 Answers 2


As far back as I can remember (and I was on Stackoverflow since the beta), people have been complaining about this. The only thing they've done was

  1. snatch -1 rep per downvote
  2. pop up a message to encourage explaining how the post could be enhanced.
  3. do some behind the scenes hijinx to confound serial downvoters

I think that's good enough. It stops short of the one thing that they obviously don't want to do, which is what you posted.

It would be interesting to try requiring an explanation, and if they could turn it on between the hours of 10 PM and 6 AM Central, so curiousdannii could have to deal with the flack it'd cause, I'd be all for it :)

  • +1 for making curiousdannii take the flak, and beyond that I think a snatch and pop-up (plus behind the scenes hijinx) are great ideas. Maybe more than 1 rep point but I'm not sure, we don't want to make downvotes unusable because people are scared of losing rep. That being said, I'm becoming increasingly annoyed at downvotes with no constructive criticism or use.
    – Luke Hill
    Jan 24, 2022 at 3:31

Pay attention to the first point of the answer on that question:

Voting is, first and foremost, a content rating system. Rather than being a way of communicating with the author, downvotes are a way of communicating to future readers that a post is not useful, doesn't show much research effort, or is not a good fit for the site.

Votes and the displayed score are primarily meant as a way to tell someone reading a post what the community thinks of it. It's only secondarily a method of giving feedback to the person who wrote the post.

  • I take issue with this. If downvotes are a way of determining whether or not a question is poor quality, the entire system is based on subjective feelings with no requirement for explanation. People downvoting just because they “don’t like the way it’s worded” cough Nigel cough is harmful because it discourages new members and veterans to keep writing questions, especially when votes are involved. It also limits authors creativity. I notice that when I write questions. I am excessively careful to write questions that won’t be endlessly dunked on. This limits my ability to write good questions.
    – Luke Hill
    Jan 25, 2022 at 5:21
  • 1
    You can take issue with all you like, but that is the way the Stack Exchange system works - that's how it was designed. Requests to make explanations for votes mandatory have been repeatedly turned down by the company over the past 13 years. Jan 25, 2022 at 5:34
  • @LukeHill the system is subjective, same for upvoting. What some users feel is 'useful' may not hold for others. Authors creativity is already limited by site rules. And once again one's creativity does not necessarily equate to helpful, new, or useful content
    – depperm
    Jan 25, 2022 at 14:10
  • @depperm I agree that creativity doesn’t necessarily mean those things. I’m just saying it’s probably a turn off to new users. I don’t know if I am making a genuine criticism of the site as a whole, but I’m just throwing out ideas because I don’t feel the system we have now is the best possible one when it comes to downvotes.
    – Luke Hill
    Jan 25, 2022 at 14:13
  • @LukeHill the voting system has issues and the site has its issues/use cases. see this meta This site has a variety of Christians and each has their own perspective. Questions have to be scoped particular ways. This does mean some good questions can't necessarily be asked here (even if they should be asked, have an answer, or have people who want to know)
    – depperm
    Jan 25, 2022 at 14:25

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