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I've been a member of this stack exchange for many years. I've tried to provide good answers to questions. (I rate in the top 3% overall.)

In the past, but more frequently lately, I've found my answers have been downvoted when I can't understand why. Other people have upvoted my answers for the same question. I get it if people don't agree with me, but I think they should have to give a reason for a downvote.

When I decide to cast a close vote I have to give a reason. Don't you think it's reasonable that if someone is going to downvote an answer they should have to give an answer?

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  • Am I to assume that the downvotes on this answer are what prompted this question? Having gone through your Writing.SE profile, they seem to be the only downvotes you've received here since April 2021.
    – F1Krazy Mod
    Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 21:28
  • I keep getting downvoted too. I am not sure why.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 23:47
  • There's nothing we can do aside upvoting questions and answers that seem to be getting downvoted by a single person.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 23:49
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    I've been feeling inclined to ask the same thing. I'm getting a really hostile vibe from all the unsubstantiated downvoting; like someone has it in for me for unknown reason. I suppose the fact it happens to other people is a bit of a comfort.
    – user54131
    Commented Aug 2, 2022 at 6:13
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    I can understand why someone would downvote without commenting, though. They want to stay anonymous and unaccountable. That way they can avoid discussion and the risk of retaliatory downvoting. But downvotes don't help improve the quality of answers and questions unless there is some indication of how to improve them. That could still be done anonymously (with changes to the system), either through a list of fixed options (as in close-voting), or with anonymous comments.
    – user54131
    Commented Aug 2, 2022 at 6:17
  • The post suggested by @F1Krazy is not one I am concerned about. I am happy to be corrected by people and can take negative feedback without it upsetting me, but I find it hard when people don't like something and don't say way. Commented Aug 2, 2022 at 17:12
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    Well, I suggest that we add the requirement to provide a reason anonymously when downvoting just as we need to do so when we vote to close a question.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Aug 2, 2022 at 22:33
  • We should only be able to downvote insofar as we want to improve the existing question or answer. Otherwise, we can't have an inclusive community.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Aug 2, 2022 at 22:53
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    I'm not at all sure the points in the voting system always measure quality. Sometimes they just measure "click-baityness" of the question. Unless the question IS great... And they're not always worth the same either... Consider this: Question A gets 10 000 visits and 100 points are awarded in total. Question B gets 100 visits and 10 points are awarded in total. Does that mean the points on A are worth 10% of the points on B? Maybe? Maybe not...
    – Erk
    Commented Aug 3, 2022 at 1:43
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    Otoh the voting system helps keep the conversations clean. SEs are not general discussion boards where you have to spend weeks catching up on a convo to find out what the great pieces of info are. In that regard SEs are great. I just wish all that point-setting wouldn't be so "zeroes and ones"... sometimes a point, especially a minus point, isn't enough... on the other hand, some people are just going to give minus points for punctuation, grammar, "not the answer I wanted" or whatever... they could simply be amateurs/ignorant...
    – Erk
    Commented Aug 3, 2022 at 1:52
  • I got a lot of reputation back from serial downvoting. One way to solve the problem is to have a way to check if the downvote was accompanied by a feedback anonymous or not and then if a person X downvotes the same person several times or downvote questions that have 0 downvotes from other people, just reverse the serial downvotes.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 14:59
  • @Sayaman this would be great! or some kind of (maybe) feature which explains why the vote (okay, it would be a bit "meh" probably) but I tend to explain up/down votes (yes even upvotes), to *mark what parts I liked in the post (and obviously if it's good overall) (with good I mean useful) Commented Jan 18, 2023 at 16:58

2 Answers 2

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This has been asked dozens of times on dozens of SE sites. The generally accepted guide is on the main Meta:-

Why isn't providing feedback mandatory on downvotes, and why are ideas suggesting such negatively received?

You won't get anywhere by bringing the issue up again on a site meta.

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  • I didn't bring it up on this site. It was migrated here by someone else. Commented Aug 3, 2022 at 18:48
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    Doesn't the fact it has been brought up 'dozens of times' suggest it is about time it was dealt with? Commented Aug 3, 2022 at 18:52
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    @S.Mitchell You posted it on the main Writing.SE site. I migrated it to Meta because it's a question about Stack Exchange, not a question about writing, and therefore belongs here. Unfortunately, Chenmunka is right in that there's literally nothing I can do about it, as this would have to be a network-wide change, but I must admit it's eye-opening to see how many users share the same attitude.
    – F1Krazy Mod
    Commented Aug 4, 2022 at 7:09
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I'm not going to address your primary question of whether users should be forced to provide feedback when they downvote - my previous answer here is still my definitive opinion on the subject, and as I explained on Chenmunka's answer, I don't have the ability to make such a change anyway. Instead, I'm going to address a related issue that has been repeatedly complained about in the comments of this question: namely, a feeling that users are being unfairly targeted for downvotes.

Using mod tools, I have indeed identified some suspicious voting activity on the main site. It does not account for all the unexplained or "unfair" downvotes that have been reported here, but there is almost certainly some level of targeted voting going on. I have escalated it to the community team, who are better equipped to investigate these sorts of things, and can reverse the downvotes if they are indeed found to be targeted. I and the other mods will continue to keep an eye out for suspicious voting patterns in the future, and any we find will be escalated similarly.

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