TL;DR Surely downvoting valid discussions is discouraging users from asking good questions?

A couple of weeks ago, someone posted an answer on the main site. Because of the scope changes, it was deleted. He came here to ask about it:

Should my answers get removed, because of my personal style?

His experience is probably fairly unique - most people posting a bad question here wouldn't think to take it to Meta.

The deletion on the main site was valid - the answer was bad.

I don't think downvoting a Meta post with a clear question, a desire to improve their main site post and reasonable grammar and presentation is productive to a site that wants high quality questions.

If the user is willing - outgoing enough, even - to post on Meta, asking for improvements, what will downvoting this post accomplish? I'm not saying don't downvote low quality and similar - that is 100% necessary, I'm trying to say that the user wants to ask a good question, [following the rules][9], and are doing their best to do this. Should schools give detentions for asking a teacher how to improve their bad essay?

This site shouldn't be like this. It can't be the approach can it?

https://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/268779/can-we-make-this-meta-site-work-for-mentoring/268788#268788 (Answer)

https://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/268779/can-we-make-this-meta-site-work-for-mentoring/268788#comment78454_268788 (Comment)

https://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/251758/why-is-stack-overflow-so-negative-of-late (Question)

https://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/251758/why-is-stack-overflow-so-negative-of-late/252235#252235 (Answer)

  • 4
    It's always been a little unclear to me what votes on questions on meta mean: «I'm glad you brought this up» or «I agree with the premise/argument/agenda presented in the question.» Looking at your first link (meta for mentoring), I think I've been convinced that the former is a better approach. But that's not obvious, and I think that difference in approaches is what distinguishes your concern about this pattern from others' willingness to DV. In any case, this is a really good question!
    – Susan
    Apr 26, 2015 at 12:30
  • Another example of (IMHO) excessive downvoting for a question in which no opinion was expressed: Should questions that seem eminently googleable be closed? Apr 28, 2015 at 18:27

3 Answers 3


What makes the difference between when it should be a downvote and when it should be an upvote on a meta question asking for help on a specific question?


Hey my post is getting downvoted! I have no idea how this site is supposed to work, didn't bother to read any of the documentation on how the site works, and ignored all the comments under my question explaining what I could do to fix it.

So I came to Meta and repeated all of the mistakes I made on the main site!

How can I improve my question without reading any of the site's documentation, related posts, or comments under my questions?


I'm new here and I just asked my first question. Unfortunately it has received a few downvotes, but no one has left a comment explaining what I can do to improve it.

I've read the help center, taken the tour, and looked through previous Meta questions on the topic, but I'm still at a loss. Can someone point me in the right direction?

It more or less boils down to, "Is this user making an honest effort to improve, or is this user continuing the same pattern here on Meta?"

  • I disagree, it is not just about making an honest effort to improve and if the poster is making statements in there that people disagree with then it will attract down votes. I might be wrong but I haven't seen any posts on meta where someone is asking how to improve their posts without criticizing how the process works.
    – Joe W
    Apr 26, 2015 at 15:36

It needs to be remembered that votes on Meta are different then they are on the main site. Up votes mean that you agree with the post, so in the case of the post you linked it would mean the voter agrees with what was posted. Down votes mean that the voter disagrees with the post so in the case of what you posted it means they disagree with the poster. It is something that does get confusing for a lot of users because the tool tip is the same for the voting buttons on both sites.

To break it down a little more in the case of the question you are asking about it is most likely a sign that the voters disagree with the poster and are supporting the action to remove the posts in question. As for his complaints he does have one fair point that it is better to have a reason posted when deleting a post. But his other complaint about posts not being un-deleted when the original problem is fixed but other problems remain is in my opinion wrong.

In the end when it comes to issues of discussions of moderation of a users posts on Meta it should be remembered that not everyone is going to agree with the users complaints about the moderation and that down votes will happen.


I think the up/down votes are just saying either people agree to my main question or not.

The title said: Should my answers get removed, because of my personal style?

So it sounds like by down-voting it, the community agrees that the answers should be removed for the personal style on the site.

Yes, I think this actually discourages person from posting any further posts on the site.

So the options are: that person should follow other users either by removing his account (which few people already did as I've received the correction votes) or stop posting the answers and leave it for other people who wants to spent most of the time on their answers where they have 50/50 chances that it'd be removed for some reason, because someone instead of down-voting and comment on the post suggesting the change directly to the author, its going further and reports it for the moderation instead, so it's taken more seriously than the other answers.

What we can do about it? Use votes and comments as everybody does it (to suggest the changes directly to the author, so it can be improved further more) and report the posts for moderation only when its spam, or irrelevant/inappropriate for the site (not because you feel wrong about one link or sentence, or it has few minor issues).

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