How often have you seen a variation of this comment?
Will the down voter please say what is wrong with my [question/answer]?
I notice them fairly often, maybe because it’s a subject I have strong feelings about. As a moderator, though, part of my role here is to help guide new users. For that reason, when I see a potential problem with a post, including a down-voted one where the poster asks that question, I offer a possible answer.
Not uncommonly, I’ve then been accused of being the down voter of the post. This assumption - that the commenter is the down voter - is one of the very good reasons that people don’t leave comments with their down vote. Another is the argument which often then ensues in comments.
This is a site in its early formative stages. It’s still possible that a visitor or occasional user will see the majority of what is written here. If you feel the site has a negative or unwelcoming feel to it, there is something you - you - can do right now to shift the balance.
Keep in mind that civility, kindness, and all good things work both ways.
No one enjoys getting a down vote. But if you really want an explanation of that down vote, you might think about it before making it unpleasant for the person who comments.
Some suggestions (feel free to add your own):
- Don’t treat up votes as proof of your intelligence, but down votes as proof of the commenter's inferior intellect (in other words, don’t try to prove them wrong. You said you wanted to know.)
- Look at criticism as helpful, and assume the same about anonymous downvotes (think about a way you can improve your answer. Look at the how to answer section of the help pages to see if you’ve broken with site recommendations.)
- Remember SE is about questions and answers, not people. Try not to not take it personally.
- Earn respect with high-quality answers, don’t demand it, especially with answers that don’t fit the SE model.
If you’re unwilling to hear with patience the reasons people down voted, then don’t ask for them.
Finally, please don’t assume that a person who is giving you a possible reason for the down vote is the person who down voted you. (This is my reason for favoring a disconnect between DV and comments.)
Following some of the suggestions above can make this site more welcoming and pleasant for everybody.