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.

  • Interesting related article: Optimizing For Pearls, Not Sand
    – Ooker
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 9:55
  • I think the title is quite misleading. Yes, I want to have a comment explains the downvote, although I understand that it's not obligate, and downvoters are not likely to come back. And no, I don't think that the person who comments definitely 100% the person who downvotes. I'm always all ears. The title of this post should be: "Please don't assume the commenter who explains the downvote is the downvoter"
    – Ooker
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 10:05

1 Answer 1


To answer the question stated in the title: yes I really want a comment on the down votes I received on my questions. I received many downvotes on my question without a clue of how to improve the question (example 1 ; example 2 ; ...), and I believe this SE is one of the SEs where I receive the most downvotes. When I ask a question, I believe it is interesting and most of the time I won't know what to do if I get downvoted.

The main 2 reasons why I don't like receiving downvotes on my questions is that it decreases the odds of receiving an answer, the question might get automatically deleted by roomba, and that people are less likely to upvote a downvoted question.

If a comment lack civility/kindness, and discuss about individual people instead of ideas, not it should simply be deleted. But arguing without aggressiveness on ideas is fine.

Perhaps there could be a place where posters could ask to get feedback on their downvoted post (the chat?).

  • It is not a lack of civility or kindness that keeps people from explaining their down votes; it is usually the lack of the same on the part of the offended OP. As for why you get downvotes on your questions, you might find this very helpful. I personally would never refrain from answering a good but downvoted question, nor would I let someone else's downvote affect my vote. Commented Aug 29, 2015 at 19:46
  • @anongoodnurse Sure, my point was any comment that lacks civility/kindness, and discuss about individual people instead of ideas should be deleted. Commented Aug 29, 2015 at 19:55
  • Please flag such comments. That's what we're here for. Commented Aug 29, 2015 at 20:27
  • @anongoodnurse Thanks for the link to the meta question. Sadly it looks like the question contain two questions, which make the page quite confused to me. May I post another meta question just focused on "Is it OK to ask questions that don't show any research?" Commented Aug 29, 2015 at 21:20
  • Of course you can. You can post pretty much anything you want to discuss on meta. Even requests for removal of moderators! Commented Aug 29, 2015 at 22:32
  • @anongoodnurse done meta.health.stackexchange.com/q/411/43 Commented Aug 29, 2015 at 23:47

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .