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I understand that it is every user's prerogative to use down-votes with or without leaving a comment. Sometimes comments are left in vain, or even cause the OP's outrage. Yet, every once in a while a poster of a down-voted post responds to comments and significantly improves their question/answer. As I understand, the system then allows the down-voters to retract or reverse their down-vote.

My questions are:

  • How often are down-votes for edited questions reversed?
  • Do people who down-vote (and optionally leave a comment) ever go back to check if their feedback was acted upon?

Since I assume the answer to the second question is probably no - should we encourage users who edit their down-voted post to ping those who left a comment, or would this cause too much noise in comments?

If the question/answer is edited and improved, and still has many down-votes, this is a serious problem because users who are willing to improve are being discouraged to do so.

If there are any other solutions or views other than those I've listed in the questions above, please add them to your answer.

  • I do check back, though very rarely do people edit their answers - in which case I undownvote if things were addressed. In the reverse situation, I have applied feedback from people explaining their downvotes, pinged them, but not once had a downvote reversed... – YviDe Mar 2 '16 at 12:53
  • @YviDe I think that proves that you are one of the rare people who check back their downvotes :-(. That is the second idea behind this question, aside form finding a solution for those who do edit their questions, to bring community's attention to this. – Lucky Mar 2 '16 at 13:15
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Perhaps one of the mods more familiar with the database query capabilities SE offers can answer your questions definitively, but in the meantime I can only tell you what I do.

I usually provide a comment when I downvote (not always but usually). Quite often that buys me nothing more than insults and an irate diatribe from the OP, but on occasion I get a more rational response and sometimes even a modification of their post in response to my gripe. When they resolve my complaints with the post, I do indeed reverse my downvote. I've done so many times.

So yes, some people do go back and see if their feedback was acknowledged. Unfortunately, I know from my experience on the receiving end that most people don't.

I think the SE voting model works out well in the long run, especially when there are large numbers of readers of the site, but it's kind of like evolution. It works in the long run for a species but for individuals the results can be largely random.

  • I have also been trying to either leave a comment or upvote an existing one if there already is one... I'd estimate that in over 80 percent of the cases, nothing happens. Second most common: angry replies. It's rather frustrating... – YviDe Mar 13 '16 at 23:06
  • @YviDe On the other side, receiving a downvote without a comment is not that useful as well. And it may cause the question to be automatically deleted after a while, without any warning, which is really not nice. It already happened a few times to meet on this Stack Exchange website – Franck Dernoncourt Mar 14 '16 at 15:13
  • @FranckDernoncourt getting argued with isn't that great either, though. As I said, I have been trying to always leave one now, but it's getting quite exhausting. – YviDe Mar 14 '16 at 16:00
  • I like your comparison to evolution. I too try to leave a comment, but interestingly throughout SE, the users who like to argue the most and even become unpleasant are high-rep ones. This might be just my observation, but it seems that when people reach a certain amount of rep points sometimes they start to believe that they should not be subject to criticism... About 80-90% of new users respond well to comments, or at least if they don't change their answer they remain polite when defending their stance. I usually comment before I downvote and if nothing happens I add the vote as well. – Lucky Mar 15 '16 at 1:52

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