Downvoting has attracted a lot of different opinions over the past few months. There are cases where people just downvote without giving any reason. It has become a fun activity for them. Without any reason, downvote cannot be justified. It's true that some answers deserve downvote but there are ones that don't.

To overcome this problem, I would like to propose a solution - whenever a user wants to downvote

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they are greeted with a dialog box that asks for a reason as to why they want to downvote. Instead of making this optional, we can enforce this with no exceptions.

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There are different views on this - some people say we should not force users to give reason for downvoting like this answer suggests but what I think is that giving no reason and still downvoting is not at all beneficial to community in any way. By giving a reason, that particular post can be improved.

Now there are generally multiple comments on a post so how to know which user downvoted and what is the reason for that? Well we could add a downvote icon to the comment that was given while downvoting. This way, users can know which is a normal comment and which is a downvoted one. It could look like this:

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Notice the downvote icon on the left of the comment. This icon will only be present on comments that were posted while downvoting. We can add anonymity to the comment if we decide downvoter's name should not be disclosed but I think we should disclose it, this way we'll know which user is most active in trying to improve posts by giving justified reasons.

I think the time has come to look into this matter, your valuable suggestions are most welcome.

  • 1
    Related: Encouraging people to explain downvotes & Must comment while downvoting
    – Pandya Mod
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 12:35
  • 2
    I am very much for this rule to be implemented..but probably it won't happen..If done downvoting serves a more constructive purpose and also it can prevent things like target voting etc..
    – Rickross
    Commented Mar 18, 2017 at 5:27
  • 2
    Possible duplicate of Downvoting decent posts without comments and Comment after you downvote and stop commenting +1 after you upvote. I think the idea is good, but SE may have to adapt such thing in all the sites. Initially, every user is asked to explain their downvote. With reputation, it goes away.
    – iammilind
    Commented Mar 18, 2017 at 6:39
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    Users should not be forced to explain themselves when downvoting. The onus is on the writer to provide a high-quality answer not on the reader. The current systems already reminds the user to add a comment , if they like, when downvoting. This is more than sufficient.
    – user1195
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 12:58
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    @moonstar2001 If forcing users to comment helps community in a positive way, then why not? Guru or God can guide someone to highest truth but that jiva must walk on that path. If writer doesn't provide a high quality answer, we must contribute by explaining what is wrong and what is not.
    – Pinakin
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 15:40
  • @ChinmaySarupria The point is users must NOT be forced to comment.
    – user1195
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 6:34
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    @moonstar2001 But why not? If the rule is enforced ..the genuine downvoters will still dowvote..Its only those who do it for fun or for other reasons won't..And the onus is not only on the ones who answer, the onus is on everyone ..even on those who are downvoting..because if one intentionally dowvotes a good answer, then that's hampering the site quality and also giving wrong signals..The answerers are already doing their bit of hard work for the community..so its not wrong to expect that downvoters should explain their reasons too..Its theirs bit of hard work..
    – Rickross
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 6:47
  • @Rickross Too many rules and too much enforcement do not a good/vibrant community make. It will lead to too much censorship etc etc and things will only get worse. The average user's focus must not be "building the community" but rather to pose questions and provide answers if they wish to.
    – user1195
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 6:48
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    @moonstar2001 too many rules can hamper site's progress--True..but it depends on what rules we are talking about..I don't think enforcing this rule will hamper site's progress in any ways..
    – Rickross
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 6:52
  • @Rickross I don't think this is a good rule to enforce. The place that the platform must operate from is that of expectation of reasonable engagement. That's all. Lowering the denominators and enforcing rules from thereon is the hallmark of a poor community. Let's just agree to disagree :-)
    – user1195
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 7:18
  • 2
    This feature is requested constantly. There are good reasons to support it and good reasons to oppose it. One killer is that it's unenforceable though. If we put in a textbox for downvote reason, what prevents a downvoter from just typing in "asiejf;oisajfe;saiejfs" instead of the real downvote reason? For more, see any of the dozens if not hundreds of proposals of this idea on Meta SE and other site-specific metas.
    – Pops
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 18:46
  • @Pops If user types in "asiejf;", the community can know who that user is, this is the benefit of not marking the downvoted comment as anonymous.
    – Pinakin
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 14:17

1 Answer 1


Yes, I agree.

As a victim of downvoting of my questions as well as answers, I think a system should be evolved for checking unwarranted down voting due to hatredness emanated out of ignorance of methods of other sects/narrow-mindedness, etc.

The following are my suggestions.

  1. When a member tries to down vote, the system should not allow unless the member records his/her reasons for doing so.

  2. This will allow the recipient of down voting to understand what the error he/she committed in posting a question/answer.

  3. Simple comment like "I don't like" or "It hurts my sentiment", etc, should not be allowed, but the reason should be constructive enough to improve the quality of the post

  4. As a result of reading of those comments, if the down voting is due to hatredness emanated out of ignorance of methods of other sects/narrow-mindedness, etc, the down voting should be reversed and that member should be warned by the moderators.

  • Members may observe that even this post has been down voted. :-) Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 5:27
  • 2
    It means what's proposed in the answer here is not useful. See What's Meta Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 11:07

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