For the sake of helping to improve the answers it really helps to understand what someone is objecting to. Perhaps the answer can be amended to address the concerns.



  • 1
    I see this as overly broad: People vote for a myriad of reasons, and it'd be impossible to enforce any sort of down-vote-reason-matching. If people feel they wish to comment on their reasons, they will. Addendum: martialarts.stackexchange.com/privileges/vote-down
    – stslavik
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 19:51
  • What exactly prompted this question?
    – user15
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 20:44
  • As I see it (and hopefully you can confirm or clarify) you're asking what a vote, up or down, really means in the term of voting for questions and answers on this site. You're not asking the users to explain themselves every time they vote on a question. Is this about the size of it?
    – stslavik
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 22:31
  • If someone downvotes, usually there is a reason for it. If so, it only helps to share what that reason is. I care about providing good, detailed answers, and if I'm leaving something fundamental out, tell me. Commented Mar 31, 2012 at 23:05
  • This has also been brought up on Meta Stack Overflow.
    – user15
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 15:02
  • This is also now addressed as part of Asking Questions on MartialArts.StackOverflow.Com
    – stslavik
    Commented Apr 13, 2012 at 16:52

1 Answer 1


Are you asking this to have it included in the FAQ, or because you see a need for it (i.e. it is more of a feature request)? In case you're interested this very question has been asked many times before.

To answer your specific statement: in general answers should be amended to either add more information or to correct small issues - you shouldn't be changing an answer simply because you don't agree with it.

Further to that, you have to decide why you don't agree with it:

  • is it simply the writing or answering style?
  • is it factually incorrect?
  • does it answer the question that was asked or is it tangential or right off topic?
  • do you disagree with an opinion stated in the answer?

If it is simply the writing style that you don't like, then leave it alone, you don't have to cast any sort of vote for it (in fact the absense of a vote is a penalty in itself because only answers with merit should be upvoted).

If the answer contains factual inaccuracies, are they easily fixed? If so then fix them. If not then think about leaving a comment. There have been a few times in the past where I have downvoted and then left a comment stating that if xyz gets fixed I will reverse the downvote. However a comment for downvotes is not necessary and never has been on the SE network.

If you simply don't agree with an opinion stated in the answer then it is your right to up or down vote accordingly. Try not to leave a comment about it, the SE sites are question and answer sites not discussion forums. If someone includes opinion in their answer then it should be clearly discernable as opinion rather then fact, and they should be aware that they may collect up or down votes based on the opinion stated.

  • My biggest problem is when people downvote without providing any insight as to why they downvoted. If my answer is wrong, tell me. Perhaps there are things I left out in the interest of brevity, but they need to be put in. Just have the balls to say what you disagree with. The only thing that can happen is the answer gets better or left alone. Commented Mar 31, 2012 at 23:03
  • @Berin - I've tendered a little over 900 answers on StackOverflow, so I know what it is like when you get your first down votes - especially if you don't have a lot of rep at the time. After a while you don't care about it, you realise that sometimes you'll get them, it's just the way some people roll. You should also keep in mind that voting on meta sites is a little different - a down vote (usually) means I disagree rather than your question/answer sucks.
    – slugster Mod
    Commented Apr 1, 2012 at 8:26
  • Rep is the least of my concerns. It's about giving the best answer possible. Commented Apr 1, 2012 at 12:17
  • 2
    Really, people should usually not downvote simply for disagreeing, they should be providing their own answers in those cases. Commented Apr 1, 2012 at 14:26
  • @DavidH.Clements I think I disagree? There is substantial variance of opinion on the matter: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2451/… If I disagree but don't have sufficient knowledge to answer myself, I downvote. If I leave my own answer but still think an answer is misleading, dangerous, or just plain incorrect, I'll downvote. Perhaps I should back off on this policy during the early Beta period, but it's a valid approach to improving the truth-value of the Internet. Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 16:35

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