The reason being, it is difficult to know whether the downvote was for the content or just an opinionated downvote. For e.g. this particular question - Which switch goes to which bulb? was downvoted & the same number of downvotes were received by the answer (the OP himself answered the question).

I know that such questions are a bit controversial (or maybe I am wrong), but simply downvoting doesn't solve the issue! We need to debate/discuss, while we are in Beta, where the rules aren't very concrete! So please comment!

PS - Am not saying that we comment all the time. Some times, it will be obvious (spam, etc.)

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Great suggestion - especially useful at this early stage. $\endgroup$
    – Jaydles
    May 15 '14 at 14:44

As always, I think the right answer (as conveyed by the engine when you down vote) is this:

Commenting on down votes isn't required, but it's strongly encouraged.

  • No one should feel like they can't down vote anonymously, BUT
  • Downvotes without comments aren't terribly constructive - they help move the "problem" away from the other kids, but fail to teach the kid how they can behave better and contribute.

This adds little to the other answers (which I've up voted), but it's on the shortish list of things where we've agreed on a fairly official best practice.

  • $\begingroup$ Cf. meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/a/146 $\endgroup$
    – msh210
    May 19 '14 at 8:25
  • $\begingroup$ @msh210, yep - that's actually pretty compatible with what I'm saying: Unwillingness to comment doesn't mean you can't downvote, but it's better to offer a constructive comment when you can. And the commenting is, in my opinion, a lot more important in early-stage sites, where it's crucial to figure out if we're all applying different rules without realizing it... $\endgroup$
    – Jaydles
    May 19 '14 at 14:29

It is always appropriate to comment about the reason for a downvote, not just when the site is in beta. How is the user supposed to fix issues with their question if they don't know what the issues are?


Yes, to assist in site development we should post a comment on why we think a question/answer is not appropriate.


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