Sometimes, I go that extra mile to add my answer to research and format my response only to get -1 from the community.

I know that many of you guys do too.

It would be nice to get some critical feedback regarding why the answer doesn't attempt to answer the question.

Personally, I don't care so much about the point system to that obsessive degree but I like knowing what's wrong with what I wrote.

What do you think? Should we require users to provide feedback on the -1s?

  • It shouldn't be required but it is poor form to drop a -1 on somebody and not explain why. Often this practice, to me, indicates the downvoter is too lazy to articulate a valid reason why the content doesn't meet site standards. The downvote in itself does nothing to prevent future content from falling short of standards, and creates a very negative experience for the person whom received the downvote. In short: contextless downvotes are just as useless as poorly written or out of scope content. Mar 31, 2014 at 19:55

1 Answer 1


Should we require users to provide feedback on the -1s?

Deeeeefinitely not. Feedback is great, but not everyone is great at phrasing why they've voted (politely), or others may have already pointed out the problems (so more comments is just more pile on). I'll just quote this earlier answer of mine:

You're not required to leave a comment, nor will you ever be. On Meta Stack Overflow (the Meta for the network, basically) this issue has been retreaded time and time again. You're encouraged to explain what's wrong with a post, but not required, and all efforts to require comments on downvotes have been struck down.

If you're going to comment, and I generally suggest you do, focus on what's wrong with the post, not the fact you downvoted*. This focuses the author on what's wrong, not "hey some jerk downvoted me WTF". Generally I try and leave off the "-1" or "I downvoted this because..." when leaving a comment. Just explain what's wrong. This has the extra benefit of reducing the likelyhood that you'll get someone angry enough to revenge downvote (though some automated scripts are in place to limit the potential damage of revenge downvoting).

Whether you downvote or not, if you see something wrong, explain what it is. But what's more important than voting is the content, so think content first. At the same time, don't let that stop you from downvoting bad comment if you don't have time to explain it in a comment.

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