Ok, so today I got one of my answers rated negative because something was wrong on it.

Perhaps, before immediately rating negative a post, a comment should be posted to edit it. (Like a suggestion.)

What is the criterion to downvote? If I saw something wrong, I'd post to correct, improve or give a suggestion to the answer before downvoting.

  • I wouldn't take one down vote to heart. I would look over my answer to see if there is anything obvious that I could fix or clarify, but if I'm happy with it, I assume it's an outlier. If you're getting more than one DV and no offsetting UVs, and you're completely mystified as to why, you could ask on meta for advice. Sometimes more visibility helps get better feedback.
    – ColleenV
    Dec 7, 2015 at 18:07
  • Just so you know, some downvoters will reverse their downvotes after an answer is edited and improved. It doesn't always happen, but it might.
    – J.R. Mod
    Dec 8, 2015 at 9:35
  • 2
    In addition to what @J.R said, votes can't be changed (after a short grace period as passed) unless the answer is edited. If you clarify something about your answer in the comments, it's a good idea to work it into your answer both to give folks an opportunity to revote and to push the question back up the active list so that folks are more likely see your improved answer.
    – ColleenV
    Dec 8, 2015 at 17:13

2 Answers 2


There are no obligations that someone that downvoted also provide a comment of why they did so. Comments are preferred, but not obligatory, for obvious reasons: If you were pestered into commenting when you didn't like to, you either would've commented something useless or not constructive or you would've downvoted less. Downvotes play a major role in moderation of the community, and discouraging them is blatantly wrong.

Unjustified voting will be dealt with. Additionally, making downvotes obligatory has been discussed to death in meta.SE: Encouraging people to explain downvotes (This one got implemented, while there are numerous other ones that were not such a good idea: 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on)

So downvoters are not by any means mandated to explain the reason for their downvote. However, they're being kind if they comment and explain the potential reason for the downvote.

Final notes:

  • Downvotes on meta posts primarily indicate disagreement and are not necessarily given based on the quality of the post.
  • Many people get drive-by downvotes every now and then. I don't care about them. However, if the downvotes started piling up, then you should double-check what you've written in your answer.

If I see something wrong (that is a substantial part of the answer and not just a typo), I'll both downvote it and leave a comment.

I don't just leave a comment because I have no way of knowing if the author will edit it or not, or how soon. Voting down changes the rating of the post immediately, so that people who are looking at the question and answer can see that there is a problem with the answer as it is currently. After the post is edited, the people who voted it down can easily reverse their votes. (And even if not all of them remember to do this, once the post is improved it should attract more upvotes that will negate the effect of earlier downvotes.)

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