I have seen quite a bunch of questions where users downvote and dont bother to leave comment. Should there be a penalty in such case? A simple down-vote doesn't suggest anything for the OP to be improved as well.


  • This has been discussed a lot over on Meta.SO
    – mpdonadio Mod
    Oct 19, 2012 at 12:57
  • I removed the link to the question because it has been removed from the OP, and the link would be only visible to 10K users. If you find another example, feel free to add the link to the question.
    – apaderno Mod
    Oct 19, 2012 at 13:37

1 Answer 1


There have been a time when down-voting a question would cost to the down-voter a -1 reputation penalty, in the same way it happens with down-voting an answer.
It has been recently removed because users didn't down-vote bad questions. A similar penalty is not going to be added again.

If you are talking of penalties for who down-votes without leaving a comment, that is not going to be implemented, as voting is anonymous by design. It is so anonymous that not even moderators (who are trusted users) know who down-voted a question.

As per the down-vote not suggesting anything to the OP, that is only partially true: The tooltip for the down-vote button says, "This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful (click again to undo)." It doesn't specify what part is not clear, or why it is not useful, but that is something that can be also said from who didn't down-vote the question. That if who down-voted, down-voted a post that was an egregiously sloppy, no-effort-expended post, or an answer that was clearly and perhaps dangerously incorrect, which is how users should down-vote.

There are also cases where the users down-vote a question that is not egregiously sloppy, such as in the case of a user who asks the same question more than once, and the questions are continuously closed as duplicate. In such case, the user is down-voted to make her/him understand not to continue with that behavior. Fortunately, those cases are very limited, and in most of the cases, down-votes are reserved for very bad questions.

  • I suggest you change "voting is anonymous by design" to "voting on questions is anonymous by design" ... Feb 14, 2017 at 8:01
  • No, voting is anonymous by design. It doesn't matter if it is for questions or answers.
    – apaderno Mod
    Feb 14, 2017 at 8:56
  • IMO it depends what you call "by design" ... if the objective/goal is indeed like so, then there is a bug in the design regarding downvoted answers. And if it's not to be considered as a bug, then call it an undocumented (and handy) feature. Feb 14, 2017 at 9:07
  • By design => The system is designed so that nobody can know who voted on specific posts, if the voters don't expressly say they did.
    – apaderno Mod
    Feb 14, 2017 at 9:15
  • If that is the design, and (type of post = answer), then nobody does not apply to me anymore ... sorry. PS : challenge me to proof my claim ... Do you approve I post a comment below my most recent (anonymously) downvoted answer which includes the userid of the downvoter (so that you can go verify that comment by asking that user about it, without me knowing you did so)? Feb 14, 2017 at 9:41
  • Sorry, but you aren't special. No user on Stack Exchange can know who voted a post. If that would be true, you would be able to list the users who voted an answer of yours, or tell me how much votes you got from a specific user in all your posts. Guessing is not knowing. You just check the activity of a user, and try guessing who voted, but that is not knowing.
    – apaderno Mod
    Feb 14, 2017 at 9:49
  • 1 more addition: I'm talking about "downvotes" of "my" "answers". I'm not talking about upvotes, and also not about up or downvotes of question. Feb 14, 2017 at 9:55
  • It doesn't change anything. If you aren't able to tell me all the users who voted (down-votes or up-votes doesn't make any difference) an answer of yours, then you aren't able to know who voted any answer of yours.
    – apaderno Mod
    Feb 14, 2017 at 13:43

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