I just added an "answer" to my own question clearly indicating in line 1 that it was in fact an extended comment and that it required formatting.

It was immediately downvoted but there was no explanation of why. As I indicated, I am always looking to improve the quality of my questions and answers and find downvotes without justification to be quite maddening.

A downvote without justification does not seem to fulfil any purpose other than expression of an opinion, somewhat contrary - in my view - to the spirit of the place, given that opinion-based questions are generally unacceptable.

Given the stature of the giants about the place, who seem careful how they tread (for which, many thanks), it can be a little intimidating to post anything more than semi-trivial questions and now I find it is also somewhat galling and off-putting to be given a metaphorical finger by someone possibly no better informed than I am.

What is the rationale for accepting downvotes that are not justified by the down-voter?


@JasonB kindly gave some insight into why someone else might have downvoted

Basically on stack exchange answers are only for something that provides an answer to the question. It isn't uncommon for new users to post "Thanks" as an answer, or reply to comments in an answer, and those always get deleted. So this answer will most certainly be deleted. It is not uncommon to edit the original question with details to clarify points from the comments, so that's probably what you should do

After thanking him, I noted that there are plenty of "extended comments" on the site; these were the evidentiary basis for my extended commenting. In light of that how could I possibly have known that "extended comments" by the OP should be handled differently? A downvote without a rationale is not evidence of anything except a down note.

  • 7
    I don't believe this is something that we (the community) can do anything about, since we don't program the site to add that kind of feature. But I do agree, I think particularly since your question was quite reasonable in terms of detail and well-thought-out (and not a homework question etc) that a little more latitude could have been given and a comment added instead of a downvote. But that's the thing about a community, everyone's got a slightly different ruleset :) Either way, try not to take it too personally - at least it wasn't a detailed answer you spent 50 hours on 😅
    – Carl Lange
    Commented May 10, 2021 at 12:18
  • @CarlLange Hmmm. Is there a meta-meta venue for discussing SE functionality? Requiring justification could be supported with a community choice to enable/disable as each sees fit. That said, it's hardly a hanging offence, and I didn't take it personally - it's just like (and I mean to invoke the reference literally) having to walk beneath the Yahoo trees sometimes :D Commented May 10, 2021 at 13:06
  • Unfortunately I don't know the details of how or if you can feed that kind of request back into SE. For the Mathematica Stack Exchange, we had to wait four or five months to get our logo changed. I wouldn't hold my breath :)
    – Carl Lange
    Commented May 10, 2021 at 13:08
  • @CarlLange Ah, OK:) However, maybe I will take it personally: I very rarely get downvotes and just noticed that there were 3 downvotes on 3 different questions in the space of 5 minutes yesterday (10:29 - 10:34), none of which had an associated comment. If it happens again I will ask someone to look into it (not this time, not worth it... only if I have accidentally triggered a vendetta!) Is it personal... or perhaps a mischief bot?? Commented May 10, 2021 at 15:20
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    3 downvotes on 3 different questions asked on different dates is a highly suggestive red flag for serial downvoting, which is against the rules. Though I am not qualified enough to have an opinion on moderation affairs. And just speculating baselessly, I think this might have something to do with your name. Some people feel uncomfortable around a celebrity ;)
    – polfosol
    Commented May 16, 2021 at 19:43
  • 1
    @polfosol I didn't know Julianne Moore was hanging around here 😉 (I didn't know that about the rules... thx for the info) Commented May 16, 2021 at 20:00
  • 3
    I don't know about others, but I have a policy to never downvote (except on meta, where downvotes have a different meaning of simple disagreement with some opinion) - I have never cast a single down vote neither here nor on SO during our time there. For our community, at least, I feel that downvotes make very little sense - although I can imagine them being somewhat useful for much larger communities like that of SO, to push down the outright incorrect, dangerous or otherwise bad answers. OTOH, downvotes certainly upset at least some answerers (including myself, when I occasionally get one). Commented May 21, 2021 at 18:28


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