I was in chat today, and the other guy says

"As I see it, users canupvote/downvote answers in the way they think appropriate to sort the answers to their opinion. In this case, I saw xyz's answer too down for its value, and more related to the question than yours."

Is this good practice? I don't think it is. I feel answers should be valued for their own merit, not what the other answers are like.

I take downvotes seriously, and for me they say it's a really bad answer.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk Had the quoted text been mine, and had I not given him my consent, it would not have been ok. Do we agree on this? :) \$\endgroup\$ – Telaclavo May 29 '12 at 12:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ Why do you take downvotes so seriously? It actually bothers me how much you read into a downvote. \$\endgroup\$ – W5VO May 29 '12 at 12:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Telaclavo, You can not be okay but that does not affect the validity of the question. Site mechanics can be expressed, by writing the question this way he is sharing an opinion he was told but questions the validity of. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 29 '12 at 13:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @W5VO - because I want to give good, useful answers. Not everybody seems to give them this interpretation, but for me a downvote means that it's really bad, possibly totally wrong. \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh May 29 '12 at 14:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh, all a downvote means, and this is defined, you can hover over it to see, is that it is not useful. You are attaching too great a value to it. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 29 '12 at 14:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm with Steven in that to me downvotes basically say "wrong". I have personally only downvoted when I thought the answer was wrong, misleading, gibberish, etc. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop May 29 '12 at 14:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ It seems like you and @OlinLathrop are purposely redefining what a downvote is so that you can be offended by every single one. You are interpreting something that means "I didn't like your answer" as "You are worthless, your answer is worthless, you don't know anything, how DARE you attempt to answer this question!". The both of you are extremely knowledgeable, each have over 30 years of experience, and are tremendous assets to our community. Yet if someone dares to downvote you, even if it is childish, you turn into children and demand a witchhunt. WTF. \$\endgroup\$ – W5VO May 29 '12 at 15:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @W5VO - I don't get downvotes often, but I got a few that meant "this is not a good answer", and when I got a couple of downvotes I deleted my answer. I can admit an error. I also have gotten downvotes however, where the downvoter fell over a silly missing word, something which could easily be fixed. Even if it only means "I didn't like your answer" it's ill will. I try to be constructive in my comments. I expect collaboration can get us better answers. Some downvotes are only negative. \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh May 30 '12 at 7:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @W5VO - Note that when you hover over a downvote button the hint says "This answer is not useful", which IMO is closer to "It's bad" than to "I didn't like your answer". \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh May 30 '12 at 7:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Agree with stevenvh. Especially when another answer only differens in some details. It makes me feel like spending too much time trying to help someone understand hers/his problem. \$\endgroup\$ – jippie Jun 3 '12 at 15:43

Not an answer, but I'd like to clarify because quote is from me :)

It was partially because I wanted to bring up Telaclavo's answer, but actually Steven's one was the first answer I've read, and I didn't consider it the answer that I would have given to that question.

The distinction I've made is between Fourier series and transform, which I consider to be different things, though related. The OP was asking about the transform, and the answer was about series; so I wanted to notify Steven that I disagree about the answer, knowing that he would understand and discuss the downvote.

So, no harm intended, but I still consider the downvote an instrument for these situations.


One factor for downvoting was, indeed, the presence of other good answers. But just because, if there was only Steven's and without votes, it would be too negative to put a -1 on it. So I did it also because I thought it to bee less drastic.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think the actual answers matter here. It's that Telaclavo's answer should bubble up by the upvotes it gets, not by negative action to other answers. If you see 4 answers to a question, 3 with an upvote, and your favorite answer with none. You can get your favorite to the top by upvoting it and downvoting the other three. Would you do that? The quote suggests you would. And I don't think that's correct. Upvote an answer for its own merit, downvote an answer for its own lack of quality. \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh May 30 '12 at 7:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh well, sorry Steven, I didn't want to create this discussion but honestly that quote is not something I thought that much before saying. It was in chat, we were discussing and I said that, but I really downvoted before reading Telaclavo's one. \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio May 30 '12 at 7:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's OK, no offense. Buona giornata! \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh May 30 '12 at 7:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh ciao! \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio May 30 '12 at 7:26

Yeah, sure. I don't follow this system, but it's just another drop in the bucket, and it doesn't directly oppose others' voting motivations.

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I think that in this case you misused the downvote, because you downvote my answer as not answering the question, while it was actually addressing the first version of it: will a big DC voltage be seen across a capacitor?

I've used it in a non-conventional way, I admit, but your justification was invalid to me.

Please note that I don't care about the downvote per se, but with its reason.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "This answer is not useful". I had a look again at your original answer, and you start with Thevenin, but don't finish it, you don't show results. I need someone else's calculations to compare against mine, so that I can see where I'm wrong. In that sense it's not useful to me. I can't do anything with it. \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh Jun 6 '12 at 10:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that this use of a downvote is different from what I'm referring to in my question. \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh Jun 6 '12 at 10:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Remember that I said the downvote was temporary, because I assumed you'd soon update to a complete answer, with the equations. \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh Jun 6 '12 at 10:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh: really I don't mind about the downvote, and you can also leave it there :) but it's the use that doesn't convince me. Especially after this meta post. \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio Jun 6 '12 at 11:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ You made me question my own answer, and when I looked into yours hoping to find what was wrong with mine I didn't find anything useful. That's all. \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh Jun 6 '12 at 11:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh: of course you didn't, the OP has completely changed the context. And note that I just pointed out some corrections, never implied that my answer was better. \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio Jun 6 '12 at 11:31

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