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Here is a question which I asked earlier today, had got a reasonably good answer and was waiting until at least 24 hours as I usually do, to give time for any other comments/feedback, when I suddenly see a series of 2 down-votes, within a short span of time. No comment left behind. Clearly, the downvote wouldn't serve the purpose i.e. neither does it improve the question, nor the asker's way of position questions for future.

It makes me think of only 2 possible reasons for such downvotes:

  1. Down voter had an incentive to downvote.
  2. Down voter dislikes me ! Yes, I've met many children in grown-up bodies.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ There's a vote to close the question for being off-topic (probably because it's about repairing something that broke, which some don't consider to fall under the category of "design"). Downvotes could be for the same reason. \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Feb 5 '13 at 15:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, I personally think that all these people jumping on meta and whining after a few mysterious downvotes is childish, too. Think for a bit about why someone might have downvoted your post. If you can't think of any explanation, leave a comment asking why. If no one answers, forget about it; it's not a big deal. \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Feb 5 '13 at 15:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ The question doesn't say that something is broken and how do I fix it. The question asks specific pointed questions about what might happen if coil turns are reduced or length shortened, which do fall in the antenna design domain - do they not ? I guess, taking forum guidelines literally is not an uncommon problem. Also, about the word "children", why is it being detached from the context of the possibility that the downvote might have been associated with personal dislike. It is not a slur, and not for any reason of downvoting. \$\endgroup\$
    – bdutta74
    Feb 5 '13 at 18:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ By the way, isn't meta about discussing the workings, policies and evolution of ESE ? Can't see how it is fair to just assume that one didn't think as to why someone's question was downvoted ? Anyhow, this discussion isn't heading in a constructive direction, and it is probably a limitation of the medium, so let me just stop here. \$\endgroup\$
    – bdutta74
    Feb 5 '13 at 18:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think it's a fine question for the site; I didn't downvote it. But I know other people interpret the inclusion policies more restrictively, so that might be where they are coming from. \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Feb 5 '13 at 20:55
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I didn't downvote that question, and I don't see a obvious reason to downvote it. You left some junk "NB>" characters in there, but that relatively small editing oversight doesn't rise to the level of deserving a downvote in my opinion. I upvoted it to compensate for one of the downvotes.

To answer your question, there is no real incentive to downvote other than the desire to keep the site clean. We get a lot of sloppily worded questions with baby talk instead of real English words, and I downvote those regularly, for example. You don't gain or loose any rep by voting on questions. I guess there is a very weak incentive in that votes on questions count towards your total votes cast, and I think there is a badge or two when you get to certain levels. However, badges don't mean much here and I doubt anyone is going around randomly voting to gain a badge.

Sometimes downvotes happen for mysterious reasons. I still think this site would be better off if all votes were public, but those that run this site disagree. I don't have a problem with someone politely asking why they were downvoted, and I have done that myself (usually don't get any answer), but calling the downvoters children without knowing their reasons is just as wrong. That in itself can be deserving of a downvote in my opinion.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you, @Olin for the answer. The "NB>" should have been "NB:", which is a not-so-uncommon shorthand for "Nota Bene" (latin for "Please Note"). As for calling downvoters children, kindly see it in the context of the statement, i.e. they are probably downvoting because they dislike OP (me). Isn't that a rather childish thing to do ? It is not calling any down voter "child". Anyhow, I've to admit, that the "children" bit was a bit of a honeypot! Perhaps, I'm reading too much conspiracy in this. \$\endgroup\$
    – bdutta74
    Feb 4 '13 at 15:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @icarus: Short abbreviations like that are a bad idea and can be annoying, resulting in downvotes. Don't use abbreviations unless you are really sure they are universal and pertaining to the subject matter of the forum. For example, "IC" for integrated circuit is fine here. Using obscure abbreviations is kind of arrogant (You're just supposed to know what I mean, and I'm to important to take the extra 150 ms to spell it out). We recently had someone use a obscure word that didn't make sense, so we just ignored, downvoted, and voted to close. It's not worth the trouble to chase down meanings. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 4 '13 at 19:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @icarus74 I have never seen "NB:" used in a large amount of time on the internet. I would classify that as a relatively rare saying, but it might be specific to certain communities \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Feb 4 '13 at 21:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop I seriously doubt people were downvoting for the abbreviation NB, I think you may be a bit over dramatic there. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Feb 4 '13 at 21:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Olin and Kortuk, thanks for taking time to comment/answer. I am glad that there is a learning here. Will be more careful around abbreviations in future. Indeed, the more I researched on the internet, I found that "NB" or "Nota Bene" wasn't as common as I'd thought. However, as Kortuk says, I really doubt the "close as Off-Topic" and downvotes had anything to do with "NB>" :-). But, I can live with it! \$\endgroup\$
    – bdutta74
    Feb 5 '13 at 3:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk: As I said, I don't think "NB>" rises to the level of deserving a downvote, and I don't think that's the reason. But, I also think using abbreviations like that are a bad idea. People need to stop and think about the context of the audience. Also in this case, saying "please note" is rather pointless. Just say it, and it will be noted. Again, stop and think about what you are really writing. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 5 '13 at 15:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for explaining what NB means! Hmm... I've seen it used a lot, but never knew what it stood for. Lol, I've thought it was Swedish or something for "look out" :D \$\endgroup\$
    – PkP
    Nov 21 '14 at 19:30

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