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I agree that this question has been asked before, but that was some time ago and things seem to be getting worse. The questions was
why-are-electronics-se-questions-getting-down-voted-so-often (from 2013)
There is also this one on a related problem more recently
biased-against-difficult-question (from Nov 2021)

A quick and dirty poll of the latest 50 questions shows about 34% have been down voted. Now I'm not saying that some of them didn't richly deserve it, but many seem to me to be perfectly reasonable questions asked in good faith. Surely if you are going to down vote a question you should at least give your reasons in the comments (for example "shows no research") so that the OP can learn and improve their post?

-- later --

In response to Andy aka's answer, a typical down voted question is
Can I charge my laptop with powerbank?
It currently (16:33 GMT 16/02/2022) has one down vote. But IMHO the OP has done some research, but is confused by what he found. In addition he lacks knowledge of how laptop charging works, as is shown by the answer he's been given. But this lack of knowledge is, surely, why he came to us in the first place and no reason for a down vote.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ because how this site is run has attracted and elevated the importance of the ignorant who respond to that which they don't know with a downvote (if they get to 125points) or close-vote (if they get to 3000 points). \$\endgroup\$
    – user16222
    Feb 12 at 13:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JonRB What a sad state of affairs 😢. There are so many niche areas in EE that I posit there is no one who could answer all the questions and probably most questions would not fall into the particular field(s) of EE expertise of any one individual. Maybe I should open a meta question, either here or on the main SE meta site asking "Should down votes be required to give a reason in the comments?" \$\endgroup\$ Feb 12 at 14:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ EXTREMELY and that is why I am soo disappointed due how this question was initially interacted (downvote and vote to close) electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/607932/… its INEXCUSABLE... Its one thing to make the site inviting and toxic free, but if you pander to certain behaviours and certain mindsets the entire site suffers. I class this site as a collection of rehashed voltage dividers questions no, its useless as it does not support good questions \$\endgroup\$
    – user16222
    Feb 12 at 14:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ w.r.t going to SE-meta about downvote ... don't bother, there is already a few such threads (and active) and the stance is "get over it". the fact is it is encouraging the ignorant to water the entire site down as they raise in permissions to spread their ignorance. You can't criticise the ignorant and they are not only anonymous but also that is uninviting and thus this will only become worse \$\endgroup\$
    – user16222
    Feb 12 at 15:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JonRB I see what you mean by that question you post a link to. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it. I couldn't answer it and even as a retired EE the answer is barely understandable. Nevertheless I can see that both the Q and A are valid and excellent and certainly neither warrant a down vote nor closure. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 12 at 16:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JonRB I started a question over on the main SE Meta, but, as you say, there are several very similar questions already asked, so I abandoned the idea. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 12 at 16:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ It wasn't me! Really! \$\endgroup\$ Feb 12 at 18:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ It would be interesting to know if this "34%" stat is different from what it was 5 or 10 years ago. But I think it is going to be difficult to tell because most heavily downvoted questions have long been deleted, and you would miss them in the stats. But I would hazard a guess that hasn't actually changed much. \$\endgroup\$
    – dim
    Feb 14 at 8:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @dim You may well be right, I've only been on this site less than 3 years, but I seem to remember that it wasn't that bad when I joined, but I'll concede my ancient memory may be mistaken. BTW, I did my poll by counting the number of questions with a down vote (17) in the 50 latest questions at the time of writing. Of course, this figure changes from minute to minute. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 14 at 14:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ I originally voted to close that question (needs details or clarity) @JonRB and, I followed that vote with my comment How does the waveform shown relate to any node on the diagram shown above it? to which the OP added @Andyaka Hello, so that diagram only shows the controller. I hadn't added the whole circuit diagram as it is fairly standard three phase rectifier but I will add it for clarity - so he added the details and I removed my close vote. I then tried to extract more info via comments and, by comments this was explained. I don't see what all the fuss is about. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Feb 15 at 16:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Regarding people not leaving a comment when they d/v or close, I think the main problem here is that the site can get so toxic with people who will argue against your choice for this action that it just isn't worth the bother. Many, many questions (in fact I would say the majority) show no demonstrable research effort has been made prior to posting..... \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Feb 15 at 17:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ .... A lot of these types of question are for Altium/software support but, the Altium users seem to be worse at this. IMHO they should ask on Altium forums before coming here AND then, if not receiving the support they need, they should explicitly hyper-link (within their new SE question) to the Altium forum where they raised their question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Feb 15 at 17:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Although I didn't downvote or vote to close this question, usually if a question is off-topic I will both vote to close and downvote. The reason being that the downvote seems to attract attention that there is a problem with the question. IMHO, off-topic questions should be closed sooner rather than later, and attracting attention to such a question is a good idea. Others may disagree. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 25 at 0:55

2 Answers 2

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Why are so many questions getting down voted?

The main reason for many downvoted questions is that the question shows lack of research. For instance, read this page: How do I ask a good question?.

I will make a quotation from that page: -

Have you thoroughly searched for an answer before asking your question? Sharing your research helps everyone. Tell us what you found and why it didn’t meet your needs. This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to try to help yourself, it saves us from reiterating obvious answers, and above all, it helps you get a more specific and relevant answer!

So, if you ask a question that shows no evidence of researching the problem then it can get down-voted quite within reason. In fact, if you hover over the d/v button it says this: -

This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful

And my interpretation of that is this: -

  • Your question may be downvoted if there is no clear evidence of any research
  • Your question may be downvoted if the question is unclear (irrespective of evidence of research)
  • Your question may be downvoted if the question is not useful

but many seem to me to be perfectly reasonable questions asked in good faith.

Please do link to one or two (or several).

Surely if you are going to down vote a question you should at least give your reasons in the comments (for example "shows no research") so that the OP can learn and improve their post?

OK that makes sense but, if you hover over the downvote button you get the answer: -

This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful

Or maybe you are expecting a deeper analysis of the lack of research to be posted in a comment? If you are then, if this site were not so toxic against someone giving more explicit details then I'd accept your viewpoint.

Just less than an hour ago I got this "dude" arguing with me over what I told him about his question and how it lacked research etc.. I'd like to post that commentary but I flagged it for mod intervention and it's been sent to a black hole. So, sometimes (and probably more often than not) it's just not worth the effort being helpful to someone.

so that the OP can learn and improve their post?

Well, on the many occasions that I leave explicit details of why a question is poor, I get into a word-fight or having to try and justify my downvote. It's just easier for me to give no details and let them figure it out themselves after-all, they can hover over the d/v button.

I don't notice many other folk leaving reasons for downvotes either so maybe they've had the same experience as me?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ OK, Andy, In response to one of your comments I've added an example to the end of my question that I think does not deserve a down vote. I respect your point of view particularly as you appear to have about 300 times the cred that I have! I agree that we don't want to get into arguments with members who object to our down votes, particularly if we are trying to help them write a better question. I noticed a question only yesterday where the OP was getting quite irate that we wouldn't do his homework for him. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 16 at 16:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PeterJennings At the moment it's got 4 close-votes on it so it is likely that is to be closed. I was one of the close-voters and my reason was that they are asking about a piece of consumer goods. Yes it's a laptop but it might as well be a hairdryer or hi-fi and, in those circumstances, although it may not be said anywhere on this site, my rule is that if there is technical enough support documentation for the product (i.e. schematics) then it stays open. So, with no tech support docs to hand, it got a close vote on the basis that it is a question about consumer goods (a valid reason). \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Feb 16 at 16:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ OK, the question is closed now. Regarding the downvote, it shows no sign of intelligent research about what DC voltage a laptop needs. The OP recognizes (in comments) that the charger for it produces 20 volts yet, they are asking if a 9 volt powerbank will do the job. So, at the risk of sounding rude, this question is from a new guy who enrolled today who probably thought this site was about fixing his gear rather than a site intended more to be about EE design. I made the d/v BTW. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Feb 16 at 17:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'll also add that there are no hyperlinks to any of the items mentioned making it harder to answer (should there have been the possibility of it staying open more than 1 hour). So, is that a case of not enough research about techy stuff that is widely available or is it also a case of not enough research about what this site is about. Personally, I think this site does not express what it needs from new users in terms of a good question as clearly as could be done. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Feb 16 at 17:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ A simple google search asking this question: what charge voltage does a laptop need would have revealed a wealth of information. So, should we be teaching new users how to google proper or should we be teaching them to ask a simpler question (like the above link) without them trying to be too clever and end up proposing a strange solution along the way that basically shows no research.. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Feb 16 at 17:15
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I will add that I sometimes downvote questions based on the "unclear" aspect of the downvote tooltip. ("It is unclear or not useful.")

I edit a lot of questions to fix basic readability (capitalization, grammar, spacing) issues. But sometimes questions are just so badly formatted and unclear that it's easier to just downvote and move on. I don't do this if I feel the formatting is strictly a cultural or language issue.

I don't have a problem tossing a negative vote on something that's basically garbage that someone couldn't be bothered to show that they put effort into writing a clear question for which they are essentially getting free answers.

If I revisit a question that's been cleaned up by the OP I'll retract a downvote. However it's quite rare for such edits to occur. Additionally, the system doesn't really provide any useful mechanism for voters to easily see responses to such downvotes.

To specifically address the question "Why are so many questions getting down voted?" — because so many questions being posted are unclear, lack research effort, or are not useful. Pretty much exactly what it says on the tin.

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