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I wrote this question yesterday, and it got a downvote.

I'm not unhappy about it, but I feel that I don't understand why.

Is my question not relevant for this site? I have almost no formal education in physics. I have a number of questions that are probably very basic and ignorant. I want to know if I should continue posting them on this site.

Or is it just that someone happened not to like it?

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    $\begingroup$ It's exactly one downvote... With so many votes being cast, you could push it off as a misfire. Making claims based on this kind of data isn't very reasonable. $\endgroup$ – user191954 Mar 15 at 14:49
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    $\begingroup$ I wont argue if it is a bad question or not, but one thing you have to understand is that the people in this community have a wide range of backgrounds and personalities. Even if you follow every guideline on how to post a question, you are not exempt that any one of those people will find a reason (any reason, good or bad) to downvote your question. Moreover, on some occasions there's not even a consensus on if a given question is 'breaking any rules'. My advice, don't take it personal. @Chair, I think it is reasonable for any user to wonder why a question has been downvoted. $\endgroup$ – corcholatacolormarengo Mar 15 at 15:04
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    $\begingroup$ @Chair I'm not making a claim, I'm asking a question. I honestly am not sure at the present time if I know for this site what is an appropriate question or not. $\endgroup$ – user151841 Mar 15 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ @user151841 Try going through the on-topic and how-to-ask pages. While your question looks on-topic to me, it could do with a bit of research effort. Stay around for a while, and you'll develop an understanding about which type of questions are appropriate and which are not. $\endgroup$ – S.D. Mar 15 at 15:59
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    $\begingroup$ Based on my opinion regarding the answer, it's off-topic as engineering-like. $\endgroup$ – user191954 Mar 15 at 16:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Chair I'm looking over the on-topic and how-to-ask pages, and I don't see engineering-like mentioned as a criteria of irrelevant questions. $\endgroup$ – user151841 Mar 15 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ physics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/4535 $\endgroup$ – user191954 Mar 15 at 16:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Chair On a side note. Do you think is necessary to link this meta topic on the original question? I mean, it does not provide any valuable information for any other person looking for information about screwdrivers and magnetic fields. Nor it is a closed question asking to be opened or something. I would push for comments on the main site to be as clean as possible. $\endgroup$ – corcholatacolormarengo Mar 15 at 16:11
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    $\begingroup$ @lavirtuosacorcholatavoladora It's almost always done. The idea is that people who land on that question (without going there through this meta post) can notice that the topicality of the question is/was being debated, and they will accordingly vote to close or leave the question open. $\endgroup$ – user191954 Mar 15 at 16:13
  • $\begingroup$ @user151841 Indeed, engineering doesn't seem to be there in the help center. I've just asked a separate meta question to figure out if that was intentional, because I don't think it is. $\endgroup$ – user191954 Mar 15 at 16:20
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Some people downvote questions that look simple or obvious to them, on the grounds that the OP did insufficient prior research, which is a valid downvote reason on all Stack Exchange sites. However, what's obvious to someone with some training in the relevant field may not be obvious to one without that training.

So someone may have decided your question was too trivial or obvious, and downvoted it without thinking too deeply about the thought processes that led you to ask the question. That's unfortunate, but there's not a lot we can do to prevent that.

Anyone who's played with magnets, or looked at a magnetic compass, knows that magnets and magnetic fields can twist things around. So to my mind, your question is not unreasonable or silly. But how on earth would you do research for that question? It wouldn't be easy, unless you were already rather knowledgeable about magnets. And even then, trying to find a decent answer on the internet that's understandable by a lay person may not be easy.

So I think your question is fine.

If you get 1 isolated downvote, it's generally not worth worrying about. If you get a few, and comments giving you constructive criticism regarding your question (or answer), then you probably should consider that you're in the wrong. ;)

(Note that the people giving downvotes are not necessarily the same people who give negative comments. In fact, there is a tendency to not comment when giving downvotes, to preserve anonymity, and to ward off revenge downvotes).

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    $\begingroup$ Your next-to-last paragraph is good advice. $\endgroup$ – rob Mar 15 at 16:10
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    $\begingroup$ chair & @user151841 Comments relating to the answer of the original question probably belong on that question. Comments here should be in relation to the meta aspects. $\endgroup$ – PM 2Ring Mar 15 at 16:34
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, sorry. I've removed those. If user151841 wants to continue that discussion, I can be pinged on the main question because i have a comment there. $\endgroup$ – user191954 Mar 15 at 16:36

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