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I am not going to link the specific answer that prompted me to write this post because I want to make a general point.

I am aware of the policy of not forcing users to comment when they downvote, as best explained this answer. And I agree with it, mainly for the privacy concern, in order to avoid revenge-voting and animosity.

As far as I am concerned, I just want to learn physics.
I do not claim to be an expert in any particular field, and I use StackExchange questions as an excuse to learn about new topics in order to later provide answers.
I am interested in growing from my mistakes, to deepen and strengthen my knowledge on some (if not all) of the fields of physics touched by questions on this site.
If someone has downvoted an answer(s) of mine, there might be a flaw in my understanding and I would greatly appreciate to know what that might be, so that I can do my best to correct it. I don't mean just correcting the answer, but also my understanding of that particular topic.

Question: is there a way for moderators to act as intermediaries between users who provide an answer, and users who have downvoted said answer? Or alternatively, a chat room where the downvoter remains anonymous?
In short, is there a way for the downvoted user (e.g. me) to receive (anonymous) feedback regarding the reason for the downvote?

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  • $\begingroup$ Related questions/duplicates on mother meta: meta.stackexchange.com/q/6521/263383, meta.stackexchange.com/q/135/263383 and their linked questions $\endgroup$ – ACuriousMind Sep 14 at 22:58
  • $\begingroup$ is there a way for moderators to act as intermediaries between users who provide an answer, and users who have downvoted said answer? In what way? $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Sep 15 at 0:19
  • $\begingroup$ I can “flag” the answer in question and explain the issue to a moderator. Can the moderators actually see the identities of the downvoters? If not, then I guess an anonymous chat feature. $\endgroup$ – SuperCiocia Sep 15 at 0:23
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    $\begingroup$ Diamond moderators can not tell which users have voted for which posts. $\endgroup$ – rob Sep 15 at 0:28
  • $\begingroup$ But how would the mods know why the downvote was given? Also, please tag the user in your comment if you want them to see your comment $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Sep 15 at 0:30
  • $\begingroup$ @AaronStevens : I was under the wrong impression that moderators were omnipotent is this community. That is, that they could see the identity of the downvoters. Then they could contact them without involving the complaining user (e.g. me) so as for the identity to remain anonymous. $\endgroup$ – SuperCiocia Sep 15 at 0:34
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    $\begingroup$ I often wish the fact that we can't see individual votes were more easily discoverable. $\endgroup$ – David Z Sep 15 at 9:30
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    $\begingroup$ As well as Rob's suggestions of asking in chat or here in meta, you can post a non-targetted comment on the answer, eg "Can someone tell me why this is getting downvotes?". That's more likely to get a response than asking the downvoter to explain themself. If I see a faulty answer that already has a downvote I may not bother downvoting it myself, but I'm happy to offer constructive criticism. (Personally, my general policy is to comment first, and only downvote if I don't get an adequate response in a reasonable timeframe). $\endgroup$ – PM 2Ring Sep 15 at 13:07
  • $\begingroup$ @PM2Ring So do you save the question/answer somehow to come back and check later if you should down vote? $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Sep 16 at 20:59
  • $\begingroup$ @AaronStevens I go to my profile page & look at my recent comments via the All Actions tab. $\endgroup$ – PM 2Ring Sep 16 at 21:06
  • $\begingroup$ @PM2Ring Ah ok, interesting. I usually just bookmark questions in my browser that have something I want to come back to (interesting question, bad question/answers, discussion, etc.). When I have free time I go through this bookmark folder, and I am usually able to remember why I saved it once I get to it. Just wanted to know what your "strategy" was. :) $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Sep 16 at 21:10
  • $\begingroup$ @AaronStevens If I don't need to leave a comment because someone else has already left an appropriate one, then I Favorite the question. But I'm a little less diligent about checking those. ;) $\endgroup$ – PM 2Ring Sep 16 at 21:17
  • $\begingroup$ @PM2Ring Yeah I used to favorite questions, but then I started thinking that favorite usually means good, and certainly some of the questions I was "favoriting" were not good at all. So I just went with the bookmark route. $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Sep 16 at 21:24
  • $\begingroup$ I feel like this might end up happening if we required users to give reasons for downvotes :) $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Sep 18 at 14:08
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Is there a way for moderators to act as intermediaries between users who provide an answer, and users who have downvoted said answer?

As a moderator, that's not a job that I want. Users who can't communicate in a civil manner with each other on our site can spend their time elsewhere. This is a great community, but it's not the only place to talk to people on the internet. And users who don't want to participate in a given conversation here don't have to.

In short, is there a way for the downvoted user (e.g. me) to receive (anonymous) feedback regarding the reason for the downvote?

If you want to reach out specifically to an anonymous downvoter, then no, there is no way to do this.

If what you want is feedback on your post, the right thing to do is to politely ask for people's opinions in chat or on meta. You may or may not get feedback from people who have already voted, but you'll definitely get feedback. In general I would expect you'd get better feedback from one of those discussion fora than by trading messages with someone who's not thrilled about offering it to you.

Also remember that a single downvote means basically nothing. It may mean that you've made a low-quality post that would benefit from feedback, but it may also mean that someone was having a bad day for reasons that have nothing to do with you. Or it may have been an accidental misclick. (A while back, I had a post that I was proud of which got a pile of upvotes and a downvote that didn't make sense to me. A few days later it received a trivial edit whose edit description was, "how did I downvote this? I had to edit to change to upvote." I thought this was nuts, and then promptly discovered that I had accidentally downvoted someone else.) It's more productive to contribute a lot and look for patterns in your feedback than it is to try and address every bit of negativity individually.

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