Let me first begin by saying my overall user experience on the Physics Stack Exchange site has been wonderful. According to this it is okay to downvote poorly written questions.

Now in the past I've had an interesting experience where this was cross-posted to the Physics Stack Exchange site and severely downvoted and closed. Then there was also this which is crossposted here again I'm having the similar downvoting experience (note: the overall points I received on the quantum computing Stack Exchange site is still positive and the questions are nearly identical).

Now I am under the impression these are borderline questions (which they may not be) - thus, the cross posting allows me to compare standards. Why is what is "poorly written" for the Physics Stack Exchange site not "poorly written" for the quantum computing Stack Exchange site?

I think it comes down to how to define "poorly written"? I have seen the it is unclear answer too, but because of these comparisons (between quantum computing and physics) I am uncertain why it is unclear? Can I have a concrete answer to this problem I'm facing?

P.S: I only have a sample size of $2$ so I am aware I might be "seeing patterns" but am wary that it isn't good if this pattern persists.

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    $\begingroup$ “the overall points I received in quantum computing stack-exchange is still positive” That second question is currently at -1 there, so it has been negatively received in both forums. But there is no reason to expect a similar reaction in different forums. $\endgroup$ – G. Smith Oct 31 '19 at 5:31
  • $\begingroup$ @G.Smith yes I concede but in terms of points I have received it's still positive. There has been some negative reaction (but some positive too). "But there is no reason to expect a similar reaction in different forums" - So is this because it is not a border-line question? $\endgroup$ – More Anonymous Oct 31 '19 at 5:35
  • $\begingroup$ In what sense is it “still positive”? $\endgroup$ – G. Smith Oct 31 '19 at 5:36
  • $\begingroup$ I meant that you can’t expect the same reaction in different forums because there are no objective standards for voting and there are different members, with their own subjective opinions about your question’s quality, in each forum. $\endgroup$ – G. Smith Oct 31 '19 at 5:39
  • $\begingroup$ @G.Smith by the metric of number of points is greater than $-2 \times 2 +5 = 1$ ... "no objective standards for voting and there are different members" this seems like a problem to me. There should be some borderline cases but this can be abused as well then imo :/ $\endgroup$ – More Anonymous Oct 31 '19 at 5:41
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    $\begingroup$ I haven’t voted your questions up or down, but that one about whether we see light or objects struck me as the kind of thing a typical physicist would consider more philosophical or biological than physical. $\endgroup$ – G. Smith Oct 31 '19 at 5:42
  • $\begingroup$ I understand now. You’re counting reputation gained or lost, not votes. $\endgroup$ – G. Smith Oct 31 '19 at 5:42
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    $\begingroup$ You are complaining that long-time features of SE are bugs. $\endgroup$ – G. Smith Oct 31 '19 at 5:45
  • $\begingroup$ I'm sure stackexchange is welcome to the "(a)typical physicist" as well :) Perhaps I am "complaining" assuming this the crux of the problem - but if it is a borderline case then I should be able to take some course of action (if it is unjustified)? $\endgroup$ – More Anonymous Oct 31 '19 at 5:49
  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean by “a borderline case”? $\endgroup$ – G. Smith Oct 31 '19 at 5:50
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, I did use "borderline case" twice. My bad but in the previous comment "There should be some borderline cases but this can be abused as well then imo" - over there I meant a case where it seems uncertain if it is justified to downvote. I think the purpose of meta is to dispel this uncertainty :) After which if things are in my favor then I should be able to take some action? $\endgroup$ – More Anonymous Oct 31 '19 at 5:55
  • $\begingroup$ My understanding is that action is taken against members who “serially downvote” multiple questions by another member, under the assumption that they are voting against a person rather than a question. But, as far as I know, the only recourse you have against other kinds of downvoting is to change the kinds of questions you ask so that they are better received. $\endgroup$ – G. Smith Oct 31 '19 at 6:00
  • $\begingroup$ So, wait, we are negatively incentivized to not ask certain questions? $\endgroup$ – More Anonymous Oct 31 '19 at 6:08
  • $\begingroup$ Of course. There are various categories of off-topic questions which frequently get downvoted and/or closed. Too many poor questions may get you a temporary question ban. $\endgroup$ – G. Smith Oct 31 '19 at 6:11
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    $\begingroup$ I think the answer is yes (i.e., you can get a ban for asking too many questions with negative votes), but I don't know how everything works and I’m not a moderator. You have actually been a member of SE longer than I have. $\endgroup$ – G. Smith Oct 31 '19 at 6:31

There is no reason to expect the same question to get the same reaction in two different Stack Exchange sites. Different sites have different members with different ideas about what makes a suitable question for their particular site.

Upvoting and downvoting on SE is inherently subjective, not objective, by design. This is a feature, not a bug. Unless multiple posts by you are being “serially downvoted” by someone voting against you rather than your questions, your only recourse to being downvoted too often is to change the kind of questions you are asking so they they are better received by the community.

  • $\begingroup$ I am also curious about StackExchange vs. Stack Exchange. If the company's name is Stack Exchange, which I now realize it is, why does this page say “StackExchange” in the upper-left corner? $\endgroup$ – G. Smith Nov 1 '19 at 4:52
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah I'm not sure about that. I'm on mobile browser right now and I see a space though. $\endgroup$ – BioPhysicist Nov 1 '19 at 5:01
  • $\begingroup$ @G.Smith any idea what was the reason this meta post was downvoted? I thought it was well written? $\endgroup$ – More Anonymous Nov 1 '19 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ @MoreAnonymous People sometimes downvote questions on meta sites to express that they disagree with the premise of the question or with the proposed action, if applicable. It probably doesn't mean much. $\endgroup$ – David Z Nov 1 '19 at 19:45

My personal opinion is that questions of the style "can you disprove this" or "Can you construct an example (or counterexample) of this or that" are actually open ended bait questions that are asking to start a debate and an argument rather than solicit an answer.

I highly dislike this kind of question. I do not know if I downvoted any of yours (I probably did downvote some given how I dislike this type of question) but similar to Russell's teapot argument I believe the onus is on OP to ask a clear question and not on the users to disprove a claim; I'm not surprised they are not so well received.

  • $\begingroup$ Wait so it's legit to downvote questions on open problems? Note: I am not sure if my intentions are assumed to be producing "open ended bait questions". Also in this context would you downvote this: physics.stackexchange.com/q/263197/150174 $\endgroup$ – More Anonymous Nov 1 '19 at 16:16
  • $\begingroup$ I would as a matter of fact. Something like "Am I correct? And if so, why do use the same name (entropy) to mean two different things?" you should be able to verify for yourself and something like "what would be a good way to explain that these two "entropies" are different things to non-scientists " is opinion-based. $\endgroup$ – ZeroTheHero Nov 1 '19 at 16:17
  • $\begingroup$ I think this is a dangerous use of downvote. Can you point me to the meta which legitimises this use? Also if one can "verify for yourself" why would one even ask the question? $\endgroup$ – More Anonymous Nov 1 '19 at 16:19
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    $\begingroup$ I have said all I have to say. I do not need your permission to downvote questions I do not like. For the record the specific linked question I did not downvote. $\endgroup$ – ZeroTheHero Nov 1 '19 at 16:21
  • $\begingroup$ I mean you are free to disengage from the comment section. We are part of a community which has guidelines and rules. I agree you "not need your permission to downvote questions" but I not sure if it's okay to downvote questions "I do not like" $\endgroup$ – More Anonymous Nov 1 '19 at 16:22
  • $\begingroup$ Also for the readers I found a relevant meta: meta.stackexchange.com/q/108538/381191 $\endgroup$ – More Anonymous Nov 1 '19 at 16:26
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    $\begingroup$ I am not a serial downvoter so your link is irrelevant. $\endgroup$ – ZeroTheHero Nov 1 '19 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ I did not claim you were but it was relevant in the context of a user continuously using downvotes in this fashion $\endgroup$ – More Anonymous Nov 1 '19 at 16:27
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    $\begingroup$ @MoreAnonymous Not really... Serial downvoting in that context is about targeting users with downvotes constantly. What Zero describes is targeting specific content with downvotes. That's pretty acceptable. Downvoting questions that users feel are a bad fit for the site is a primary quality control mechanism. It's not only acceptable, it's necessary. $\endgroup$ – JMac Nov 1 '19 at 16:53
  • $\begingroup$ @JMac Yes, there is an answer about that as well within that post I believe $\endgroup$ – More Anonymous Nov 1 '19 at 16:54
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    $\begingroup$ @MoreAnonymous Huh? The entire post is about people abusing the anti-serial vote script, which is only triggered by targeting users. Which answer are you talking about specifically? (you can click the share button to link to an answer) $\endgroup$ – JMac Nov 1 '19 at 16:57
  • $\begingroup$ @JMac this one "person, they're really about the content." with this answer meta.stackexchange.com/a/108545/381191 $\endgroup$ – More Anonymous Nov 1 '19 at 17:49
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    $\begingroup$ @MoreAnonymous That's still about serial downvoting. If you comb through a person's profile downvoting everything low quality, that is bad, even though it's about the content. If you downvote the low quality questions as you organically come across them, due to quality, it's not the same thing. $\endgroup$ – JMac Nov 1 '19 at 18:41
  • $\begingroup$ @JMac I'm quite tired right now (had a long work day). Maybe I misinterpreted some stuff? Please note I am not disengaging from discussion but only temporally asking for time to rest. $\endgroup$ – More Anonymous Nov 1 '19 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ @JMac I re-read the answer and question and clearly you were right. Would it be okay if I deleted my comments? I feel leaving them like that would be wrong. Especially now that I disagree with them. $\endgroup$ – More Anonymous Nov 2 '19 at 6:09

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