Facebook eliminated the dislike for a reason.

My personal experience is just wanting to quit after a question gets to -3 for reasons unknown.

Downvoting of a question is an inherently negative process and an even more negative experience for the questioner.

Requesting clarification is a natural, positive act.

Solution: A simple "?" button instead of "v" and a simple counter for the "?" clicks

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Changes that impact all of StackExchange should be on the mother Meta. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    May 24 '20 at 0:33
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    $\begingroup$ As I recently said here, "Votes are intended to send a signal to the post author (and to affect their rep), but their primary purpose is to indicate to other readers whether a post is useful or not". $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    May 24 '20 at 9:02
  • $\begingroup$ Downvotes on Meta work differently. They are used to show disagreement. $\endgroup$
    – user258881
    May 24 '20 at 12:10
  • $\begingroup$ Related if not a duplicate: The downvote option for questions should be removed? $\endgroup$ May 26 '20 at 1:18
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    $\begingroup$ I suppose I've grown too cynical but, honestly (and I am being honest here), if this were to be implemented, I am as certain as I can be that there would eventually be a post to meta, just like this one, proposing that the "?" is too negative, and that it should be replaced with... $\endgroup$ May 27 '20 at 2:00

Well... if you want clarifications you can use comments for that.

Speaking for myself I downvote questions mostly because I believe they are inappropriate - poor or no prior research, easy duplicates of another question already posted, poor typesetting, downright silly. I downvote answers because at least some elements are incorrect. In both cases I want to make it clear that I disagree with something in the contents of the post.

Unfortunately, there are some who think that posting a question is easy: posting a bad question is easy, but posting good question is hard given the immense backlog of questions already on the site. I’m not surprised when some questions accumulate downvotes as I often recognize the symptoms I mentioned above. Having 5 questions marks at the end of an question is the same as scoring -5.

Likewise I upvote answers and questions because I think the contents brings value to the site - well researched, well formulated, and other such positive reasons. When questions score “big”, I also often recognize the symptoms that make them good.

I do not want all questions or answers to be equal, because I don’t think they are all necessarily equal, and the proxy for that is the score on the question or the answer.

Maybe, just maybe, if some people were a little more patient and could afford the time to do basic due diligence on their questions (and sometimes on answers), there would be fewer downvotes overall, but I doubt this will happen.


As I can understand from your question, you seem to say that "replace the downvote button with a '?' button". But that wouldn't really make any difference, except not showing a negative score. Practically, the downvotes would now be substituted by "?"s.

And if you are proposing that we need to provide a feedback after we click on that "?", then honestly, if I would have to write the reason for every downvote I cast, I would probably cast lesser downvotes, which is not at all healthy for the site. It discourages downvoting, and that's why it doesn't seem appropriate. And anyways, if anyone wants to, willingly, acknowledge and explain their downvote, they can comment on the post. Making it compulsory is not at all the right way to go.

And downvotes are far more effective in conveying the fact (to the OP) that the post has some issues with it. I don't think any of the help-vampires would take "?" seriously. So, all in all, it isn't a good idea.

If you get a few downvotes on any of your post, first check the help center tomdecide that whether your question/answer is even on-topic/acceptable (respectively) on this site. If not, the downvotes are completely justified. If it's on topic/acceptable (but it was still downvoted), then ask for the clarification from the downvoter in the comments and act accordingly to improve upon your post. At last, if you don't get any response, try asking about it in the chat and request for feedback. And at the end of the day, keep in mind that these are, after all, internet points and they are there just to indicate that someone thinks that there's something wrong with your post. There's no reason to take them personally :-)


I think that cast a downvote is just feedback about the question.

Now, in my view/opinion in some of these sites Stack Exchange a post can receive such quantity of downvotes in a small lapse of time that I don't understand. I don't understand if it is useful for some person (even the situation is that maybe there were downvotes but not feedback in comments about the post).

In my view/opinion also is important to consider the impact for the account of the OP, if he/she was asking with good faith/intention (as usual) a bad or poor post. I (mean) am evoking the situation that I believe that is true: that there is a statistic about upvotes and downvotes that I need to consider for my account, because if I edit bad posts and get many downvotes this maybe can to have consequences*. And yes, I have fear.

In other words, I think that is right cast downvotes because I think that it is a need, but in certain circumstances can be good to limit the number of downvotes per post, and to consider how many downvotes can get a New Contributor in his/her first few posts (in particular the first post, after the first few minutes/hours that was published).

In my view, a simple counter for the "?" clicks, after that certain number of downvotes were casted can be useful and interesting to modulate some situations or circumstances.

  • $\begingroup$ *I believe that if my posts (questions or answers) get many downvotes in some of these sites Stack Exchange I can to be banned to ask more questions (respectively, edit more answers), if I understand well, temporarly. I don't know how this system works. If I'm wrong in some way please tell me, or remove this comment or paragraphs in the body of the post, because I don't know how works the ban that I've evoked in this comment. Many thanks. $\endgroup$
    – user250478
    May 24 '20 at 8:08
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, if someone asks several bad questions the system will ban them from asking questions until they've made a positive contribution to the site. It's not a total ban, they get an opportunity to ask a new question every 6 months. And before the ban happens they get warnings, and limited in the rate they can ask new questions. For info about overcoming a question ban, and related info, please see meta.stackexchange.com/q/86997/334566 $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    May 24 '20 at 9:11
  • $\begingroup$ Many thanks for your details, I didn't know these details. My main feeling is for the students that ask questions in some of these sites Stack Exchange, and I think that is difficult to edit a good question being a New Contributor (not a professional) in some of these sites (in my belief I think that it is more difficult to get upvotes in some sites than other sites). I don't know if the New Contributors know these details before they are asking his/her first question @PM2Ring Many thanks again for your details, and good day. $\endgroup$
    – user250478
    May 24 '20 at 10:01
  • $\begingroup$ (1/2) I understand and respect if some user wants to downvote my answer in this post on Meta. I am not a teacher or a professor, and I accept that behind of majority of the downvotes should be good reasons. On the other hand, I know posts on one of these sites Stack Exchange that got quickly many downvotes (this is just my interpretation for some PSQ of some New Contributor). Sometimes, in this site that I evoke, I suspect that some new users can not communicate his/her ideas well because they don't know how to type formulas or maybe because they are stuck (in some ocassions I imagine $\endgroup$
    – user250478
    May 24 '20 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ (2/2) that even some users prefer are disconnected after they ask their first questions). The cost of learning of some subjects, subjects of science, can be very high. I think that some new users are students that maybe they didn't have the opportunities that I in the life. All these are words and good feelings, and equity, a different thing is if there are statistics about if the situations that I emphasize that I believe that happen, have a real impact in some of these sites for the new contributors (student of certain subjects). $\endgroup$
    – user250478
    May 24 '20 at 19:14

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