I think this question is unsuitable for this site as opinion-based, and should be closed. Yet, at the time of writing it has only one closure vote (mine), but 6 downvotes. I think this is indicative of a larger problem: people use downvote as a dislike button of social networks, rather than as a measure of the quality of the content that would help other users.

Update: a few minutes later it was -10 downvotes, 4 closure recommendations.

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    $\begingroup$ Note that downvoting requires only 125 reputation, while close voting requires 3k reputation. So for clearly off-topic questions it is to be expected that they will get downvotes faster than close votes, simply because more users able to downvote them will see them than users able to close vote them. Furthermore, users have only a limited amount of close votes per day, and some might already have run out, especially if they have been active in the review queues. I don't think this indicates what you think it does. $\endgroup$ – ACuriousMind Apr 12 at 12:56
  • $\begingroup$ @ACuriousMind ok, that sounds reasonable. $\endgroup$ – Roger Vadim Apr 12 at 12:57
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    $\begingroup$ Note that "not useful" is a valid downvote reason. $\endgroup$ – PM 2Ring Apr 12 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ @PM2Ring not useful still means that it is a valid question $\endgroup$ – Roger Vadim Apr 12 at 12:59
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    $\begingroup$ @Vadim Not really. The space of (useful/not-useful) and (on-topic/off-topic) is populated in every quadrant. $\endgroup$ – rob Apr 12 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ @rob In real life - yes. But here off-topic means that the question should not be on the site - whether it is useful is then irrelevant. $\endgroup$ – Roger Vadim Apr 12 at 14:42
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    $\begingroup$ Note that questions with a score of -4 or lower get hidden from the front page. Once there is a close vote/flag on the question (so it has been added to the closure review queue, and won't slip past unnoticed) then having blatantly-off-topic threads on the front page is not really good for the site, and fast downvotes can remove that problem. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Apr 14 at 12:52
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    $\begingroup$ That said, there's a difference between -4 and the question's final score of -18 before it was deleted. There, to be honest, for something that's this blatantly unconstructive, unhelpful, and off-topic, I'm struggling to feel sympathetic towards the thread or the poster. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Apr 14 at 12:54
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty My more general point is that voting should have nothing to do with sympathy, likes or dislikes - it is an equivalent of peer review, it has to be based on objective criteria (as much as possible). $\endgroup$ – Roger Vadim Apr 14 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Vadim You're right, but your example doesn't indicate that this is happening. Furthermore, how can we even be sure as to how much the downvote button is used unfairly? $\endgroup$ – BioPhysicist Apr 14 at 13:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Vadim Sure. For the particular example you linked, the quality of the content seems (in my appreciation) to be on par with the downvotes it received. So I don't see the problem. Are you saying that this was a good question that should have been upvoted? $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Apr 14 at 13:15
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    $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty Vadim viewed the occurrence of many down votes but not many close votes as an indication that users are using the down vote button as just a "dislike" button. This is related to what happened to their answer on the infamous chicken question. IMO this case is not evidence that users are primarily using the down vote button as a dislike button. For the chicken question, there was just a lot of things wrong there, but I don't think any HNQ post should be used to posit typical user behavior. $\endgroup$ – BioPhysicist Apr 14 at 13:18
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty I think the question had to be closed, not downvoted. Apart from the reasons given by ACuriousMind, I don't think downvoting here served any constructuve goal. $\endgroup$ – Roger Vadim Apr 14 at 13:19
  • $\begingroup$ @Vadim Also peer review does not only check for correctness, but also for suitability for the venue (at least in the majority of cases). This is particularly relevant for questions. $\endgroup$ – Norbert Schuch Apr 14 at 21:01
  • $\begingroup$ "a few minutes later it was -10 downvotes" you wrote. Shouldn't that be "10 down votes", or "-10 votes"? $\endgroup$ – Matthew Christopher Bartsh Apr 24 at 2:59

I agree with you here Vadim, we could have given the user a benefit of the doubt. Downvoting like a nuclear attack on a user who's on the site for first time is a bit extreme.

I think this was simply an 'emotional' decision on the downvoters side rather than some kind of thought out one.


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