It's pretty obvious when someone upvotes your question or answer they like it and the physics is reasonable or correct - but when someone downvotes its often ambiguous if they have a legitimate concern about the physics, or perhaps you just didn't answer their original question.

Is there anyway we could requite someone to write a short explanation if they downvote? Perhaps anonymously if they wish?

For example sometimes if you are getting upvotes and downvotes on a single answer, its very unclear what the real response it got from the community - do people like it overall and there are a few other un-informed downvoters? Or visa-versa ?

A huge part of physics (and science, art in general) is getting feedback and I for one would like to see something like this in place, or try something like it.

  • 9
    $\begingroup$ This has been discussed innumerable times on the main meta and has been viciously shot down every time. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 6, 2012 at 19:29
  • $\begingroup$ Yep. I certainly understand the annoyance of a unexplained downvote, but I'm with Shog9 in that "-1 blah blah blah" comments aren't any more helpful than comments not explicitly linked to a downvote and do encourage any tendency toward personal animosity. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 6, 2012 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ Related meta math post from the POV of the downvoter. $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic Mod
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 11:56

1 Answer 1


I read through a few of the threads that @dmckee linked to, and I'm happy to see that what makes sense to me seems to be the consensus. I only recently earned enough rep to even cast downvotes, so I only have a few downvotes (including the one that spawned this question). So while I agree with the reasons given for not requiring that a comment accompany a downvote, I think it is often good policy to include a comment explaining what is wrong with an answer. My primary concern is whether that comment will help make the answer better. If it will, then I'll leave it. If there doesn't appear to be any way to salvage the answer, I will simply cast the downvote with no comment.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ See also my answer here: Is it OK to indicate that I downvoted in a comment? I think it's much more constructive to focus your comment on "this is incorrect" rather than starting out with a big ugly "I downvoted your post" which just makes people adversarial. $\endgroup$
    – Ben Brocka
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 20:49

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