Simple as that.

I think that since we can only upvote comments, it leads to skew, where comments, even if they are unhelpful or inaccurate cannot be downvoted.

Given that the whole mechanics of this website is, more-or-less "people vote for things and the good things rise to the top, while the bad fall to the bottom".

Why would you use this as your model, but clearly ignore it in one place?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ This has been asked on mother meta ad nauseam: meta.stackexchange.com/q/3615 $\endgroup$
    – jinawee
    Commented Apr 13, 2014 at 10:27
  • $\begingroup$ Note that questions asking about the reasons behind <this> type questions really should be asked on Meta.SE, as the developers of the SE software frequent that site more than sites like Physics. $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 16:32

2 Answers 2


The reason is that answers are ranked by score, and comments are ranked by time:

  • useful answers get upvotes and move to the top
  • bad answers get dowvotes and move to the bottom
  • average answers stay in the middle

So, downvotes help the best quality emerge.

Comments have upvotes to express agreement and avoid multiple "I agree with the previous" comments. There is no score ranking in comments, besides choosing comments to show when there are too many, so downvotes are not needed for that.

Comments are not answers which can be right or wrong. Comments are opinions, and we like different opinions to coexist, whereas we want wrong answers to go away.

On the other hand, if you think a comment is really bad then you can flag it - with enough flags it will be deleted.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ And... not only does it lack practical purpose, as described above, but downvoting comments would encourage more arguing in the comments. They already seem prone to digression and unnecessarily personal remarks. $\endgroup$
    – j0equ1nn
    Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 12:37

The upvotes just sort the comments for collapsing so that the software can determine which comments to show. If an entire comment thread fits, then there's no point in collapsing any comments. So why would we need a downvote?

If the comment thread doesn't fit, a non-upvoted comment and a downvoted comment would have the same effect anyway -- hidden by default.

What effect do you propose for downvoted comments?

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    $\begingroup$ Hmmm, I guess it ties in with the whole "Leaving answers in comments" debate. I have seen many examples of answers/ suggestions/ statements made in comments, many of which are not correct/ answering what was asked etc. So yes, I will say that this (potential) need is only given that there are answers in the comments. Alternatively if anyone else has a good suggestion to avoid having answers in comments? $\endgroup$
    – Flint72
    Commented Apr 12, 2014 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ You can always flag them, and tell the commenter to post it as an answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 12, 2014 at 20:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Indeed, or in fact you can just post it as an answer yourself if you want. Anyway, as Manishearth said the important thing is to flag them so that we can delete such comments after a little while. All comments are temporary and prone to eventual deletion. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Commented Apr 12, 2014 at 20:41

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