As the title suggests, I would like to hear everyone's opinion on who should be allowed to downvote. I have seen youngsters downvote good answers simply because they could not understand it. They should instead request a clearer explanation rather than downvoting. What do you think ? Should the reputation for downvote be increased?

  • $\begingroup$ NOTE: I only gave 1 reason so far, but i'm sure many of you would have seen other reasons. $\endgroup$ – Lelouch Jul 31 '16 at 8:49
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    $\begingroup$ Can you provide some examples? From my experience, I have seen many bad posts being upvoted, but near-to-zero good posts being downvoted. Also, you don't know who cast the votes, so they migjt come frpm youngsters or from knowledgeable users who see clear errors in the posts $\endgroup$ – Bosoneando Jul 31 '16 at 9:01
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    $\begingroup$ i agree, but should'nt there be sufficient justification for downvoting as well? some of the new guys probably get discouraged when they see their answers downvoted. $\endgroup$ – Lelouch Jul 31 '16 at 9:05
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    $\begingroup$ knowledgeable people would have no problem reaching the required reputation for downvoting within a month. $\endgroup$ – Lelouch Jul 31 '16 at 9:05
  • $\begingroup$ am i wrong there? $\endgroup$ – Lelouch Jul 31 '16 at 9:06
  • $\begingroup$ The important part is that you don't know how is downvoting, so you don't know if changing the whole privilege system would have any impact at all $\endgroup$ – Bosoneando Jul 31 '16 at 9:08
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    $\begingroup$ You can't see "youngsters" downvote "good answers simply because they could not understand it" because votes are anonymous and "good answer" is obviously subjective. You can find a multitude of discussions about downvotes on meta.SE and well as on this meta. It's not clear to me what raising the reputation is supposed to do, and I'm not under the impression we suffer from people downvoting too much. $\endgroup$ – ACuriousMind Jul 31 '16 at 10:21
  • $\begingroup$ On my opinion, only very few downs is coming from this reason. In general, there are few downs on the PSE. The problems of the site have total different reason. You shouldn't worry on the downs, there are quite different reasons to worry. $\endgroup$ – peterh Jul 31 '16 at 11:19
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    $\begingroup$ (As an aside, voting is different on meta; in this case downvotes probably mean disagreement with your premises or proposal rather than an opinion that the question is 'bad'.) $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Aug 1 '16 at 9:31
  • $\begingroup$ "Should the reputation for downvote be increased?" For anonymous votes (up, down, etc) without stating the reason, I think the reputation for voting must approach to infinity. $\endgroup$ – lucas Aug 1 '16 at 16:41

Let's examine the facts: according to the last data available, only 705 users with reputation between 125 and 250 had casted any downvote (out of 4065). From them, only 33 had casted 10 or more downvotes. Yes, there is an exceptional case, but the rest seems perfectly normal.

In addition, you don't know what posts did these users voted (because votes are secret!!!), you don't know their motives, and you don't know whether these users are in fact knowledgeable new users. You don't really know anything about downvotes, but you're proposing to change the whole system based in your prejudices.

In the technical part, the privilege system isn't controlled by the Physics.SE site, it is a part of the SE engine. In order to propose a change, you have to go to mother meta. And believe me, you will need much stronger arguments.

  • $\begingroup$ all right then. I'll leave it here for now. $\endgroup$ – Lelouch Jul 31 '16 at 10:58
  • $\begingroup$ It's also important to note that the exceptional case you note is not a novice SE user; s/he has ~15k rep on web apps and used to have ~40k on maths.se before s/he deleted that account. You can argue all you want about why that person acts that way (or you could, you know, ask them), but I think it's pretty far from a youngster dragging down stuff they don't understand. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Aug 1 '16 at 9:41

Yes, this can be a problem, but as Bosoeando showed in his answer, with one exception, it's a very small problem. Keep in mind that the cure to a small problem is oftentimes worse than the disease.

Moreover, the biggest areas where this could be a problem have already been addressed. One potential problem is serial down-voting, which is mostly committed by users with a low reputation. The SE software automatically detects and corrects most of these serial voting problems.

Another potential problem is questions that have made the SE hot list. These hot questions are an open invitation to people from elsewhere on the SE network to join the site. The problem was that users with a high enough reputation elsewhere on the SE network receive 100 points just for signing up with another element of the network. The solution is to quickly mark these hot questions as protected. Newbies who receive those freebie 100 reputation points cannot vote, up or down, on protected questions.

  • $\begingroup$ No, that last bit is not quite it. With the 100-rep association bonus you can upvote, but you need 125 rep to downvote. Protecting a question only stops people posting answers (and requires 10 rep earned on the site, independently of the association bonus) but it doesn't stop you from voting. Newcomers from other parts of the network coming here via HNQ with only their association bonus can vote up but not down by default, and protection only stops them from posting. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Aug 1 '16 at 9:48
  • $\begingroup$ While I do agree that HNQs are more likely to need protection than other questions, I don't agree that pre-emptively protecting all of them is a useful solution to anything. $\endgroup$ – David Z Aug 1 '16 at 16:31

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