This is not related to Physics obviously, but what I think is that the downvote option to questions on this website should be removed, as on asking a dumb question out of curiosity, the question is generally bombarded with dozens of downvotes which then decreases the reputation and kills the curiosity to ask more questions. The downvote option is kind of a discouragement for newbies on this site, for me too :D. Who else thinks it should be removed?

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    $\begingroup$ I suspect that, were the down vote button removed, someone would no doubt write a meta post like yours complaining that they're not getting enough up votes which is discouraging to newbies and so the up vote button should be deleted too. $\endgroup$ – Alfred Centauri Jun 30 '17 at 23:52
  • $\begingroup$ of course, i am not crying for upvotes, I think my question is misunderstood and if not then some of you reading this are nevertheless worthy of answering to it. $\endgroup$ – Ajinkya Naik Jul 9 '17 at 14:16
  • $\begingroup$ In fact, none of the questions can be voted as best or worst, a question is a question, I absolutely and without any doubt hate the statement when someone says "Yea...thats a good question" I mean it is just imbecile, what do you mean by a good question? Do you mean that we must think before asking questions? $\endgroup$ – Ajinkya Naik Jul 9 '17 at 14:17
  • $\begingroup$ Come on, if we were to think on asking questions, then shouldnt we think about the answer itself? if this site is making all of us put so much efforts into thinking a question, the answers supplied are moot. $\endgroup$ – Ajinkya Naik Jul 9 '17 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ instead that effort can be utilised in finding the answer to that question itself. $\endgroup$ – Ajinkya Naik Jul 9 '17 at 14:19
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I do agree with the concept that some users are directly copying homework questions from their textbook and pasting it on this site demanding for answer, but since there are examiners, the one who initiates the task of marking a question duplicate, unclear, closing a question etc. can simply remove that question. $\endgroup$ – Ajinkya Naik Jul 9 '17 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ What I clearly want to say is that a Question is a Question, it is a dumb idea to categorise it into a good question or a bad question. $\endgroup$ – Ajinkya Naik Jul 9 '17 at 14:20

That's... unlikely to happen, but it is ultimately not something this community can control. The core Q&A engine is managed by Stack Exchange an shared by the 150+ sites in the network, and this kind of change to the engine would have to be done centrally by them. If you want to suggest this change, then the central meta site, Meta Stack Exchange, is the place to do it.

However, I can tell you right here and now that there's a 0% chance that SE will implement this: as detailed in the help center down-voting answers will cost you 1 rep, but down-voting questions doesn't. That is, there is already a baked-in preference to make it easier to downvote questions. Why is this? Because bad questions (boring, badly researched, badly written, inconsistent, what have you) make the site boring and drive away the qualified people we want answering questions; for more details, see the blog post Optimizing For Pearls, Not Sand.

And, if you do get downvotes on your questions:

  • If it is a single downvote on an isolated question, then seriously, shrug it off. I know it sounds glib for a high-rep user to say this, but it is just fake internet points at the end of the day.

  • If it is a noticeably low score on one or a series of questions, then do pay attention to what aspects of that question might make it a bad fit for the site, ask politely for feedback if you don't understand, and act accordingly if you do.

  • $\begingroup$ So, why those fake internet downvotes be given place on this sites if bad questions arent given. $\endgroup$ – Ajinkya Naik Jul 9 '17 at 14:22

I have a lot of sympathy with your position. I will not usually downvote a well intentioned question and I do think we are sometimes a bit over eager to downvote.

But there are a couple of points to bear in mind.

Firstly a downvote principally means this isn't a good question for this site. Downvoting removes a question from the site home page and it enables the autodelete to hoover up the question if it doesn't get a good answer in a few days. So downvoting has a purpose and isn't just a way of telling people we think they suck.

Secondly we do get some real stinkers of questions from time to time. We get lots of homework questions from people too lazy even to type out the question (they just post a photo of the book), questions that display no thought at all, and questions that are plain incomprehensible. Not to mention questions that are a thinly veiled advert for the OP's own pet theory (usually that Einstein was wrong). So we do need a way of flagging up these questions to readers who might otherwise take them more seriously than they merit.

Incidentally note that a downvote here on the Physics Meta just means people disagree with you, not that it's a bad question. So the three downvotes and one upvote that your question has attracted at the time of writing this just means three people disagree with you and one person agrees with you.

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    $\begingroup$ Yup, if your questions are getting downvotes; there's only one thing you can assume from it: Some people do not think it is a good question for this site. To try and get any more information out of it is just going to cause self-inflicted worry/doubt. $\endgroup$ – JMac Jun 30 '17 at 17:48

Removing them will lead people to think it's okay (i.e. it won't cause them any harm) to ask questions that: are homework-like, show no research effort, violate site policy in anyway. This would lead to decrease in the quality of the content on the website, which can lead to a pretty bad feedback loop.

Downvotes also aren't "weighed" as much as upvotes on positive content, so it's not as bad as you think. (i.e. 2 upvotes on an answer = 10 downvotes on a question)

Read the discussion on (especially ACuriousMind's answer): We seem to be over-eager to downvote

Especially one of the comments from an SO user gives good insight.

  • $\begingroup$ By "removing them" I take it you mean removing downvote option... $\endgroup$ – ZeroTheHero Jul 1 '17 at 20:14
  • $\begingroup$ Removing the down vote option is what I meant $\endgroup$ – Hritik Narayan Jul 1 '17 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ That's what I figured. $\endgroup$ – ZeroTheHero Jul 1 '17 at 20:17
  • $\begingroup$ But then the one who mark questions as duplicate, unclear, closed can of course without no effort do the task of removing those questions which are homework questions or violate the site policies. $\endgroup$ – Ajinkya Naik Jul 9 '17 at 14:23
  • $\begingroup$ That's not how it works. Removal and voting are different $\endgroup$ – Hritik Narayan Jul 9 '17 at 14:25
  • $\begingroup$ Now that you see the reference of the meta post you have given me was asked by John Rennie possessing 228k points of reputation, the main point of both of the questions asked by him and me are the same, but still you can see my question was dumped with nearly 13 downvotes while his question was fed with 48 upvotes. $\endgroup$ – Ajinkya Naik Jul 9 '17 at 14:27
  • $\begingroup$ Reputation matters, and this reputation is just destroyed by those awful downvotes. $\endgroup$ – Ajinkya Naik Jul 9 '17 at 14:27
  • $\begingroup$ What I think is instead of removing that option, the downvote option should be enabled at a certain reputation level. $\endgroup$ – Ajinkya Naik Jul 9 '17 at 14:28
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    $\begingroup$ The main point isn't the same! His question is a user end question and yours is a system end question $\endgroup$ – Hritik Narayan Jul 9 '17 at 15:17

This site has been built up by many people, who really worked to establish it's reputation. I don't think your previous question was in anyway dumb,. You are being too harsh with yourself. But the down vote option is vital, imo, to gauge by concensus if a question is appropriate, in various ways, to the site.

So dumb questions will get d/v. Always

From your point of view, look at the questions that do get good answers and copy their style.

if you know some of your question is ok, go ahead with them in your own words, then copy (and credit) Wikipedia to express the parts you know that you know you are unsure about and will attract criticism if you badly word them yourself..

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    $\begingroup$ "the down vote option is for obvious non mainstream questions, off topic questions and to gauge by concensus if a question or answer is correct or not" Those first two are actually best handled by flagging/votes to close. To quote this page "Voting up a question or answer signals to the rest of the community that a post is interesting, well-researched, and useful, while voting down a post signals the opposite: that the post contains wrong information, is poorly researched, or fails to communicate information." $\endgroup$ – JMac Jun 30 '17 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ @JMac thank you, in a previous incarnation here I VTC lots of questions, I simply forgot about that. $\endgroup$ – user154420 Jun 30 '17 at 17:53

The downvote option is kind of a discouragement for newbies on this site, for me too :D. Who else thinks it should be removed?

The downvote option is not for the discouragement of newbie, no more than the up vote is for the encouragement of newbies, since questions or answers posted by anyone can get downvoted (or upvoted): the downvote option is for bad questions or answers, irrespective of the poster.

My impression - to amplify a comment by @John Rennie - is that some new users are careless with their questions: they expect people to read it, think about it and provide a thoughtful answer when they themselves have put little thought into formatting, editing or researching their question; posting a page from a textbook is a perfect example of this. Such questions are very rightfully downvoted, irrespective of the seniority of the poster, and I hope without regards for the feelings of the poster.

I'm sure the OP has noted that the pool of knowledgeable active users on Physics SE is not decreasing: higher-rep users who become less active are replaced by equally valuable contributors, all of which must have started as newbies at some point. Thus, this community must on balance be doing something right.

  • $\begingroup$ I disagree on the deed of ranking questions as good or bad, of course homework questions directly pasted on this website without any real intentions of learning about physics SHOULD BE REMOVED by those high-rep users who mark questions as unclear, duplicate etc. $\endgroup$ – Ajinkya Naik Jul 9 '17 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ A question cannot be classified as good or bad, nor can you say whether the one who asks questions should put effort into them, my personal view is that if we were to put such efforts into asking questions, we would have instead used them in finding an answer to that question. simple as that. $\endgroup$ – Ajinkya Naik Jul 9 '17 at 14:39
  • $\begingroup$ @AjinkyaNaik My experience is that many here err on the side of caution and will give the benefit of the doubt to junior users. However, some questions are obviously bad and the OP has obviously put no effort in it. For those I am personally merciless. $\endgroup$ – ZeroTheHero Jul 9 '17 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ but why should the person put effort in asking a question, this does not make any sense. If were to think so much before asking questions, why not just throw SEP website away and instead work to answer the questions yourself. $\endgroup$ – Ajinkya Naik Jul 9 '17 at 14:45
  • $\begingroup$ @AjinkyaNaik In some cases blind desperation. I wish it were true that every question was well thought through but this is clearly not the case: in some cases the OP just wants an answer to complete an assignment. $\endgroup$ – ZeroTheHero Jul 9 '17 at 14:47
  • $\begingroup$ yea. so those assignment questions can be removed by those high rep initiatives who happily does the task of marking questions duplicate, unclear, on hold, etc. $\endgroup$ – Ajinkya Naik Jul 9 '17 at 14:49
  • $\begingroup$ @AjinkyaNaik remember this is by and large a collective process. The moderators - who have lots of privileges on the site - are IMO very reasonably behaved, meaning it takes multi-user consensus to close a question. $\endgroup$ – ZeroTheHero Jul 9 '17 at 14:52

The obvious solution of the problem would be:

  1. to create a different site for very basic level questions.
  2. instead of downvoting the basic questions to the hell, they should be migrated to this site.
  3. higher level questions asked on that site, should be migrated to here.

This is so obvious, so trivial...

But it didn't happen, and it won't ever happen, although it is a good thing to at least try to motivate the communities into this direction. The reasons:

  1. Question migrations are a de facto taboo on the StackExchange. Probably nobody really knows why, but it is just so.
  2. The StackExchange won't ever allow to create a new site for basic physics questions. They say they don't do this because it attracts content from the Physics SE.
  3. But, in the practice is that these questions are nearly always closed on the PSE.

Note, in the PSE, in theory, any basic level questions are allowed!

In their view, they don't close/downvote them because they are basic level questions asked by naive laymen. They close them because they are unclear, non-mainstream, homework and so on. And these rules are acceptable and reasonable one by one. But their summarized result is that a newbie has a very, very hard time until he can ask his first not closed, maybe even upvoted question on the site. Their patience is unlikely to hold so long, particularly that they feel very well the mainly unjust character what the site provides for them.

Furthermore, even a patient newbie will be likely on question ban until that.

I absolutely agree your view that this site does a bad work on encouraging young people to attract them to the physics.


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