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Downvoting Answers

Can we please add criteria for down voting answers ( like incorrect answer, wrong approach, outdated solution etc.) . It is really discouraging to see responses being down voted without reason, doesn't let me improve my response or approach other than making me feel bad :-(

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17 Comments

  • Nov 27 at 10:58 PM

    Hmm... what about unqualified upvotes? How do you feel about those?

    How does an upvote without specifics about what was good in your reply lets you learn and improve?

    I understand that it can be frustrating to get a downvote on something you thought to be a good answer. To some extent though, I would say that is part of the engagement model in very open online communities. Stackoverflow for example has a similar dynamic - the focus of up/downvotes is not on making a judgement on you but on the answer only with the goal of "bubbling the best answer up".

    While a nice reason for why an answer wasn't liked would be great it's maybe too much to expect from a "drive-by" audience. One way to still get some feedback to your own solution is to compare it with accepted/upvoted answers.

    • Nov 28 at 05:57 AM

      Agree! If someone can upvote an answer without specifying a reason, then another one can downvote an answer also without reason. This is fair!

    • Nov 28 at 12:08 PM

      Nevertheless, I feel that an downvote has more impact than an upvote, and "liking something" does not commonly asks for a particular reason ...

      So I guess if you get a downvote without a comment, your only choice is to add a comment asking for the reason. Of course you don't know who has put the downvote so you may or may not get an answer...

      • Nov 30 at 04:10 AM

        Other platforms make it "expensive" to down-vote. It takes away from your own reputation.

        That could be a way to temper the "negative" folks.

        Or one can only have 1 down-vote for every 10 up-votes.

        Or only one down-vote for question/answer but unlimited up-votes.

        Or separate the rating of the contribution from the author; never show any down-votes to the author but count it towards the aggregated rating of the contribution.

        There are plenty of ways to allow for both up- and down-votes without making it unnecessary hard on the down-voter to express that something was not quite OK.

    • Nov 28 at 04:11 PM

      I do not support unqualified up votes and incorrect answers being accepted either. It's just that down vote has more psychological impact than an unqualified up vote. I spend considerable amount of time analyzing the problem and trying to provide a solution only to see a down vote because someone has a better solution than me. I'd be happy if we do away with up voting and down voting and leave it to "likes". The perfect answer gets the most number of likes.

      • Nov 30 at 03:55 AM

        So who are "Likes" any different than unqualified up-votes? They aren't.

        What you ask for is: make it super easy to provide a positive feedback, but make it hard to give a negative response.

        I get that a downvote has a stronger impact - but check how often answers actually get downvoted compared to upvotes. There are many more upvotes overall than downvotes.
        From the point of motivating folks just to write questions/answers providing only positive feedback, of course, makes sense. But we have already seen that this approach does not lead to good questions and answers.

        If all questions that have zero work in them (no search, no pre-work, just a question looking for a quick answer) require a written explanation for a down-vote, then guess what: nobody is going to do that.
        When you put the effort always on the people that say: "nope, don't like that" then nobody will go and say anything. There goes feedback, there goes the learning curve.

        You mentioned that you spend "considerable amount of time" to prepare the answer and don't want to get a negative feedback for that. Fair call.
        What about all my answers and clarification questions where the OP never bothered replying? What about the clearly wrong answers, that have got accepted for some reason?

        What I'm getting at is that Q&A forums are not a contribution-for-upvote thing.

  • Nov 29 at 03:26 PM

    Down votes are more often applied to questions than answers, but I understand your point. It does nothing to improve the responsible poster's quality to just down vote the post (either kind). So most of the time I use a down vote in conjunction with a comment.

    I wonder how many folks are down voting Answers which should have been Comments? I don't do that but perhaps it should be done as very few Answers are really answers. Most seem to Comments. Asking for clarification or more information is pretty commonly posted incorrectly as an Answer. But I am not sure where an explanation of the difference resides these days.

    Cheers, Mike Appleby

  • Nov 29 at 04:47 PM

    Yeah, i agree with the psychological aspect of it.. if you look at a highly positive person, he might take it positive, but not all people take it positive, which is a problem.. people(some atleast) will be afraid to answer though they have the write answer, in my perspective..

    I actually acome across this situation sometime back, where one person said he is afraid to ask questions in SCN as people are bashing him left and right as he asked a question which has already been asked.. the thing is he has searched and couldnt find the right question due to some reason that I don't know.. but there is a difference between constructive criticism and a regular criticism.. I am afraid a lot people don't know this difference or don't know know where to draw the line.. again not all people take it like that.. some are +ve and some are just not.. and it's not wrong i guess..

    So I feel like this downvoting is not a constructive criticism, its just a criticism.. maybe there is a better way to answer this problem or may be I am too naive :D . thanks Sai Krishna Kowluri for pointing this..

  • Nov 30 at 08:09 AM

    Well, I downvote a lot of questions and answers, I write comments and people ignore them, never reply with the missing information or, like yesterday, they delete the answer or the question.

    Should I be afraid to "hurt people's sensible soul"?

    And, at the same time, I upvote question well written, correctly posed, that shows a good effort from the OP, yes, even some basic questions too!

    Like I upvote the correct answers.


    I wonder why none seems to care, instead, about the ones who try to answer and help: are our time and feelings less important?

  • Nov 30 at 09:06 AM

    The most frustrating thing I see today is that question authors are not willing to provide requited info to answer. 90% of questions require long discussion about additional info. Can be solved using moderation but it's against the new moderation rules. As a result question quality continue degradation. Sometimes I use downvote for questions like mentioned before with comments.

    For answers I use downvote for incorrect or unrelated answers. And I always add a comment (sometimes very short - "will not work" or "not related to the question")

  • Nov 30 at 04:56 PM

    Maybe a down vote, (and maybe an upvote), should force you to enter a comment and justify your down vote.

    Unfortunately in todays world people have been trained to not criticize people and give their true opinion. Everyone must win in today's world and we can't hurt any feelings. So if a down vote required a comment I doubt anyone would ever down vote anything. If they can remain anonymous they are way more comfortable with that rather then potentially having to justify their opinion or face an uncomfortable encounter.

    It's a shame, because usually out of dissension, consensus is created and hence, eventually progress.

  • Nov 30 at 06:36 PM

    There have been a discussion before about downvoting questions and most of the comments there would also be relevant to downvoting answers.

    I hear what you're saying but it's unlikely the SCN team will add something like a reason dropdown for voting (e.g. like we have for closing the question). This is because they seem to hold StackOverflow as a Golden Standard of Community, and it doesn't have such functionality AFAIK. But feel free to post this on the SAP Influence website if you can / are willing to go there.

    I'm rather curious what exactly prompted this discussion though? I briefly checked your recent answers and none had downvotes, so am guessing it's not something personal. My answers have been downvoted a few times. In some cases I was unable to see a reason, other than maybe OP feeling dissatisfied or just some random drive-by hate. :) In a few cases I misunderstood the question or was legitimately mistaken. Usually I don't answer though if I have nothing of value to add. Some people feel compelled to answer every single question, whether they actually have any answer or not, and that behavior always puzzles me.

    • Nov 30 at 10:20 PM

      On SO down-votes lower your reputation points when you give them, so you won’t go overboard with it if the reputation is important to you.

      I also looked into the Q&As from Sai and don’t see what caused the complaint- but hey everybody has a right to feel about things in their own way.

      As for the SO reference: it’s the most successful Q&A site by any measure so I think it’s good to look at what works there if you want to have a Q&A site. I just don’t think that Q&A is the best format for the SAP community as discussed so often.

      • Dec 01 at 06:42 AM

        Yes, for SAP Community we need Q&D&A - Question -> Discussion -> Answer :)

  • Dec 01 at 02:49 AM

    There were a couple of downvotes on my answers which were later removed. I'm not sure if they have read my coffee corner discussion :-). Like I said in my previous comment I have spent sometime writing code to be sure my answer was up to the mark. It upset me when I saw the downvote. What Lars said is true, 'Q & A forums are not a contribution-for-upvote thing'. If someone as good as Jelena had to see her answers being downvoted I shouldn't be even complaining. I'm glad that I brought this topic to get all this valuable feedback from Lars and other SAP community elite. I'd like to put this discussion to rest and focus on improving my knowledge and make a difference in this community which has been nothing but a source of inspiration and insight.

    • Dec 01 at 06:40 AM

      "There were a couple of downvotes on my answers which were later removed" - may be not removed but upvoted by another person!

      • Dec 03 at 03:56 PM

        Most likely. I rarely go back to remove a downvote (and I believe there is only a short period when it can be changed anyway) but if I see a question downvoted unjustly I upvote it.

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