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Often people downvote what seems like perfectly legitimate questions or answers. Comments asking for the reason for downvote are often ignored.

Should it be mandatory for a downvoter to supply a reason? It would at least let the others aware of the downvoter's viewpoint, and open up new lines of discussion.

8

This has been done to death on Meta Stack Overflow.

The consensus is that while it would nice if people did, there's not a lot we can do to enforce this.

  • @Chisf - when you say, "...there's not a lot we can do to enforce this." I am confused. I think you mean that the choice was not to enforce this. So many times I hear of the 'democratic' nature of these sites, but if the consensus is that it should be required then why isn't it? – dbasnett Jul 18 '11 at 17:52
  • @dbasnett Votes are completely anonymous for privacy reasons. There's no way to track who down-voted but didn't leave a comment. – user8 Jul 18 '11 at 20:00
  • @dbasnett - also any scheme to try to force users to leave comments has too many drawbacks to make it worth while. – ChrisF Jul 18 '11 at 20:02
  • @mark - Why is it a big secret? – dbasnett Jul 18 '11 at 21:20
  • @ChrisF - What drawbacks? Maintaining anonymity? – dbasnett Jul 18 '11 at 21:23
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    @dbasnett We want people to vote on the merits of a question or answer without fear that someone is going to enact reprisal on them for misinterpreting a vote. Keeping it anonymous takes the politics out of a key metric and value to the SE network. – user8 Jul 18 '11 at 21:30
  • @dbasnett - people leaving rubbish "adkasdjaksjd" type comments or even just as unhelpfully "this question is rubbish" (or similar). Check out the answers, comments and linked questions on my MSO question I linked to. – ChrisF Jul 18 '11 at 21:42
  • @Mark - and without a comment how do we know that the vote had merit? I know Jeff drew an analogy between these sites and a playground, but I'd like to believe that most people here are adult enough to entertain criticism without seeking retribution. I try not to say anything about anyone that I wouldn't say to their face. – dbasnett Jul 18 '11 at 21:44
  • @ChrisF - and if you allowed down votes on comments that wouldn't happen. – dbasnett Jul 18 '11 at 21:45
  • @dbasnett - see twitter.com/#!/lizardbill/status/93074064654073856 – ChrisF Jul 18 '11 at 21:48
  • @ChrisF - and if you allowed down votes on comments that wouldn't happen here. – dbasnett Jul 18 '11 at 21:57
  • @dbasnett - then down-votes on comments would have to penalise the commenter in some way and up-votes would have to reward them to compensate. Not something I can see Jeff agreeing to. – ChrisF Jul 18 '11 at 22:00
  • I just don't understand how the score is kept. So are you saying that upvotes in comments aren't scored? I did not know that. It took me years to understand the finer points of scoring in golf. – dbasnett Jul 18 '11 at 22:05
  • @dbasnett - the votes are kept, but they don't confer reputation. Anyway, we've just hit the "move this discussion to chat" limit, so probably now's a good time to stop. – ChrisF Jul 18 '11 at 22:06
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There is an AJAX <div> reminder for users under 2000 rep on each downvote:

Please consider adding a comment if you think this post can be improved.

After the first downvote, we can't say we didn't remind them, and honestly that's as good as it gets. Forcing a comment will end in even worse results.

  • "Forcing a comment will end in even worse results." Is this a fact or opinion? Most, because you are the 'Jeff', will assume fact. Old guys from Missouri need more. – dbasnett Jul 19 '11 at 11:48

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