I noticed yesterday that the -1 for down voting an answer is still in effect, as ChrisF pointed out it was the -1 for down voting questions that was removed.

My question is, should the -1 down voting reputation loss be removed on answers as well?

I think that the points made in regards to improving participation and quality that applied to questions also apply to answers. Additionally since there is an observed trend that answers generate more votes than questions, is it reasonable to infer that we might see higher quality answers rising?

I bring this up with no axe to grind, I have observed some answers that were upvoted perhaps due to humour or entertainment value above more "correct" answers. This would, perhaps, encourage more users to exercise their vote for quality.

I would be genuinely interested in hearing opinions on this.


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    Yes, IMHO, any up/down votes should be free to be closer to the reality. – user2567 Jul 19 '11 at 15:58

The -1 reputation cost for down voting answers is still in place on all Stack Exchange sites.

It's only the -1 for down voting questions that's been removed and that has been removed network wide.

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  • You're correct, of course. Thanks for the clarification! I suppose it does beg an edit to discuss whether a similar course for down voting answers is worthwhile. – Stephen Jul 19 '11 at 15:48

We believe questions are a different matter, for all the reasons listed in


It is also helpful to read the 2 related posts linked there as well:




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    Actually I had read all 3 of those blog posts before suggesting this change. The point I was driving at is that if answers are the real work unit, and you are optimizing for pearls, and users are more likely to vote on answers, why penalize a down vote? – Stephen Jul 20 '11 at 17:15
  • @Stephen you penalize a downvote, because by downvoting an answer you are doubly penalizing the answerer. If this 1 rep is so costly to the voter, how costly is the 2 rep to the answerer? – Marcelo Jul 20 '11 at 21:23
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    @Marcelo Given the current 10/2 for up/down, not significantly. However, I'm sure that a lot of answers don't attract downvotes because of the -1 because of the perception of being penalized for participating. – Stephen Jul 21 '11 at 12:27

I agree, I had even thought of asking a somewhat similar question. To me, the only "good" it does is keep people with low rep from downvoting because they don't want the rep hit. And to me, if you don't want low rep downvotes the solution is to not allow downvoting without a rep that exceeds some cap.

A compromise might be to give 1 "free" downvote for every upvote on a daily basis. This will still inhibit downbvoting by low rep users as they only get 1 free per upvote.

I think a good downvote is just as valuable, if not more so, than an upvote -- every loves a winner, but most people don't even think about picking on the bad answers.

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