IMHO a question which is not off-topic per se, but based on a wrong understanding, false assumption or premise, deserves a comment to give the OP a chance to edit it, or at least an explanation for the downvotes he gets. In the given case, there were already some comments revealing the misunderstanding, however there could have been an additional warning ...
As far as these types of questions go, I find that the people who ask them fall into one or both of the following (and many times that one leads to another):
They are in over their head. This happens when someone with little to no experience gets thrust into a large project outside of their realm of expertise. Like when Bill from accounting who wrote an ...
Let's see if we can get something of a timeline here:
15:40:40 - The question is asked.
16:34:23 - Mark posts his answer.
16:58:39 - You post your answer.
From here on I'll split the timeline to the two answers, starting with Mark's:
18:27:19 - "-1 for answer on non-asked by OP question. Do not consider yourself smarter than others" - Comment by you on ...
Down voting answers costs you 1 reputation point, this is status-bydesign.
The reasoning is that it makes revenge / retaliatory / otherwise abusive down voting less attractive, as discussed in a very early Stack Overflow podcast (circa 2008). Furthermore it emphasizes up voting over down voting, as does every other voting related mechanism we have (up ...
Part of it is trash questions, but there is also questions that are not in scope.
Right now the scope is detailed in Help -> Help Center -> What topics can I ask here?
Is it there? Yes. Is it good enough? Not really. If it were.. well then gnat's life wouldn't be as hard as it is.
That really isn't programmer's fault, thats just how all of SE is. It ...
I agree that being kind is nicer than being rude, but this does not mean that I should abstain from voting.
When a question is put “on hold”, that is not necessarily rude. It is an opportunity to improve and then reopen the question. Comments can be used to help OP clarify the question. Our close reasons try to explain why the question (in its current form) ...
Programmers, as well as Stack Overflow have their own areas of concern.
These are details in the different FAQ sections of each site - questions get downvotes in these sites for many different reasons:
Question may be off topic (as detailed in the FAQ)
It may be a bad question (that is, very unclear)
A question could be starting an argument (again, against ...
Part 1: statistics
(Skipping over the lies and damn lines)
Programmers has one of the highest all-time average score on questions of all sites. Out of 34 launched sites (I'm excluding metas), only Skeptics, RPG, SF&F and CSTheory have a higher average. If you count the all-time average number of votes (this query conflates questions and answers), ...
What are the guidelines for down-voting?
The tooltip when downvoting an answer reads:
This answer is not useful
That's the only guideline and it's open to individual interpretation.
Is it completely arbitrary to the user down voting?
Yes, in a sense. The only actual requirement to down vote is to have 125 rep.
Is right? Is this fair?
I think @...
My reasoning for the downvote is simply following precedent that it was not a useful answer. Besides the fact that you handed a lazy student his homework assignment on a silver platter, I personally just dislike single sentence answers that consist of a link.
A link to an answer is not a good answer because it shows too little effort. Links to outside ...
A big part of the problem is that Programmers gets a large number of off-topic posts by people who have not read the FAQ, but think that any computer-related question which does not belong on SO should come here. I tend not to downvote these questions anymore, but that is since I can now vote to close, which is even cheaper.
In the case where you are lacking the knowledge needed to fully understand the subject matter, do nothing. It could be clear, it could not be. There's no need to reduce the reputation of a user or kick something to a queue if you can't be sure.
If you understand the subject matter, I wouldn't vote to close or downvote immediately. I'd recommend asking ...
Questions that are based on a false premise or understanding to where the correct understanding not only invalidates the question, but makes the answer something completely different than what was asked, should be put on hold as Unclear.
An answer teaching the OP on a subject different than what they asked about, or addressing the false premise, while ...
Down voting is anonymous by design and will always remain so. Down-voters are free to down-vote anything they want for any reasons. The most common reasons being poor quality or an incorrect answer/assumption. In both cases you point out there are big quality issues. The first questions is incoherent and borderline not a real question. The answer you link to ...
Your data is inaccurate because SEDE doesn't account for deleted questions but anyway, there are few factors worth thinking of.
In the past, Programmers were getting a reasonable mix of good and bad questions related to careers, software recommendations and code reviews. Even when topicality of these was slippery, well presented questions about interesting, ...
The question looks right. Still, I have absolutely no idea what the person is talking about.
I would say do nothing.
If you have no knowledge of the questions subject matter, but it looks clear, useful and you think they've done their research then don't vote and move onto the next question.
You don't have to vote on every single question on the site.
They'll probably be malicious, however, don't worry about them. There are automatic processes that spot this sort of thing and reverse serial up votes and serial down votes.
If the votes are still there tomorrow morning (UTC) then let us know and we'll take it up with the development team.