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Supposedly there are kids on the forum who downvote for various reasons. However there is ample evidence that some mods are downvoting as they please, based on criteria only known to themselves. This is eroding the trust. Whenever I post a question I wonder how soon will I be downvoted for unknown reasons.

The problem with downvoting is not merely your reputation score. It makes users less likely to read the question and eventually answer it.

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    You're assuming that it is a moderator that is downvoting you. It takes 125 reputation to downvote. – Nick ODell Apr 23 '13 at 20:25
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Well that's kind of the point of downvoting. People can only read so many questions and we want the best questions to get the most attention, both from people looking for helpful answers and from people looking to answer a question.

If you're asking Ripple questions, I think it's because we still have some users who downvote every Ripple question. Whether that's because they think it's off topic or because they don't like Ripple, I don't know. It is, IMO, annoying and unfair.

  • At least in the case of downvoting by moderators a brief explanation and the statement that he/she downvoted it would be more helpful in guiding users regarding the questions they post. Otherwise how do they know? Anonymous, no comment downvote lowers your reputation on StackOverflow. – Bitripple Apr 23 '13 at 4:21
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    I think the important note here is that there are ways in which moderators are different from normal users and ways in which we are the same. Our close votes, for example, are binding so we can't just participate in that, we decide it. Our up/down votes, on the other hand, are just like everyone else's. If our votes carry no special weight, I see no reason why there should be extra requirements when we cast them. – David Perry Apr 23 '13 at 4:28
  • That said, I do attempt to explain non-obvious downvotes or downvotes where I'm making a judgement rather than agreeing with an already-existing comment or answer. – David Perry Apr 23 '13 at 4:29
  • So you basically agree that downvoting without any comment is an acceptable practice in general, except in some cases of your choosing? – Bitripple Apr 23 '13 at 4:57
  • I guess downvote in this case is not some kid who doesn't like ripple. It is more like: see kid, I've got the power. That will teach you! Very mature indeed. – Bitripple Apr 23 '13 at 6:03
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    @Bitripple: Yes, precisely. Generally, downvoting without comment is an acceptable practice. One case in which I consider it mildly unacceptable is when it is applied to any question within a category one believes shouldn't be in scope for the forum even though the forum has explicitly chosen to place that category in scope because then it's essentially a refusal to abide by the community's decision and it's not fair to people who make the effort to ensure their question is within the agreed scope. I say mildly though because it's your downvote, if your judgment sucks, it's just one vote. – David Schwartz Apr 23 '13 at 6:15
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    @DavidSchwartz on several other SE forums, that I frequently visit, a question or an answer is never downvoted, unless it is completely unintelligible or off-topic. Regular users often comment on their downvote. There is no moderator vendetta, like seems to be in this case, because moderators are professional. For example, what guarantees that you won't be downvoting any question which you deem may cast a bad image on the company that pays you? – Bitripple Apr 23 '13 at 6:35
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    @Bitripple: Nothing, but I get my one downvote per question just like everybody else. For the record, I almost never downvote questions on the Bitcoin.SE forum. And, you may find this hard to believe, but I honestly don't think our weaknesses should be secret. – David Schwartz Apr 23 '13 at 6:42
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    It's not "annoying and unfair", it's downright abusive, and they should be outright banned from the site. – o0'. Apr 23 '13 at 14:43
  • Hard to be tough on users when moderators share the attitude - if they can so can I - instead of taking approach of positive feedback where upvotes for valid and good questions would weed out the questions that get no votes. Downvote should really mean 'this question doesn't belong here, there is no any justification for it', not be expressions of personal dislikes and ego. – Bitripple Apr 23 '13 at 16:14
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I agree that it is good practice to add a comment when downvoting and I believe that moderators should lead by example.

That said, I don't know where you get the idea that a moderator is downvoting you. There are three moderators here: me, David Schwartz and David Perry. There's a couple of hundred other users with enough reputation to downvote.

  • +1 That was just an impression. It is hard to understand that regular users would downvote such a question, since it is in their interest to distinguish rogue downvoters from moderators. But indeed, by the same token, the same is not in the interest of rogues. – Bitripple Apr 27 '13 at 20:45

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