Clearly there are some questions asked that are not appropriate for the site. Many of them come from users that are new to the site. I have no problem with voting to close the questions, and providing the user with an explanation of why. But even though the question is poor, downvoting seems to be just adding insult to injury, and seems likely to drive new users away. So when is it actually a good idea to downvote a question?

  • Hardly ever, since when it's that bad it should be closed
    – Ivo Flipse
    Sep 15, 2010 at 2:00
  • 3
    Heh, apparently the answer according to one person is "now".
    – bwarner
    Sep 15, 2010 at 2:28
  • Not all of us have the rep to vote to close...
    – au revoir
    Sep 15, 2010 at 4:34
  • Then flag for moderator attention or leave a comment @Jason
    – Ivo Flipse
    Sep 15, 2010 at 14:37
  • I disagree @Ivo, downvoting and voting to close are 2 different things with different use cases IMO (they are not related as you state "when it's that bad it should be closed [instead of downvoting]"
    – juan
    Sep 15, 2010 at 18:04
  • 5
    I'm actually a bit surprised that this is getting so many downvotes. I can assume some might be for the sake of expected yield for such a question, but it's not exactly a bad question, nor does it actually decry the act of downvoting.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Sep 15, 2010 at 18:05
  • 4
    @Grace, I think it's some of meta.so's humor leaking into our meta -- since downvotes don't mean anything here, I don't see the harm (and I actually find it a little funny).
    – juan
    Sep 15, 2010 at 19:55
  • @Juan That would be the "expected yield" I mentioned, and I do find it funny. I suppose I could just chalk them all up to being the expected yield.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Sep 15, 2010 at 20:04
  • meta-questions that ask about downvoting have an inverted rating scale. the more downvotes you get, the more support you have. Sep 16, 2010 at 1:39
  • @alex if we made this the official rule, I'd agree. For now, I'll just do a handstand when voting
    – Zommuter
    Sep 16, 2010 at 13:16
  • Is there any reason we have voted this question down?
    – Mugen
    Nov 22, 2010 at 16:51

1 Answer 1


You can glean some insight from my answer and the accompanying comments over in this Meta Stack Overflow post, but I'll do a better summary here. This is information for voting on the parent site, by the way. On Meta, it is slightly different but I don't want to bloat this post with that.

Votes have a very important utility, in that they serve to mark the usefulness and clarity of a question, or the lack thereof when it comes to downvotes. People depend on this information to filter quality from our site, and it is also mechanically utilized as well. On the parent site, when a question has a score of -4 or lower, it is no longer eligible to be shown on the front page. So it is important to downvote poor questions, even closed ones, for both the system and its users.

This site is not just a big dump truck that you can pile things on. We're here to make the internet a better place by providing authoritative, high quality content to users. A good start for this is to mark when questions are good quality, while downvoting poor quality questions is a perfect measure to work towards this. That isn't to say every question with a downvote is poor quality - but that poor quality questions have every reason to be downvoted.

We don't actually have a huge problem with really bad questions here on Gaming. The more technically inclined sites have to deal with things like promoting bad practices or vulnerabilities. Gaming questions generally don't have to worry about that stuff. We only have 19 questions with a negative score, and none lower than -3. They primarily are subjective questions asking about the userbase alongside questions that are completely unclear as what is being asked and questions which don't make sense. More examples would be questions that are more of rants than actually asking anything, or questions that are attempting to circumvent laws. But when it comes to on-topic questions, we actually don't get much which needs downvoting.

  • +1 for "The site is not just a big truck", +1 Removed for not following up with "Tubes". Sep 15, 2010 at 18:01
  • 6
    @LessPop Check the source.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Sep 15, 2010 at 18:03
  • Too clever for me by half clearly. Sep 15, 2010 at 18:12
  • hey, we could actually use HTML comments together with some greasemonkeying as spoiler mechanism...
    – Zommuter
    Sep 16, 2010 at 13:17

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