This has been in discussion in chat on and off since I first joined up. Random downvotes and upvotes are things that happen. No need to sweat it. It happens, move on.
We've had this discussion before.
I ran into this today:
Stand up against malicious pointless downvoting. Comment people, or dont bother pressing the arrow. — Ender
Note that I'm not trying to single Ender out here; this isn't the first I've seen, just the latest comment that I've noticed.
Voting in this manner is a fundamental shift in the quality of the site. You're no longer voting on the post quality, but on actions taken on the post. Upvoting or downvoting to counteract someone else's vote isn't what Arqade and the entire SE network is about.
As for requiring comments, I agree that they're good to have, but are not necessary. Requiring comments (or worse, upvoting because someone downvoted and did not comment) counteracts the entire reasoning behind anonymous voting.
There are several reasons comments are not required:
- It gives the poster a target. If they don't agree with it, revenge downvoting is a very real possibility.
- New users rarely read the FAQ. It's not a requirement by any stretch, but everyone gets tired at some point of re-iterating the same thing over and over. It's a way of keeping sane. Downvote if it doesn't meet your level of quality, and keep on going.
- There are several orders of magnitude more users of the site than there are active members to keep it clean. If every downvote required a comment, either site quality would drop like a rock, or we'd get, "asdklfjdsiofuasdf" on every downvoted question or answer.
This is something that comes up a lot on Meta.SO. Comments are nice, and if you have the energy to help a user fix their question or answer, fantastic. But upvotes and downvotes are anonymous by design. There is no requirement to post a comment, and by voting on anything but the post quality, it's breaking the entire purpose of Arqade.
The canonical post for Meta.SO: Encouraging people to explain downvotes.
The first line from the answer: The comments are there for people who want to explain their downvotes.
That sums it up nicely.
Just recently, we got a comment that encapsulates exactly why comments are not, and will never be required:
no need to attempt to rewrite history, you most certainly did NOT say that you did not want a solution "through stats/cheating". You said nothing at all about stats, and you said nothing at all about console commands. But you'd better be downvoting the other two answers since neither of them automate the process either, and you wouldn't want to be an elitist hypocrite pr1ck, would you?
Naming removed and non-linked to (hopefully) anonymize the poster.
This is what happens sometimes when someone tries to explain their reason for a downvote, and the poster refuses to accept their reasoning. Granted, it's an edge case, but it highlights the possibilities inherent with being constructive. Sometimes, it's just not worth it.