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I'm referencing this question, which highlighted my comment about disliking anonymous downvoting. The result of that discussion was my education that anonymous downvoting is in some ways integral to how the site works and is a system that is working as intended. However I made it clear I dislike the concept, and I'm curious if I'm allowed to continue to speak against it when it happens?

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    Why wouldn't you be allowed to? – user9983 Jun 1 '13 at 23:13
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    Knock yourself out. But don't expect to be able to enforce it. – Frank Jun 1 '13 at 23:15
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    Yes of course, everybody can voice whatever site related opinions they want, just keep it off the main site and keep it on meta or in chat. – user27134 Jun 2 '13 at 16:14
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Of course you are. But expect to be disagreed with. Vocally. And expect to be downvoted here on Meta. Without explanations.

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  • I'm not quite sure if your trying to be funny because you can be or your being sarcastic because I've pissed you off. – Ender Jun 2 '13 at 0:00
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    @Ender When you've pissed me off, you won't be 'not quite sure'. – LessPop_MoreFizz Jun 2 '13 at 0:30
  • I would like to point out with some amusement that his comment WORD FOR WORD is something i've told people around me for years. This is the first time in my 28 years of age that I've heard someone repeat it back to me. :D – Ender Jun 2 '13 at 17:15
  • Reversal badge! Congrats :D – Doorknob Jun 6 '13 at 20:32
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It's not so much that you can't, it's just not particularly productive. This is unlikely to be something that can be changed without a lot of standing up for it on MSO :-)

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    I agree. Using the questions of random users as a soapbox for commentary on community policy doesn't seem like a good idea. – bwarner Jun 2 '13 at 0:46
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I'm curious if I'm allowed to continue to speak against it when it happens?

It depends. If you're furthering a productive Meta discussion, then by all means.

If you're complaining about it in comments on posts, then no. You'd be disrupting the site with off-topic chatter. Such comments are routinely deleted and you would likely face further moderation if you continued to do it. This is no different from commenting on any other issue other than the content of the post.

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    @Ender I agree that these types of things should be discussed in Meta and not on the questions themselves. Respecting the consensus policy on the main site even when you don't agree with it is important (especially if you expect your peers to do it for other policies they don't agree with). All that said - don't change your stance on this on Meta just to conform. I believe there are many out there that agree with you that anonymous downvotes don't help users improve, and every time you speak up it gives a voice to others who feel the same way. – EBongo Jun 2 '13 at 13:28
  • Some things are hard to change/take a long time to change... but you know they once said we'd never have a real name... – EBongo Jun 2 '13 at 13:29
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Addressing the anonymous downvoting specifically, there's not really much that can be done. Meta.SO gets questions on a regular basis asking for the feature of knowing who downvoted your post, or require a comment when downvoting. It never works, because anonymous downvoting is by design. Throwing barriers into the way of downvotes would mean downvotes happen much less often, and site quality would suffer as a result.


In the general sense, enforcing a policy (or attempting to enforce) a policy that is unpopular and the community doesn't agree with, tends to be looked on extremely unfavorably. There was something similar that happened on Physics, and it's seen as working against the community consensus. Most of it is because it's disruptive, and using random questions as your soapbox.

There will be times you don't agree with the community consensus. I'm not a fan of lore questions at all, but the community has decided we want them. It becomes a personal choice whether or not this is important enough to you to continue participating in the site or not. But starting a one man crusade to get people to follow your policy is not the correct action, and trying to do so will eventually make the choice for you.

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  • I see no problem with one man crusades, but there is a right way and a wrong way like other answers above highlight. Community consensus is something that can change over time, and has on this site. We need users that respect the consensus, but we also need leaders that are brave enough to challenge it (in appropriate ways). – EBongo Jun 4 '13 at 13:36
  • @EBongo In general cases, yes, making an argument for something you feel is wrong is fine. That's why we allow a small subset of ITG, with a screenshot. The thing is, if you make your arguments, and the community judges that your idea is unpopular, you have to abide by community consensus. Rejecting it WILL lead to eventual moderation. In this specific case, it's not a fight worth having; it's been had uncountable times before, and has established rather clearly where the community and SE lie. – Frank Jun 4 '13 at 22:10
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    Yes, I agree it should stay on Meta, not spamming random questions on the main site. Even on Meta, if you want to re-introduce a topic you should have a reason for doing so, not just "I still disagree". My point is just that it takes a lot of force to move the inertia of community consensus, but it can and has been done. In this case I wouldn't expect the result to be changing the basics and forcing comments (for all reasons previously discussed) - but there might be other compromises that address Ender's underlying concern - that anonymous downvotes don't help users get better. – EBongo Jun 6 '13 at 13:12

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