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I don't think that it is very good practice for users to downvote a question or answer without at least leaving a comment to explain why, It makes me think there are people that just go around and downvote all articles they don't know the answer to.

I think that it should be encouraged to give a reason for the downvote and if you look at something that is -1 and you can't see any reason for a downvote, give it an upvote if you do see the reason it could of been downvoted leave a comment for the person to say why.

This way we can get users to improve their questions and not just feel that they can't get it right.

Do you think this will work or is there already a solution in place or being planned? It really gets at me that people can't communicate and help out the community

marked as duplicate by fredley Jul 16 '14 at 15:51

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    I wasn't aware there was an issue here. – Studoku Jul 16 '14 at 15:03
  • meta.gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/7240/… is worth a read – Studoku Jul 16 '14 at 15:03
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    This has been discussed before – fredley Jul 16 '14 at 15:04
  • I think there is, i see so many posts with downvotes without a comment on it to say why, Why can't we help people get better at posting and asking the right kinds of questions – Flaunting Jul 16 '14 at 15:04
  • that thread is good if the person has read it but surely we can help if someone hasn't followed it – Flaunting Jul 16 '14 at 15:05
  • @Studoku That was more to the point of, "Don't upvote just because someone didn't explain their downvote." There's a little bit of reasoning as to why downvotes don't need comments, but it wasn't the main focus of that. – Frank Jul 16 '14 at 15:13
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    @Flaunting You can feel free to provide a comment with your downvote when you downvote. However, it should by no means be a requirement or expected in any way. – Invader Skoodge Jul 16 '14 at 15:21
  • I never said it should be a requirement i am simply saying that if you want to help someone on the site to learn what they have done wrong. – Flaunting Jul 16 '14 at 15:30
  • I also find it fun how many downvotes this has had with no reasoning for them, tell me what is wrong with the question as a question, I shouldn't be judged on the topic, if voting is purely for the quality of the question and not just whether you like it – Flaunting Jul 16 '14 at 15:31
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    @flaunting Downvotes work differently on meta, here they are usually an indicator of agreement/disagreement with whatever has been proposed. In this case, I suspect it is related to the fact that this has been discussed over and over again, across the network. – Ash Jul 16 '14 at 15:45

The main focus of Arqade isn't to help people. It sounds wrong, because what else do we do here? We're actually kinda like GameFAQs, except with a much narrower focus. We are here to build a repository of knowledge. The ideal is, "Write once, read many". That's why people write FAQs on GameFAQs; to help those that read it. They don't write a new FAQ for every person; it's written once, and read many times by lots of people. Similarly, that's exactly what we do here. Does it help people? Yes. But it happens as a natural byproduct of what we do here. It's not the focus.

We're here to ensure that what goes into that repository is high quality, and makes the Internet better just by existing. We get a lot of users who don't bother reading what we're about. They assume we're a forum, or something like Reddit, and just go nuts. Their reception tends to be a bit grating, because they don't understand what we're about. And we continue to work with those that are willing to learn, so they become better members here.

But back to downvotes: their purpose is to signal what content is good or bad. That's the primary focus. That comes above helping users, every single time. If a user is feeling charitable, they can (and quite often, will) leave a comment about what's wrong, and what needs fixing. I know I do that on a regular basis. That's part of our new user experience, which is a continual work in progress. But that's optional. That's why comments are not required when downvoting.

Our main focus is the quality of our content. If a user continually contributes low quality, it doesn't matter whether they need help or not. They can (and have been) suspended for treating Arqade as a dumping ground of poorly thought out or written questions. We don't mind helping users, but we do expect (and enforce) a level of standard that's much higher than elsewhere on the Internet. And I, for one, like it that way.

  • I completely agree, we are looking for high quality thats why i feel that you should leave a comment to say what is wrong with a question so that the user doesn't go off and ask a different question with the same low quality and they can improve with constructive critisism – Flaunting Jul 16 '14 at 15:29
  • As I said, helping users is secondary. Can we? Yes. Do we have to? No. Quite often, we run into users that ignore all advice given to them, and continue in their spam happy ways. We also have users that come by, drop a ton of crap on us, and never come back. Education for both of these types of users is a lost cause. The thing is, asking questions here at Arqade is a privilege. It is not a right, and we have no obligation to help users. – Frank Jul 16 '14 at 15:32
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    Thats a pretty messed up way to look at the site but if thats the case then fine – Flaunting Jul 16 '14 at 15:36
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    Try sticking around for a year before you criticize my mentality. Your optimism towards helping users gets sucked out of you, very quickly. It's because we don't act like a forum, and we don't have to accept every inane question a user might ask, that I stick around. – Frank Jul 16 '14 at 16:31
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    @Frank While I appreciate the point you are trying to make, I think your approach could use some work. We still need to help users, just the comment/downvote connection is not the way we are going to go about it, and comments like this just sound like we are horrible people who are living in an elitist bubble, which is never going to help anyone. Telling someone they need to stick around for a year to understand your approach to the site and why you think the way you do doesn't help them understand at all. – Ash Jul 16 '14 at 16:37
  • @AshleyNunn I disagree. We help users just by doing what we're doing. The bar to entry here is higher than the rest of the internet, and that's a good thing. No, we're not horrible people, not in any sense. But we have standards that we cannot lower, and that's what makes us different from other areas of the web. It looks like people being mean, due to their familiarity with forums and reddit, and how they work. All it is, though, is ensuring that the experts stick around by giving them the capability of curating content. That's an extremely good thing. – Frank Jul 16 '14 at 16:42
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    @Frank My argument is not with the quality of content. I am obviously very happy with that. I am more concerned about the attitude people take towards new (for whatever value of new) users when they ask questions and don't understand. Yeah, we want the experts to stay, but we also want new people asking stuff for the experts to answer. Questions need answers, answers need questions, and we need to be able to be willing to meet people where they are - otherwise we risk losing out on experts who just haven't gotten the swing of things here. – Ash Jul 16 '14 at 16:45
  • @AshleyNunn I'm probably one of the top commenters on new users' questions, trying to help them out. At no point do I say we shouldn't be helping new users. I'm pointing out we have a higher standard here, that we can try to help new users reach. Not everyone is going to welcome that, nor understand that we're different than everywhere else. There's a point at which you invest in users that can be helped, instead of those that have demonstrated they can't be. And the downvotes are more important than comments. Say what you want, but the system was designed that way for a reason. – Frank Jul 16 '14 at 16:53
  • @Frank I am well aware of how the system was designed and the reasoning for it, and I am not arguing the system whatsoever. I am more arguing people's approach to the system, and new users trying to understand it. I get that we all get tired of repeating the same messages, but at the same time, you can't throw a baby in a pool and expect it to know how to swim. Sometimes, a little niceness goes a long way to helping people understand -why- they need to learn (which is often more of the issue than what they need to learn). – Ash Jul 16 '14 at 16:59
  • @AshleyNunn Like I said, I'm probably one of the top commenters. I'm trying to get them used to the site, and show them the ropes. But I'm not going to shed a tear if I try to help a user who ignores the advice provided gets a rough reception here. Joining a community is a two way street; it's not our sole responsibility to ensure a new user fits in. They need to adapt to our standards as well. It's part of the reason I argue very hard against being nicer to new users than to established members; it creates a double standard. One that will cause lots of confusion for new users. – Frank Jul 16 '14 at 17:11
  • We're already pretty welcoming to new users. I don't see that changing. If anything, it's something we can continue to improve upon. I have no issues with that. But Arqade isn't here to be all things to all people. There's a specific set of knowledge and types of questions we allow. Some people, and some content, related to gaming or not, just doesn't belong here. I think the welcoming new users is clouding that fact, and that's unfortunate. Tiptoeing around it doesn't help us in any way. It's just a fact of the site. – Frank Jul 16 '14 at 17:17

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