Voting on the questions and answers within the Super User community has often been a lively topic of discussion. Our voting tendencies are deemed important enough that during past Super User moderator elections, scripts were created to help focus attention on the up-vote/down-vote ratio as one of the more vital statistics that could aid us in evaluating the candidates.
Our Super User Help Center explains voting in the following manner:
Voting is central to our model of providing quality questions and answers; it is how …
- ...good content rises to the top
- ...incorrect content falls to the bottom
- ...users who consistently provide useful content accrue reputation and are granted more privileges on the site
It’s only through voting that a class of editors, closers, and moderators can emerge to help run and govern the site. Voting is how site leadership forms.
Taking it a step further, the Help Center guidance for up-votes says the following:
When should I vote up?
Whenever you encounter a question, answer or comment that you feel is especially useful, vote it up!
Conversely, the the Help Center advice regarding down-votes says the following:
When should I vote down?
Use your downvotes whenever you encounter an egregiously sloppy, no-effort-expended post, or an answer that is clearly and perhaps dangerously incorrect.
As we know, the up-vote privilege (available when the community member accumulates 15 reputation) is granted much sooner than the down-vote privilege (granted when the member has acquired 125 reputation). Notably, the Help Center emphasizes the following important point:
What are the alternatives to down-voting?
The up-vote privilege comes first because that's what you should focus on: pushing great content to the top. Down-voting should be reserved for extreme cases. It's not meant as a substitute for communication and editing.
Instead of voting down:
- If the post is spammy or offensive, flag it.
- If the question is duplicate or off-topic, flag it for moderator attention.
- If something is wrong, please leave a comment or edit the post to correct it.
Overall, we can see that the proper usage of both up-votes and down-votes can be beneficial within the Super User realm. However, with all of the aforementioned Help Center guidance at the forefront of our minds, the following question arises:
What is the consensus opinion regarding community members who have amassed a negative up-vote/down-vote ratio during their Super User career: does that represent someone who is effectively mentoring the authors, or have they habitually become too harsh and critical?
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