Downvoting questions

As you've seen in the title, In my opinion, a downvote at least requires a short explanation in the comments or an upvote of a comment if the comment already explains the problem.

Otherwise, the person who asked the question(often a new member of superuser.com), will keep asking questions like this and will wonder, why he doesn't receive any useful answers.

My Feature-request

If someone downvotes a question, then he has to write a short explaination in the comments or, if there is already a comment which explains the downvote, to upvote this comment.


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  • In this example the reason for the downvotes would be pretty clear after the question is deleted by a moderator and/or closed and a reason is given. I should not have to comment on a question like in your example, its not on topic, and would never be on topic.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Sep 30, 2013 at 15:51
  • 1
    Even 10 down-votes on your question and only one comment, LoL
    – Prasanna
    Commented Nov 21, 2014 at 8:26
  • 2
    It is interesting that a similar question got 100s of upvotes meta.stackexchange.com/questions/135/…
    – opticyclic
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 3:15

2 Answers 2


This has been requested hundreds of times in the history of Stack Exchange. The Stack Exchange founders and team are adamant that voting shall always be anonymous. Requiring a comment to downvote would remove that anonymity. Changes were made to remind people to leave a comment when downvoting, but it has not been made and will not be made mandatory.

  • 1
    Allright. Thanks for the answer.
    – Christian
    Commented Sep 28, 2013 at 23:16
  • 5
    The comment added on a down-vote can be a new feature - say we call it "down-vote comment" - where this comment can be anonymous unlike the rest of the other comments
    – Prasanna
    Commented Nov 21, 2014 at 8:27
  • You wouldn't have to leave a comment to downvote, simply upvote a comment that already exists. If you're the first to downvote, then perhaps as @Prasanna suggested, have an anonymous comment.
    – onlynone
    Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 17:52
  • @onlynone Yes, new users will always wonder why they were down voted and may be confused. But with increased use of the site and an eventual increase in rep, they'll figure it out. The system is "good enough."
    – mbmast
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 19:38

There are people who do make good comments and describe actions that the user can do , or ways the user can understand the rules. There are people who properly link to the help pages (which change) so the person can have an understanding.

A person has to wonder though, if everyone made a comment on thier downvoting , it might not be as helpfull to the new user, or to the site. So if a requirement is created, then the requirement would have to also include writing something useful, otherwise it is not going to happen. The comments would be about as usefull as stoning people in the town square was :-)

It of course becomes even more complicated, as each interpretation of why they downvoted, creates a stigmatization, and solidification of rules that in reality do not exist.
This site is "run by the community" the community make up many of the rules by which it operates. To condemn the community to todays rules, is to condemn all future chaging or adaptation of the rules.
If all questions are commented as to why some rule was broken, it leaves in place all over the site a reinforcement of rules that may not be good for the growth of the site. Rules that can someday change.

Having 50000 comments on questions that whine out "Thats against the rules" , will lock down the rules to humans mentally never forgetting the rules. rules which are not locked down. Links back to the malable community information, would always point in the right direction.

But its not an actual rule? The same thing can be written about something that is not an actual rule, or not an actual rule today. It provides more reasons to downvote, based on previously read comments. Eventually everything deserves a downvote based on variations of these same negative comments.

That is my perspective on it.

If 10 downvotes with negative comments were a reason to remove a YouTube video off of YouTube, there would only be 6 videos on the site. And once people started watching them, it would be the end of that also :-)

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