As shown by a recent challenge, once a few people have downvoted a question (say, three or four) everyone else thinks that they should downvote too leading to incredibly low scores.

I think we need a reform on how we downvote and/or what we downvote on. This will stop people from becoming disheartened by a -8 score.

  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ Downvotes should not be taken personally; they are simply an indicator that the post could be improved. They are not personal attacks, but they are indicators of quality. (Also, if you want to cap downvotes at -5, why not do the same for upvotes?) \$\endgroup\$
    – Doorknob
    Jul 22, 2015 at 11:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think nobody will be very surprised that I strongly disagree with this post. \$\endgroup\$
    – Geobits
    Jul 22, 2015 at 12:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think there's any real evidence that people downvote just because there are other downvotes. This is a very intelligent community and I think that most people think critically before voting (up or down). \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex A.
    Jul 22, 2015 at 14:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AlexA. Hmm, better upvote that comment. I'm sure it's great. +1 \$\endgroup\$
    – mbomb007
    Sep 9, 2015 at 19:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Did this question inspire a meta-game where truly outstanding negative scores attract as much attention as positive ones just because they are so rare? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 31, 2016 at 15:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Doorknob I agree, but I kinda understand what this posts says. You need a higher score to close vote than to downvote. If a person which cant close vote yet sees such a post, they will downvote not out of opinion, but rather out of "This needs to be closed!". Vice versa, if a person with close privilege would see so many downvotes, he would probably close vote, either peer pressure or personal opinion. You see, there are I bet 200+ users with the ability to close vote, and not everyone is a perfect robot that does not include their opinion in a free court of closing a question. \$\endgroup\$
    – devRicher
    Jan 6, 2017 at 15:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would vote on this but it is at -15 :P \$\endgroup\$
    – user63187
    Sep 13, 2017 at 2:24

3 Answers 3


Don't be disheartened by very negative scores

In many ways, a very negative score means you did something right - people looked at your question. Maybe it was unpopular, but the best solution is to look for ways to improve. This leads to my second proposal:

Consider leaving comments when downvoting.

As shown in the linked question, @xnor left a very helpful comment about exactly what was wrong with the question, an avenue for the question asker to improve. This comment was upvoted by many people. I think this is exactly what should have happened.


I don't think it makes sense to put a limit on the votes of a post -- people vote the way they want, there should not be a restriction on that.

What I do agree with, is that people should change their votes in case a post is edited to resolve specific problems.

  • \$\begingroup\$ If someone wants to go back and check questions and answers they have previously downvoted that's fine, but I think expecting that of everyone misses the point of community moderation. I don't see any problem with people downvoting and then moving on. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 28, 2016 at 20:59

Stop the score from decreasing below -5

If the score is at -5, people should not downvote anymore, and if anyone makes the score decrease, you yourself should return the score to -5 by either upvoting or retracting your own downvote (if possible).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Entirely unenforceable, plus it takes away the user's right to vote as they see fit and express their opinions through voting. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex A.
    Jul 22, 2015 at 19:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ In addition, when a downvote is canceled by an upvote, the poster nets +8 rep! \$\endgroup\$
    – lirtosiast
    Sep 13, 2015 at 19:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasKwa Call it consolation ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – Beta Decay
    Sep 13, 2015 at 19:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ If a question score is -5, it was already indicated that the question not good, and it is trivial to continuously vote down. +1 \$\endgroup\$
    – user85052
    Jul 7, 2019 at 8:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @A__ Damn, it's been four years. Time flies, huh \$\endgroup\$
    – Beta Decay
    Jul 8, 2019 at 10:28

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