Note: This question is not intended to be opinion-based, it's intended for clarification of what is "allowed" (I know there are no rules) as a reason for down-voting.

A complete question has these three main parts:

  • The introduction of the code, containing information about what the code does.

  • The code itself.

  • Specific things that the OP would like help on.

That being said, I don't really see how it's possible to down-vote a post; there is nothing to down-vote.

  • You can't down-vote the because of the introduction of the code; that is merely stating the facts about the code.

  • You can't down-vote because of the code itself; the point of this site is to fix bad code.

  • You can't down-vote what the OP would like for help; they are simply stating what points in their code they think are not good.

(Yes, I know; there are some exceptions to these. For example, troll posts).

That being pointed out, I don't see any possible reason for down-voting a post.

This was created because, the other day, someone in chat said something along the lines of this:

People often assign down-vote to off-topic and up-vote to on-topic.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ possible duplicate of Down Voting Discussion \$\endgroup\$
    – SirPython
    Aug 11, 2015 at 1:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure that "Specific things that the OP would like help on" makes a question good per-se (nor bad per-se) \$\endgroup\$
    – Phrancis
    Aug 11, 2015 at 1:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Phrancis Right, that was bad wording on my part. \$\endgroup\$
    – SirPython
    Aug 11, 2015 at 1:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ People seem to down vote because they disagree, don't know the topic or they just don't like it. Which is wrong really. Just because you disagree with it or it is beyond you, does not make it a bad question. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 11, 2015 at 1:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RohitGupta That is another point: how do you "disagree" with, for example, code? \$\endgroup\$
    – SirPython
    Aug 11, 2015 at 1:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SirPython, I guess its personal. I don't use my downvote unless there is no option. Instead I vote all the other answers up and make a comment on the offending one. As an example, there is a God in my favourite tag. I have the same or more experience than he has. But because of his massive rep, whatever answer he comments and downvotes, the minnions follow. My answers are as valid and simpler than his, but they are always downvoted. I have just have to live with it :-) Actually I tend to frequent other tags more now. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 11, 2015 at 1:46

3 Answers 3


Bumping a bad (off-topic) post off the front page. Any post below -4 is thrown off the front page, so we get an on-topic front page with interesting questions.


Votes are anonymous and, up or down, don't need to be justified to anyone.

Vote as you see fit, regardless of the votes already on a post.


Possible reasons behind a downvote (for otherwise on-topic questions):

  • Code-dump question (probably already implying a review)
  • Lots of typographical errors and no desire to fix them
  • Someone is just having a bad day

Overall, vote as you see fit. You can't expect everyone to follow some set of guidelines, either. Downvoting may only become an issue if, for instance, too many genuine posts suddenly start to receive a lot of downvotes. Even then, users can still downvote for any reason. I still don't see this becoming a problem on this site right now.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I have to disagree with your first 2 points: those are both grounds for a close ("unclear what you are asking") and are not examples of a "complete" post as defined in the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – SirPython
    Aug 11, 2015 at 1:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ You are right that point 2 doesn't belong there. However, some (not me) may still see the first as on-topic as a review may already be implied. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jamal
    Aug 11, 2015 at 1:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SirPython The front page doesn't show whether there are votes to close a particular question (unfortunately?), but downvotes are shown. So when there are a lot of questions that I might be interested in, I'm tempted to first visit those that are downvoted because it's possible that they might need to be closed. \$\endgroup\$
    – BCdotWEB
    Aug 11, 2015 at 10:41

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