I am going to link Vote Early, Vote Often because this question/discussion has a lot to do with the whole voting scenario.

The question: do you think we have a problem with people not down voting for fear of losing precious reputation on Code Review?

Down Voting Questions

  • do not cost you any reputation

  • should this be done on questions already closed to let others know these are bad questions?

Down Voting Answers

  • DO cost reputation (-1)

  • are we down voting the answers like we should be?

These are things that we should think about, for the sake of the future of this site.

I would love to hear your thoughts.


4 Answers 4


At first I was quite reluctant to downvoting. When you have < 500 rep and getting there took all your spare change (I hope that translates well), you think twice before giving away a single point just because someone wrote a bad post.

This is the same on every SE site BTW - at one point or another, you stop caring much about your reputation score, and just vote as you feel it.

Example: at 951 points, if I can't find two posts to edit (and get to 955), I'll manage to find one bad answer to downvote (and get to 950), just because I like nice round numbers - don't get me wrong, I don't downvote for the heck of it - I'll really try hard to find a post that deserves my wrath be unleashed.

Downvoting questions is different. I don't hold back. Nobody should. A closed question, however, should only be downvoted if you feel it hasn't been punished hard enough by being closed, taking its current net score into account.

A real reason for downvoting CR answers

Psychological instability related to the last digit of one's rep score aside, I think there are answers that, on CR, should be discouraged.

I think we should avoid upvoting "here's your code, better" answers. Moreover, I think these answers should be outright downvoted - CR is about the fishing rod, not about the fish. The problem is that sometimes such answers do have excellent code that's very very good and that does attract upvotes. But to keep CR in shape and all about reviewing code, we should frown upon them, regardless of how good the code is - perhaps write a comment to ask the author "Nice code, where's the review?".

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I agree, I don't like the odd numbers either, something about them not pretty when divided by 2 \$\endgroup\$
    – Malachi Mod
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 21:33
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Gotta love OCD voting. :-) \$\endgroup\$
    – Jamal
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 22:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sometimes opposite answer gains upvotes. codereview.stackexchange.com/a/35221/26200 \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 23, 2013 at 20:16

I don't think that this site suffers from a lack of down-votes. Rather, it suffers from a lack of up-votes, and up-votes are always free.

It's kind of perverse, actually. Often, the good questions are the ones with crappy code. It's a bit counterintuitive to vote up crappy code. On the other hand, short answers attract up-votes faster, and it's hard to write a short review of disastrous code.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ but we should be voting both ways. if we see something that is not right, we should down vote and comment why. right? \$\endgroup\$
    – Malachi Mod
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 21:44
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ There's not much point in down-voting a question or answer into oblivion. Even at -1, the point has been made that it's low quality. It's better to put effort into promoting the good stuff. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 21:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ It depends on what you mean by crappy code. If the code represents that of a beginner who has clearly not listened in class or picked up a book, then I agree. If the code is decent but could still use much work, then I'm okay with keeping it and even upvoting it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jamal
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 21:55
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Unlike on SO, I don't downvote too generously here. If a question is off-topic and is just crap, then I downvote (or I just downvote if it's crap in general). If an answer is not an answer, I definitely downvote it. And I usually don't downvote a genuine answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jamal
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 21:57
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Also, regarding the questions, I find the ones here far better than some of the ones on SO. We hardly ever get any givemetehcodez, recommendations, opinions, and spam, which is great. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jamal
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 22:02

Downvoting has benefits.

A while back I asked what happens to questions with a negative score? on Meta SO. Interesting things happen when a question goes negative.

Current questions

  • At -4, the question does not show up on the front page.

All questions

  • -1 or lower score, more than 30 days old, no answers, not locked... deleted by Community♦
  • 0 score, more than 365 days old, no answers, not locked, low view count, 1 or 0 comments... deleted by Community♦

Closed questions

  • At -3, enables a speedy delete for trusted users (rather than waiting 2 days)
  • Closed more than 9 days ago, not as a duplicate, score less than 0, not locked, no positive score answers, no accepted answer... deleted by Community♦

At the least, every closed question should have one down vote.

We're really good at closing off topic questions, but I don't think we're so good at down voting bad questions. We're even worse about down voting bad answers.

We talk a lot about voting more and this is a reminder that, while it's true that we need to vote more, not all of those votes should be up.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ at -1, answers have a delete answer below them as well, allowing users with a certain amount of rep to cast a delete vote \$\endgroup\$
    – Malachi Mod
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 3:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ If a downvoted answer is deleted, do you get your downvote rep back? \$\endgroup\$
    – Pimgd
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 7:16
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I know that on SO if I downvote an answer and the user delete it himself, I've gotten rep back before. I'm not sure if you get your rep back across the board or if there are special circumstance, but certainly in some circumstances you get rep back. \$\endgroup\$
    – nhgrif
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 11:23

Here is a simple query for Upvotes & Downvotes on Questions & Answers. I filtered it down to August 1st, 2013 to August 1st, 2014.

Upvotes vs DownVotes August 13 to August 14

We're definitely voting more and, generally speaking, upvotes dwarf downvotes. We downvote questions more often than answers.

I'm not sure if that's good or bad, but I wanted to add it here for the conversation. Feel free to update this with new results or improved queries.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I took the liberty to move the whole joining into a CTE, see the edited query ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – Vogel612
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 12:28

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