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I just wondered if I was getting downvotes and close votes for (IMHO the entirely spurious) reason that surely that's not the right question.

Is this a valid reason for the vote?

The question you asked just can't be relevant

i.e. it's

not useful

for anyone, especially the asker.

closed as unclear what you're asking by Keelan, Joseph Weissman Aug 30 '15 at 14:44

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

3

Downvoting is a privilege given to users after reaching 125 reputation. The rationale is that at this point they know the system well enough to judge what makes a good question and what doesn't. There are no strict rules for when to vote how, just guidelines ("no research effort, unclear or not useful" is the mouseover on the downvote button). After all, we cannot make a rule for everything.

I just wondered if I was getting downvotes and close votes for (IMHO the entirely spurious) reason that surely that's not the right question.

I have absolutely no idea what you mean here, and I would wish you would stop asking this kind of hypothetical questions on meta. Either give a concrete example, or don't ask at all. This can be classified as 'not a real question'.

Is this a valid reason for the vote?

Per the above, everything that a 125-rep user deems valid, is valid.