Firstly I know this is beating a dead horse. I'm not even going to link all the previous discussions. They are easy to find. But I would draw attention to a scenario presented to me by this: https://philosophy.stackexchange.com/a/54336/33787

An answer by @CortAmmon got a downvote. It was favorably received by the Questioner. He edited the answer. The downvote remains.

How should I learn anything from this? / How does this help me improve my content?

Now given votes must be anonymous, and explanation not required, can we get the following mechanisms implemented?

1.Downvoters be notified when edits are made to the content.

2.Once a downvote is cast an option to make anonymous comments is enabled.


Firstly, these are mechanisms that are deeply embedded in the StackExchange platform, so there is no way for us to handle it differently just for one site.

This leads us to Meta.StackExchange - and we can see that this idea has a long history there (you should read the comments to the answers, including follow-ups, as well).

In short, this has been discussed at length with community managers involved and apparently lead to nowhere as of yet (see tag status-declined).

Secondly, how answers are received should really not be any standard for evaluating the quality of the answer in terms of being a good fit for StackExchange. The resulting summarised votes in effect should, but due to the relatively small basis of expert members (both in terms of understanding the purpose, rules, and mechanics of StackExchange and in terms of a knowledge base in philosophy), they not necessarily do on this site.

If you answer to a question that is a bad (or even a good) fit with an answer that is a bad fit (e.g. advice, opinion, obscure position) and helps the questioner personally, does this make the answer a good answer that should be upvoted on StackExchange?

No, definitely not. StackExchange aims for a database of objective knowledge, not a collection of personalised and individually addressed dialogues - there are in fact other platforms for that.

Thirdly, to the specific case that triggered your request. I tried to read very carefully (took three different statistical undergraduate courses) and in my opinion, it really is not that good an answer.

It dips into statistics but leaves out the highly related number theory behind it: On one hand, "exact" numbers can in fact be intervals e.g. the example "0.31415" is in fact the interval between (including) 0.314145 and (excluding) 0.3141549¯ (periodical 9), allowing for probabilities. On the other hand, periodical numbers (which in a very particular mathematical sense are "exact") then become a different problem - how to measure that we really observe it and not an indiscriminately smaller or bigger number? The answer addresses the first aspect in the solution to the puzzle, but only implicitly.

Also, the mathematical descriptions are much more extensive than the addressing of the "philosophical" core of the problem that could be discussed (How do we get these probability functions? What are their reliability and validity - is it ever 100%? Why can a theory never supersede empirical factuality? Can exact values become empirical content at all?).

There are a number of authors that address these very questions explicitly and could have served to construe a referenced, well-founded answer. The theory of counterfactuals by Lewis and several authors in the philosophy of science come to mind. But instead, we have a narrative that kind of misses the point - philosophically, that is. Therefore, it is not really a good fit for Philosophy.SE. Thus, I do not even see any good reason for retracting the specific downvote despite the edit (disclaimer: was not mine).

  • 2
  • Good point on considering number systems other than real numbers (in real numbers, 0.314145 and 0.3141549¯ denote the same number, but in other systems besides real numbers they can be different). – Cort Ammon Aug 6 '18 at 14:01
  • is that "in effect should" but rarely do? or are you making a different point in the preceding sentence? – another_name Apr 17 at 6:59
  • 1
    @another_name As written, the mechanism is such that downvotes are normally evened out, but due to the relatively small and not necessarily knowledgeable community here there are occurrences where downvotes have much greater effects than they should have. This is not always the case, but often enough to solicit discussions like this one time and again. – Philip Klöcking Apr 17 at 9:39
  • ah i get it! thanks! – another_name Apr 17 at 9:45
  • one thing that annoys me is that the more questions i ask on meta to try and fix my questions, the more downvotes i seem to get on the main site. while that is debatable, it's very frustrating to keep asking myself the same question (why all the downvotes?). especially when i do respond to comments in my edits, and no-one follows them up by retracting votes, saying i've fixed the issue, etc. – another_name Apr 17 at 11:59
  • How can stack exchange claim objective knowledge when it claims to be democratic by nature? This is a severe bandwagon fallacy. Second, the majority of objective answers provided by long running members do not give links, or provide loose quoted that either are not or cannot be referenced. This is no problem in itself, until threads are repeatedly put on hold by specific members. Would it be better that rather than putting a thread on hold, if it receives no answers with a given period of time, it just self deleted by the system? The hold function negates this and leads to a cabal. – Eodnhoj7 Aug 31 at 16:43
  • 1
    @Eodnhoj7 If you read the answer carefully, this is exactly what is described under "secondly". Long running members not necessarily give the best answers, nor do votes necessarily reflect the quality. – Philip Klöcking Aug 31 at 18:04
  • 1
    @Eodnhoj7 This would be counterproductive. Questions without an accepted answer are regularly pushed to the top by the community bot so that they receive further attention. This lead to years-old questions receiving very good answers by new members. Also, your idea does not differentiate between very good questions which require a high level of expertise to be answered and bad questions which cannot be answered properly. Additionally, there are times when bad questions receive a lot of opinionated answers. Closing questions is a necessary tool to face these cases. – Philip Klöcking Aug 31 at 19:59
  • 1
    @Eodnhoj7 Your assumption makes no sense: Questions and answers are individual efforts, so no question is "answered democratically". How to handle the products of these individual acts is subject to democratic processes. And if someone asks a question on a certain book of Nietzsche and how it fits into his thought and it requires knowledge of the editorial work and history of the book which is simply not present in the community, I would still deem it a perfectly on-topic and valuable question and would not have it closed or even deleted in hope of someone turning up who can give a good answer – Philip Klöcking Aug 31 at 20:20
  • 1
    @Eodnhoj7 There is a reason, see here. Basically, there have been enough negatively received questions so that the system installed a temporary ban to prevent you from posting even more negatively received questions and try to understand the purpose and rules of StackExchange first. Also, a question is put on hold to signal problems which can be addressed by editing the question. Allowing for more answers does not improve the question at all. – Philip Klöcking Aug 31 at 20:42
  • 1
    @Eodnhoj7: Firstly, you can and should edit your content yourself, people cannot look into your head and do that for you. Secondly, these are active members with sufficient reputation of which we sadly do not have many. This can potentially lead to elitist circles, but the close reasons are crystal-clear and valid. Thirdly, often the worst questions have the most answers. If you think you have a right to post whatever you like here and be heard, you are wrong. Your use of terms is either wrong or you couldn't make yourself understood. Both cases justify putting on hold. – Philip Klöcking Aug 31 at 20:58
  • 2
    @Eodnhoj7 In the end, you are on the wrong side of the argument. Those people got their reputation by posting questions and answers others found valuable. Right and wrong are no absolutes, nor can anyone here act on a whim. We have rules. Most of them are codified in the help center, some are more or less clearly formulated here on Phil.Meta. I have revised the closures and found them to be appropriate, but if you like, you can still turn to the community team (button at the buttom or your profile page) and have another instance of revision. – Philip Klöcking Aug 31 at 22:03
  • 1
    @Eodnhoj7 There is a silent number of members (moderators included) who could vote to reopen. It's just that you have not been able to put your questions in a way that others would think them suitable. They are a small number a greater one does agree with. That's not undemocratic, that's simply about your ability to fit into the rules of the site and/or make yourself understood. Also, as I repeatedly wrote, put on hold does mean it should be revisioned and the questions can still be seen and edited. Only if they are abandoned, they eventually disappear. – Philip Klöcking Sep 2 at 6:02
  • 1
    @Eodnhoj7 You basically argued a lot about stuff that is not warranted by the sources, e.g. the word "axiom" does not occur on the infinitism wiki and since axioms are considered self-evident, it does not make sense to talk about axioms requiring explanation by other axioms. In the end, the whole thing appears like you wanted to make a point and the title question was rhetoric in nature. Actually, I would have closed it for pushing a personal philosophy - one which is based on problematic assumptions and/or use of terminology. – Philip Klöcking Sep 2 at 9:38

In summary, to what I admit to be an overly brief argument, if the thread is put on hold or downvoted this requires responsibility by the members involved to state their case, provide optional editing, counter answers and/or etc. The key word is "responsibility".

  • The problem v simply is this: downvotes and vtcs are both negative actions – at least from pov of recipients. Closing in fact is more negative. Yet vtc incurs no cost whereas downvote has at least a small cost. This non-conformance between the (formal) SE-rep and the actual cost of human-hurt is the gap. – Rusi Sep 1 at 6:26
  • Actually they are negative acts because they limit participation. I cannot down vote an answer I do no like, thus leading to an inherent elitism in the voting process considering new questions and members are sorted put by a select few before they can participate fully. It is not a question of reputation as in ego points, but rather the ability to participate. If a new member cannot down vote, or comment because they are down voted in a manner which does not allow participation it becomes an issue when the downvotes are by a small group. – Eodnhoj7 Sep 1 at 19:03
  • 1
    It is natural to chaff and cry and clamor and rebel against "oppression". You may call it elitism. I prefer to call it aristocracy.... of the intelligent, educated. In the end democracy invariably tends to mobocracy, order towards aristocracy. Just compare how much better stackexchange is than twitter/facebook....Hell even than wikipedia! In short : if you call for local evolutionary tweaks, you have my support. If for total dismantling of aristocratic infrastructure then sorry... I'm with Plato 😇 – Rusi Sep 2 at 2:02
  • @Rusi...a mob of public opinion and a mob of assumptions inside the head of one or a few men are both the same thing....both are groundless and emerge from emptiness. Plato failed to take into account the basic up and down wave movement of mob/aristocracy/mob/aristocracy was a platonic form in itself which necessitated his political structure as strictly "anti-platonic" and self contradictory. Plato negated Plato without Plato knowing...assumption is the abyss which hides the most monsters and Plato assumed to much. I am calling for an unban on questioning and deletion of unanswered "?"s. – Eodnhoj7 Sep 2 at 4:21
  • If what you call for is aligned to this table you will suffer less and help others more – Rusi Sep 2 at 6:14
  • As you can see your concerns are not new, and if you look carefully at this: philosophy.meta.stackexchange.com/a/3880/33787 you'll see that the 'close vote elite' you allude to are not the likely cause of the automatic question ban. But please do not be discouraged, the processes here are a little slower than one would expect, but most of it does eventually make sense. – christo183 Sep 2 at 7:06
  • @Rusi...I wouldn't call it suffering or not suffering at this point. However, unless I misunderstand something, those "privileges" are made through votes. New members cannot down vote, thus new members cannot really participate can they? If that is the case then those with or without privileges are determined by a select few which determine a screening process. – Eodnhoj7 Sep 2 at 8:01
  • @christo183...the same core names repeat in the hold thread option. That is public. And there where times where a member would offer editing, it was accepted, and "on hold remains". And you can quote threads inside the stack exchange as much as you want but going to outside sources gives a mixed review...alot of negative like 2.5 stars. With upvoted strictly being a proverbial "its great"...and that is it...like someone was trying to keep the score from going to low. With that being said, the word "context" and "vague" is thrown around alot...there is not much that doesn't confuse experts – Eodnhoj7 Sep 2 at 8:06
  • Links I've given wasn't meant to convince you that everything was great, rather show that you plight isn't unique. We are all aware of the limitations of this format, but meaningful communication needs some sort of structure... You can see that our privileges table philosophy.stackexchange.com/help/privileges are compressed wrt overall SE, this is only one compensating measure. If you really think there is "an elite" victimizing you: name them to the moderators, but please be sure it isn't simply the few taking on the responsibility for clearing the review queues. – christo183 Sep 2 at 8:52
  • @christo183...and how does one differentiate responsibility from abuse of power? Regardless, my stance as to my own predicament is simple. If noone can answer withina given period of time, I would rather just delete the question and move on to another question with a set limit of total questions presented at one time to prevent flooding. If deleting a question, deletes the dislikes/holds, which ban me from the system...then I will just delete the question. – Eodnhoj7 Sep 2 at 20:06

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .