I'm guessing that's why this question was down-voted. The down-voter disagreed with the opinion expressed in it.

Acute or chronic suffering and pain: does anyone talk about their difference?

But, in all honesty, is that really necessary on a philosophy question site? Even if the question is insane, philosophers may be able to clarify the mistake. Not just down-vote without explanation.

I get the necessity of it on coding subsites.

3 Answers 3


Individual users can downvote for any reason --that's just how SE is set up. However, the reputation rules are designed to prevent vendetta downvoting. There is a personal cost to frequent downvoting, and downvotes only remove a fraction of the reputation gained by upvotes.

In my opinion, responsible members of the community reserve downvotes for important reasons, which they explain in comments, but that only emerges in the aggregate. Any individual downvoter is as anonymous and as unknowable as any individual Wikipedia editor.

  • And the tooltip that you get when you hover over the down vote button is a good hint as to what counts as an important reason: "The answer is not useful" for answers and "This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful". Jan 20, 2019 at 21:01

I don't know about the exact context of the question, but if you've actually seen a user down voting based on personal opinion know that it is forbidden. Seeing as question should not present too much personal opinion, a voting based on opinion is obviously wrong. If you encounter such behavior, let the moderators know.

Unfortunately the question didn't get any up votes so I hope people would see it anyway, as I think it's very important to know how to behave around here.

  • I only now see that this got down voted. Any explanation as to why? Oct 4, 2018 at 7:55
  • I'm not the downvoter, but I'm not sure I'd agree that it's "forbidden" to vote on personal opinion, just discouraged. Jan 4, 2019 at 18:09
  • @ChrisSunami well I wouldn't really say "forbidden" as much as it can't really be enforced, but I would say I would hate downvoting a question because I don't like the topic/the question presented. Of course, thinking that the question is poorly written is accepted obviously, but then I would not want to see it as a downvote that gets us nowhere but rather as a comment to reflect what exactly is bad about the question. Jan 22, 2019 at 19:55
  • Yes, but you DID say "forbidden" in your answer. Jan 22, 2019 at 20:06
  • @ChrisSunami because I would like it to happen. I would like it to be forbidden for people to downvote merely because they don't like the idea the question presents. Jan 22, 2019 at 21:03

I have made three down-votes, total, on this SE. For all three I gave a comment why, but I quickly realized that was not the most effective way of responding to posts I did not like for the following reasons:

  1. I lost one reputation point for each of those three down-votes. So the site rules punish me for down-voting. Losing a reputation point should be a wake-up call for anyone down-voting.

  2. The down-voted post lost only two reputation points. An up-vote would have given the poster five points for a question and ten points for an answer. One up-vote on an answer is the same as five down-votes on that answer. Again the site rules do not encourage down-voting.

  3. The down-vote doesn't lead to any further action. A flag, on the other hand, sends the post to a review queue or to a moderator for action leading to a possible deletion. A down-vote is just a down-vote.

  4. If the user disagrees with some assumption, a down-vote without an explanation in a comment doesn't clarify that assumption. It is ineffective except to annoy the original poster. I have no interest in annoying people.

So, I don't see why anyone down-votes on an SE site given the current rules, but sometimes people don't realize the options they have to deal with posts they do not like.

To answer the question:

But, in all honesty, is that really necessary on a philosophy question site? Even if the question is insane, philosophers may be able to clarify the mistake. Not just down-vote without explanation.

Given the above I don't see the necessity of down-voting on any SE site, but I do see the necessity of commenting, flagging and voting to close or delete posts.

  • 4
    This approach may be helpful to some users and meet their preferences, but I don't see it as positive for the community as a whole. Downvoting is an effective and useful tool, and it is made to have costs for a reason. I downvote frequently, and it hasn't hurt my overall reputation any. // Perhaps votes to delete or close should also have penalties attached. Jan 4, 2019 at 18:12
  • 1
    In my experience, giving a reason for a downvote very seldom has any effect without a ton of pushback from the author. Since the authors of truly bad posts tend to not want correction, and respond endlessly in comments with less and less logic, I would rather anonymously downvote, and see whether others agree.
    – user9166
    Jan 11, 2019 at 20:17
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    Personally, I try to respond with an open mind to any downvote that has a comment with it. I've deleted posts, rewritten them, added sourcing, amended them, tweaked them and drastically changed them based on comments. On the other hand, downvotes with no comments seriously irk me. I do make them occasionally if the post is just egregiously bad, or if I know the poster is particularly defensive, or eager to take offense. Jan 22, 2019 at 20:11
  • @ChrisSunami If a post is egregiously bad, I flag it. I have flagged hundreds of them often without comment unless a comment might be constructive. I also modify or delete my own down-voted posts, as you do. Jan 22, 2019 at 20:49
  • @FrankHubeny - Sorry, I meant that last comment as a specific reply to Jobermark's comment, I should have tagged him in it. Jan 22, 2019 at 21:00

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