I can't make sense of why questions like

Does the pessimistic meta-induction say that best scientific theories may be untrue, or merely not true about reality?

are being downvoted and voted to close. I'm tempted to vote to close just to see who this is. I can't explain it except personal dislike, at this stage

more recently

Of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, who is generally considered the better philosopher?



I think especially good question


Is physical space-time real?


Have dead people really died if they don't exist?

not a good a question, but completely understandable (it has generated several answers), and it should not really be closed rather than downvoted.


Did Nietzsche violate Christian morality in his life? Was he urging anyone to do so?


How should an atheist best repsond to finding out they're about to die?

I will keep updating this thread...

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    It's just one downvote and one close vote, probably from the same user. To say "attracting negative votes" seems a little exaggerated. – Eliran Dec 31 '18 at 0:23
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    Also, your selection is biased: you've only selected questions with down/close votes, while you have others with neither (and with upvotes). What could account for this variation? Since it's the same person but different contents, I'd say it's the contents and not the person. – Eliran Feb 8 '19 at 19:46
  • the variation can be easily accounted for by group-think / herd instincts @Eliran – user35983 Feb 8 '19 at 20:03
  • What do you mean? Why would "group-think / herd instincts" affect some of your questions but not others? – Eliran Feb 8 '19 at 20:09
  • oh i just mean that it's an implicit issue... i'm not saying that i'm unpopular because of group think, but that i'm unpopular, and that effects people's voting, magnified by group think... – user35983 Feb 8 '19 at 20:21
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    My point was: some of your questions have upvotes and no closevotes, so why do those question not get down/close votes? – Eliran Feb 8 '19 at 20:33
  • i think those are more obviously amazing questions :D @Eliran i put quite a bit of thought into things – user35983 Feb 8 '19 at 20:37
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    OK, so the difference between the downvoted and upvoted questions is their contents, or quality, or their amazingness, and not the person who asked them. What I'm saying is that it's probably the contents of the questions and not your popularity/unpopularity that explains the votes. – Eliran Feb 8 '19 at 20:52
  • i agree it explains how some are voted down and some are voted up, but not why these questions attract (so many) down votes. you disagree, that's fine @Eliran – user35983 Feb 8 '19 at 20:55
  • @Eliran hall of shame at this point imho – user35983 Feb 13 '19 at 12:11
  • voting to close as unclear is really funny @Eliran – user35983 Feb 14 '19 at 17:27
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    Continuing to update this with more questions when you've already gotten answers is just spam at this point. – Not_Here Feb 15 '19 at 16:21
  • @Not_Here just making a point, for discussion! – user35983 Feb 15 '19 at 16:25
  • don't complain or you'll get downvoted! it's fine – user35983 Mar 18 '19 at 14:42
  • I like the questions you've listed, so not everyone would agree with the close votes. . – user20253 Mar 21 '19 at 11:44

I up-voted your question early on. Thinking back I suspect I did so for some of the following reasons:

  1. You introduced me to the name Larry Laudan. I am reading Marc Lange, but I am not familiar with all the the philosophers of science.

  2. You introduced me to the concepts of "pessimistic meta-induction". That's a mouthful, but I'm glad to hear the term.

I can imagine some people might down-vote the question because they find it too broad or opinion based. I don't have an answer to the question, but I am interested in whatever answers might appear. So, I hope the question stays open until more answers are provided. And I hope people who know something about the question provide an answer.

It is possible that there is "personal dislike" behind the down-vote, but there is little one can do about that except to try to find a way to make the next question even more difficult for someone to down-vote. Look at it is as a challenge.

For what it's worth, I get down-voted for questions and answers that I consider to be perfect. Keep in mind that the person who actually down-voted paid a one-reputation cost to do so.

Regarding who down-voted, you can get a vague idea by looking at the "Users" link on the left panel and select "Voters" for the month or week: https://philosophy.stackexchange.com/users?tab=voters This only lists voters who voted 11 or more times, so not everyone is on this list, but if you see people with some reputation score for the month that is not divisible by 5, they were either down-voted or they did some down-voting. Then click on their profile. On the right is information when they were last seen. If they were not seen during the time of the down-vote, then they didn't do it.

In general it doesn't matter, but if you think there might be a "personal dislike", and you also think you know who that might be, it is good to resolve that for peace of mind. I don't recommend doing anything about it. Just keep participating, posting and commenting the best you know how. Also keep in mind that you can edit and flag posts.

  • There's no rep cost to down-voting questions. – curiousdannii Feb 8 '19 at 8:27
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    @curiousdannii I have never down-voted a question. I am just assuming the same loss occurs for down-voting a question as an answer. Given the ability to flag posts and voting to close, I don't see why one bothers down-voting except to express disagreement with the content of a question. But I use that tension of disagreement to create an answer and then up-vote the question I disagreed with because it gave me an opportunity to write an answer. – Frank Hubeny Feb 9 '19 at 2:36
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    If you think downvotes are only for expressing disagreement with the content of the question, do you only upvote questions and answers you agree with? No, you should vote on usefulness not agreement. Upvote posts which are clear, well argued, and well referenced. Unclear questions are the simplest case of questions which should be downvoted. Blatantly off-topic questions should be downvoted. Most people will downvote broad and opinion based questions too. – curiousdannii Feb 9 '19 at 4:03
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    @curiousdannii Blatantly off-topic questions should be flagged for removal. Unclear questions should be answered to clarify them. A comment may also help. I consider a question useful if it permits an answer that points to pertinent references. The usefulness of the question does not depend on my agreement with it nor on its clarity. It's useful if it generates good answers, answers that are primarily well-referenced with clear descriptions of those references. The answer needs to be clear, not the question. – Frank Hubeny Feb 9 '19 at 5:01
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    You should be voting for each post on its own merits. Good answers don't earn their questions upvotes. And yes, flag/close vote as well as downvote. – curiousdannii Feb 9 '19 at 5:53
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    @FrankHubeny I share with you the stance (in fact this was what I used to stick on), but after realizing that downvotes also serve the role of sending feedback to the author, and helping the site filtering bad content, I tend to downvote more – Ooker Feb 12 '19 at 17:03

Still a bit of a puzzle for me. I think it's a mixture of misunderstanding the scope of philosophy, hostility to questions that are not easily answered, and a low level pettiness about the site rules.

Or maybe I just haven't read enough to ask a question on this site. I'm not sure.

Anyway, I get the picture. My style of question asking is not to be tolerated. That suits me fine, really

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    Maybe make a post asking for feedback on how to improve your questions instead of ranting and arguing that you are personally targeted? That might be more constructive. – Eliran Mar 22 '19 at 16:56

A down vote and a close vote by the same user, is redundant and counter productive. At the very least it seems negative. I would suggest the practice be discouraged.

Vote to close if that can be motivated, or if there is no reason to close and you find the question somehow lacking, only then cast a down vote.

Edit: From comments it seem this distinction is unclear: a down vote endorses the existence of a question while rating its relative value, but a close vote says nothing about value (elsewhere), rather it say a post should not be here at all

L O L , downvoting this post is hilarious!

  • that the class question got 5 delete votes suggests a lot of ignorance around here of basic phillosophy – user35983 Feb 3 '19 at 0:30
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    I downvoted and closevoted (on one of these questions) since these votes serve different purposes; the downvote is about usefulness of a post. Since the "rating" has influence on search results and so on, I disagree with it being redundant. I also cannot see how downvoting is thought of so negatively, after all downvoting is a judgement of a thought, not the person it originated with. Conflating these two seems to be the real problem here. – Jishin Noben Feb 8 '19 at 10:02
  • @JishinNoben I agree with the different purposes of the votes but a close vote would ideally lead to deletion, or improvement, of an 'unfit' question, and as such a down vote would be redundant (remember once you've cast a down vote you will not be informed if the post is edited). The idea of down votes is, as you say, "rating" posts; but on this SE votes are relatively scarce, it can thus easily happen that a post get a "negative" score. Furthermore for Philosophy it is quite easy to misunderstand a post, it is often needed to interact via comments to be able to properly "judge a thought"... – christo183 Feb 8 '19 at 14:04
  • @JishinNoben ...A negative rating, unqualified downvotes (when not even sure you were properly understood), and being "punished" on reputation for a closeable post... All this may discourage new users, which is the issue here. We cannot know whether a person is casting a vote against a "thought" or "the person", we can only suggest how to minimize the perception of the latter. – christo183 Feb 8 '19 at 14:13
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    Questions on this site get closed very slowly. Downvotes can help by indicating the question may be problematic, and if enough are cast, by removing the question from the front page. – curiousdannii Feb 8 '19 at 23:00
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    I agree. I don't bother down-voting a question even if I disagree with the content. It is good that not everyone agrees with me and I don't want to discourage disagreement with a down-vote. Rather, I flag, edit or vote to close a question if these are appropriate. Although it is not common I have seen hostile questions one with only 9 views but 7 down-votes. Why down-vote such a question? Flag the question. That raises it to a moderator's attention to get it removed. – Frank Hubeny Feb 9 '19 at 2:47
  • @curiousdannii Problematic questions should be flagged, and "removing the question from the front page" can actually slow down the closing process even further. As JishinNoben said, there are different purposes to "close" and "down" votes, using then together can only add confusion. I'm not always certain that I properly grasp the meaning of a post, therefore I cast a vote to get more opinions but the those opinions should be as unambiguous as possible. – christo183 Feb 9 '19 at 3:26
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    @christo183 It's good for problematic questions to be off the front page so that new users who don't know the site standards won't see them and be tempted to answer them. Experienced users should be using the queues so having questions off the front page won't affect them. Where did you hear that downvotes endorse questions?? That's not something I've ever heard before. I think there's absolutely no confusion from using both close and down votes. The only time I'd say a downvote is excessive is for a very marginally off-topic/too-broad question from a very new user. – curiousdannii Feb 9 '19 at 3:58
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    The best way to help new users is to close their poor questions super quickly so that they know not to ask broad, unclear, opinion based, or off-topic questions. – curiousdannii Feb 9 '19 at 4:00
  • That is correct (or debatable if you consider helpful comments, edits...)! What is unclear, is whether you (still) hold "downvotes" to be useful in helping new users. – christo183 Feb 9 '19 at 4:19
  • not for me they don't @curiousdannii – user35983 Feb 11 '19 at 17:51
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    I upvoted your "LOL"😂 – Rusi-packing-up Sep 3 '19 at 2:12

I think the fact that this is being voted for close as unclear is instructive. Nothing I've said is semantically difficult, yet the deep thinker in question has decided that there's no difference between being "popular" and attracting negative votes. Thus confusing themselves...

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