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Downvoting Response Delays

+15
−0

I asked a question to the Software Development Codidact site here. I monitored it closely for several hours in case there was a quick response. A day later I found a couple comments waiting for me but was not able to respond at the time. Two days later I made the time to get around to answering them, but found another comment waiting for me alongside a downvote. The comment indicated that the user had downvoted the post because of a 2-day lack of response.

I find voting on posts to be a useful tool to sort through questions that may need additional cleanup or focus. I'm not sure that the downvote feature was used correctly in this case. I understand the desire to keep the site clear of directionless content etc., but after searching around on the site's posting guidelines, but I can't convince myself that the downvote was justified.

Was this a legitimate and constructive use of downvoting? If so, what principles of this site may have guided this use case? If not, are there reasons to keep it that way?

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2 answers

+7
−0

I haven't voted one way or the other on the linked question. My view is that (ideally) a vote (one way or another) should depend solely on the content of the question (or answer)[1]. The responsiveness of the asker should not be a factor. However, it does make sense to delay a downvote, especially after a request for clarification is made, to allow time for the question (or answer) to be improved. There's no point in churning votes[2].

If Olin's logic was: "This is a downvote-worthy question, I'll ask for improvement... no response, I'll enact my downvote now," then this seems fine to me. If Olin's logic was: "I don't think this is a downvote-worthy question, but I'm downvoting because the asker is unresponsive," then I don't think this is a good approach.


  1. There are some caveats to this, e.g. competition questions which are not fine during the competition but may be fine afterwards. ↩︎

  2. To be clear, I don't have any problem with people who take the stance that they'll downvote now and change their vote after requested improvements are made. ↩︎

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2 comment threads

So what do you propose to do about unresponsiveness? (5 comments)
Competition questions (1 comment)
+1
−9

I was the downvoter. After I wrote the comment, I noticed that it was actually 3 days since the question was asked, but I decided not to go back and edit it since then the title and body of the comment wouldn't match. (We can only edit bodies not titles).

It is frustrating when you try to work with someone to clarify a question, but they don't respond. It dissipates volunteer energy, and leaves the site with a bunch of dangling ends and unfinished business.

The question was about polygonal meshes, something I've got some experience with from a previous life as a computer graphics guy. I was eager to write an answer, but couldn't for the question as it was written. Three days later it just doesn't feel interesting anymore, in part because the OP doesn't really care. I probably won't answer now no matter how clearly he describes the problem. This is what I meant about dissipating of volunteer energy.

Yes, it was a legitimate use of a downvote because it was my vote and therefore my call to make. There may be general guidelines for voting, but in the end it's each individual voter's decision. This kind of non-responsiveness is not what I think is appropriate for this site, so I voted accordingly.

I do think this is a reasonable discussion to have on meta, so I upvoted this question here. Maybe some arguments will come along to change my mind, but currently I think it was the right call and would do it again in a similar situation.

And no, I don't want to hear excuses "blah blah blah didn't respond". It's not my or anyone else's problem here why the OP didn't respond. We go by measurable actions. If we didn't, then everyone would have convenient internet outages, be held hostage by drug lords, or fall down a well and take three days to crawl out. All I could see and measure was that there was no response within a reasonable period, so -1. That's how life works.

"Do. Or do not. There is no try." - Yoda.

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