I've seen a perfectly reasonable answer, others' as well as my own, where I see a downvote, but no comment to substantiate it.

Just thinking out loud, would it make sense that a downvote attempt causes a comment dialog box to appear and the comment is required to enter the vote. On a different stackexchange board, I don't recall the exact topic, but walked away thinking "who downvotes cheesecake?"

On this board, obviously, a factually incorrect answer should get a downvote, but I frequently see it for nothing I can find.

EDIT - OK. How about instead of a comment, there are choices as with a close vote. Say (a) factually incorrect, (b) doesn't answer question as asked, (c) (something else?)

  • I was involved in a similar discussion at Ask Different but got downvoted for my position that commenting on one's downvote should be expected etiquette. Mar 3, 2014 at 1:42

2 Answers 2


Requiring comments for downvotes has been discussed on MSO and shot down. I guess there is a pop-up suggesting a comment for users with less then 2k rep. However, requiring a comment is problematic. There is no guarantee that it will result in useful comments.

  • 2
    Thanks. I searched here, but not the bigger site. I read the thread you linked to, and understand the discussion. Sep 20, 2011 at 23:06

Some users think the downvote says it all, but usually I think it says "I'm lazy" more than anything else. Perhaps: "I'm having a bad day, and you get to suffer as a result today, just because I can."

  • 4
    That's a bit pessimistic. When I downvote and don't leave a comment, it's because I don't want to get into an argument, but at the same time, I don't want the answer standing out as appearing correct to users who don't have the information to understand the problems with the answer. After all, a downvote is just that - one vote down. It doesn't veto, delete, or otherwise permanently damage the answer (especially because low-rep users can't even see that it was voted down).
    – Nicole
    Sep 27, 2011 at 16:36
  • If the net vote count is negative, then any user can see that the answer was voted down. That, and if arguments will occur, then it might point to a problem with the question itself rather than the answer.
    – mbhunter
    Sep 27, 2011 at 16:45
  • You're right, of course, I was thinking of already-voted-up questions. Personally, I rarely vote down from 0 unless it's really bad. (BTW, I was probably thinking of already-voted up questions because the OP is JoeTaxpayer. Let's be honest, all his answers get upvotes :))
    – Nicole
    Sep 27, 2011 at 18:02
  • Yeah, JT knows a thing or two about this stuff. ;)
    – mbhunter
    Sep 27, 2011 at 18:19

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