Is downvoting a question in a proposal you don't like a valid way of expressing your objection to that proposal? It seems to me that the quality of the question should be judged separately from the validity of the proposal. Which isn't to say that only followers of a proposal should be allowed to downvote example questions. The question, rather, is if this is the correct way of showing your dislike of a proposal.
No. Absolutely, positively, no.
This has been an issue for Pastafarianism. A lot of people opposed the proposal, and so a lot of questions were downvoted. This issue was raised in a question by James Jenkins that has since been cited numerous times.
The logic of those who downvote because they dislike the proposal is perhaps as follows:
- The proposal needs a certain number of questions with a score of 10 or more in order to reach the commitment phase.
- There's not a lot I can do to stop the proposal once it reaches the commitment phase.
- I want to stop the proposal.
- I shall downvote example questions.
This is incredibly petty, and goes against the idea of example questions. They are used to try to define what the site will be like. You upvote if you think the question should fit; you downvote if you think the question should not fit. That's how the system should work. Don't downvote the questions because you dislike the proposal - that's not what votes are for.
As a side note, you could have a great proposal with bad questions, or a bad proposal with good questions, so the two aren't necessarily mixed. Most good proposals have a mix of good and bad questions; this helps define the scope of the site.
No, it's not appropriate.
You should judge the example question independent of the proposal.
This should work in both directions. Many people upvote junk questions only because they support the proposal, which is as bad as downvoting good questions because of unsupporting of the proposal.
However, many people feel harassed on the basis of the proposal scope, when most, or even all example questions are so terrible that they deserve downvoting (those all astral projections etc.).
I'm still fairly new to Area 51, but I would think that adding a Meta/Discussion Zone question openly voicing concerns about a proposal would be a more effective and mature way to handle sites that one might disapprove of.
I say "more effective" because, if the concern is really valid and is widely supported, other users may read it and be persuaded.