I'm not sure I understand why questions should be able to be down-voted. Isn't lack of up-voting sufficient? For a proposal in definition, it just seems perverse. A down-vote merely delays qualification. It contributes nothing to building consensus on what are good questions. You build that consensus by constructive criticism in the comments. Or unconstructive criticism - do whatever you do.

I get why answers need up/down voting. But even if questions do on a live site, does it make sense during definition?

Proposal: Mainframes

(Isn't this actually a meta question? I would add the area51-meta tag.)

Downvoting here makes sense to me. Just as it does on the other sites.

The lack of an upvote just means there isn't active interest. A downvote means that somebody thinks it's actually unwarranted. Also, if there weren't downvotes to counteract upvotes, it would be difficult to get an overall "consensus" of the community.

But it's a good question. I'd be interested in hearing differing opinions.


From comments, it seems that the suggest improvements link should be used for commentary alongside the broader signalling of upvotes and downvotes.

Since answers should not be provided under suggested improvements, it should only be feedback on the quality or nature of the example question itself.

I would say that unlike the other sites where people who downvote like to remain anonymous, it might be more beneficial on this site to explain the reasoning—so that other people can see why some questions might not be useful. However, while such feedback is useful, I think that downvoting should always allow for anonymity—you shouldn't be expected to explain yourself unless you wish to do so.

  • Tagged. Thanks, and I agree on hoping for other insights. – Steve Smith Jun 21 at 13:43
  • It would be helpful if whoever downvotes a question would also say why. I agree some of the questions are not what I would hope would appear on the website, but, still, a reasoned discussion is always a better starting point. – rbanffy Jun 21 at 16:32
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    @rbanffy Do you mean they should use the *Suggest Improvements" link? I had always taken that to mean changing the wording if it's unclear, or something like that. Not an actual discussion. (And certainly not an answer.) But, that and voting aside, there seems to be no method of leaving feedback on example questions at all. – Jason Bassford Jun 21 at 18:57
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    Yes, "suggest improvements" provides feedback, hopefully useful. Down-voting just makes one wonder what the problem is. – Steve Smith Jun 22 at 12:41

The goal of an Area 51 proposal isn't to pass the line as quickly as possible, it's to build a community while putting forward the strongest case for a site so that it has the strongest chance of succeeding in beta.

You might downvote questions because:

  • You don't think it makes sense
  • You think it doesn't fit the Stack Exchange format, for being too open ended, too broad, or too opinion based
  • You think it's off-topic for the proposal as you understand it
  • You think it's badly written, or shows a bad attitude (snarky, dismissive to some technology choice, borderline unwelcoming to some people in the community)
  • You may not think it's off-topic or outside the SE format, but you just don't think it's a great example. Maybe you think it's too basic (if the answer is in the first page of the recommended manual or book or whatever). Maybe it looks too hypothetical, and you think it was asked just to fill up the questions in the site proposal, rather than being a problem someone has ever actually faced.

For many of these reasons you can also vote to close the example questions. But there's a much lower daily limit for those, and it's not as strictly necessary as it is on real sites, as there's no risk of people answering off-topic questions. On a main site, closing questions is the main tool for site scope. Here it's down votes.

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    I would, again, stress the importance of suggesting improvements here. This is not the real site and these are not real questions people need solved right now, but questions people had or think they'll have. Helping refine and improve them is more important than shooting them down. BTW, there are quite a few good beginner questions that were downvoted for what appears to be no good reason (and, since who downvoted them didn't mention a reason, it's hard to guess how to improve them). – rbanffy Jun 22 at 11:15
  • I've used "suggest improvements" to say most all those things. The point is, you cannot communicate those things with a down-vote. But, I totally agree about not just racing to the commit phase as fast as possible. – Steve Smith Jun 22 at 12:51

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