Proposal: Programming Language Design and Implementation

I've looked at the example questions of this proposal, and noticed that about a third of them have downvotes. Curiously, a lot of the downvoted questions don't have any comments on them stating what's wrong about them.

Can you identify any common patterns in these questions that might have lead to them getting downvoted, so that we can avoid posting example questions like these?

  • 1
    There's downvotes on a lot of questions, including the successful ones. However, since each user is only given five upvotes, and we have over 100 questions (and an incentive to use as many votes as possible on the top 40 and only the top 40), that leaves a lot of questions which, regardless of their actual quality, can only ever receive random (or not-so-random) downvotes. Feb 1, 2023 at 22:34
  • 2
    @RedwolfPrograms - limiting upvotes was certainly a matter of much discussion when it was cut to 5. Unlimited downvotes has never been adequately addressed. But your claim that "a lot of questions which, regardless of their actual quality, can only ever receive random (or not-so-random) downvotes" is a weird conclusion to draw. No one is required to downvote (or upvote). What makes you think the lesser-viewed or lower-scored questions are the ones receiving all the 'extra' downvotes?
    – warren
    Feb 3, 2023 at 14:05
  • 1
    @warren That's the exact opposite of what I'm claiming. I'm saying that, assuming downvotes are distributed approximately equally, the majority of questions will have a score around or below zero, since we're (rather successfully) working to strategically divert all of our upvotes toward the top 40 questions. Anything after those 40 won't be getting upvotes, at least not in any significant quantity, but will still be receiving their share of the downvotes. Feb 3, 2023 at 19:48
  • @RedwolfPrograms - that comment sounds like a totally different question. If you want to know "why do lots of questions have no votes", then ask that (and you already pretty much answered it in your comment). If you want to know why "low value questions get lots of downvotes", then the answers provided address it. But it's very weird to think that low-tally questions are receiving downvotes (unless you've actually gone and examined them all...which seems pretty improbable ;))
    – warren
    Feb 6, 2023 at 15:11
  • @warren I'd interpreted the post as talking about "downvoted" as in "negative score", I think you're interpreting it as "having downvotes", even for positively scored ones (which is probably the more correct interpretation, actually). Can you confirm that's the case? Feb 6, 2023 at 15:40
  • @RedwolfPrograms - a negative score, of course, "has downvotes". But low-scoring questions may (or may not) have downvotes...a score of 0 can as validly have no votes as 10 up and 10 down. As for positively-scored questions having downvotes .. some people may think it's a bad question, while others like it. C'est la vie :)
    – warren
    Feb 6, 2023 at 16:17
  • @warren That doesn't answer my question Feb 6, 2023 at 16:25

2 Answers 2


I assume it is simply because people thought they weren't good questions to ask on Programming Language Design and Implementation, whether that was because they felt those questions would be better elsewhere, because they thought the question needed to be modified to be fit for a Stack Exchange site (too broad, too opinionated, etc.), because they thought the question was dumb, or because they had a cavity filled earlier that day and they're feeling ornery.

People should really comment when they downvote, but as warren said, there's no such requirement. All we can do is wonder why they downvoted. If one of your questions was downvoted without any comments, then you could try to make it clearer, less broad, less opinionated, etc. Maybe leave a comment imploring other users to point out any mistakes to you. If you're sure there's no real way to improve it, then...shrug and move on, I guess.

  • 2
    There's also the ever-popular "delete and try again" if it gets downvoted :)
    – warren
    Jan 31, 2023 at 13:00
  • I absolutely hate it when people downvote without an explanation. Whenever I say there should be a requirement, I get downvoted again and then slammed by people who probably do a lot of downvote-without-explanation. Mar 9, 2023 at 21:25

A) there is no requirement to comment explaining your vote - whether there should be, or not, there isn't today :)

B) voters vote as they think best

  • 2
    And no one's left any comments explaining why they downvoted this answer. Looks like all the downvoters took your first point to heart :|
    – user
    Jan 31, 2023 at 4:15
  • 1
    @OriginalOriginalOriginalVI - c'est la vie
    – warren
    Jan 31, 2023 at 13:02
  • well i think there should be some explanation regarding the downvote so the OP and future user know why this question is downvoted
    – Krakalien
    Feb 3, 2023 at 3:56
  • @Krakalien - you're welcome to leave such comments. As are everyone else. But it's not [currently] a requirement :)
    – warren
    Feb 3, 2023 at 14:02
  • While all of that is true, it doesn't answer the question.
    – Mast
    Feb 26, 2023 at 13:11
  • @Mast - yes, it does answer the question :) voters vote as they want: there is no possible way to divine what they were thinking/feeling when they did it if they don't tell you (and there is no requirement to explain your vote)
    – warren
    Feb 27, 2023 at 12:54
  • 1
    The first I find to be wrong and the second is integral to stack exchange @DekoRevinio
    – user221543
    Apr 4, 2023 at 14:41
  • @Starshipisgoforlaunch alright comment deleted, I completely forgot I said that stuff. Anyway, yeah I see what you mean now. Apr 4, 2023 at 16:34

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