I have read a few questions on downvoting. There are a few people who downvote on a question, questions which at times don't need a reason to be downvoted. Since there is no reason justified in doing so, how is the person who asked the question going to know for what his/her question was downvoted?

Does anyone downvote on a question if they didn't like the question? I want to know what causes a question to be downvoted, is it only personal choice?


Basically yes, anyone can downvote (or upvote) any post they feel like it.

It's good to leave a comment explaining why you downvote (quite a few topics on this on meta.SE) but you aren't obliged to. When the downvoter leaves a comment, it gives thr chance to the poster to improve his post. People are responsible for their own votes and they can cast them as they wish.

Since there is no reason justified in doing so.

Again, this sometimes might be different from user to user. I might upvote a post because it seems to me as a valid question, but another user might downvote it because they feel like it lacks any kind of research.

The voting system is trying to work on merit. Like you wouldn't downvote someone out of spite, but it still happens. Most votes though as based actually on the quality of the post.

Despite all these, if a post is well written and not wrong, usually the upvotes are more than the downvotes and they make up for it.


Generally speaking, when you receive downvotes it is good to reference the site voting guidelines. Not everyone can downvote on questions, but users with a reputation of at least 125 points can downvote whenever and for whatever reason they choose. That does not mean that all downvotes are equally valid, and the voting privilege can be abused; in particular, serial upvoting and downvoting, and other types of voting fraud can lead to suspension for offenders.

If you hover your mouse pointer above the downvote arrow on a question, you will see: "This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or is not useful." If you hover above the downvote arrow on an answer, you will see: "This answer is not useful." This seems to indicate that the utility of a question or answer is one of the significant factors in evaluating a question or answer. The goal of Stack Exchange is to provide a searchable repository of high-quality questions and answers, so it would seem that this utility must extend beyond the asker, to future guests of the site.

You could also visit the Why is voting important? help page, where you will find:

Voting up a question or answer signals to the rest of the community that a post is interesting, well-researched, and useful, while voting down a post signals the opposite: that the post contains wrong information, is poorly researched, or fails to communicate information.

If you have made a genuine effort to understand why you have received a downvote, but still can't make any sense of it, the best course is probably to just forget about it. Votes are meant to indicate quality to future visitors, but this is an imperfect system. Sometimes votes are just inexplicable. This kind of thing will average out over time; if you see a lot of downvotes on your posts, then there might be a problem and you should probably reassess your posts.

In the absence of any comment, you don't know if the downvoter was having a bad day, has an axe to grind about some particular topic, or has some thoughtful reason to take issue with your post. It is nice to have comments to accompany a downvote, but it is not required (and voting is anonymous). I actually think that this is a good thing. Sometimes I leave a comment with a downvote, sometimes I don't. I think that I am more likely to vote to close a question than I am to downvote it, and I may or may not leave a comment when I vote to close. There have been a few cases for me when I left a comment, even without a downvote, that was critical of a question and suggesting improvement, only to be met with hostility and personal insults. Certainly most users of the site behave better, but it doesn't take too much of this sort of thing to make you think twice before leaving critical comments.

In your particular case, I only see one question with one downvote. This question is about "how to correctly label suspension chords using chord symbols." It is a little unclear to me exactly what you are looking for here, and if the posted answers are an indication of what you were seeking, this is pretty basic stuff. That does not mean that your question is out-of-bounds for the site, but someone (and I did not downvote this, I am only speculating) may have thought that your question was either a little too unclear, or that it did not show any research effort.

If you participate on SE Music, you will get some downvotes. It looks like you have one downvote in eight question posts; that is not a bad ratio, so don't let that worry you. When they do come, just take downvotes as critical feedback and try to keep improving your posts.

  • Well it wasn't only with regard to a question I posted, but I have seen other questions as well which have been facing the same issue. And others who have asked the same question on downvoting, but haven't received a good answer.
    – Grace
    May 1 '19 at 3:59
  • 2
    "And others who have asked the same question on downvoting, but haven't received a good answer." -- If there are other questions on the site (either the main site or here in Meta) that address your question but don't provide satisfactory answers, you should reference those questions in your question, and discuss why those answers don't satisfactorily answer your question. That is part of the "shows research effort" part of a good question. This is good for everyone; it helps you get the type of answer you are looking for, and it keeps others from wasting time answering the wrong question.
    – ex nihilo
    May 1 '19 at 5:44
  • 2
    If, in the process of describing how the answers to a related (or the same) question don't suffice, you might decide that they really do answer your question, so you don't need to ask after all. Or, by explaining why those other answers aren't satisfactory, you might avoid having your question closed as a duplicate.
    – ex nihilo
    May 1 '19 at 5:48

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