This is about this question: How to ask cashier out for date

I think the premise of this question is a little flawed (as in, what OP intends to do merits a frame challenge), but the question itself is totally fine. It's about interpersonal skills, it's not a duplicate, it's clearly defined and not too broad, and it's not off topic.

Despite this, within minutes of being posted, it attracted 4 downvotes and 2 close votes. I've seen this happen before - people disagree with the premise of a question and react by downvoting & closing it. I don't agree that we should do that.

This one eventually came around but the implications aren't nice.

Are we using downvotes correctly in these cases? I don't think just because you find that OP has a wrongheaded intention that it merits a downvote. I think answers should address that. And I think we're doing our site a huge disservice by trying to erase questions that people will have and will find useful.

The goal after all isn't to ask only the least upsetting questions possible, but to build a site of useful Q/A for people. By getting rid of it, we're not serving to get rid of the behavior outlined in it. In fact, by having decent answers underneath, we might do more to change people's minds.

Using downvotes because you find a questioner's intentions unsavory doesn't strike me as useful. Instead, it somewhat lends credence to the accusation that we've turned into a clique which will erase opposing viewpoints at will - I think we should avoid that.

  • I think a part of this is that the questions on this site are very much written to help a specific case, instead of creating a canonical Q&A. As such, it is 1) easy to lose the canonical Q&A perspective when voting and 2) vote more for the question itself, rather than its value in a broader scale. – JAD Feb 27 '18 at 8:03
  • 1
    That perceptive comment could be expanded into an important answer @JAD. – English Student Feb 27 '18 at 15:24

tl&dr; You aren't making the world a better place by driving out people who could really benefit from learning why their desired approach to a scenario is distasteful or otherwise "unacceptable" (or whatever other reason you are downvoting).

I have also noticed this. I was just looking at How to talk to a girl who's sitting next to me but wearing headphones? and I was dumbfounded with the net 0 score this question had (+12/-12), because to me it looks like our standard question style. Most of the answers are "You don't, because you'll be rude" responses, which makes me inclined to think people are downvoting because they think OP is rude or inconsiderate.

However, the people who are asking to do "rude" things and looking for ways to go about them are the ones that probably need attention from us the most! Questions that make you wonder "How can someone possibly think this is a good idea?" are the ones that need more answers, more options, and more explanations to help OP see that the behavior they're wanting to perform isn't socially acceptable (or at least preferable) and that it might be better to go about their goal another way.

Unfortunately I think with IPS, since every question/answer has a more personal vibe to it, I think it's natural for users to vote personally as well ("I don't like it, so it gets a downvote"). I'd be more disappointed in the individuals casting close votes on questions they don't like, but the downvotes aren't very great either. As I said above, OP's in these situations need guidance, and they're giving us the opportunity to assist. Downvoting them and closing their questions only discourages them from asking us anything, and they aren't going to come back or ever learn better interpersonal skills.

  • 1
    I think one of the comments on the headphones question is an explanation for downvotes (maybe another comment was deleted?) - "Perhaps some of it is because we already discussed and answered in chat a few weeks back about this very thing. So maybe it feels a little disingenuous to some people to ask it here again.".. but that's an issue specific to that particular question. – Em C Mod Feb 27 '18 at 16:00
  • 3
    @EmC Ah, that's curious. Although I'm kind of wondering why chat discussions would cause that many downvotes... I personally don't frequent chat so for me (or other users who don't look at chat) it looks really weird for this question to be so heavily downvoted. – Jess K. Feb 27 '18 at 16:16
  • 3
    Yeah, it seems to be a sort of meta-effect.. according to sphennings' answer he'd already asked in chat and got a bunch of "don't do it" answers, so maybe people got annoyed he still posted the question? idk, I've been hanging out in there more recently but wasn't around for this bit.. – Em C Mod Feb 27 '18 at 16:22
  • @EmC Fair. I can see how maybe that ensued some disgruntled "we told you not to do this" votes... but I'd probably post the question as well if no one gave me better advice than just "don't" (hoping the community could help me if the chat users couldn't). – Jess K. Feb 27 '18 at 17:01
  • Frequent and regular chat users often vote together to "quickly and effectively" deal with a post that "needs" to be closed or deleted @Jess K, as also the required number of votes to auto-delete rude or abusive comments. To be fair, my sole request on chat for an undelete vote on somebody's answer (which the user had edited and expanded satisfactorily after it was deleted) was instantly met with the required undelete vote by a kind member. – English Student Feb 27 '18 at 17:10
  • 9
    I do not see why simply by having discussed a question on chat makes it unworthy of being asked on the main. Chat is not always listed on google search results, and chat is not vetted by votes. We need these Q&As visible to all, on the main site. – NVZ Feb 27 '18 at 17:55
  • 3
    @NVZ agree! We also should keep in mind to vote on the content, not the user. Given the nature of the site - and especially with a heated chat discussion - it is easy to have personal feelings about the circumstances of the post, but that's not how voting should work. – Em C Mod Feb 27 '18 at 21:07
  • 4
    @NVZ Yeah, whether or not something has been discussed in chat is completely irrelevant to whether it should be asked as a question. Actually, if it merited discussion in chat, it seems like a point in favor of posting it as a question. – IllusiveBrian Mar 1 '18 at 13:32
  • I was one of the people that downvoted the Headphones question. Why? Because I already explained to the OP in chat that I thought their question would not be the best question for this stack. – Tinkeringbell Mod Mar 1 '18 at 14:08
  • 3
    Also, the 'I asked in chat and got a no' makes it dangerously close to those 'tell me what I want to hear' questions, that I hope are discouraged on this Stack. That makes 2 marks, which I found enough to warrant a downvote to discourage a random next person from doing so again. – Tinkeringbell Mod Mar 1 '18 at 14:15
  • 6
    @sphennings Chat isn't a place to ask questions though. There's no upvoting or downvoting. If you're voting like Tinkeringbell, because you think it's a bad question - that's fine. But if you're voting just because it's already been asked and discussed, that's not as fair. Chat isn't a valid place to for official SE questions/answers because the systems in place to help moderate are not present. – Jess K. Mar 1 '18 at 14:43
  • 7
    @sphennings Not to mention all the people who don't frequent chat are wondering why a question that looks pretty typical for IPS has -13 downvotes, which makes for a confusing image for those trying to learn by browsing. – Jess K. Mar 1 '18 at 14:44
  • 4
    @sphennings I see. I think at this point I'm more confused on why we aren't discouraging people from treating chat like a second place to post questions but that's a separate thread if we want to discuss it, probably not for this post. – Jess K. Mar 1 '18 at 14:56
  • 1
    @JessK. We're starting to do that as a response the headphones question. It was a topic of discussion in chat last night. – sphennings Mar 1 '18 at 14:56
  • 1
    For the record: All I wanted to clarify is that I personally didn't downvote that question because it's answer was 'don't' and the intention was rude. I've learned from my mistakes, and will leave a comment next time explaining this. – Tinkeringbell Mod Mar 1 '18 at 14:59

It seems that downvoting and close-voting go together to a certain extent, in that some members on IPS.SE do encourage close voters to actually downvote the close-worthy question at the same time, apparently because it has a fundamental defect (close-reason) that needs to be highlighted to the community by means of downvote. However it's not necessarily due to a personal disagreement with OP's point of view. Some members just have a very particular idea how a question should be posted on this website. They are technically right in many cases but many a new member doesn't study the help pages or previous questions before posting their query here.

  • 3
    In this case maybe there's a problem with the "some members" who have "particular ideas" and there's some education that needs to happen on our end too, so that we aren't closing things that maybe are fuzzier on structure or scope but still fit basic guidelines to be on IPS. I agree that many are correct in this assessment but I also think there's a certain laziness with some where they don't try to help improve questions that have basic and simple flaws that could be fixed, and just lazily vote to close. – Jess K. Feb 27 '18 at 15:36
  • 1
    You said it right even if I didnt. Well I hope you understand that my answer was carefully worded neutral to avoid provoking a debate with those close voting and delete voting members who always -- maybe rightly -- feel they are casting close and delete votes to protect the standard of questions and answers on this website @Jess K (because I have conflict aversion disorder.) I always wonder how a new member is supposed to know what we learn by participating intenxively on SE sites for months or years. – English Student Feb 27 '18 at 15:47
  • Oh for sure. I was just clarifying how there are seemingly issues on both sides of the fence (new users vs users with mod powers) with people taking actions before being fully vested/informed of the rules :) – Jess K. Feb 27 '18 at 15:50
  • Your point is very well made @Jess K though I suppose someone will disagree with me for saying so. It may be expressed as a downvote on my meta answer, which is fine on meta. Again it is not a personal disagreement but a different point of view. Many close voters and delete voters (if not downvoters, who are anonymous at all times) feel the need to justify their actions. But I always wonder how a new member is supposed to know what we learn by participating intensively on SE sites for months or years. So the program to "educate" new users is an important idea. – English Student Feb 27 '18 at 15:52
  • It's OK, I just wanted to clarify that I don't personally support that practice @Jesse. Saying so in the answer would have attracted a huge debate with dedicated close voters. – English Student Mar 9 '18 at 14:31
  • This way of voting should not be happening in the first place. The help page keeps down-votes and close-votes distinctly seperate. Down-votes are, and I quote - "not meant as a substitute for communication". It would seem some people also don't check the help pages when learning how to use privileges – Jesse Mar 9 '18 at 14:38
  • @Jesse, true, but the questions I have close-voted until now, have always been is unuseful, unclear or does not show any research effort as well. True, they should be evaluated separately, but I believe that we might be a bit less cuddly and just downvote stuff that won't make this a better site (= unuseful). Because it's really frustrating to see entirely off-topic questions getting 1 or 2 upvotes (Am talking about such blatantly off-topic stuff as questions about code, that we sometimes get). – Tinkeringbell Mod Mar 9 '18 at 15:48
  • 1
    @Tinkeringbell The help section describes what it means by "not useful" in the following paragraph: Use your downvotes whenever you encounter an egregiously sloppy, no-effort-expended post, or an answer that is clearly and perhaps dangerously incorrect. If we should be down-voting all questions that we close vote it would say so. – Jesse Mar 9 '18 at 15:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .