I have posted a couple of questions on this website. Based on this small dataset, there seem to be a trend that hard-to-answer questions get downvoted, and even closed for some random reason (too broad, opinion-based, etc.). Even though from time to time there actually exists a good answer, which is hard to share when the question is closed or roomba-removed. Voters are free to do whatever, except serial serial voting, but I'd encourage genuine voters to think twice about whether they are downvoting/closing a question because it seems difficult or impossible to answer.


2 Answers 2


I am not sure if this answers your question in general, but it is related to the questions you tend to ask on the main site.

While I do not tend to down vote your questions,when reading your questions I often struggle with how they fit with our don't ask "policy":

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face.

While your questions tend to be practical and answerable, I don't always see how they could be about actual problems you face.

As a side note, I am not sure "actual problems" should be a requirement.

  • I think that “actual problems that you face” is copy-pasted on all SE without thinking too much about it, and the "problems that you face" is anyway not averrable. Mar 20, 2016 at 17:45
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    @FranckDernoncourt the issue I see, and it is not a big issue to me but might be why people down vote your questions, is that I fail to see the problem that your questions are about. For example, I do not see why anyone needs to know how much it costs publishers to "process" books.
    – StrongBad
    Mar 20, 2016 at 19:36
  • Ah, I see. I fail to understand why people would downvote on that basis, but you're probably right. Mar 20, 2016 at 19:38
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    @FranckDernoncourt As somebody who thinks this rule (“actual problems that you face”) makes sense, let me explain myself. This rule aims at making sure that SE remains useful for readers, by preventing questions on purely rhetorical or philosophical topics or clearly unrealistic scenarios. In this light, I would say that most of your questions have been ok for me personally, but I am sure there were a few that I also downvoted. This would have been because they asked for "data on this and that" more than for a concrete, useful information.
    – xLeitix
    Mar 24, 2016 at 13:25
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    @FranckDernoncourt To be concrete, a downvote is not a close vote. A close vote means that the question is out of scope or otherwise not well-formed and should be removed. A downvote may sometimes just mean that the question is likely not particularly interesting.
    – xLeitix
    Mar 24, 2016 at 13:27
  • @xLeitix I guess dataset requests are a (large) subset of reference request. I typically use them to orient my opinions on some academic-related questions or decisions. Sometimes I post them on opendata.stackexchange.com when it's really data-heavy. Downvoting is not a close vote, but may cause the question to be automatically deleted (even if a question has a score of 0). That's my only issue with downvotes. I've had dozens of questions deleted because of that, so that's for sure an actual problem that I face :/ I can't even back them up on Quora anymore since they became Twitter. Mar 24, 2016 at 18:23

The voting rules aren't very strict (as opposed to closing for example) but I don't think the fact that a question is hard to answer is a reason to down-vote. A question should "show research effort be useful and clear" to warrant an up-vote but it's also a matter of personal interests.

I don't think that the issue with the questions you mention is that they are "hard" but rather that they look very much like advertisement for your opinions and pet peeves* that you tried too hard to make look like questions.

My guess is that some users doubt that you genuinely think there are possible answers that would fit this site's format but rather hope for extended discussions in comments supporting your opinion.

Sometimes the click-bait works and you gather many votes, sometimes it's too obnoxious and the opinionated undertone triggers down-votes.

*Ok, so you dislike that some people pay to read articles. We get it.

Ps. Many of your other questions are fine in my opinion.

  • Thanks, I guess you're right, that could explain some/most downvotes. I do try to ask unbiased questions though, but in case I fail, you're most welcome to improve it, I'd appreciate it. When I am looking for references (using the reference request tag), I actually prefer not to get opinion-based comments or unreferenced answer, as it clutters the page. I try not to express my opinions on the education or research systems on this website, as I want to concentrate on facts. When debates start in comments, I don't participate, unless to add facts or to point a logical fault in a reasoning. Mar 22, 2016 at 16:22

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