There are some questions here on 'being nice when down voting' or 'when closing'. Here's my experience.

I just want to say that I feel I have been unnecessarily downvoted for a simple opinion on a simple question.

SE says

Use your downvotes whenever you encounter an egregiously sloppy, no-effort-expended post, or an answer that is clearly and perhaps dangerously incorrect.

I have come to conclude that this site is not so much focused on hard and fast answers, but that it is more like a meta site in the network. Trusted users and modes should take this post a lot more seriously.

There is just much appreciated exception: https://academia.stackexchange.com/users/14410/okiharaherbst You make my day! Even though you don't agree, you at least try to understand.

No offense, but here is my experience. I think certain community members (including the downvoters) have done an awful job in welcoming me here.

You will only see the back of me.

  • 1
    When to downvote is something that individual users and the site culture as a whole has to determine for itself. I will note that the excerpted passage is listing sufficient conditions for downvoting, not necessary conditions, and I think that -- provided you believe in downvoting at all, which not everyone does -- they are clearly good reasons to downvote. I will disclose that I downvoted your answer for reasons that are within the spirit of the quoted passage: I thought it was sloppy and has the possibility of being not only incorrect but dangerously incorrect. Apr 22, 2014 at 19:09
  • 3
    When people ask "What should I do in this situation?" type of questions, downvotes serve a very useful answer: they indicate that community members feel strongly that you should not follow the advice given in that answer. In this case, though I am sorry that it is your first answer here and that it has given you a bad impression of the site, I'm glad that your answer has so many downvotes: that's a big hint to the OP that many people think s/he should not follow the advice. Apr 22, 2014 at 19:11
  • If you like, I would be happy to leave as an answer here more detailed reasons for why I downvoted your answer. Apr 22, 2014 at 19:12
  • 2
    +1 for a beautiful question. My friend, please do not take it personally. People do not always agree with our advice. That is not offensive to you as a person. I do not know you (and I never will). So, regardless of the downvotes on this one question, I would love to hear your opinion on anything and you know what? You can downvote as well!!!
    – Alexandros
    Apr 22, 2014 at 20:36
  • For reference: academia.stackexchange.com/a/19653/64
    – JRN
    Apr 23, 2014 at 5:06

1 Answer 1


I will say that I neither upvoted nor downvoted your answer, even though I disagreed with it.

However, the basic rules that apply to more traditional Stack Exchange sites really can't apply here: a lot of the questions on this site tend to be experience-based, rather than having strictly factual answers. The consequence of this is that it's hard to say that an answer is "clearly" incorrect. However, if the reader believes that the answer is wrong, and following that advice could cause more problems than it solves, that is a logical reason to downvote, per the quote given above.

  • 1
    Indeed, you have confirmed my suspicion. This is a forum: "the basic rules that apply to more traditional Stack Exchange sites really can't apply here." Hence the academia site is ironically maybe one of the most biased ones in the network. Not my cup of tea.
    – user9084
    Apr 23, 2014 at 6:29
  • 4
    I am sorry you feel that way. However, interactions between people—which is fundamentally what the practice of academia is—don't have definitive answers. There's a lot of gray area, and a lot of questions don't have binary right-wrong answers. Some things are clear-cut, and many things aren't. Holding questions and answers here to the same standard as a programming site (such as Ask Ubuntu) isn't practical.
    – aeismail
    Apr 23, 2014 at 7:47

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