...particularly if you have a lot of reputation or you down-vote frequently?

According to the help page:

Voting down answers is not something we want you to take lightly, so it is not free.

Yet it costs only 1 point to down-vote an answer and you can do 30 a day (with a reputation of >=125). If a user has a good chunk of reputation, then this is not reinforcing the statement above.


  1. Should down-voting an answer cost more than 1 point (for everyone)?
  2. Should how much reputation you have factor into the cost of a down-voting an answer?
  3. Should how many times you've down-voted (total or in a given period) factor into the cost of down-voting an answer?

I have a perception that there is a significant amount of spurious or unjustified down-voting of answers. Whilst this will never go away and perhaps I should just accept that "this is how it works", it does make me feel less inclined to take the time to write answers and engage with the site. Particularly whilst it is not necessary to identify yourself as a down-voter, nor provide feedback on how to improve answers.

  • 1
    As far as I can tell, down votes are usually pretty rare on Bicycles.SE - usually badly asked questions (incomprehensible English, not really a cycling question, etc.). I think its infrequent enough that we can just ignore it.
    – Batman
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 12:24
  • I can't say anything better than what the other two answers have already said. However, here is a related question that you might find interesting: meta.bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/748/…
    – jimchristie Mod
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 13:51
  • It is interesting. Clearly an emotive topic and nothing new! There is no easy solution as far as I can tell - I guess we just have to put faith in the majority! One thing that resonates with me is the point regarding the volume of messages here is lower than on other stacks therefore there is not the need to quickly shutdown duplicates, seemingly dumb questions etc. I want to talk about cycling. I don't want to be a keyboard warrior who's raisin d'être is to find something that will qualify as a duplicate question and lob it back at the OP before anyone else does in order to score points.
    – adey_888
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 14:11
  • By the way, downvoting on meta signals disagreement with a proposal/idea, not that people think the post is bad.
    – nhinkle
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 18:07
  • @nhinkle that's an interesting point. Certainly on the main site I have seen downvotes given for disagreement rather than unhelpfulness, and I don't think the two are necessarily synonymous
    – PeteH
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 18:13
  • 1
    @PeteH certainly. I'm just pointing out that downvotes on this proposal may be disagreement in response to "should down-voting cost more than 1 point".
    – nhinkle
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 18:17

3 Answers 3


How it works is consistent across all Stack Exchange sites, so I'm not expecting a change just for us anytime soon.

But I'm interested in the motivation for your question.

You have been a member of Cycling.SE for three weeks, and earned 349 rep, in the top 2% for the current month.

In that time you've had 35 up votes and 1 effective down vote (one from me on your first answer didn't actually cost you any rep). Not bad going.

Not everyone is going to like everything we write. Some people feel strongly enough to show it. Some of them explain why, some don't. Maybe they're in a hurry. Or don't want to engage in a discussion about it. I've done it sometimes, and others do too.

I understand that it can be dispiriting to be down voted after taking the time and making the effort to write your best answer. I've been down voted far more than you, and my advice is to learn from it. People on this site are far better behaved than any online forum I've encountered previously, including the other SE sites. So assume any feedback as non-malicious and keep learning. I think it is certainly a factor that most questions and therefore most answers on the site are opinion based.

To check out answers that have scored highly in the past year, you could start with this list of rep in the current year, and look at recent high scoring answers from the top ten people. There can be varying factors for what makes for a well received answer, but overall you'll get a fair picture. Well explained, well written and supported answers get the votes.

I would encourage you to keep at it, and post future Meta questions also. I think it's important for the community to welcome new people who may become future leaders. On that list of rep in the current year you can see that Batman has been a member for less than a year, along with Fred the Magic Wonder Dog. So keep at it. In a year you could be leading by example too.

Hope that helps.

  • 2
    Cheers, yes it does help a little. As you may have guessed, I am v passionate about cycling and have been looking to contribute in a positive way. I would agree that people here are generally better behaved than some other forums. But I would say Bicycling seems to be dominated by a small (and perhaps cliquey) group of regular contributors from the PoV of a new user. It is not down-voting on my answers that spurred this, but behaviours I view as passive-aggressive. Do we really need down-vote anyway? One of the World's largest websites seems to do all right only allowing us to 'Like' stuff :)
    – adey_888
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 8:58
  • The only way to change things is to engage as you're doing. IMO the site has two main groups of users - those who down vote rarely (say less than one in 25 votes), those who down vote often (say more than one in 5), and a few in between. We are not going to change the SO model, but our behavior is part of the overall view newbies get; I think the more positive it is, the better for the community. FYI you can see peoples voting behavior at the bottom of their profiles.
    – andy256
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 9:56
  • 1
    @adey_888 Passive-aggressive behaviors are pushing the boundaries of our be nice rules. Please flag anything rude.
    – freiheit
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 17:52

@andy256's response is far better than mine, but with particular reference to your last para, I've seen the question raised before (think it was on another SE site) and it appears to be one of the cornerstones of SE that people should be allowed to downvote without leaving a comment.

I agree that it can be frustrating, but that's simply the way it is. If it's any consolation, I don't like it much either. I think if you think something is unhelpful, its common courtesy to say why. Same goes when you "vote to close" a question (which will become available to you as your rep grows).

In fairness, I've been using the site for a couple of years now and I must admit, I haven't seen malicious downvoting on any great scale. Of the current "regular" users, there is only one person springs to mind. But they haven't done this just to me - there's a general tone of acidity in all their comments so I just assume its the kind of person they are. And the upshot of this is that they suffer a lot more from downvotes than I do.

But the vast majority of people on here seem only to happy to try and help people. I feel that we are something of a community, it never fails to amaze me that we all live in different places, lead diverse lives, do different things for a living, yet are brought together by our passion for cycling. Hopefully you'll find the time to become a part of this community - reading your bio I'm sure a lot of your experiences will be relevant and useful to people going forward.

  • Yep, I get you. Thanks for your post :)
    – adey_888
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 11:12

No. Browsing through many older posts, I have seen some truly atrocious answers on this site in particular. As a professional, I use answers I find on SO weekly to get my job done. The answers that get up voted on this site show it really isn't meant to be used by professionals. Down voting should be far more frequent here.

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