Its funny that in typing up the title of this question the first suggested 'similar question is 'Downvotes. Why?' which was subsequently closed. Maybe I just picked a bad day but the 2 questions I went to read about because I was interested in both had a downvote (without any explanation) which is a little lame but one had 1 vote to close and the other had 2 votes to close neither with explanations why, thats more than a little lame.

I know we, as a community, don't want bad questions to linger but excessive policing not only turns people off from asking questions it prevents questions that people may not understand or may not like from being asked and then we may as well start burning books.

I don't really know what can be done about it but...

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    It is not uncommon for perfectly acceptable questions to get closure votes. There are quite a few questions on our site that have one or two existing close votes (usually with no explanation), however the questions are still open. I wouldn't worry about close votes that don't have community backing...they happen. If your question does get CLOSED without merit, you can always flag for moderator review, and we can reopen if the question is on-topic and acceptable...which we are happy to do. – jrista Sep 11 '12 at 17:52
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    Ah good, I misread the close votes as march towards inevitable closing but I just read the close votes doco and it doesn't appear that way. – Shizam Sep 11 '12 at 17:56
  • Plus, I think one of those is this, which isn't without explanation — I tagged it as a duplicate, which both leaves a comment and counts as a close vote (but I don't think a negative one). – mattdm Sep 12 '12 at 1:52
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    Also, keep in mind that close votes aren't even shown to people with below 250 rep, so hopefully by the time users are up to that threshold they're aware that it's not, y'know, personal. – mattdm Sep 12 '12 at 1:55
  • Hah, yea, I don't see anybody complaining in their own threads :) – Shizam Sep 12 '12 at 2:11
  • Also didn't release that a downvote automatically votes it to be closed, it makes sense but at the same time seem excessive. – Shizam Sep 12 '12 at 2:27
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    A downvote doesn't automatically count as a close vote. – mattdm Sep 12 '12 at 10:53
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    Also, it's important to note that the new review system seems to be encouraging a lot more downvotes and close votes. How can we make sure that this is cast as not a bad thing to new, potentially constructive visitors? – mattdm Sep 25 '12 at 15:28
  • @mattdm Can we educate the user about what they're about to do or just did? In the helpies for close/downvote or in the window that shows up when you 'vote to close' indicate the difference between when one should/would 'vote to close' vs downvote. Downvote says to me 'I don't like this but I think it could serve others somehow' but a close vote says 'The world would be better without this, get it the f off the forum' – Shizam Sep 25 '12 at 18:12

I can't vote to close, I can only flag for attention. I usually do that for questions which seems to me exact duplicates or pointless (obviously according to my judgement). I downvote only when the answers seem genuinely "bad" and not (obviously according to my judgement, again) improve-able. Instead if I perceive an issue I try to edit or ask some clarification in the comments.

Never I have voted (up or down) for "personal" reasons, even if there are some users which I expect that I will upvote as soon as I see that they answered :-)

All this to say that I have not perceived this negative attitude in the community: I suppose that the merit is of its components :-) Not everything is perfect and not everybody is always happy (and sadly sometimes very valuable users have decided that their photo.SE experience was over) but it appears to be working, until now.

ps: In any case, any specific issue deserves to be analyzed. Sometimes it has happened that I disagree with the closing of a question. Luckily they are not deleted and so "part" of the value is not completely lost...

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I don't see clicking the down arrow for a downvote as "aggressive negativity". Maybe passive-aggressive, but certainly not aggressive. No one is attacking users to my knowledge.

I use the downvote arrow to indicate something that could be easily Google'd, found in a manual, or is simply worded so poorly that no actual value is being added to the site. I don't use the downvote to indicate that someone didn't read our FAQ, that a duplicate exists, or that more detail is needed - I use comments for that and sometimes a vote to close depending on the users experience.

Just my thoughts on using the downvote.

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  • That makes sense and is in line with what I commented to @mattdm above, the 'aggressiveness' I mentioned was in regard to several posts that had 'vote to close' on them, and down-votes and no comment on why either of that happened. Not to mention there wasn't a clear reason why they should be closed, it just seemed like over-policing. – Shizam Sep 26 '12 at 20:13

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