Comments attached to Deleting answers to questions indicate that there may be some confusion about what a downvote on a meta post means. On Meta Stack Overflow a downvote generally indicates disagreement and an upvote indicates agreement, whereas on main sites up and downvotes mean, roughly, that a post is useful or not useful.

Which convention applies on Meta Photo?

I'd suggest that we should follow Meta SO's model and use votes to indicate agreement/disagreement. Meta posts are often about building a community consensus, and using up and down votes this way allows a quick determination of how much support or opposition there is for an idea.

Whatever the decision, there should be some effort to inform the users about it. Photography and Meta Photo are sufficiently distant from Stack Overflow in terms of subject matter that many users here may not be familiar with the ways of Meta SO. Voting here will be less useful if there's a continued difference of opinion about what votes mean.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm tempted to downvote this post, to see if the universe explodes. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Apr 22, 2013 at 15:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm I was going to mention in there that I'd interpret votes up or down on this question as agreeing or disagreeing with the idea that we should use votes to indicate agreement, as is done on Meta SO. So go ahead and downvote, but only if you disagree. \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleb
    Apr 22, 2013 at 15:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd say that convention ideally should be followed on all of the meta sites except MSO, since here (and everywhere else on the network), there's no reputation at stake. On MSO, you get downvoted because people disagree and lose rep for it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wooble
    Apr 24, 2013 at 17:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Wooble True, but you don't lose main site reputation on MSO either because (unlike the other meta sites) MSO is its own separate site with its own separate reputation score. \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleb
    Apr 24, 2013 at 18:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'll say the same thing here that I said in the other thread mentioned. The hover-over on the vote down says "This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful". So one of the two should be updated(either the downvote hover-over or the meta FAQ). They aren't in alignment so who can blame someone for getting confused by reading one or the other, or even both!? \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Apr 24, 2013 at 20:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @dpollitt No argument there -- I think that's a feature request for MSO, though. I don't believe that the photo.se mods can do anything about it, and the good folks who maintain the StackExchange software may have higher priorities. A highly-upvoted Q on MSO asks for exactly that change, and is marked 'status declined'. Anyway, I think the text in the meta.photo.se FAQ that JoanneC points to trumps the tooltips on the up/down arrows. \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleb
    Apr 24, 2013 at 20:36

2 Answers 2


The FAQ for this Meta site describes this already...

What does voting mean here?

Voting here works a bit differently from the main site. On Meta, voting is often used to express agreement or disagreement, not to point out a lack of quality or helpfulness. Please don't be concerned if you receive downvotes – members of the community may simply disagree with your bug, feature request, support issue, or the nature of the discussion.

  • \$\begingroup\$ As a note, unlike the main site, moderators don't have the ability to make adjustments to the FAQ, so this is the one set up by SE for us. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Apr 22, 2013 at 20:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's clouded somewhat, though, by our special threads (header image competition, etc.) where downvoting is verboten, and a couple of "policy polls" (for want of a better phrase) where downvoting would be double-dipping on the vote (up the one you want, down all of the others, and you've effectively cast two votes for your favorite). So there is a sort of q-by-q framework change people have to be sort of intuitively aware of. I see the divisions as obvious (as most of us likely do), but I can also see "photo only" users getting confused. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2719
    Apr 23, 2013 at 9:45

In most cases, if no prior precedence exists on photo.stackexchange, than meta.stackoverflow can be used to guide in the decisions made here at photo.stackexchange and meta.photo.stackexchange. I have often seen it referenced by stack exchange employees in meta posts, so I believe doing so is a safe bet.

We of course often do have the option in meta to further decide the fate of such issues through our own discussion, but if it has been vetted and discussed at length on the site that started it all, we should use that to our advantage.

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    \$\begingroup\$ My reason for asking this question actually started with your comment on the linked question, in which you ask: "Why does this have 4 downvotes?" JoanneC then agreed with your comment. mattdm pointed out the MSO interpretation of downvotes, but agreed about the tooltips. So, it seemed to me that there was at least some confusion even among our most prolific contributors about the meaning of a down vote. I've been spending some time on MSO, so it seemed obvious to me that 4 people simply disagreed with the OP, but I thought we should discuss it and get on the same page. \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleb
    Apr 24, 2013 at 20:48

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