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No intention to be grasped absurd.

I am not a chemist nor a formal student for chemistry and ask here questions from curiosity per se, always with (limited) prior research. My questions are pretty much stabilized - 2 down votes and 2 up votes.

I just opened the front page, I saw many questions with down votes.

Is there a down vote abuse culture in the community?

I ask this after my question about water distillation got 3 down votes and was closed, although carefully worded, well structured by Markdown, and the problem is easy to understand.

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    $\begingroup$ Almost by definition, downvotes can't be abused; each individual with the ability to downvote is free to use it as they wish, with very few limitations. $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Feb 6 at 0:14
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    $\begingroup$ I humbly know that, from about 7 years in Stack Exchange community and often down vote myself. Here I just impressed it's extreme or leaning towards extremity; I totally respect the opinion that it isn't... $\endgroup$ – user61828 Feb 6 at 0:16
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    $\begingroup$ I don't intend to shut you down by just saying no. But I'm also not sure how one might define an extreme or excessive level of downvoting. Are there negatively-scored questions that (in my opinion) don't really need to be downvoted? Yes, and I have complained about such incidents on a few occasions; but you could also say that that just reflects inherent differences in what we consider a good or bad question to be. So... it's a bit more nuanced, I think. $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Feb 6 at 0:23
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    $\begingroup$ Getting downvotes is discouraging. Being a small community Chem SE is a bit critical and concerned about the quality of posts here. But you'll meet a few questions and answers that get flagged down a no. of times and eventually get closed for obvious reasons, but at the end of the day, the OP bags home several upvotes. For eg:This actually became a HNQ despite being largely opinion based and broad. So as you see, there are 2 sides of this coin too. Every rose has its thorn, and I can assure you eventually you'll get a hang of this site :) $\endgroup$ – Sir Arthur7 Feb 8 at 12:30
  • $\begingroup$ @SirArthur7 I think I didn't understand a lot of what you said but with one thing I don't agree --- that I beg for upvotes; I don't, I invite anyone who want to down vote any of my questions to do so in her or his free time. $\endgroup$ – user61828 Feb 8 at 12:41
  • $\begingroup$ Oh no, don't get me wrong, please. I never mentioned anything about you, let alone begging for...I think you confused 'bag' with 'beg'. It seems you didn't get what I tried to mean. Long story short- I wanted you to know that, just as well-framed questions (lacking other necessary qualities?) get downvoted, there are posts that become HNQ and are heavily upvoted despite not strictly abiding by the rules of the site, and hence get eventually closed. So there are 2 sides of the issue. But I'd encourage you to improve your posts(by asking other users who dv you) and help make the site better :) $\endgroup$ – Sir Arthur7 Feb 8 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ There isn't necessarily much logic in the voting patterns. Similar answers by two different posters will get very different vote results, so clearly it's not (always) an objective decision but often seems biased by prior knowledge about the id of the poster and interactions with that person. But that's not entirely unreasonable since the whole point of the rep score is to provide evidence of someone's abilities. Therefore upvotes can be expected to grow geometrically, not linearly. $\endgroup$ – Buck Thorn Feb 9 at 14:29
  • $\begingroup$ As for downvote abuse, I think @CH3M provides a good list of reasons why downvoting might occur. Unfortunately the mantra "don't say anything unless you have something nice to say" does not apply here, just the opposite, you are supposed to let yourself be heard if you regard your opinion as valid. $\endgroup$ – Buck Thorn Feb 9 at 14:31
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    $\begingroup$ I was also subject to a bit of a downvote storm before. Conversely, I found that the Chemistry SE community is more gentle with low quality questions as compared to Physics/Math SE, where the downvotes are laid on thick if you ask anything that even remotely resembles homework. $\endgroup$ – Aniruddha Deb Feb 17 at 10:38
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I am new here, but here is what I've noticed.

A lot of questions have downvotes almost by default. It's hard to say why, maybe people look at the question and don't understand it = downvote. Not enough information = downvote. Too easy of a question they can find the answer elsewhere = downvote. Is this common in other Stack Exchange communities?

Another observation: people seem to like answering questions in comments rather than the answer section. Being new, I am unable to use the comment feature. Sometimes it's because they are asking for more information. I suspect sometimes it's simply because they don't want to be held accountable for being wrong. I am always surprised when I see a question that says it has no answers, yet there is a whole thread of comments answering the question. Does this avoid accumulating downvotes?

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    $\begingroup$ Ed: you bring this up and is prob most important: a question already (probably) has an answer = downvote. It probably shouldn't get downvoted, rather it should be flagged as a duplicate, but people have lives and doing someone else's homework is not what this site is supposed to be about. Personally I welcome the opportunity to attempt solving someone else's problem and enjoy the limited interactivity the site provides, but I understand that this is not the goal. The answers are supposed to stand alone and provide a minimal (nonredundant) set. Not that it's worked out that way. $\endgroup$ – Buck Thorn Feb 9 at 14:23
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    $\begingroup$ Re. answers in comments: I am guilty of this myself. The reason why I do this is because I don’t have time to write a full-fledged answer (you can see some of my higher rated posts for what I mean by ‘full-fledged’). I don’t care for avoiding downvotes (if anything, I am probably upvoted unfairly based on my reputation). I can only speak for myself, of course, but I don’t see any signs that this behaviour stems from downvote avoidance. $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Feb 10 at 12:05
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    $\begingroup$ Addendum: the answers-in-the-comment-section thing occurs across the entire SE network. I think the simplest explanation is similar to what I've described above for myself - people are just too lazy to post a proper answer. How much of it you actually see is probably a matter of how hard the site mods want to discourage such behaviour - here we are quite lax on it. $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Feb 10 at 12:25
  • $\begingroup$ @orthocresol I am quite active on physics.SE and from there I have learnt to never answer in comment otherwise the moderators come and delete such comment (comments are supposed to be a tool to ask for clarification for the post by OP). Since you are a moderator therefore, I think, you should avoid doing such things (if you do) as this might encourage other regular users to do the same. $\endgroup$ – Kenzo Tenma Feb 16 at 16:59
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    $\begingroup$ @JohanLiebert thanks for your input, but I don't agree: (1) I don't view it as a huge problem myself. We don't necessarily have to behave in exactly the same way as on Physics, so "because that's how they do it on Physics" doesn't count as a reason to me. For example, unlike Mathematics, we don't like hints for answers. (2) That is just my opinion, of course. The community, or others, may think otherwise. If you (or someone else) think that the phenomenon on Chem.SE is so widespread that it is causing problems, then I'd encourage you (or someone else) to start a meta discussion about it. $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Feb 16 at 19:11
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    $\begingroup$ [...] if people think it's really a problem, then I am happy to stop doing it and start enforcing this no-answers-in-comment rule strictly. I genuinely mean it: if there is a productive discussion and a consensus about the topic, I will follow it, even if I don't personally agree. But as of right now, today, my personal stance is that: we haven't done it for years, and I don't see it causing much issue. $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Feb 16 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ Exactly so. I like the way Chem SE works, it's lenient and it doesn't necessarily have to work the same way as other sites do, and there's nothing that says we have to follow to the letter. Also the way we use comments is very much productive, we ask for clarifications and give out small hints to guide the OP. As @ortho pointed out, doing the same in the answer way, doesn't prove to be helpful in the long run, rather we prefer not to do the entire problem for a homeworky post. But above all, this site has been working the same way and we never felt it an issue. I personally enjoy it. $\endgroup$ – Sir Arthur7 Feb 20 at 10:58

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