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I have been a member on SO for some time now, and have had to almost fight my way to break 100 rep, and then when I come to GameDev I ask one question. I get a comment to review it with what application I am intending to use the answer for, and that person did come back, and refine, but I get an answer that I like (or at least mostly helps), but I get 4 down votes, and no comments.

I think that there should be more of a requirement on placing a down-vote onto a question:

  • require to have that question open for X amount of time (this insures that the person wishing to place the down-vote give it a good deal of thought before just going down the line, and hitting down-vote on whatever they don't like)
  • require a reason to be given for a down-vote. (this would require either extending the meaning of a down-vote, or at least having the user specify what part of the current meaning applies)
  • require that in order to leave a down-vote a comment must be added by the user wishing to place the down-vote (this might require a little moderation to avoid "posting comment to down-vote", but that can be done with flags) comment flagged, and removed means down-vote is removed

EDIT: after some discussion, and thought perhaps just point 2 would be a good step toward allowing users who receive down votes to know what it is they might have done wrong, and that would allow them to either correct it in the current question (to show continued effort), or in future questions.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ point 2 could be done with a small question box that appears, and then that list is shown beside the question so that the asker, and other users be able to see it as well \$\endgroup\$ – gardian06 Mar 22 '12 at 1:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Its hard to swallow some down votes; and I agree that GD.SE has a lot of users who are quick to down vote, even more than SO. Just don't take it personal, move on, and try to make your question more clear. \$\endgroup\$ – Nate Mar 22 '12 at 3:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ Point 2 has been brought up and declined MANY times on meta.stackoverflow. It will never happen. \$\endgroup\$ – yoozer8 Mar 23 '12 at 3:17
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From ye faqe:

"You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face."

GameDev.SE has a little bit more flexibility in that some theoretical questions about design are necessarily less tightly scoped than "I'm having trouble with x programming language structure," however, it's still a Q&A site. The things that are repeated with great frequency are What have you tried? and, if one is not presented in the question itself, Can you provide an example of your problem? If you can confidently address both of those questions, you're off to a good start.

The tooltip for the vote down button says "This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful." It doesn't say "I don't like this person" or "I don't agree with this person's opinion." As Shog9 mentioned, the tooltip doesn't say anything about the user who posted the question, because the vote is cast about the question. So don't take it personally!

Byte56 had a good point when he advised that you read over your question, and maybe attempt to rewrite it. One thing that's tough with games that's easier with programming in general is that games are all made up. They're all in our head. Sure, there are some conventions that we share and speak about, but your method of storing terrain data and your scene graph architecture and your resource manager, intimate as they may be, are completely foreign to everyone else. Try to read your post as though you were a friend who knew nothing about game design, or a relative. Or read it out loud to a rubber duck.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ but technically vote down has 3 different meanings, and I think they should be recorded separately. yes the question can still receive a unified score, but when I see a vote down on one of my questions I always end up asking myself the question "which reason did they do that for" I gave the question a deal of thought, and I will try to do research if i know where to start, because I have had questions that could be helpful to others (they have to be asked kind of abstractly, but still answerable I think) so maybe just asking to add an extra click of "why the down" vote might solve this. \$\endgroup\$ – gardian06 Mar 22 '12 at 4:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ I doubt it would gain any traction, but you're right, there is the question, left unanswered without comments, of whether a question was voted down due to lack of clarity, perceived lack of effort, or perceived lack of utility. It wouldn't be such a bad thing to see which of those three criteria a downvoter thought was applicable. \$\endgroup\$ – user14497 Mar 22 '12 at 4:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @gardian06: Downvoting doesn't have three meanings. It has one meaning: I believe people should not bother to look at this. Someone can think that for different reasons, but the reason why doesn't matter for someone looking for a question to answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Nicol Bolas Mar 25 '12 at 19:40
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Votes - up and down - are not primarily for the benefit of the person posting the question or answer. They can provide some benefit of course: up-votes offer positive reinforcement, and down-votes negative... But as you've noticed, they're fairly impersonal. The true value of voting is to quickly communicate to other readers the value placed on a question or answer by those who've already read it.

Comments are intended primarily for the benefit of the author. Sure, they can provide useful auxiliary information for other readers. But it is the author who is notified of them, whose post hosts them, and who is thus their primary audience.

It is perfectly appropriate for a voter to vote and move on, saying nothing to the author. Not that we can force anyone to write down a reason anyway - indeed, if we made voting contingent on commenting, a likely result would simply be fewer votes.

It is also perfectly appropriate for someone to leave a comment without voting. It may be that a reader does not feel strongly one way or another about the value of a post, but offers constructive criticism on some aspect of it anyway.

In short, these are separate tools, with separate purposes. Let's not combine them.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ though isn't it supposed to be common practice (I have also seen it stated on several meta's about downvoting that a comment should be left when casting a downvote. to use a simplistic metaphor leaving a downvote, and then not giving a reason is like giving a child a spanking and then never telling them why, and saying "oh they know why" even if in their mind they don't know they did anything wrong \$\endgroup\$ – gardian06 Mar 22 '12 at 1:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ but isn't telling the author of the question that this question is "unclear", "no research", "not appropriate" (the reasons for down voting) a means of "correcting bad behavior" \$\endgroup\$ – gardian06 Mar 22 '12 at 1:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sure - if you're gonna tell the world, "This guy's question is unclear!" then it's just polite to tell him too... But there are all sorts of reasons why someone might not want to do that, or why it might not even be appropriate. Conversely, some might well consider it more polite to tell the author first, and then down-vote only if he fails to respond. We try to encourage good behavior, but what that means in any given situation is really up to those involved. \$\endgroup\$ – Shog9 Mar 22 '12 at 2:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @gardian06 It's usually a good idea (and kind of a nice thing to do) to leave a comment explaining why you've downvoted a question or answer, but there's no reason to force people to leave a comment, and often, someone might have already left a comment that covers what the problem is (usually, that comment will receive upvotes by people in that case) \$\endgroup\$ – thedaian Mar 22 '12 at 3:10
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I get 4 down votes, and no comments.

I see multiple comments, all the comments left within 35 minutes of the question being asked. One of the comments specifically says "You're asking a lot of questions, and they are pretty vague questions."

If you put the effort you put into writing this complaint into better scoping the question, you'd be getting upvotes. When you open your question with "This is a conglomeration question when answering please specify which part you are addressing." you are literally asking for downvotes.

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I think many people on the different sites are taking for granted that people should know what they are trying to do.

I'll explain what I mean, in every other post people require that OP has tried something. But for many people this is impossible because the very reason they are asking are that they are beginners. I know from my own perspective sometimes I don't even know where to begin.

It doesn't happen everytime and most of the community is very helpful, but then there are those guys that take the rule of not writing someone elses code a little too seriously.

And a reason for down-vote is actually a good idea, it can prove constructive, and teach people how to structure questions or answers.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Agreed. IMO there are definitely, "I voted down because I think you're dumb/lazy" votes. Not enough, "But once I was like you and so maybe I can pass on help along. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Holt Mar 23 '12 at 1:28

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