Downvoters, please stop. Let's turn this forum into a nicer place

It happened to me several times that I asked a question or shared a happy thought in this forum but ended up getting many downvotes. I have noticed it is a very common thing here so many times I give an upvote for people, only to make them feel less bad for their COMPLETELY RELEVANT question.

Why? Why do some people feel this urge to discourage others whose only crime is wanting to learn?

So next time, please think again before you click the downvote. Even if you don't agree with a person, why not try to encourage rather than discourage.

Thanks in advance!


March 31, 2019


Did you mean to post this in the "French" forum? In other words, are you speaking specifically about down votes in the French forum, or down votes in general?

"Happy thoughts" are nice but I down vote them because they don't help me learn French, Spanish, or Czech. They are noise in the discussion forums.

Usually if folks stick to the guidelines they don't receive many down votes.

March 31, 2019

Yes, I meant to post it here because this is the situation here. I really hope it is not something that is common in other forums...

I understand what you are saying about the noise in the forum and this is something I haven't considered before. However, this is something that also happens to people who ask relevant questions because they don't understand some topic or issue.

Thanks for the honest comment!

March 31, 2019

@Roteme2, This post below may shed a little bit of light on the situation depending on what down voting you are referring to. Thanks so much for posting this reminder for the community that down votes should be reserved for spam posts only. Here are a few lingots for you. :)

March 31, 2019

Thank you!

It's interesting. Apparently there is a bug in the system that causes many downvotes for some random posts

April 2, 2019

Spam posts can be down-voted but sometimes posts are providing wrong information and should be down-voted as well. Caveat - down-vote only if you know with certainty that they are wrong.

April 3, 2019

What a nice post. I had this happen. I created a language related post about how happy I was with my new library system. And how many thousands of language books there are, even in Welsh! And it went to -6

March 31, 2019

I translated a comment I wrote a few weeks ago from someone with the same concern. Here it is:

"I can understand some of the reasons, you may have noticed that in some situations, it is the fault of the user who makes the post. Some of the common reasons for downvoters:

  1. Disclose WhatsApp groups: You are exposing yourself a lot using a resource that everyone knows does not work for those who are starting to learn the language. Someone may come up saying the opposite, but let's be honest: when you enter one of these groups people can not get out of 'hello' and 'good morning'. For the Telegram, it's worth almost the same thing, except that you do not have your cell phone number exposed.

  2. Posts with repetitive content: In this case, I confess that I end up doing this ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ too. We often do not search the old forum posts to make sure our doubts have been resolved.

  3. Untrue message. Example: the title of the post is "Hello", you click on the message and what appears? Anything. It had no content.

These are some of the main motivations (at least those that bother me). Users fill the page with appeals like these, maybe to get more followers, likes, lingots, will know. But I have no doubt that most of the time they are just haters with free time."


March 31, 2019

You are describing cases of total spam and here I am absolutely with you!

In one of the comments above, I told about an experience I had of having a disagreement with one of the commenters and, all of a sudden, getting almost 20 (!) downvotes.

If you'll keep track, you'd notice many cases of unjustified discouraging. This one for example and there are many others

March 31, 2019

As I said, too many haters with free time. The forum for Brazilian Portuguese speakers also has many fake accounts who spend all day long typing offensive comments and downvoting on all posts, no matter how good is the content. I have tried to report it (because I believe it's just one person or at least a few people who are causing this on Duolingo in Portuguese) for many times, but it does not seem work.

March 31, 2019

Please report offensive comments. The moderators do take action.

April 3, 2019

I am aware of this issue, and have submitted reports from earlier, as well as this one and associated events. Thank you for this heads up.

March 31, 2019

Yes, it's quite possibly a form of bullying by some, should be investigated (tracked if at all possible) and not tolerated. I've noticed more than a few "put-down" comments associated with down-votes. It is working directly against creating a supportive atmosphere and contrary to everything Duolingo seems to want to represent.

At the very least if you down-vote something you should be identified, the rest of us can then reasonably expect the down-voter to explain to us why they think it's appropriate in cases where it's not obvious.

I too up-vote and give ligots where possible.

March 31, 2019

I agree. What you just described happened to me once. I posted something and received some upvotes. Then, I had a little disagreement with one of the commenters (not even an argument) and, all of a sudden, my post had a balance of 14 downvotes. I have no idea how he did it but it was not a kind thing to do.

Also, yesterday someone posted about finishing all the course in less than 100 days. How amazing it is! This guy actually spent 100 days solely on learning French. This is a huge achievement and he deserves plenty of upvotes. In reality, he got the balance of 9 downvotes. I mean, this is pure nastiness

March 31, 2019

From what I've seen, I think downvotes are a necessary function. Like it or not, there will be bored teenagers posting about anything from gaming channels to plagiarized content. Why should there be a requirement to explain a downvote for a post that looks like someone just held down the E key or copied another person's research or another DL user's comment? Though if it does come to pass that downvoters are identified, I can live with that - having my screenname next to my disagreement won't change my opinion, or keep me from expressing it.

There are two solutions I've mentioned before that would reduce the need to downvote. Timestamps for edits and deletions - some form of visible record would make some users think twice before making a change to their posts. Sorting search results by date - knowing when a post on a certain topic was made might reduce repeat posts on frequently-asked questions especially on recent issues.

There was another user who deleted a couple of replies to this post, so I'll tack on a couple of points I made to that person - since you can't lingot yourself, using lingots instead of upvotes ensures that the vote is permanent and from someone else, unless there's a sock puppet account in play; and if a sensitivity to downvotes improves a user's spelling and content, that's an argument for the existence of the downvote system.

April 1, 2019

Hello, down-voting posts that are sincerely good is a shame, but Duolingo gives the option for a reason, I have had posts down-voted before but to me it is better than getting a lot of negative feedback. People down-vote for many reasons, like something they don’t like, something they disagree with, if the writing style is cluttered, or just to be rude. If I were you I wouldn’t take any of this stuff personal. Overall I agree and like your post, you get an upvote and lingot from me :)

April 1, 2019

YOU got down - voted? MIRACLE - JK :p

April 1, 2019

Let make this forum better together!

April 1, 2019

Oh, man, I do not mean to be rude, but I couldn't possibly agree with you less. I think it is rude, and pushy, and judgmental, to act like people did something wrong because they chose to downvote someone. It is their choice to make, not yours.

Do you have to like their choice, or approve of it? Well, no, of course not. But acting like they've done something wrong crosses the line, and trying to push your choice (not to downvote) on them crosses the line.

The downvote option is there to be used. When people post, they are fully aware they could be downvoted. If a person's ego is so fragile that they can't take downvotes, then they shouldn't post. And I'm not saying that in a snotty way. I am saying it in a genuine way - if you can't deal with that possibility, then realize that that's not something you can cope with, and don't post. It's like me and Twitter - I realized, once, after saying something that got a bunch of people mad at me, that I simply can't deal with that kind of thing, so now I don't Tweet about anything that could cause that kind of thing; I just post about, you know, mundane daily activities and such, nothing that will start a fire.

You said that people are downvoting on completely relevant post. Okay, the thing is, you don't actually know why they're downvoting. You don't know that it's because of anything to do with relevance. People downvote for their own reasons, and I don't think you should assume why they're downvoting. You're not in their mind, and you don't know why they made their choices.

Also, people do not have to justify their choices to you - they downvote if they like for reasons of their own choosing. You do not know those reasons, and you don't need to know those reasons. Respect their right to choose. Let them make their choice. After all, you are free to make your choice. Others, who downvote, have the exact same right as you - to make their own choice. Do you really need to put them down, just because they choose differently from you?

I really rally against this whole "lets not ever hurt anyone's feelings ever" kind of mentality. It's, in my view, absurd, and unhelpful. The fact is that not everyone is going to like what you (I mean you in general, not you specifically) say, how you say it, your opinion, etc. It is ridiculous to expect everyone to like everything you say, post, etc. I seriously don't to be rude, but I gotta be honest - when I hear about this kind of mentality, I want to roll my eyes and say, "Get over yourself". Because, honestly, I think it's incredibly egocentric to feel that your ideas, posts, thoughts, whatever, are so good, so relevant, etc., that nobody in their right mind should ever have cause to disagree or downvote. (And can I please stress here that I am not trying to be rude...I am saying this all in a friendly voice).

Why not live-and-let-live? Why act like people who downvote are doing something wrong? Why disrespect their choice, just cause it's different from yours? Do you think it's okay to shame people like this? Because, to me, you are shaming them. And there's something hypocritical about this, to me, because you're shaming them, while talking about encouraging people and being nice. I do not think it is nice at all to put people down simply because they make a different choice than you.

You asked "Why? Why do some people feel this urge to discourage others whose only crime is wanting to learn?" Well, like I said - their choices are just that: their choices. They do not need to justify them to you. If you expect to make a free choice to upvote or downvote, the only fair thing is to give that free choice to everyone....not only those who upvote.

Sorry for the long response. It's just that this is one of those issues that pushes my buttons. I've worked with children all my life, and you know what we teach them? How to cope with it when someone disagrees, downvotes, etc. That's the key. To know how to handle it. They key is not to go around trying to force the world to agree with you, and never hurt your feelings. Kids whose feelings are "protected" that way are always, have, in twenty years of experience, always turned into bratty children who expect everyone to like them/agree with them. And then they turn into teens and adults with crappy, crappy coping skills, because they've never really had to cope with people not liking their ideas, etc., as they were always over-protected.

It is not mentally healthy to not be able to cope with a simple downvote. And I am not putting down people with mental health issues here. At all. I'm just saying that it is not, in my view, mentally healthy if a person genuinely finds a downvote that upsetting. I think there are issues there if that's the case. It's a downvote. It means someone didn't like what you said, or disagreed with it, or something. They can disagree with you if they like.

To me, the only healthy response to a downvote is to respect that person's right to make their own choice, and to be comfortable with people disagreeing with you, and to not require other people's approval. You (again, you in general, not you specifically) posted it, you like what you posted, the other person doesn't like it and has expressed that. Fair's fair. You've both expressed yourself, you've both made your choices. That, in my view, is where it should end. Everyone's made their choices, everyone's expressed themselves, the end. It should not, in my opinion, be followed up by you (this time I do mean you specifically) shaming one of the people simply for making a choice you personally disagree with.

March 31, 2019

Have a lingot for actually having the time and energy to write this essay! :0 Impressed ;p

April 1, 2019

May I state, yesterday, the mass downvotes were caused by unexpected bots in the forums? They were not real people. But, to be fair, there is a great deal of those people here.

April 1, 2019

I totally agree with you Roteme2. The Italian forum is also subject to downvoting appropriate or helpful posts. It does not make the forum a friendly and helpful place. I think it is a result of making the downvoting anonymous and therefore encouraging negative behaviour.

April 1, 2019


April 2, 2019

Agreed, what's most annoying is when they down vote you and don't comment at all so you end up with -14 and 0 comments and you're checking your post for insults then end up deleting it :P

March 31, 2019
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