https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mariameep

Why is the down voting so harsh on here?

I am aware that asking this very question may bring me quite a lot of downvotes, but I don't really care to be honest. Because this question has really been puzzling me. Sometimes someone will ask a perfectly reasonable question, and will end up with only downvotes. Why is this? I am not complaining, nor criticizing those who choose to downvote, but rather inquiring on the meaning behind this odd phenomenon.

September 1, 2019

82 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lrtward

Without knowing what "perfectly reasonable question" you're referring to, it's hard to say. Here are a few reasons for down votes, off the top of my head. The first ones are more pertinent to your question.

  1. Posting something that has been asked MANY TIMES without bothering to search. The search function could admittedly use a lot of improvement, but it does exist and can be quite useful.

  2. Posting in the wrong forum.

  3. Posting questions that could easily be looked up in a dictionary or other readily available resource.

  4. Asking for lingots, followers, friends, up votes.

  5. Mistaking the forums for a blog or social media.

  6. Nonsense posts (gibberish), rude posts, profanity, posts about random topics not of interest to the community.

September 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DuvieCantu1

Well, some I could agree with and some I feel people who have been with Duolingo for quite a while should be more understanding.

1) As long as Duolingo is accepting new learners, then we all can expect the same as they go through many of the same questions, emotions, and difficulties as others....You mentioned the search bar and realize it could use improvement. The search bar should be moved over the writing instead of being with the advertisements which most of us don't pay attention to anyway. I focus on posts and comments not advertisements (my opinion).

2) What forum should this be in? Educators in English, Troubleshooting in English or Spanish from English? These are what I see on the dropdown.

3) Duolingo may be the very site that gets people to feel like they may have a chance to possibly learn a new language before investing in classes, books, etc.

4) I totally agree.

5) I agree unless it concerns the language someone is learning.

6) I agree except for the term "Nonsense posts." It should be pertaining to their new language. However, there are no nonsense or stupid questions if someone doesn't know the answer.

I'm not complaining or criticizing anyone, just pointing out some things to be considered. A teacher gets asked many of the same questions with each new class of students. How good of an education would students get if the teacher became tired of answering the same questions?

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Heike333145

A teacher gets asked many of the same questions with each new class of students.

Yes, of course, because the students don't have the answers right before their eyes. ;-)

I was a newbie, too. When I was a newbie, the first things I did were

1) Read the forum rules / guidelines, experiment with the search function / google search (much better!),

2) Read the current existing threads to see what everybody is talking about, and how.

Especially 2) solves many of the questions that one may currently have. The problem I often see is "It has been said before, but not by me". ;-) I have actually seen one thread that started with "I know that this has been discussed before, but I want to state my opinion in my own thread".

I find this very annoying because it signals to me that these people just care for themselves. They don't seem to care that others have to put in additional time and effort to explain something to / discuss something with them that they could have found, had they only read some of the existing threads.

Almost all my questions were answered by existing threads (sometimes even questions I didn't know I should have ;-)). I just need a little more patience and investigation to actively find the answer.

I think that this is polite toward those with whom I communicate.

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DuvieCantu1

Yes, your comment is very polite and respectful.

True, if everyone would use the search bar for existing threads, many of the annoying situations would be greatly reduced.

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mikemcdonald58

A teacher would know the difference between "excepting" and "accepting", I hope.

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DuvieCantu1

Thanks for noticing. I'm not a teacher and it has been edited. Btw, did away with your one downvote by upvoting.

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wayne____

I can understand why some people get hurt feelings if someone points out errors in their language usage, but in a language forum I would expect people to want to improve their use of language, including their native one.

Your comment could be misconstrued as a "you should know that" comment though.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/garpike

in a language forum I would expect people to want to improve their use of language, including their native one.

It's very difficult to point out an error to a native speaker without sounding patronising, so I tend to think it's best to save these sorts of corrections for people who themselves were being patronising to begin with.

Everyone makes typos, and even using completely the wrong word can be down to a misfiring of muscle memory in the fingers, rather than ignorance of the right one.

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aokoye

I'm not complaining or criticizing anyone, just pointing out some things to be considered. A teacher gets asked many of the same questions with each new class of students. How good of an education would students get if the teacher became tired of answering the same questions?

Teachers are also trained to answer questions. It is a very important aspect of their job. Not only are they being paid to do so, but they know that that's part of the deal. No one here is being paid to be patient on Duolingo, teach people effectively, answer the same questions over and over again, etc.

Never mind that the people who do get paid by Duolingo typically don't participate in forums...

Personally, most of the posts that I downvote are either inaccurate, people asking for lingots, or people being rude. I ignore threads that are about something that has been asked more than a few times.

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lrtward

I've hopefully clarified what I meant by "nonsense posts".
I meant things like "a;lkjsd09vie!! "

To be honest I'm not sure what else to call it, other than "gibberish".
Either one sounds pretty insulting. :-/

September 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/roy229282

You could search for similar questions all day if you wished but then Duolingo moderators could learn a little more patience with new members. We all come here to learn a new language so we can all get along better together and downvoting is like an insult to someone wanting sensible answers.

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lrtward

I hope your comment about moderators learning patience was separate from your down vote comment.

Everyone gets a vote, and moderators really aren't numerous enough to swing that vote one way or the other.

September 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thylacaleo

I too would like to know why this post highlighting a real situation on Duolingo was down voted and received only one attempt at a polite response.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uphilldweller

Perhaps some of our senior students and mind reading experts would care to tell us why https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/33941212 is being downvoted?

The Duolingo contributor at the time of writing gets zero comments and a downvote. Classy.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/garpike

That post now has 33 up-votes. If it had been a stock, it would have been a good buy at -1.
You really can't tell very much from initial, short-term fluctuations; there is obviously noise in the system, but good posts, on the whole, do tend to get their value recognised.

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uphilldweller

Then again it did get pointed to so those with a proven ability to open a post could go take a look.

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/the_lerxst

Some people will down-vote a reasonable/valid question once the question has been answered so it disappears off the list of questions.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uphilldweller

So the answer couldn't be found again?..

...and some complain about repeat questions.

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nakamura-55

This is getting quite annoying, as people with good, logical posts are getting a lot of downvotes for no reason. I don't really pay attention to it that much anymore.

September 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dirk858585

I'm still trying to support questions about learning a language, don't give up :)

September 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sjyoshida

We need to all focus on making the world a better place. Less criticism and more encouragement will foster growth in language acquisition. Save the negative feedback for the circular file (trashcan) and think positive. No sincere question is stupid in my opinion. I am always ready and willing to help if I know the answer. I think all of us are on this Duolingo journey to learn so let's try to be helpful, encourage others and enjoy the journey.

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TSG_

I wish more people had this type of perspective.

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SuperPrinceKing

It's not negative feedback. What are you talking about? This user is simply asking a question that MANY people have. They said that they are literally not hating on the application

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Heike333145

This is what I'm trying to do: When I see a thread that is vacuous, but seems to be started by someone who doesn't want to annoy us, but just is somewhat clueless, I will

1) downvote this thread because it does indeed not contribute to our exchange, and it blocks the view on other, meaningful threads,

2) welcome the poster and give them some information on how to post / I answer their question / give links to previous threads etc

I would not want to downvote well-meaning people without explaining to them what they need to know, as far as I can tell.

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uphilldweller

"downvote this thread because it does indeed not contribute to our exchange, and it blocks the view on other, meaningful threads"

What doesn't "contrubute to our exchange" is one side of the debate being able to hide the other viewpoint.

All that then happens is that the topic pops up again.

Have people really lost the art of scrolling by and following posts? If it complies with the guidelines it stays.

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/APRILBROWN4

Here is a link with some helpful hints to help prevent downvotes for anyone interested: Forum Posting Tips

APRILBROWN4

September 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uphilldweller

It would be even more helpful if rule compliant posts weren't subject to the -5 and hide rule. I don't know if Duolingo's idea was a closed shop or private club though the forum has the feel of both.

The forum needs to be opened up or risk being shut for lack of use. Fewer than 1% of students use it.

September 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dirk858585

Well, I remember that long discussion about the problem... someone still believes in the system :(

The mods just tried again to give hints and explanations, those sound logical to me - but unfortunately the reality doesn't seem to follow the rules...

September 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uphilldweller

"...the reality doesn't seem to follow the rules..."

Well put.

September 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/The9

It's true. I asked a simple question about "stories" and got a lot of downvotes here: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/33859108

The downvotes themselves I actually don't care about, but what's the point of downvoting if you don't even write anything. Like, if you get upset enough to downvote, wouldn't it be more releasing to write a simple comment explaining why?

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Heike333145

I just upvoted your thread because there's nothing wrong with it, in my opinion.

However, I think I can guess why you got the downvotes (at least one reason):

Only four languages have stories at all. Many, many stories!

Most languages don't have any stories or extra features.

Now if I am a learner of, say, Italian, I may think: "I have been wanting Italian stories for such a long time, to no avail. :-( Now someone who does have this privilege complains!" --> Down.

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uphilldweller

EDIT - generally

If a contributor has to explain then why not explain? A click takes half a second whilst the receiver of their wisdom is left none the wiser - pointless.

The difference between rudeness and politeness is the click of a mouse.

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SuperPrinceKing

It was downvoted because it was something obvious. Obviously duolingo will duplicate the stories, because they are not making 100+ stories, for the 100+ different languages.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uphilldweller

You know this as a fact?

EDIT why not "It was [probably] downvoted because it was something obvious."

EDIT 2 As a readership it seems we either must collectively expend energy divining the meaning of downvotes or to regard them as the grunts of cave dwellers (well that's how I like to image them). This is why I focus on words (when there are any). I wish Duolingo valued words above grunts.

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Heike333145

I fear that you will get downvotes because you posted this in the Spanish forum. Since your topic is not about the Spanish language, could you please move it to the "Duolingo" forum? You can do this by clicking "Edit" at the top of the thread and then selecting "Duolingo" from the drop-down list.

Thank you! :-)

September 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uphilldweller

"this in the Spanish forum"

This is where the most tolerant people are. There'd be less chance of a hearing in the general part of Duolingo where more downvoters lurk.

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bethany-joy88

thanks.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uphilldweller

There was another thread hoping to discuss alternatives to dealing with spam through downvoting; it was started by a young contributor in Duolingo at about the same time as this one. It didn't last a day. That taught 'em.

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DuvieCantu1

The dropdown list for my laptop only shows,

1) Educators in English

2) Troubleshooting in English

3) Spanish from English.

How does someone choose Duolingo? With the exception of a particular language, are there different choices to choose such as Duo;ingo?

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jan139433

DC1: In the Your Subscriptions box at the right on the website, click Edit and add Duolingo in English. That will add the general Duolingo Forum (in English) to the list that you will see in your dropdown when you compose a post.

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DuvieCantu1

Found it, Thanks!

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MooO0O

Generally the downvoting is harsh because anonymous people are a bunch of jerks. A bunch of judgemental morons with no culpability. I would wager that most don't even read a post before downvoting. A bunch of savages...

September 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aokoye

But then the other question is, would you rather people 7 downvote or would you rather 7 people tell you that you're wrong and here's why you're wrong? In my experience, people really don't like being told by more than a few people that they're not right.

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SHT3z2e4

I appreciate the irony of anonymously calling out anonymous people as jerks, morons, and savages. ;-)

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uphilldweller

You are SHT3z2e4 here, I am uphilldweller. These are our trading names. I could vote your post up or down though how would you know it was me?

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uphilldweller

"I would wager that most don't even read a post before downvoting."

This is because Duolingo have set the forum up so anonymous downvoters can hide a thread without even opening (never mind reading).

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MooO0O

yes, that's what I'm talking about. They only have to judge the title, or maybe they don't like the poster of the topic, and give a downvote without opening.

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wayne____

It's probably because most people won't bother voting on each and every comment, and if people vote just because they don't agree with you, that can happen.

There's nothing saying why anyone should vote. I will vote if I find something particularly helpful, or if someone was downvoted unfairly. I won't downvote someone for having a different opinion. I might for a comment that gives clearly wrong information.

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ISpeakAlien

I once had a post that was downvoted as soon as it was posted (there was no delay at all). Many of my posts are downvoted for no particular reason. Only spam and offensive comments should be downvoted, in my opinion. I don't downvote anything other than those.

I think that you should have to confirm downvotes like you have to confirm giving lingots.

You should move this post to the Duolingo in English forum because it's not related to Spanish.

Here are some recent posts that I made that got a lot of downvotes. I would like to know why.

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/33898391
https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/33365542
https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/33353011 (the only one that could possibly be controversial)

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Woody387892

Generally, I will upvote if "I feel" someone has been downvoted unfairly just to eliminate one downvote. There seems to be a growing number doing the same. Happy Learning!!

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Trubby1

i do the same. more often than not there seems to be absolutely no justification for the down voting

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tino_Bambino04

Same here

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marilowee

Yeah me too. It's infuriating to see perfectly good posts being downvoted. Makes no sense. I was actually thinking of asking this question myself.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mhinz0

Funny that you are mentioning this, because this just happend to me:

I asked a genuine question, but apparently I used too sarcastic language. No swear words though! One of the two responses complained about my language. Half of my post was not read in a way it was intended and the other half was used against me.

I thought that "Asking for a friend." at the end of a post is a common funny phrase used all over the internet (search the Urban Dictionary if you don't know it as well). How was it actually read? I was blamed for "hiding behind a friend".

Needless to say that another post responded to that comment: "You're right. As always! Smiley, smiley."

Boom. -5.

There was one other response that at least tried to be useful. I responded with a longer text. But then that person agreed with the first response and deleted her comment (including my response, of course).

So much drama and negativity, but the only thing I never got: an answer to my question. I eventually just deleted my post because it just wasn't worth it.

Having learned my lesson the hard way: Never use sarcasm. It could be used against you. :-)

Putting it in a nutshell: Yes, I totally agree with you that people often jump to conclusions too quickly around here.

I get that voting should be used to "hide" abusing posts. Posts containing lots of swear words or posts that have clearly not the intention to ever get an answer etc. Even without reading the actual guidelines, I think every person knows what it's like to be polite.

But if you downvote simply because you disagree with the question or the wording of the question or if you respond without even the intent of trying to be useful.. then it is actually you who is offending and it's a pity that you even have the rights to vote for anything.

(I understand that many will read this comment as simply yet another whiny rant, but as the author of the first post, I don't really care either.)

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uphilldweller

"...I get that voting should be used to "hide" abusing posts..."

Abuse is a serious issue and should be reported. There is no simple click for this and a form to be filled in. A moderator is then supposed to respond by deleting the offending post and withdrawing posting rights (as an example of punishment).

The trouble with the '-5 and hide' rule is the hiding gets done (because that's the easy bit) though as for the rest who knows?

Oh and by the way what qualifies any of us to hide someone else's work? Did we all do the moderator course and have the ticket under the keyboard? Is there any come back if we get it wrong?

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mhinz0

My feeling is that many people who downvote are not really offended by the post. They don't invest the needed time to check if they really understood what a post is about. Voting is so easy done with one click and it also works without thinking twice. ;]

But let's be honest.. every anonymous platform on the internet (forums, much of social media) has that problem and I don't have a solution for it either.

I seriously doubt people would behave the same when all the persons involved would meet in real life. Communication is hard. And the internet just makes it faster, not better.

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uphilldweller

"every anonymous platform"

There is one thing I've seen seen suggested - a drop down on the vote number to show which student voted and which way.

My preference would be to drop voting completely.

My second preference would be to drop the '-5 and hide' rule.

The method of alerting moderators about abusive posts needs to be made more prominent to quell any tendency to return to the Wild West.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cucumberman

Honestly, I couldn't agree more. Read the sad tale of https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/33931722 Until the last few hours, I stayed as civil and non-hatable as I possibly could, but nope.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joshorst

I must say MODs pretending not to know a lot of perfectly good threads get downvoted too gets annoying also.

September 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uphilldweller

One mod (no names) let the cat out of the bag arguing that posts could be guideline compliant though "not good enough".

Who decides what's good? - why of course that would be anonymous downvoters.

September 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/roy229282

They do not want their comment to be pushed off the top of the pile by a new one. It is sad that some feel they must treat others so poorly.

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WinterSoldier.

Basically this, and we've been over this a billion times. People believe that if a question is asked and answered it never need be asked again. People also think that you should search your question before asking it. However I find the search option to give me a lot of stuff I don't need. So since the question has been "asked before" it ends up downvoted.

I personally upvote everything that isn't spam.

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thomas.Heiss

Most of the time threads are wrongly placed in the Spanish language question / exchange sub forum.

They quite often belong to the general "Duolingo(English") or technical "Troubleshooting(English)" sub forums and so they are initially misplaced into "Spanish(English)".

If people are too helpless to subscribe to more than only one - Spanish forum - and to EDIT their forum subscriptions correctly, then there is not much choice.

Sometimes they move their wrongly placed thread if forum moderators or other users ask...but quite often they do not.

Even global forum moderators do not have the rights to directly move threads between multiple sub forums....only staff (=admins) can do that (but usually they don't).

The Spanish / French... language sub forums shall not be misused like a trash can, if you want to have my personafl opinion.

Yes, you are right in the point that many people downvote threads in general "Duolingo(English)" or "Troubleshooting(English)" sub forums, even when placed correctly, without opening the thread and reading it before.

The down-vote system is being HEAVILY misused...so I think only verified / long-term users with a special status should be allowed to downvote.

My 2cents

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/roy229282

If so they should have some means of moving the thread to the correct forum and inform the user so they can better understand. It is time this forum was made a little more helpful to the users.

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnnaBoo9

What is a downvote?

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Stergi3

I will tell you about upvoting. A more or less irrelevant post that can make people laugh is upvotes and become top. It is good for our mood but doesn't help in language learning. Some tip: Put a joke here and see what will happen. Thanks to moderators who monitor posts of this kind and don't let them out here.

About downvoting and upvoting generally speaking: It is a sum up of upvoted and downvotes which can make your post disappear from the forum. So people decides which is useful for them. If so, Einstein's theories could have been disappeared because nobody or just a few can understand them, so let's downvote his publications. Odd, really!

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceForce

When thoughtful, considerate, carefully written posts get shot down into obscurity, "harsh" would be the exact word. Especially problematic would be readers being able to thumb down posts straight from their titles, lazily or presumptuously thinking they're separating the wheat from the chaff, perhaps, when all they might be doing is killing much intelligent and respectful discourse. Meanwhile, many arguably vapid posts go viral! Go figure ...

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kobe680

Well people are just really harsh no other explanation. Much harsher than needed

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uphilldweller

Harsh is one word. Anonimity emboldens harsh and -5 is the icing on the cake.

September 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rucky4

I don´t know, maybe some people think they are very smart and if someone asks for something they believe that person can be a little stupy or something like that...but, I really don´t know

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jon786634

Five downvotes does not hide a post. That is a long repeated myth. It’s only hidden after all the upvotes are offset by an equal number of downvotes plus five more. That’s a perfectly fair method of triage.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uphilldweller

Ever seen an OP with -5 next to the up/down arrow (unless subscribed)?

"...That’s a perfectly fair method of triage..."

This is a discussion forum with guidelines not a popularity contest.

September 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SuperPrinceKing

"...That’s a perfectly fair method of triage..."

No its not, really. If you have 0 upvotes, and 5 downvotes, the post will be deleted. It's not fair. It's not a popularity contest. its not "the most likes stay". It is the GUIDELINES.

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jon786634

Hidden not deleted. And 0 upvotes + 5 downvotes only happens to garbage posts. You can have a new lingot If you can post a link to one example of a legitimate worthwhile non-garbage post where that happened.

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uphilldweller

So far as the general community is concerned hidden might as well be deleted for all intents and purposes. See the second and third comment in the link.

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/33931722

It' a language forum used by all ages not the New York Review of Books.

September 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VernonLong

I'm sending you a few lingots to help contribute to a more positive experience for you.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SusanRankin1

I find that there are some VERY MEAN SPIRITED people on here that down vote anything posted by somebody who is not their "friend" It is really nasty and bullying.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JimThibaul

Here is an example I made a post, want to see what your goals are want to learn to read, then speak, listening, and writing..... People all day must of look at the title said... no down vote but so far almost 20 people replied with helpfull advice. The trolls do not read posts they may read the title at best and then down vote. If people had there names appended to the down vote, I doubt they would be in such a hurry to down vote.

September 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Skipper07092001

I don’t think if this were a few years ago, we would have this negative environment where it was fun for people to lash out and give downvotes out like they were candy. Asking a question that is not profane does not deserve scorn. Could you imagine as teachers if we acted the way we do here?

September 7, 2019
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