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The difference might not be clear but it is a bad practice to first down-vote. If an answer is incorrect/incomplete use comments and edits to help them improve their post. If they don't follow up and address the issues then down-vote. You might think that you can take back the down-vote after the post is improved but the effect is quite different. It give the new users that they are not welcome to the site and that is not what we want. It will also create a bad environment for sharing knowledge. A down-vote might not seem a big thing for you if you are used to the system, but it is quite a big thing for people who are not and might interpret a down-vote, especially without any comments to explain what is wrong as quite disheartening. We would like to make every user interested in the site feel welcome as much as possible. It also give a bad example for other users.

This is more important in the early stages of the site that we are building a community. The more experienced and knowledgeable users should help others improve and learn to write good posts.

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    To down-voter: It is not a good practice to just down-vote. If you disagree and have a reason state the reason you disagree. Maybe you don't have much to say and just down-vote what you don't like?! – Kaveh Jun 26 '12 at 1:02
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    Oh, the irony. ;) – Mateen Ulhaq Jun 26 '12 at 1:16
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    Here's one relevant Meta.SO thread. – Mateen Ulhaq Jun 26 '12 at 1:18
  • You can't force this. It has been discussed as @muntoo said. – Dynamic Jun 26 '12 at 1:27
  • @Dynamic, it is not about forcing, it is about etiquette and norms of the community, we might not be able to act against a user that doesn't follow an etiquette but it would at least set the norms of the community and tell the person not following the etiquette what other user see as good behavior and bad behavior. – Kaveh Jun 26 '12 at 1:33
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A popup appears whenever a user with less than 2000 reputation downvotes a post on the main site (note that this excludes meta).

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The problem with withholding a downvote is that it allows bad content to remain visible for longer: bad questions will remain on the front-page, bad answers will be ranked above potentially better answers, and people can no longer rely on the vote count to know what is useful and/or interesting. Stack Exchange is built around the voting mechanism; when that's broken, the whole system breaks.

I think the biggest flaw in this suggestion can be seen the first word: "Try". Trying doesn't come with any guarantee of success, and holding back votes on the assumption that the user will be able — not to mention willing — to fix his post doesn't really help anyone. One pretty much needs to grow a thick skin regarding downvotes on the Stack Exchange network regardless. And it's not at all uncommon for an unregistered user to post once and never be seen from again, regardless of how he is welcomed on the site; waiting on such a user to fix their post achieves nothing.

What does help is actually fixing the post. If the problem is something that can be easily fixed (or even not-so-easily if you're willing to put the effort in), then it's generally better to do so than it is to downvote. But the onus of writing a good post is still on the original poster; I have seen a number of users just continue to post poorly-written questions and answers under the assumption that they'd be fixed by other users anyway. It's one thing to make non-experts feel welcome, but we don't really want to attract people who can't even be bothered to put effort into their own posts.

In the end, if a post deserves to be downvoted it should be downvoted. If you can offer constructive criticism to improve the post while you do so, great. But constructive criticism is a skill like any other; just because one is an expert in Islam (and one doesn't even need to be an expert to recognize that a post is unclear and/or not useful) doesn't mean he is any good at criticism.

Not all experts are teachers, and not all teachers are experts. We can't reasonably expect voters to be both.

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  • so at-least advise other so called high rep moderators to comment immediately when they down vote. Else, as I said, he'll be thinking "I made a lot of effort to write this, but these moderators downed it..." and discourages quality content writers... – servant-of-Wiser Feb 22 '15 at 10:58
  • Why would I do that? If you'd read my post (and others on meta), you'd see I'm quite opposed to that idea; we as a community already have enough problems with healthy downvoting, and I don't see adding one more roadblock to that path being remotely useful. If you want to convince the community to change it's behaviour, write your own meta post. – goldPseudo Feb 22 '15 at 18:50

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