This is in relation with the behavior of the Original Poster of this question: How to automatically hyphenate before sending to a device?

Apparently this ebooks.stackexchange site has been in existence for two years and two months, at the time of this writing. It is apparently starting slowly, and I have been trying to contribute to its attractiveness, with whatever knowledge and time I have, since I think ebooks are a very important topic, technically and culturally.

Contributing takes time, as I know from doing it on other sites. It also takes many forms. We are suppose to use this site keeping in mind that questions are never only for the asker, but are to be an available resource, together with answers, for future users interested by the issue. Hence it is important that questions be clear and informative. This is why questions are supposed to show some research effort, and to contribute whatever knowledge the asker has already gathered on the issue. It helps future users, and it helps focus answers.

Furthemore, it is always hard to know whether a missing or apparently inconsistent information in the question is due to ignorance by the asker, or carelessness on his part.

Of course the same holds for answers. Answers are not always complete answers, but are supposed at least to contribute data to a partial answer. Partial answers are particularly fair when a question has remained totally unanswered for 6 months, and when the comments indicate that it is not even clear to some users.

This is precisely the case for question How to automatically hyphenate before sending to a device?. And the 7 comments are evidence to its lack of clarity. The OP takes as an excuse the fact that English is not his native language, but he clearly masters it well enough (BTW, it is not my native language either).

The OP asked a very terse question, that was not even well phrased. He did not show any research, and even withheld what information he had on the topic, as proved by his later comments.

Being interested in the issue, I did some search on my own. In my answer I provided more explanation that should have been in the question (but I thought it would be editing it too much), and that the OP had not bothered giving despite obvious misunderstanding and explicit requests in comments (but it was not clear at that point that he knew that).

I also gave a reference to a tool that did at least part of what he wanted. He also knew about that tool, but gave no hint.

Finally he criticized my answer in a comment, which is fair enough. However I told him that his question was not up to standard, and that my answer was a consequence of that.

So he concluded with a rude comment, and downvoted my answer.

I personally never downvote, because I think it is useless in all non obvious cases, and often unfair. And obvious cases are ... obvious, and probably better handled by flags. I believe in discussion.

However, I think the behavior of users like the OP of the question I am discussing is detrimental to the site. He contributes nothing and discourages arrogantly those who try to contribute.

  • What is your actual question here? It is clear that you're angered by being downvoted, but AFAIK you can never tell 100% sure that the OP did this (even if the OPs rep went down during the same day: they could have downvoted another question). Unfortunately the site not much frequented that an incidental downvote is swamped by enough upvotes to not being noticable. When you contribute do it because it interests you, there will always be some that need to push others down because they don't have the competence to strive upwards themselves.
    – Anthon
    Commented Feb 20, 2016 at 23:56
  • Keep up the good work, appreciation from others sometimes comes late and at unexpected times. The reward of gaining knowledge from researching and figuring things out however is immediate and independent of others. Take a break and contribute again when you feel like it. On a more active site the dynamics work differently, here it is sometimes lonely.
    – Anthon
    Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 0:00
  • "So he concluded with a rude comment, and downvoted my answer." Such is the internet. There will always be people like this, you just ignore them from now on. And the points don't matter. However, another site was such a rude echo chamber that I ultimately left the site because of what you mentioned. It just wasn't fun or pleasant anymore. Personally I only downvote when an answer or comment is incorrect AND could cause other users problems.
    – Bulrush
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 16:01

1 Answer 1


Downvotes happen. They're annoying, but they are part of life, and they're part of the peril of participating in a site where the person asking the question may not understand the issues (see the XY problem). After all, someone's always wrong on the internet.

There's nothing here to do but move on and not take it personally. After all, as of right now, you have a net +1 score on that answer (worth a net +18 reputation). The -2 reputation just isn't a big deal.

You should be aware, however, that your comment exchange on your answer probably didn't help you. I've cleaned up the comments because some of them weren't constructive, but one of your comments was this:

The point is that you are supposed to write clear questions, and give context. You did not. You may consider that I did not answer you: your priviledge [sic]. The point is that you do not respect the intention of this site which is to constitute a collection of good questions with good answer that can help many people. Your question is bad, because it is too terse to be fully clear (not just my opinion) and does not give the context you already know. English is not the native language of many users, but this is not the issue.

That comes across as a lecture at best and an ad hominem insult at worst. It does not come across as constructive criticism. In the future, you may want to remember that getting into sharp discussions with people and questioning their sincerity or motives is not likely to provoke a good response. It certainly boosts the odds of a downvote, fair or unfair, in the context of this site.

This is not technically part of the answer to your question, but it's still relevant to the reasoning behind your question.

One thing jumped out at me about your post. You wrote:

I personally never downvote, because I think it is useless in all non obvious cases, and often unfair. And obvious cases are ... obvious, and probably better handled by flags. I believe in discussion.

You should downvote when appropriate. The tooltip/mouseover text for the downvote button is informative:

[For questions:] This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful

[For answers:] This answer is not useful

If the post is unclear, not useful, or just lazy, you should downvote it. Downvotes are critical to the way Stack Exchange sites like this one work: we rely on upvotes to move good content up and downvotes to move bad content down.

Note: I am not saying you should or should not have downvoted the question at issue, and I'm not weighing in on whether or not the OP's vote against your question was justified, assuming it really was the OP who cast the downvote.

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