Just as there are good and bad answers (and thus, voting up and down is allowed), is there a good reason why comment (not answer) downvote is not allowed?

Sometimes the comments are very much out there, so perhaps downvoting them should be allowed?

  • 3
    For meta questions related to SE as a whole, please start by researching the meta site. This particular suggestion was discussed back in '09 at meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3615/…. If a comment is problematic (rude, harmful to the community, spam, etc), then please flag it: mods can delete and edit comments. – whuber Apr 19 '12 at 20:28
  • Thank for the link @whuber. I searched, but apparently I did not search with enough detail. I see how this would seem like a feature for SE as a whole - nevertheless, if we had this only on GIS.SE and not all over SE, I would not complain whatsoever :) Of course, I don't know if such things exists (a feature that is only available to a particular SE site, but not others). Regardless, the answer on the SE Meta site did not seem strong enough. I guess it is an arbitrary choice. – Ragi Yaser Burhum Apr 19 '12 at 23:57
  • Some sites do have special features: for instance, the Gaming site uses a markup language to create game diagrams, and only they have it. But, unlike markup, comments are basic to the SE structure, so it's natural to look on the Meta site for conversations about them. – whuber Apr 20 '12 at 15:22

I believe downvoting comments would mislead users from its original purpose:

They are helpful in positively keeping the workflow toward good Questions and Answers, which is the SE main objective.

Whatever reason a comment is posted (asking for clarification, suggesting an improvement, stating a critic or complement),

upvotes already play the role to differentiate which comments community thinks are the most relevant. The asker/answerer can concentrate on these ones to prioritize actions on the thread or providing an explanation reply.

On the other hand a comment which is not upvoted already tends to be irrelevant.
In case a person does not agree with a comment, he/she can post another comment stating the reason of the disagreement. If the reason is a good one, the comment will be upvoted too.

Moreover, downvoting a comment could begin a discussion about a specific comment (which is not desired because takes the attention away from questions or answers).

This line of reasoning also applies to Q&A style (e.g. an answer with zero vote is probably not a good one), but in this case a negative score alerts the reader: do not follow this information to solve your problem, because it is wrong or is ineffective even if another solution/approach was not provided.

Lastly, there are exceptions like an highly upvoted funny and irrelevant comment or a zero score good answer, but they are a minor portion of total.

Other exceptions I can think of are answers embedded in comments. For this ones I share the opinion users should encourage each other to post: answers as answers and questions as questions.


Up votes on Comments do not appear to increase a user's reputation. So voting down on a comment wouldn't have much of an effect.

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    It would still show others that that comment isn't well-received. – Tanner Jul 28 '12 at 2:05

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