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On other SE sites members whose answers have received downvotes often ask the downvoters to at least explain their votes. Is it good practice to do so?

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Yes, if you want the answer you downvoted to improve, you should let the autor know, what he should improve. Even if you just say, the answer is wrong, it helps. Getting good answers is a main goal of this site, and by downvoting a bad answer you dont make it better.

Also, getting downvoted without knowing why, can make a person stop answering future questions.

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  • Thank you, I agree that this is how SE sites should work and also how the real SE sites that I have used seem to work. – Carsten S Jul 19 '14 at 16:14
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Sure, in case we felt to down-vote a poor post we can explain in a comment why we did so. This helps users to improve their posts, and it also avoids confusion. In order to keep voting private there is (and will not be) any obligation to do so.

Whenever such a comment led to an edit of a post, and the reason for commenting was fixed, we should delete our now meaningless comment. In case we do not get noticed about an edit the comment may get flagged by another user for removal. This also implies that whenever we see an orphaned obsolete comment on any post it is encouraged to flag it as "obsolete".

It is also a good idea to then revert our down-vote.

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  • This is how I handle things on other SE sites. However, here it suffices that my the formulation of comment is not deemed constructive enough, and it will be deleted without any explanation. – Carsten S Jul 19 '14 at 16:13
  • @CarstenSchultz: as far as I can remember I only deleted comments of yours after they became obsolete (i.e. we had an answer saying the same, issue was resolved, was flagged as obsolete), or occasionally when we had a lengthy comment thread being off topic to the question which had to go as a whole on clean-up. As we do not know what exactly made you so unhappy we can't explain why we did so. – Takkat Jul 19 '14 at 17:16
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No, on this SE site a moderator has a habit of deleting comments without explanation, so you need not bother.

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    Any links to a post where I accidentally deleted a comment explaining a downvote? – Takkat Jul 16 '14 at 21:59
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    Without being in your head it is impossible for me to tell if you deleted something accidentally. It is also hard for me to say when you deleted a comment, because it is always possible that I only imagine having written it. Maybe you can tell us how many of my comments you have deleted, or how many have been deleted by someone except myself? – Carsten S Jul 19 '14 at 16:08
  • Of 648 comments 90 were deleted, still 558 comments alive. It appears that almost half of all deleted comments were deleted by yourself. – Takkat Jul 20 '14 at 7:17

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