Is it reasonable to get downvotes just because the downvoters' point of view differs from yours, no matter how many valuable references you have provided? Please see this: Where is the subject in "as was traditional for unmarried women"? (Comments included, if possible, as proof of my efforts to reach consensus.)

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    People can downvote however they like. If there's evidence of inappropriate collusion that's a different story
    – Mitch
    Feb 19, 2017 at 0:41
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    @Mitch Yes, that's pretty clear. It just calls my attention how unfounded some downvotes can be.
    – Gustavson
    Feb 19, 2017 at 0:46
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    I feel for you; that's quite a detailed answer. I didn't downvote, but as it sounds like such an unusual answer, I can see how people would disagree, and, yes, downvote, simply because they don't believe you. Though it's well-written, if they think it's wrong, they are actually using the downvote correctly. Feb 19, 2017 at 4:32
  • There's a guy whose answer has attracted 63 downvotes (so far) kinda puts a different perspective on everything, doesn't it? Although the DVs are hardly anonymous, there's no mystery as to why it is downvoted.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 19, 2017 at 22:53
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    @Mari-LouA -what has that to do with this question here?
    – user66974
    Feb 20, 2017 at 12:43

2 Answers 2


People may downvote whenever they think an answer is not useful. Sources are good in general, but they aren't guaranteed to be useful. It's possible for sources to be incorrect, and some people might judge an answer that cites incorrect (in their view) sources as "not useful". I wouldn't worry about it too much. Your answer currently has a net positive score, and it was at a disadvantage because the sources were not present initially (didn't most of the downvotes occur before you edited the question to add references?). I don't think it is likely to keep accumulating downvotes.

The main analysis you present, that "as" is a relative pronoun, seems to be disputed by several recent analysts. I understand that you don't fully endorse this analysis, you are just describing it, but I think you may put too much emphasis on Fowler. Fowler was an influential figure for the "prescriptive grammar/style/usage guide" tradition, but as far as I know he is not actually considered a particularly important analyst of grammar from a linguistic perspective. (This isn't intended as a knock on Fowler—I own the new printing of the first edition, but see for example this Language Hat post about David Crystal's introduction to this edition.) Fowler is also not especially recent.

I think your answer might gain more points if you made a new edit that focuses more on Simon-Vandenbergen and Noël's summary of the viewpoints of various more recent grammarians, which seems very helpful.

But you certainly don't have to do this. As I said, I think your answer is fine as it is, and I will be surprised (and disappointed) if its score decreases significantly in the future.

  • Thank you for your interest, as well as for the link and grammar references you sent me. I'm no fan of Fowler's. I studied Quirk in college. I don't think that new grammarians are always right, or that old ones always were. It's just that when I read something that answers my question thoroughly, I experience a kind of "grammatical epiphany". I know many things are idiomatic in the language, but when I discover a rule I was not aware of, I truly celebrate it and feel like sharing it with others (students included).
    – Gustavson
    Feb 19, 2017 at 23:02
  • @Gustavson: I didn't interpret your post as relying on Fowler, but I wondered if that might have been the thought process of the downvoter, especially if the person who downvoted hadn't clicked through to read all the links in your answer.
    – herisson
    Feb 19, 2017 at 23:12
  • I know. I just wanted to show that I am willing to accept "the best of both worlds", in the words of the author of the article you sent me.
    – Gustavson
    Feb 19, 2017 at 23:16

I was somewhat involved with this business, and down votes mean little to me. For me , it is the practice of grammar that is important, not the theory, or, theories. Without proper care, grammar theory can take precedence over grammar practice.

I have had some difficulty adjusting to the protocols of this community. I am trying to adjust, and making some progress. If someone wishes to slap a down vote on me, that is not my business. My business is improving how I practice English, if I can. My only concern with down votes is they often come with no explanation. This practice seems pointless.

  • Thank you for your understanding. I also don't like to be downvoted for no apparent reason. At ELL site I once proposed that downvotes be always justified and my motion was quickly rejected (meta.ell.stackexchange.com/questions/3455/…). Just like you, I'm learning a lot here, not only about language- but also community-related issues, and the balance has been quite positive so far. Discussions tend to be nice if held with due respect.
    – Gustavson
    Feb 19, 2017 at 23:13
  • I suppose we should just soldier on..... this is more pleasant usually than soldiering, though.
    – J. Taylor
    Feb 19, 2017 at 23:26

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