It is very strange to me that on a question I recently asked already has 3 down-votes.

Is there a word or phrase for language and culture combined?

Meanwhile, here are examples to very similar questions but with up-votes.

Word or phrase that describes the biased perception of a group

What is the term for a shortened word that is pronounced based on phantom letters?

In fact this question did receive an answer that there is no such term, was up-voted, and accepted.

Does English possess a term for the study of all aspects of language in primary/secondary schools

Here is another:

Word for expressing someone whose experience is mid-level?

I don't then understand why in less than an hour of asking I've received 3 down-votes.

  • I don't see anything particularly wrong with the question. John L thought that it was vague, so perhaps adding more context about why you were asking (i.e. the Peace Corps example you mentioned in your comment) might have appeased those who didn't like it.
    – Lynn
    Apr 4, 2013 at 13:41
  • 2
    My observations here, EL&U seems to be the one where some users keep on down-voting posts. Just take a look at the site and you will find more minuses than any other place. Moreover, sometimes questions are marked duplicate since this simple question has another one in the same line, but with tons of difficult terms and a very general tone. This often eludes a new comer or a person who is not an expert in English. This questioner is often awarded more than his fare share of abuse, since he has not mastered all those grammatical terms before asking that foolish question.
    – Masroor
    Apr 7, 2013 at 4:24
  • @MMA: Here we go again. Just take a look at the site and you will find more minuses than any other place. I find the majority of downvoted questions are rather poor questions, because of how poorly they are presented, not because I think anyone is foolish for asking. I've already talked about this at length here. All that said, I'm as baffled as you are about Ryan's downvotes; I've read his question at least four times and can't find anything wrong with it – but I believe that's an outlier.
    – J.R.
    Apr 7, 2013 at 8:47
  • @J.R.While your observations might be correct from your perspective, perhaps we often forget that not all the members of EL&U have English as their mother tongue. And different backgrounds make one ask a question in different ways. Some will ask a question using purely grammatical phrases, another will ask this using very specific words. But that does not mean that they are very poorly presented. If the members of EL&U feel that this group is being downgraded by these newcomers, perhaps they will tag the question to be migrated to ELL (ell.stackexchange.com).
    – Masroor
    Apr 7, 2013 at 16:29
  • @J.R. And I will come back to my previous point, enter EL&U, and enter another five sites of SE at random, you will find many more minuses here than any other site. So, something must be wrong here, or very right here?
    – Masroor
    Apr 7, 2013 at 16:30
  • @J.R.Forgot to mention, enjoyed reading your answer (meta.english.stackexchange.com/a/2698/38170). But again, the level among members count. Difference between addition and subtraction will sound stupid to members of EL&U, but this might be very important for a newcomer or who is not an English speaker (and perhaps belongs to ELL). Rather than down-voting, could we migrate it to ELL? No, I am not suggesting that all poor questions should be migrated, rather many of them could be migrated.
    – Masroor
    Apr 7, 2013 at 16:40
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    @MMA: RE: "you will find many more minuses here than any other site." I firmly believe that's because there are many more people in the world struggling to learn English than there are striving to learn higher math. Also, it's worth remembering that ELL came into being mostly because members of ELU wanted non-natives to have a place where basic questions could be asked, because they recognized these were legitimate questions, although perhaps not good ones for ELU's originally intended audience. I wrote more about this here.
    – J.R.
    Apr 7, 2013 at 19:57
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    @MMA: Also, RE: "While your observations might be correct from your perspective, perhaps we often forget that not all the members of EL&U have English as their mother tongue." Just for the record: I have never forgotten that, nor have I ever downvoted because a question wasn't worded the way a native would write it.
    – J.R.
    Apr 7, 2013 at 20:00

2 Answers 2


Ryan, there is no accounting for most down votes. The majority of them are not explained, and it's not uncommon for down votes to be cast for reasons other than any valid assessment of the worth of the question. Once you've been here long enough, you'll realize that some people down vote for reasons that are knowable and understandable only to themselves, and some people down vote just to be "trolls," and some people down vote just because they happen to be ticked off at you and they haven't the integrity and civility to deal with that any other way. Believe me, you really shouldn't let it bother you. It happens to everyone, and it's just not all that meaningful. And welcome to the club! :)

  • 10
    There definitely seem to be more 'trolls' here than on other SE sites. It's singularly the most unpleasant one I've tried to participate in. Apr 8, 2013 at 13:41
  • Blame the people who believe language is declining.
    – Joe Z.
    Apr 12, 2013 at 13:00
  • 1
    In the great scheme of things, of course, being wrongly downvoted (and I'd say any unexplained downvote is wrong) doesn't matter a bit. It does, however, have two regrettable effects - it can discourage, rather than encourage a new approach; and with selfishly motivated downvotes, it can denigrate a useful - even valuable - answer. There seem to be enough sane people here to correct the fault though, and there is some stuff - no, a lot of stuff - that you definitely shouldn't throw out with the bathwater. Apr 13, 2013 at 21:25

I am a high rated member of money.se and continue to struggle with the downvotes, sometimes for my own answers, more often for others' frustration. SE doesn't require a comment to downvote, and as John said, there's a 'troll' factor here as there is anyplace on the net. Whether it be for a question or an answer, the Downvote can feel like a personal attack. There's no 'real world' analog to it. I've never seen a person say "you are wrong" and walk away without another word. Last, the effort to change the code here is probably more trouble than it's worth, and a forced comment-for-downvote would potentially have the unintended consequence of starting debates that should just be avoided.

Last - I'd bet you experience this far less on the board you frequent most, Graphic design, than here, as it takes time to learn the personality each board has, I say, as I brace myself for the DV to this answer.

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    I think you make some very valid points all around, but I especially agree with your last one: sometimes it takes a little time to learn what is expected from the "corporate culture," which, even on the Stack Exchange, varies from exchange to exchange.
    – J.R.
    Apr 7, 2013 at 23:34

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