I frequently flesh out answers from new users; adding relevant dictionary definitions, links and usage examples. Almost every time I do that, the answer immediately gets a -1 score.

Some new users might think that it's a downvote from me, because they can see "edited by NVZ".

I understand only that it's the system punishing the VLQ answer, but I don't understand why it's done after it's improved? How can I prevent this? I feel discouraged from improving answers somehow.

  • 3
    I noticed this too. I suppose it's saying that an edit should not have been necessary, so the original answer wasn't up to scratch. The fact that you have edited it proves that it wasn't good enough, so the downvote is inflicted. It can only happen once you submit your edit. However, it does make it look as though your improvement is still worth a downvote.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Jan 15, 2017 at 9:58
  • @Andrew Are you saying that these downvotes really are automatic?
    – Mitch
    Jan 15, 2017 at 17:54
  • 2
    @Mitch Yes. See this question on MSE. Actually, the accepted answer there probably is the answer here.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Jan 15, 2017 at 18:23
  • 1
    @AndrewLeach Thank you! I think this line answers my question: "The system will now revoke the automatic downvote if, after the flag is marked Helpful, the post later gets an upvote." -- Shog9 ♦
    – NVZ Mod
    Jan 15, 2017 at 18:29
  • That first upvote might appear odd because it will appear to count as two.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Jan 15, 2017 at 18:31
  • 14
    I think the automated system should not be in the business of downvoting questions—ever. For one thing, I don't trust the mechanical intelligence of whatever routine controls this reflexive voting to make a sound choice in every instance. For another, as far as I can tell, there is no symmetry in the automated allocation: does 'the system" ever automatically upvote answers? And if so, under what circumstances? I would be the last person to argue that a human voter's upvote/downvote tallies should come out about even—but why are we entrusting downvoting to an automated process?
    – Sven Yargs
    Jan 15, 2017 at 19:07
  • 3
    I believe that the system automatically down votes any post that gets a rude/abusive or spam flag, and I am somewhat comfortable with that (although some users may need to be taught that “You’re wrong, because …” is not rude/abusive, and not all mentions of products are spam).  Otherwise, I agree with what @SvenYargs said. Jan 15, 2017 at 21:00

1 Answer 1


Thanks to Andrew Leach ♦ for the link to Shog9 ♦'s answer on MSE, part of which is applicable here also. Emphasis added.

The system will now revoke the automatic downvote if, after the [VLQ] flag is marked Helpful, the post later gets an upvote.

Remember, the automatic downvote essentially exists because folks use this [VLQ] flag in cases where they should be downvoting. As such, it serves an important role... But should still be considered weak compared to actually downvoting the post in cases where there is conflicting information.

A situation where the post isn't actually deleted (either because the post was edited or because it was simply undeleted) and goes on to attract positive feedback is clearly a situation where the flag itself is weak signal, and it no longer makes sense for the system to impose an automatic downvote.


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