If I downvote an answer or a question my reputation will be reduced by 1. In the question Should I downvote spam? the message is bold => downvote to help "normal" users.

What is the benefit of downvoting?

Today I downvoted a spam answer in the question: Check if next char is {

  • Could you rephrase that. I have difficulties following you. What do you mean with "In the question Should I downvote spam? the message is bold => downvote to help "normal" users."? This is not discussed in that question. Are you now talking about the benefit of downvoting for normal posts or spam posts? Nov 2, 2011 at 19:23
  • 1
    Also note that down-votes on questions are now free and do not reduce your reputation. Nov 2, 2011 at 19:24
  • @MartinScharrer: Question down-votes are "free"? How new is this?
    – Werner Mod
    Nov 2, 2011 at 21:48
  • @Werner: It has been so for a while, see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/90324/…. Nov 3, 2011 at 7:04

1 Answer 1


The reason down-votes exists is similar to the reason up-votes exists. The total sum of votes should indicate how good an answer is perceived by the community. Good posts should be up-voted, not-good posts should not receive votes and really bad or incorrect posts should be down-voted.

You need to pay 1 rep for a down-vote on a question so that you won't down-vote just for fun and take it serious. If the post is deleted afterwards you can get your reputation back by recalculating it (go to https://tex.stackexchange.com/reputation#bottom and press the button there). If the post is improved by an edit you can remove the down-vote and get the reputation back as well.

Spam posts should be simply flagged as spam using the 'flag' link below it. You can down-vote it as well, but this is not required.

  • Your answer explains my questions. Nov 2, 2011 at 19:55
  • 2
    IIRC flagging as spam automatically downvotes.
    – Caramdir
    Nov 2, 2011 at 20:16
  • @Caramdir: Yes, right, I forgot that. But this vote comes from Community, not from you. Nov 2, 2011 at 20:18

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