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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? – Martin Scharrer Nov 2 '11 at 19:23
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    Also note that down-votes on questions are now free and do not reduce your reputation. – Martin Scharrer Nov 2 '11 at 19:24
  • @MartinScharrer: Question down-votes are "free"? How new is this? – Werner Nov 2 '11 at 21:48
  • @Werner: It has been so for a while, see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/90324/…. – Martin Scharrer Nov 3 '11 at 7:04
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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. – Marco Daniel Nov 2 '11 at 19:55
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    IIRC flagging as spam automatically downvotes. – Caramdir Nov 2 '11 at 20:16
  • @Caramdir: Yes, right, I forgot that. But this vote comes from Community, not from you. – Martin Scharrer Nov 2 '11 at 20:18

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