Today, reading Color the faces of a graph I noticed that the OP downvoted Karl's students's answer and g.kov's answer. These answers, actually, do not use TikZ, but show how the picture the OP was asking for could be done with PSTricks and Asymptote.

Apparently, his motivations are

You didn't use a single line of code from my example that I am interested in.

as per comment 1 and comment 2.

I looked for some related posts on meta, but I was only able to find:

related, but not getting the exact point.

My question, therefore, is: is this good practise?

Honestly, my opinion is: no, definitely. In my view, it is always nice to have answers showing how to do things in other manner and/or with other packages.

  • 15
    No, I don't think it's good practice. The attitude of the OP of that post betrays antisocial tendencies that I deem unwelcome on TeX.SE. Such posters should realise that answers to their posts are not just for their benefit, but for that of subsequent visitors too. Therefore, variety in the approaches proposed to obtain a similar output is always welcome.
    – jub0bs
    Mar 25, 2013 at 19:09
  • 11
    @Jubobs The reason why here is quite peaceful is because we tend to ignore negative attitude instead of settling the score. Just let it cool off. I have been called Nazi, asshole etc. here just because I've commented, but often they have deleted those because they see that they become the outliers immediately :) The OP might be having a bad day too. Instructing a certain etiquette forcefully only makes things worse. And some never realize heh.
    – percusse
    Mar 25, 2013 at 21:56
  • @percusse Agreed. Rest assured; I was merely pointing out that I don't appreciate the attitude, and I wish no one displayed it here. I'm not getting ready to take arms against angry posters :)
    – jub0bs
    Mar 25, 2013 at 22:09
  • 2
    thanks for asking this- I was very close to asking it myself after reading the comments that you linked to :) I have had a small discussion with the OP previously, tried to propose gently that he use downvotes sparingly.
    – cmhughes
    Mar 25, 2013 at 22:10
  • @Jubobs I am not an angry poster. Apparently I am just more willing to use my downvotes that most others. Mar 25, 2013 at 22:19
  • My question was not intended as a: "start of war" with the OP. In the main site I left him a comment and he politely answered me. The problem, at my eyes, is that his behaviour could start to be seen "right" by other users and in a short time we will be plenty of downvotes just because answers provide another way to do things. Mar 26, 2013 at 9:17
  • @ClaudioFiandrino I didn't downvoate the other answers because they just provided another way to do things. I downvoted them because they provided another way to do things without any justification. If I were going to give an answer to a question that was nothing like the OP expected, then I would include some text explaining why the OP (and other readers) should consider this answer. I think the most natural justification is that the requested solution would be considered a hack while this completely different and unexpected solution is considered elegant. Mar 26, 2013 at 13:29
  • If a user (subjectively) feels that the answer didn't help, he or she should downvote.
    – Ben
    Apr 3, 2013 at 11:34
  • @Ben, please, read carefully my question and the answers. I'm not questioning about "subjective" downvotes, but actually if the policy "downvote cause the answer provide a different approach" is valid or not. There's a non negligible difference IMHO. Apr 3, 2013 at 12:13
  • Well, I can only assume that those two answers did not help Tyson.
    – Ben
    Apr 3, 2013 at 12:28

4 Answers 4


Commenting directly on how individuals vote is probably not something we should pursue: voting is ultimately down to each user provided it does not fall into the 'sock puppet' or 'revenge downvoting' category. However, the general point is one that is worth discussion.

From early on, the general position has been that 'parallel' answers are valid, as it may well be that there are good alternatives to the approach that the questioner takes, or there may be something useful to illustrate. In particular, ConTeXt or plain TeX answers to LaTeX questions are fine, provided it's made clear that a different format is in use (the same also applies in reverse). In the same way, PSTricks answers to TikZ questions or vice versa should in general be OK.

It's worth bearing in mind that the point of the site is to answer questions but also to build up knowledge in a somewhat-ordered form. That means that questions should have some generality and that answers should have the possibility to help people beyond the original questioner. As such, 'alternative approach' answers fulfil an important role.

Downvoting is in any case a last resort: we've been pretty clear that voting should be a primarily positive thing.

  • 1
    Completely agree. This is why I merely downvoted the answer as opposed to trying to get it deleted. I see the benefit in these alternative solutions, but because it wasn't the solution that I was looking for, I downvoted it. Unless you want me to explain why I am looking for the particular answer that I am (which I have done somewhat in the comments of the original question and answers), it doesn't get any deeper than this. Mar 25, 2013 at 22:17
  • @JosephWright +1 Jeff Atwood has stated multiple times in the Stack Overflow podcasts that "voting should be primarily a positive thing" on Stack Overflow (and affiliates).
    – jub0bs
    Mar 25, 2013 at 22:20
  • I'm on this line too. @TysonWilliams: notice that in this answer is clearly stated that answers, in general, should not help only the OP, but all other users interested in. From that, unfortunately, I still don't get your point: "This is why I merely downvoted the answer as opposed to trying to get it deleted. I see the benefit in these alternative solutions, but because it wasn't the solution that I was looking for, I downvoted it." Mar 26, 2013 at 9:22
  • @ClaudioFiandrino As I said above, I agree with everything Joseph Wright said, including that answers should be helpful to everyone, including the OP. I never claimed that answers should only be helpful to the OP. People keep putting words into my mouth. I merely downvoted an answer that I didn't find helpful to me. If I thought an answer was not helpful to anyone, then I would recommend that it be deleted. I didn't do that in the case in question because I honestly believe that others will find those answers helpful. Mar 26, 2013 at 13:21

Quoting from the Vote Down privileges page:

What is voting down?

Voting down, also known as "casting downvotes", is how the community indicates which questions and answers are least useful.

When should I vote down?

Use your downvotes whenever you encounter an egregiously sloppy, no-effort-expended post, or an answer that is clearly and perhaps dangerously incorrect. [emph. added]


What are the alternatives to down-voting?

The up-vote privilege comes first because that's what you should focus on: pushing great content to the top. Down-voting should be reserved for extreme cases. It's not meant as a substitute for communication and editing.

Instead of voting down:

  • If the post is spammy or offensive, flag it.
  • If the question is duplicate or off-topic, flag it for moderator attention.
  • If something is wrong, please leave a comment or edit the post to correct it.

I am a TikZ fan. I don't expect I will ever need to use PSTricks. I think it's kind of silly when a very simple TikZ question is asked and a very detailed PSTricks answer is given among the TikZ ones. But I would never downvote those answers that are neither useful to me nor presumably to the OP. I may not vote it up, but I wouldn't presume that others would not find it useful. One of this community's greatest assets is its supportive culture (look at how much effort is spent on canning frequently-made comments so they are maximally friendly and constructive!), and I hope it can stay that way.

  • 9
    "egregiously sloppy"... that's... uhh... an oxymoron, isn't it? At least on this site. :-)
    – morbusg
    Mar 27, 2013 at 7:27
  • 1
    I am a PSTricks fan but I start loving TikZ because of you. :-) Mar 27, 2013 at 19:41
  • @morbusg: I take it you mean no answers on this site are sloppy. Which I would mostly agree with. The answers whose downvoting inspired this meta question definition would not qualify as sloppy. But there are some bad answers by non-regular users (this one was deleted because it was deemed unlikely to be improved), and every so often a bad answer by a regular user. Mar 28, 2013 at 20:58
  • 4
    @MatthewLeingang: I think morbusg is alluding to the fact that our top user, who provides great answers without fail, is called egreg
    – Jake
    Mar 28, 2013 at 21:19
  • Ah, that missed me. :-D Mar 29, 2013 at 2:50

I just would like to point out that the popup text for the downvote button might be misleading. It says "This answer is not useful." You might read that as

This answer is not useful to me.

and then a downvote might be the right thing. You might also read it as

This answer is not useful to the OP.

Again, the downvotes in this case could be correct. It is clear from the FAQ and from personal experience on this site that the text should read

This answer is not useful to the community.

or even better

I think this answer is not useful to the community.

Then, you have much less ground for any downvote. I doubt that we can have a different popup text just for TX.SX, but other SX sites really use one of the other interpretations of downvoting.

  • 3
    You say, "I doubt that we can have a different popup text just for TX.SX". I thought it might be possible as we can customize lots of things. Has anybody looked into it? Mar 28, 2013 at 21:00

Is OP the king for his upvote,accept and downvote actions on his Q & A ?. May be not, He/She is, until the first stage when OP brings the new idea to the community domain at later stage "parallel" answers develop to cater broader audience.

Hence OP's responsibility increases on his upvote/downvote/comments behaviour along with upvoters/commentators evident from heavy upvoting of Q. Most OP's miss the point that it's communication between multiple TeX users not a single point service to OP.

There is a slight miscommunication as there was no prior comments before the answer was posted and even OP reveals the magic(Many other figures with same code) after the answers are posted. May be OP should have edited the Q for precise instructions to help others.

But definitely, OP missed starting his first basic polite comment " Thank you for the answer, i would prefer to have with Tikz or my code due to ....". No token of thanks for any replies to acknowledge the work of answers. Eventually i am sure OP's will get his answer as TeX.SX users take up a good challenge and fun in TeX.

The Hovering text on Downvote button is very misleading especially for Human TeX.SX users. It says whatever is not useful press this dirty button. Which i don't do unless emergency occurs. I agree with Joseph Wright on Downvote only on Dangerously Dirty stuff.

  • 5
    He/She .... nooooooo where is my ligature? :p
    – percusse
    Mar 25, 2013 at 22:22
  • The lower case s in He/she makes the ligature fail to work. Could you change it to the upper case? Mar 27, 2013 at 18:31
  • Oh the ligature still does not work... Mar 29, 2013 at 0:29

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