There is an answer on What would be the fastest way to end hostilities with the USA (without surrendering) for a superpowered being?. I disagree with the answer.

Specifically, the question says that surrender is not an option. One of the answers suggests a white flag, while explaining that the white flag does not necessarily mean surrender.

I disagree with the explanation and the answer. The answer is not a bad answer by the context of the site and the question; however, it is a bad answer in my own personal opinion.

Should I downvote the answer and make my counterargument to the answer in the comment? Or is downvoting reserved for answers which are blatantly bad?

  • $\begingroup$ That is a really horrible question, I hope you have downvoted it too… $\endgroup$
    – o0'.
    Mar 24, 2015 at 11:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Lohoris If you feel the question was horrible, flag it with the appropriate reason (not a diamond moderator custom flag) such that it shows up in the review queue for our more experienced community members to look at. Flagging only requires 15 rep, as opposed to vote down which requires 125 rep. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Mar 24, 2015 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling Thanks, but I'm not sure: usually you flag it in order for someone to close it, but since it received +20 votes, though I'm absolutely clueless how it managed to do so, I doubt it would be closed anyway. (one of the reasons I think the current close/open system is totally broken) $\endgroup$
    – o0'.
    Mar 24, 2015 at 13:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Lohoris Just because a question has received a large number of upvotes, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's a good question for our Q&A format. If you feel the question is bad, you should flag it; the worst that can happen is that you end up with a declined or disputed flag on your account, which really is no big deal. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Mar 24, 2015 at 13:24
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling I agree, but I also want to respect the will of the community. Especially since I'm not a very active member here (though definitely a passive lurker). $\endgroup$
    – o0'.
    Mar 24, 2015 at 13:27

2 Answers 2


Your votes are yours to do as you wish with.

That said, the voting tooltips provide some guidelines: on the main site, the tooltips say:

[Upvote]: This answer is useful
[Downvote]: This answer is not useful

Hmm... the definitions of useful are mostly subjective. So, as I see it, you should vote where you think those are true: if that means it's not useful because you don't think it's right or you don't agree with it, then downvote.

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Note that "useful" should be taken in the context of the question. That is, the answer is either useful or not useful to solve the problem or specific question that is stated in the question. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Mar 22, 2015 at 11:42
  • $\begingroup$ ^^ That. If the answer is useful for some completely different problem, downvote it. $\endgroup$
    – ArtOfCode
    Mar 22, 2015 at 11:43
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling weeel… sort of. If I google something and end up in a SE page and an answer in that page helps me solve that problem… I upvote. Might not even read the question. I realise it's weird, but "I have a problem --> I google it --> I found a solution" is "useful" to me. $\endgroup$
    – o0'.
    Mar 24, 2015 at 10:56

There is no oversight on voting, beyond serial voting.

You vote with your conscience, and the community's combined voting habits --not any one vote-- indicate the site's approval or disapproval. Nobody can tell you that you vote "wrong." Liking and disliking answers is a very common justification for a vote!

That said, there are more and less responsible ways to vote. This has been addressed many times on many metas. Here are two especially good ones:

For myself, a significant rubric is "Is this answer useful and actionable?" And often, I simply choose not to vote at all if I don't feel firmly one way or the other.

However you wind up voting, don't leave a comment explaining the downvote unless the focus of the comment is how the answer can be improved. Anything else is invitation to discussion and argument, and has no place on the Stack. If the only way you'd reverse your downvote is if the answer's central premise changed, your comment is unlikely to add anything useful to the Stack.

Instead, upvote the better answer if it's there or write your own if it's not and you can provide one.


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