My most recent question asks what procedures would be undertaken after a large island is discovered and explored by scientists.

The question has since recieved 2 downvotes, and neither of the downvoters ever said why they did so. However, I strongly believe that this because the background scenario of the situation is considered by many to be implausible.

I never asked whether the scenario was implausible. I do respect that plausibility is a large element of worldbuilding, but if I have a very elaborate, quite convincing "lampshade", then why must a completely different question be downvoted?

The project which the question asks about is very nearly finished and by far past the stage of no turning back, so downvoting is just wholly deconstructive.

Silently downvoting or something irrelevant is one thing, but writing an answer about that something is completely another.

The question recieved an answer which mentioned nothing that would remotely begin to answer it, instead just listing another few of the many things some people have pointed out about the scenario being implausible.

So, is downvoting a question for something other than the question it asks acceptable, and what course of action am I to take with irrelevant answers?

Note: to gain more information on my views of these things, look in the comment section of the question.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I've also observed that recently, people have lost focus and point out too many irrelevant things, not just in your question. However, have you considered running your questions through the Sandbox beforehand? I haven't visited it much since it got spammed, but I believe it is still quite active. I think your particular question could've profited a lot. I certainly think that there are more reasons why one could downvote it than the premise (I haven't) $\endgroup$
    – Raditz_35
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ Down votes may suggest that question is hard to read or understand. Or was, at the moment of voting. Irrelevant answers may suggest the same. That's the only thing both issues have in common, AFAIK. If that's the case, then @Raditz_35 suggestion to use sandbox may help. Or at least asking a friend to proofread before posting. If that's the case, then it is something that you can prevent in the future. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 23:18

2 Answers 2


I haven't looked at the specific question, but...

is downvoting a question for something other than the question it asks acceptable?

Unfortunately in a sense, but yes. Consider the question downvote button tooltip, which says

"This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful"

"Unclear" is one of the standard reasons for why one might downvote a question, and clarity is unrelated to the specific question being asked.

In the end, unless the person who downvotes the question states why they downvoted the question, all anyone else can do is guess, although one can typically infer that an unexplained downvote is for something close to one of the standard downvote reasons given in the tooltip.

what course of action am I to take with irrelevant answers?

Flag them. Specifically, you'll likely want to flag them with the system-provided "not an answer" flag reason. If it's not obvious how the answer doesn't attempt to answer the question, then you might want to leave a comment and explain that part.

Note that frame challenges can be acceptable, especially in response to questions. If you're asking such a question, and don't want such answers, then it's probably a good idea to somehow say so explicitly in the question. That's the nature of reality checks; you can't really ask if something is realistic and at the same time rule out answers saying "no, it's not realistic because X, Y, Z".


For the general answer, see Michael's answer.

For this specific question: I've made a small edit and reopened the question, which already had two reopen votes. I've also purged a lot of irrelevant comments, many of which were flagged. The earlier versions of your question were broad and opinion-based and I'm not surprised by the resulting close votes, but based on your edits and this meta discussion, I don't see the need to wait for two more votes.


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