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Currently, the reasons for downvoting are rather limited, there’s only Off-topic; Already Posted; Poorly Tagged; Poorly Titled; Spam. However, when I downvote it’s usually because the post is simply not very interesting or old news (i.e. several months old), but none of the downvote reasons apply.

Is it on purpose? Are we not supposed to downvote when we don’t find the story interesting? Just curious as I couldn’t find the rational for the limited choices in the About page.

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    why not just upvote some other stuff?

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      We used to have a lot more downvote reasons but slowly got rid of them as we felt they were being abused (i.e. downvoting decent articles simply because the topic does not interest you). In general, the idea now is to either “hide” the article you don’t want to see or filter by tag to hide all links for a specific topic.

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        Okay, thanks for clarifying, so it’s different from most other online communities. Usually downvoting is simply the opposite of upvoting, however that’s currently not true on Lobste.r (probably nobody upvotes because they think the post is on-topic, not spam or has good tags).

        To be honest, I think in that case downvoting could be removed altogether from Lobste.r and replaced by flagging, that would make it clearer. All the current downvote reasons are either for things that should not be on Lobste.r and could be deleted (Off-topic, Spam, Duplicate) or should be fixed by a moderator (Poor Tagging, Poor Title).

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          To expand on this, “downvoting” uninteresting articles (and upvoting interesting ones) is a very silly idea. You’re forcing the community and the newsfeed to move in your direction. Instead, the “voting” is for quality, to promote good stories and leave lesser stories (or spam content, for instance) to fall to the bottom.

          In many subreddits, for instance, downvoting is encouraged only for off-topic content, leaving votes for quality and interest.

          As mentioned in another comment on this post, the idea of “downvoting” has come up many times before, and renaming it to “flagging” has also been brought up. Perhaps it will be changed now, perhaps we’ll keep coasting with things the way they are.

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            Agree with both of these comments: I think the downvote button should just be removed, and let “flag” take its place. It more strongly indicates how the site works.

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              I’ve implemented that, we’ll see how it works.

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          not very interesting or old news

          Hide it.

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            It’s not clear to me whether hiding an article has implications for your personalized recommendations. If so, I would be hesitant to hide old news on a topic I found interesting since it might train the recommendation engine not to show me similar articles in the future.

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              What is this magical recommendation engine you speak of?

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            I feel as though people will continue to make posts about this until the interface is changed for links on the aggregator pages to make it more clear to new users. It’s probably best to not have a “downvote” button at all since people identify downvoting with “not liking”, generally. Maybe put it as a text link like “flag” where the “hide” link is currently, and move the hide link below the post score, so that it’s more obvious to new users and could possibly keep negative discussion to a low

            Although I know this horse has been beaten many times, I’m sure it’d be best long-term to just try out some kind of change (including any of the ones in the last thread about this), just to see how users respond

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              I feel as though people will continue to make posts about this until the interface is changed for links on the aggregator pages to make it more clear to new users

              A small snippet in the About page would be enough to stop a full interface overhaul for just new users.

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                That would require people read the about page. I can guarantee quite a few haven’t.

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                Somebody ought to write a bot to do this for you :P (taking a page from the Reddit community)

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                Occasionally, only occasionally, I wish for, “Really, truly, dangerously wrong” as a downvote reason. But only sometimes.

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                  In that case I would comment on exactly why it is dangerously wrong.

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                  I’m finding the biggest reason I want to downvote an article is because it’s simply wrong, untrue. That doesn’t fit into any of the flag reasons, but seems to warrant something stronger than just hiding.

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                    Happy to see my previous suggestion taken. ;)