I have been on this site for about a month, I think.
And I have to say, this site is extremely HOSTILE.
Many of my posts have been downvoted.

Personally I don't care about downvotes, but I think this is extremely detrimental to the site because it punishes the very people this site was designed for: beginners in Japanese.

Most users of this site are foreigners (non-Japanese) that are starting to learn Japanese.
If you downvote their answers just because they are a little wrong, you discourage them from participating. Sooner or later they end up leaving the site.

The vast majority of people that posted questions have left the site.
There is only a half-dozen people posting answers.

We are all amateurs here. Who in here is a professional certified teacher of Japanese language?
If we are all amateurs, it is natural that we make mistakes. You cannot expect perfection from amateurs. So most answers will be a little off. You should not downvote answers just because they are a little off.
We have to encourage everybody to post answers (not only questions), so they can discuss and learn.
We are all here to learn Japanese. That is what we all have in common.
We are all volunteers trying to help one another. I am not making any money on this site. I don't think there is anyone being paid to post answers here. Why would you downvote an answer posted by a volunteer that is trying to help out of goodwill?
We are all trying to be nice and help people completely for free without receiving any payment, without any self-interest.

Downvotes are tantamount to harassment.
Downvotes are tantamount to bullying.
People being downvoted get disgusted and eventually leave the site.

We have to prevent harassment on this site.
Where are the moderators of this site?
It is the job of the moderators to prevent this kind of abuse.

Below is what the help page has to say about downvotes:
"Voting down answers is not something we want you to take lightly, so it is not free.
Downvotes on answers remove 1 reputation from you, the voter. You can vote 30 times per UTC day.
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."

The moderators should strive to prevent downvoting as much as possible and encourage people, especially beginners, to contribute with their answers, regardless if they are right or wrong or just opinions or ideas. Since we are all here to learn we have to allow people to speak out as much as possible.

If you don't like an answer, do not downvote it. Post a comment or post your own answer.
Do not harass the other members just because they don't know Japanese. Of course they don't know Japanese, we are all here to learn Japanese, that is what we are here for.

  • 9
    I hope you don't take the downvotes here in meta too harshly. They're just an indication of agreement or disagreement and sometimes do not represent if the question is desirable or undesirable. For example, I think it is meaningful to discuss the issues in your post although I do not agree with parts of your post.
    – Flaw Mod
    Nov 25, 2016 at 17:17
  • 10
    I've never downvoted your answers but instead have posted comments quite a few times when I find errors/mistakes in your answers, so that you can correct them and improve your posts, but you've never replied nor edited your posts to correct the mistakes, and then these posts often get downvoted by some other users. So I think you could try to edit your posts and correct your mistakes when someone pointed them out, and improve your answers before complaining about downvotes, no??
    – chocolate Mod
    Nov 25, 2016 at 23:23
  • 1
    we are all here to learn Japanese, that is what we are here for. No, some users, especially with high reputation, are here to share their knowledge. What they receive is reputation which means nothing in the real world. As I commented to @snailplane's answer, you need to learn to enjoy downvotes and learn from them to survive. I'd like to advise you to review your answer and see if there is something wrong with it. You can aggressively edit it when you find something wrong and chances are some downvotes will be reversed or your answer will be upvoted. Good luck!!
    – Rathony
    Dec 8, 2016 at 16:30
  • 1
    Advantages of down votes have already been represented. However, a disadvantage of anonymous down votes is that it is possible for someone to use it as a means to be a bully with no risk of being identified. (Internet bullying is a big social topic, in case you didn't know). Nobody else would know but you, because nobody else is paying attention to your down votes. But also, nobody else is responsible - so it is counter productive to blame the group. Good luck and don't let the grinches get you down. Mar 1, 2017 at 6:38

5 Answers 5


Downvotes are tantamount to harassment.
Downvotes are tantamount to bullying.

I strongly disagree. Pretty much no one likes their posts being downvoted, but it's neither harassment nor bullying. Downvotes are an important part of the Stack Exchange model. They're a signal to future readers that what they're reading is wrong.

Why would you downvote an answer posted by a volunteer that is trying to help out of goodwill?

What would you prefer as a language learner? A site where even wrong answers are highly upvoted (which does happen sometimes here), or a site where wrong answers are clearly marked as such?

Serial downvotes can be used as a tool to harass or bully individual users, and as moderators we do our best to prevent serial voting in either direction, but in general you should try not to take downvotes personally.

Is the system perfect? No, of course not. Sometimes good posts are downvoted, just as bad posts are sometimes upvoted. Sometimes people upvote or downvote posts based on the author rather than the content of the post. But without downvotes, our site will mislead people more often than it does now, and that's a Bad Thing.

People being downvoted get disgusted and eventually leave the site.

If your posts are frequently downvoted, I would urge you to take some more time to research before posting. Make sure that what you're posting is correct and presented in a useful manner, and you won't receive many downvotes.

The downvotes are a signal: This answer is not useful. Please pay attention to the signal rather than asking for it to go away.

  • 1
    Downvoting can lead to bullying though or at least the appearance of it
    – ishikun
    Nov 25, 2016 at 18:57
  • 1
    in general you should try not to take downvotes personally. I would upvote your post just for this sentence. I want to add one more thing. You need to learn to enjoy downvotes and learn from them to survive. Great answer!
    – Rathony
    Dec 8, 2016 at 16:25

Downvotes are a important part of the Stack Exchange network and they have been discussed throughout the network. Here are some related discussions:

I've just been downvoted. How should I react?

How do you react when someone votes down your question?

I don't think downvoting is tantamount to harassment/bullying. You may be taking the downvotes too harshly or too personally. The majority of your answers have a net positive vote count. And where they have net negative, they look to contain either errors or disputable claims.

(If you'd like to discuss about improving a specific answer that has a net negative vote, perhaps you can discuss in Chat or create a meta post specific to the question. See: Are "what can I do to improve this post" questions on-topic on JL meta?)

I think much of the frustration comes from misunderstanding the Stack Exchange format. Stack Exchange does not function like many other forums. Instead of posts that are exchanged and a discussion formed around a question in a forum, Stack Exchange delineates posts into two specific types - Questions and Answers, and uses the voting as a way to determine good questions and answers.

There are many amateur learners that post. And if they are wrong, it is important for the site to determine and display that the answer is of poor quality as a result of the Question and Answer format that Stack Exchange adopts. This would not be a problem in a forum where discussions are merely discussions and there is no pressure in the system to sort out good answers.

Personally as a learner, I enjoy a system where answers are under pressure to be correct, and where there are clear signals that an answer is wrong or disputable.


While I generally agree with the other answers here, trying to post something as an answer is always welcome, regardless of the answerers' level. Some people on this site try to post their "answer" as a comment, often in order just to avoid downvotes (comments cannot be downvoted). I personally hate that because I believe all answers should be judged.

Please don't be afraid of being judged by others. Downvotes not only help the asker to know which is better, but it also help us write better answers. Like others, I am not a board-certified Japanese teacher (is there such a thing as "certified Japanese teacher?"), and enjoy learning about my own mother language. I have gotten downvoted many times, too, but they always have been chances for me to learn more, and improve my answer.

I believe that one of the fastest ways to learn something is to teach it to someone. I have upvoted your answeres many times, but I have also cast downvotes to some of your answers, hoping it would help both the asker and you. But I have never wanted to discourage someone who tries to teach out of goodwill (well, as long as he/she can read the question and try to answer what is asked exactly...). I hope you don't get disappointed too much, and I hope you keep trying to help others by answering.

  • 4
    As a non-native speaker, I appreciate downvotes if I give an incorrect answer (and I try not to answer in comments). This is of course not because I like being downvoted, but because I like knowing that I'm wrong rather than being in ignorant bliss.
    – virmaior
    Nov 27, 2016 at 11:23
  • is there such a thing as "certified Japanese teacher?" -> 日本語教師養成講座(いわゆる420時間講座)修了とか日本語教育能力検定試験に合格、とかですかね・・
    – chocolate Mod
    Nov 27, 2016 at 12:23
  • そいう人から受講したことがあるのが、実際に資格があると教育ができるのは別な話。
    – virmaior
    Nov 27, 2016 at 14:11
  • おおこんなのあるんだ…合格率20%未満なのはかなり厳しそう。でも確かに教育に直接関係なさそうな問題も出るみたいですねw
    – naruto
    Nov 27, 2016 at 14:40

First of all, I think you may have misunderstood the purpose of this website. Japanese Language (and Usage) is not only a website addressed to beginners:

Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. It's built and run by you as part of the Stack Exchange network of Q&A sites. With your help, we're working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about the Japanese language. -- From the Tour page (emphasize mine)

Therefore, answers should be consistent enough to stand on their own. I have down-voted some of your links-only answers because I think they are not useful. My purpose is not to down vote you personnally but I can't help but down-vote serial links-only answers, because this is doing harm to the site reputation. Stackexchange is not Yahoo answers, mind it. We often want precise, examples driven, well-explained answers. Moreover, an answer may be useful not only to the orignal poster but to others as well, thus, the more details you provide the more you are useful to the others.

So my 2 cents are: take your time to answer and research your answers well. Researching for your answer will make you learn more than you may even think. If you don't have enough information to answer, or do not have the time to answer you can upvote the question and wait for somebody who might know the answer. But do your best not to post half-baked answer.

Good luck!


Personally I find japanese SE the most friendly of all SE sites (I've used 20 of them). Getting answers downvoted feels bad, but in my opinion they serve a very good purpose, that is making good quality answers to be found easily. If you dont show disapproval of pour quality or mediocre answers and questions, then good answers are hard or very hard to find, and that's what makes the SE sites special and different from others, that you get quickly very good answers. The SE sites also forces you to reconsider your "facts" and knowledge, many times I get answers from myself, re-evaluating and re-thinking the question I'm about to make to be clear. And of course we all start as beginners and that puts a barrier to get accustomed to the site and learn japanese, but as said before, it's needed if you want to have a site where good quality questions are found easily. My personal recommendation is to complement SE sites with other traditional forums, so, when you have specific answers you come to SE sites, and when you need more broad explanations and guidelines you use other traditional forums, even though, after getting accustomed to SE sites online social dynamics and rules and regulations, I barely use other traditional forums anymore

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