I may be thinking about this all wrong, but for me anyway, when I see a fairly low-quality question / answer asked by a user with a reputation of 1, I am hesitant to downvote it. See the two most recent answers on this question. The reason I am hesitant to downvote is because it will have absolutely no effect on the user, while I will lose reputation. (Yes, I know it's not much, but it's something :). I am guessing that the reason for this reputation loss is to discourage excessive downvoting? My question is, though, if the person who I am downvoting is not losing any reputation, should I be? Could we maybe not lose reputation on those downvotes, since it seems that many of those answers are by users who create a profile for one-time use, and then go on their merry way? It seems to me it would be a way to signal to future visitors that the post is low-quality, while not losing reputation for downvoting someone who doesn't even care that they're downvoted.

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I'd say it would be bad to promote the downvoting on answers from new users. They're new, and might not understand how Stack Exchange works. In this situations a comment can work wonders to help guide them. Down-voting isn't wasted though, as the system works out if someone repeatedly posts poorly received posts, and adjusts their ability to post if required.

Whilst on the subject of voting, I find it unusual how many questions have more answers than upvotes - in my mind, if a question is worth answering, it's obviously well written and useful, and deserving an upvote, surely?

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  • I see your point. Yeah I agree! Also unusual how many questions have upvoted answers that are never accepted, and replies to the OP that are never answered. – RareNCool Mar 11 '15 at 0:48

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