I currently got a downvote for my question Making a Graph Eulerian for Applying TSP Heuristics, but unfortunately the downvoter didn't leave a comment explaining what the motivation was, thus depriving me the chance to address the issue(s).

My assumption is that downvoters are hesitant to leave comments because the fear negative feelings or impacts on their own postings.

Would it be an option to allow anonymous comments, where the identity of the commenter isn't publicly visible? As the identity would be known to the moderators, it would still be possible to ban insulting comments.

I would like to hear what others think about anonymous comments; maybe there is experience from other forums, that offer such an option, which can be shared.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ The following feature request on Meta Stack Exchange (from 2009) is tagged (status-declined): Allow users to leave an anonymous comment when voting (Of course, you can also have a look at other discussions linked there to see whether you find something interesting there.) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 10:13
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ This is only tangentially related, but the questions whether downvotes should in general be accompanied by a comment has also been discussed a few times. Here are two links from this meta (and links to some discussion on other metas can be found there): Completely Unexplained Downvotes and Can anyone learn anything from a downvote without an accompanying rationale in a comment? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 10:26
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak the dicussion Meta Stack Exchange is quite thorough and addresses most of the points. So if there aren't strong arguments in favor of anyomous comments in reply to this question, it can be closed. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 10:28
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    $\begingroup$ A comment is a comment, and a vote is a vote -- these are two separate things. -- Or would you want to give an explanation each time you vote on a post, be it up or down? $\endgroup$
    – Stefan Kohl Mod
    Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 17:31
  • $\begingroup$ @StefanKohl maybe not on upvvotes, but certainly on a downvote, simply because I see that as a kind of politeness that may improve on the reputation of the MO community. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 19:59
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    $\begingroup$ I used to leave comments when I voted things down, and it really really really ticked people off. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 21:28
  • $\begingroup$ I think there had been several posts about unexplained/uncomprehensible downvotes on meta in the past. How about disabling downvotes at all? $\endgroup$
    – tj_
    Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 22:20


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