I just received a single downvote on each of the two list-like questions that I had asked, one downvote right after the other. Considering that both of the questions are at least a month old and quite dead, I have to imagine that this may be systematic. Considering what I (now) know about the extremely mixed feelings that the SE community has for list-like questions, I gotta figure that this may be the work of a guy who has taken onto himself a task best left for the moderators.

Has this guy been bothering anyone else? What's the SE policy on vigilantism?

Maybe it was only my questions which irked this guy so, but rather than spending 5 minutes cursing Anonymous I figure that I would instead take that time and post this here, in case anyone else has been similarly nettled.

  • $\begingroup$ Have you looked at this post: meta.scicomp.stackexchange.com/questions/179/… $\endgroup$
    – Paul
    Apr 23, 2012 at 22:06
  • $\begingroup$ After surveying a number of list like questions, I've found quite a few without any downvotes whatsoever. $\endgroup$
    – Paul
    Apr 23, 2012 at 22:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Paul I have looked at that post. The impression that I got from reading that post and this blog on wikis was such things tended to put an unfair curatorial burden on the mods and were, in general, a huge pain in the ass. What's the current feeling amongst the mods about lists? $\endgroup$
    – tel
    Apr 23, 2012 at 22:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Paul Also, thank you for taking the time to look into that. A downvote can feel oddly stinging, and I suppose that I was just venting. $\endgroup$
    – tel
    Apr 23, 2012 at 22:21
  • $\begingroup$ It can be a little disconcerting at first to get a down vote, especially if there is no explanation given for it. Most of the time, people who give down votes tend to give an explanation that should help you improve the question. $\endgroup$
    – Paul
    Apr 24, 2012 at 3:27

1 Answer 1


As far as I can tell, it's not systematic.

List-type questions have always been a thorny issue, but your impression is correct: List questions tend to put an unfair curatorial burden on users, and dilute the efficacy of the voting system on SE. For everyone, there exists a number X such that they won't read through all X answers to a question. Even though list questions can be (and frequently are quite) useful, due to the curatorial burdens placed on users and the way these questions skew the voting system, list questions are not a good fit for the SE format.

When it comes to list questions, I try to hold back on closing until it becomes clear that the question will pose an unfair curatorial burden on me and my fellow mods.


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