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Perhaps the part that you are not seeing is that if the poster truly cares about engaging with the community he or she cares about understanding why their post is being down-voted. A lot of topics usher-in fanboi downvoting which is petty and unfair. A down-vote with an explanation is good because it will keep the down-voter from impulsive action and create a better relationship overall. It is possible that the down-vote isn't appropriate, which could come out of a discussion stemming from the down-vote comment.

HN could easily make down-voting comments a requirement and then add a simply feature by which down-vote comments are folded below the original post and not visible. You could then have a "view down-vote comments" link that would reveal that thread. In other words, keep them out of the main conversation so that they don't clutter things yet make them available for review by interested parties.




Perhaps the part that you are not seeing is that if the poster truly cares about engaging with the community he or she cares about understanding why their post is being down-voted.

I see that, but am prioritizing the good of the group over the re-education of the individual. I think the majority of new posters will catch on to the norms of the site quickly, and those that don't will likely move on if they don't get responses.

HN could easily make down-voting comments a requirement and then add a simply feature by which down-vote comments are folded below the original post and not visible.

Fine idea. I posted it as a feature request here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4209304

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I would have thought that education of individuals is nearly always good for the group, otherwise an "us and them" attitude becomes prevalent.

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This may be true if the group has fixed membership, but if participation is open to all there a limit to the returns of educating newcomers. Picture a advanced sports practice that attempts to include those who have never played before, or an graduate seminar that spends its time answering basic questions for the benefit of whomever happens to be in the room. The benefits for the existing group will be reduced. It shouldn't be a black and white "us and them", but a certain amount of elitism can elevate the dialog.

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