Another user downvoted me based on my gender.

The comment can be found here. It reads:

@Tim Since Tim is a male name I guess the question is not a real problem for you. I am sure that they are makeup questions that are valid, but most males are not likely to be able to come up with a good one. ... I down vote. - Jon1

I find this quite sexist. They do not know who or what I am or know, and it is not pleasant being told that people are downvoting based on my gender.

If I was female, and they were down voting because of that, it would be both illegal (in my country, the UK) and highly offensive is a large number of countries. In fact, the country that SE is based, has these laws too. I don't like the idea that they think they can get away with it.

What rights do I have on this community, and what should I do?

1 Jon is a male name. I am not assuming you are male or otherwise, you will notice.

  • Have some of your own comments been deleted? I seem to remember your response to this one being above this one yesterday...
    – apaul
    Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 16:50
  • @apaul I often delete my own (irrelevant) comments, to tidy up.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 17:00
  • 5
    If I remember correctly that one wasn't really irrelevant, you made it appear that you were asking on behalf of some women you heard talking. Personally I couldn't care less about a person's gender or chosen gender role but I think you're not being completely honest about the context of the situation.
    – apaul
    Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 17:07
  • I'm not sure in what way I'm being dishonest. However, they were deleted a while ago, and (if I'm honest) I don't believe they are needed as part of the question. If you want, a Mod may be able to see when I deleted them - it was a while ago...
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 17:08
  • @Tim Is your question real? Do you actually have the problem you are seeking answer for as the OP? If not read the FAQ.
    – Jon
    Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 23:47
  • 4
    I find it hard to believe that downvotes on SE, for any reason at all, could be considered illegal in some countries. That said, gender is a terrible reason to downvote and people who do so should be ashamed.
    – Sterno
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 1:17
  • 1
    @Tim Said "If I was female, and they were down voting because of that," But according to your profile you are female. So Jane your playing games.
    – Jon
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 1:50
  • @Jon whether I am male or female is none of your business. You think I am not allowed to ask a question that I don't really have? Wrong - have a look at asking and answering: lifehacks.stackexchange.com/help/self-answer If I had the problem I wouldn't ask, would I? And yet that is allowed - encouraged even. In no way am I playing games. I changed my name to Jane because you said that you were down voting because "I seem male". I've gone back to Tim now. My name should not factor into your voting, and I am quite offended that you think I cannot wear makeup because I seem male.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 13:35
  • 6
    This poster deleted the original comment in the Beta question. The comment explained why I down voted the question. The poster truncated the original comment by more then half and reposted it here. The quote in this post does not represent what was written.
    – Jon
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 14:50
  • Still a valid question @Jon. I kept the bits of the comment I was referring to, and clearly showed that it was truncated. I did not know your comment was deleted. I'm not sure why you are desperately trying to close a valid question and a valid discussion...
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 14:52
  • 1
    @Tim There is nothing valid about this discussion. I don't care my comment was deleted. Not my problem. I do care that it was misquoted and that you think it makes for a valid discussion. It is a silly discussion based on a contrived premise. Now getting more silly, I am done here at this discussion.
    – Jon
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 15:03
  • I did not misquote, I removed the parts that I was not starting a discussion about, and clearly showed I had done that. 11 users have +1'd this, so there must be quit a lot valid about this. If I believe I am being discriminated against, then I am taking it to meta asap, and contacting the SE team if that yields nothing.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 16:13
  • 2
    Question about Jon... Closed by Jon. #Illuminati
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Dec 25, 2014 at 9:38
  • @Jon why did you close it? I don't see why "This question does not appear to be about Lifehacks Stack Exchange"
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 25, 2014 at 16:37

5 Answers 5


Some thoughts here.

  1. Men are allowed to wear make-up and ask questions about it. As such, the comment implying that a 'cross-dressing male' should not post a makeup selfie has been deleted. (That was the truly offensive comment in that thread.)
  2. Jon is allowed to use his downvotes however he likes. His comment might not be well-written and it therefore comes off a little insensitive, but I believe it is expressing the reason many were downvoting your question in its original form...
  3. ...and here's my opinion on that: you weren't downvoted because of your gender; you were downvoted because you asked a question showing minimal-to-no research effort and in addition it didn't seem to be a problem you were actually facing. You have now improved the question and I believe it should stand open even if it appears to be asked by someone about whom the assumption is made that they wouldn't wear makeup.

I don't know, or care, if you're a man or a woman or if you wear makeup or you don't. The question was bad, and it got downvoted. Now it is better, and we can move on.


Courtesy of @OrigamiRobot on Arqade:

enter image description here


I agree that there's a problem there. And I'm all too aware that that a man opining on what is and isn't sexist is about as useful as... well, say voting down on something since you can't personally opine on it.

But here's my take:

Down-voting because you're "in a group unlikely to come up with a good [answer]" seems wildly out of line with how votes should be used.

From my very personal view (and I think myself ill-qualified to define what is and isn't sexist), this reads like it could just as easily be applied to any topic highly foreign to the poster:

Well, I don't like or know much about Dungeons and Dragons. Downvote here.

In this case, I find the gender assumptions to be unneeded, presumptuous, and unhelpful. I also think the reason put forth for why the user down-voted was a pretty poor one, but I wouldn't personally assume it's sexist, vs. anti-any-topic-I-can't-personally-relate-to.

I'm deleting the comments anyway. Whatever they represent, they imply a community that's not as gender-balanced as we hope it is or could be.


I think the gender of the person asking the question should be completely irrelevant, I know plenty of men who wear makeup...

That said I think a big part of the negative response to that question was that in it's original form it wasn't very good and it was closed after about 2 hours.

I think several users assumed that the original question was of low quality because it wasn't a problem that you actually faced. Something that you appeared to acknowledge in a comment that you later deleted.

To make matters worse the question also had a fairly ridiculous answer for a short time which further degraded the whole post.

Now that all of that is out of the way...

Users shouldn't be voting based on gender, or anything other than the quality of the post itself. Gender shouldn't be an issue here. If a post is low quality, users can and should downvote, but they should probably abstain from making assumptions on why the post is low quality.


Wow I am honored to have the comment deleted and a meta thread about it.

First things first. When you delete a comment and want to discuss it, quote the whole comment, not your truncated version.

You were not down voted because of gender, the question was bad, it seemed to me you manufactured the post. If the post had been posted under a female named it still stunk of manufacture. The fact that it was posted under a male name made it look more manufactured. There were tell tale signs that the question was not real, the most obvious of which was that the name on the account of the OP was Tim.

You asked somewhere in there why the down votes. I gave you my reason, and you deleted, and incorrectly played a sexist card. Rather rude.

At every Area 51 proposal down in the area were people can enter questions it says:

Write an actual question that you might ask on this site.

Discussing whether questions are on-topic or off-topic helps figure out what the site is about, and, more importantly, what it's not about.

From the FAQ:

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

It is bad practice in a proposal and Beta is an extension of a proposal, to write a question that is not real.

Real questions address real problems that deserve real answers. Real questions help people get answers to those questions. When a question is asked that is not real you are deceiving people to come up with answers to questions that nobody has expressed a real problem with. Your asking people to do an academic exercise when they believe they are being helpful.

Questions that are not real do not help define the scope of a site. unreal questions do not define anything, they just add noise that is not proven to be something anyone will ask here. They are simply a waste of time, for the people that answer them, and for the site in whole.

  • So explain why they encourage self answering: I clearly don't face the problem if I know the answer, do I?
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 13:36
  • 1
    @Tim If you faced a problem, came up with a good answer it is worth sharing. I have posted a problem, came up with the answer a time later and self answered. I also had a problem I thought might have better solutions then the one I had been using. The questions were real. That's the Key, if questions are made up they aren't real, and tend not to attract answers nor tend to help a site, even a site in Beta. To many people in this beta are posting manufactured questions.
    – Jon
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 14:32
  • It is a genuine problem that I heard people talking about, just I persoanlly don't suffer from it...
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 14:36
  • 1
    @Tim Then you should encourage the people who have it to ask about it here. Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 16:33
  • @Angelo I am not especially popular at school. Me going up to a group of pretty, popular girls and saying "why don't you join a random online community" would not get me very far... :)
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 16:36
  • 1
    @Tim Then the people having this problem won't be here for a while. I agree with Jon that questions here should be asked by people who have that specific problem. How else will you test if a solution works / which one to accept? Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 16:37
  • 1
    @Angelo Well right now there are no answers. Let's wait to see if there is a solution. I do know girls I can ask, just not the ones I overheard.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 16:42
  • 2
    I thnk we're blurring a couple issues. It is totally fine, and encouraged, to ask a question that you know someone else struggled with. (Assuming you have the info to post enough details.). It's NOT wise to post questions you think someone else might have where neither you nor someone you know has actually had the issue.
    – Jaydles
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 14:17

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