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Yesterday someone gave a down vote in my reply, which I immediately deleted as I am not interested in arguing.

Is there a way to save this half-dead evergreen tree?

I guess I can not know who gave this a negative vote. But I would be very interested to know the reasons for the negative vote, that would help me to learn. I wrote several things in my answer. And I would know which of these things was wrong.

Or, if I have broken any rule of this forum, since I am new. In this case I would like to know which rule I have transgressed, and where can I find where to know the whole rules to follow.

Thank you very cordially.

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    You are taking a downvote way too seriously. Downvotes are encouraged. – dpollitt May 22 '13 at 2:28
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I believe the down voter based their action on the content of the answer. There are a number of points which are incorrect or highly speculative:

  • lichen does not indicate a sick tree
  • a close examination of the photo does not show any ivy that I can see
  • whether the "whole forest looks sick" is hard to prove from a photo
  • there is no sign of charred bark on the tree

It is very difficult to do diagnosis on the basis of a photo and a few words. Even when I did on site diagnosis for trees a lot of the time the root cause of any decline was not obvious. My method for answering these tough questions is to only comment on what can be referenced from the photo or universities/colleges.

At the end of the day you can't please everyone. Look at this down vote I got here from answer which attempted to describe the qualities of a good product. As Tea Drinker says don't take it personally.

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Firstly, welcome to meta. You're right in thinking there's no way to find out who downvoted your reply if the downvoter chooses to stay silent. Not even moderators can access this data.

You can add a polite comment to your answer asking something like "can anyone explain why this answer has been downvoted?" or ask in meta - as of course you have done. Of course, doing so only really makes sense if you undelete your answer. I would suggest that undeleting your answer and adding a comment would be worthwhile. It's certainly not seen by most people here as getting into an argument. I'm happy to ask/comment and see if we can elicit the downvoter's reasons, if you're unsure about it (but you have to undelete the answer).

I don't know much about trees so I don't know especially whether your answer is a good one or not but it looks OK to me.

I know when I've been downvoted I have felt a little disheartened and even singled out for attack. But you get used to it and don't need to feel it personally. Downvotes are quite a healthy part of the system. They are definitely not an attack on you personally or your advice generally. But someone, perhaps a very knowledgeable gardener or perhaps a total ignoramus decided this particular answer was inaccurate or unhelpful. In isolation it says nothing about the community's high regard for your contributions (your many other upvoted answers testify to that).

  • Very very thank you, you are very kind. Yes, in fact I felt a little disheartened, but I can face it, I'm not a kind and I am sure about my competence. Obviously, I can't know everything. That's why I maybe will do as you suggest, undelete and ask. If I wrong in my competences, I would like to know it. As they say, to learn is never finished. So thank You a lot. :) – violadaprile Apr 13 '13 at 22:15
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    @violadaprile It's one down-vote, so I wouldn't worry about it too much. But looking at your post specifically, as an Internet writing style, perhaps it is better to answer the question first, and then get into all the background information you provide. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the answer itself, but perhaps the down-voter skimmed and thought you were not answering the question. Online attention spans can be short, so a great answer gets right to the point... and then follows through with the background information you provided in your opening paragraphs. Just a thought. – Robert Cartaino Apr 15 '13 at 16:38
  • I am a journalist and writer, so I'm used to treat a subject in a comprehensive manner. I realize this may be somewhat different. Thanks for the kind advice that I surely will try to follow. :) – violadaprile Apr 16 '13 at 3:19

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