I recently asked a question about identifying a plant, but for some reason I saw a downvote on it, and I didn’t know why it happened. It has only been a couple of minutes since my question was posted, so what exactly is wrong with it?

Here’s the question’s title:

What are those berry-like plants in this photo?


2 Answers 2


See Why isn't providing feedback mandatory on downvotes, and why are ideas suggesting such negatively received? about why it's not required for downvoters to explain.

I don't know who downvoted so these are just guesses, but it may have been because:

  1. You did not follow the requirements for species ID questions at: https://biology.stackexchange.com/tags/species-identification/info (admittedly these are hard to find, though, and most people leave a comment linking to that guidance when that's the problem). Additionally since it's not your picture and so you can't really provide the details normally required to identify species.

  2. It isn't clear why you want to know this, the question is not motivated in any way and it's not clear what steps, if any, you've taken to find an answer.

  3. You're posting an image that isn't yours without any sort of attribution.

  4. Your username identifies you as a "downvote disliker" and someone downvoted to spite you or because they're upset that you don't recognize the usefulness of downvotes on this site.


"Lack of research effort" (that is, not having made any effort to look up the answer yourself before asking here) is one of the criteria for downvoting a question, and I think people might have assumed (fairly or unfairly) that you hadn't made any such effort.

For one thing, in some parts of the world (such as here in northern England) rowan trees are so common and well-known that to someone from there your question seems rather like asking for an identification of a potato. I laughed when I saw the picture myself, but then I realised I don't know where you live and rowan trees might be unknown there - but other people might not have thought of that.

For another thing, doing a quick reverse image search (that is, a search where you put in an image as input and it searches the Internet for pictures like it) turned up the exact photo you posted with a caption saying what tree it is. Maybe you didn't know about reverse image searches. If not, you do now. They're very useful at times. The sites I use are https://tineye.com/ and, if that doesn't work, https://www.google.co.uk/imghp?hl=en&ogbl and click on the little camera icon.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .