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I think we have a lot of bad answer on this site that I would downvote. Not because I disagree with them, thats no reason for me personally to downvote, but they are inherently bad. For example claiming something that is clearly wrong and not providing any reference, just I know this and everyone who says otherwise is lying. Take this answer as an example of what I am talking about.

A lot of those answers tend to be from 1 rep users that maybe never come back, a downvote does not impact them at all. Does a downvote at least have a long term effect? Will it be more prone to deletion if it has more down votes?

I don't want to flag those questions either, because they often at least try to answer the question. When reviewing late answers I mostly just skip these, because I really am not sure what to do here. Writing a comment only makes sense if I see a way to improve the question. So what should I do in those cases then?

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    Personally, if they're really bad, posted by a drive-by user, I'd simply delete it if it doesn't add anything. So feel free to flag cases you think are really bad. If you downvote them and they end up getting deleted, you should get your rep back too
    – Ivo Flipse
    Nov 3 '12 at 12:47
  • I think many of these "drive-by users" are drive-by users because their questions and answers are deleted/down-voted so quickly.
    – Kenshin
    Dec 21 '12 at 2:45
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A downvote is appropriate if an answer is inherently bad or seriously questionable. There isn't any long-term effect of the downvote other than dinging your reputation if the user continues to participate. Usually if an answer receives so many downvotes, it is because there is a serious problem with it (and is likely a candidate for deletion). Any reputation lost or gained from a deleted answer will be refunded.

Leaving a comment is perfectly fine to help guide the user and improve the answer. You can also choose to edit, downvote, or flag depending on the case. I wouldn't worry too much about what your action is as long as it is improving the site or helping the site or someone in some way.

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This site and stack exchange in general is very strict in terms of quality and most people new to the site just aren't used to or expecting it. When they get immediate down-votes, deletions, they will assume the community is just rude and will leave. A better approach is to encourage them to improve the quality of their answers with comments, rather than down-votes and deletions. If that fails, then down-vote/delete.

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