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I get a ton of my programming questions answered by Stack Overflow, and I thought that maybe I should upvote helpful solutions even if they are old, to give the original poster some feedback that his/her answer is still useful. It would be fun to know that some old post of mine kept on being useful as time goes by.

On the other hand, I also understand that I wouldn't want to make it seem like one solution was more helpful than it was when originally posted -- that is, I'll almost always look at posts with similar numbers of upvotes, and I don't want to skew those 'results' somewhere down the line.

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Your vote is yours to use however you wish. The score of a post is determined by votes in the aggregate, so your opinion is just one of several. But the best metric for voting is "is this post useful?" It doesn't matter how old the post is, if it's still useful. I personally like getting "long tail" votes (although that doesn't happen very often). –  Robert Harvey Jul 29 '11 at 15:57
    
Sounds good -- thanks! –  Chris Gregg Jul 29 '11 at 16:28
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3 Answers

up vote 24 down vote accepted

I don't think it really matters how useful the post was when it was originally posted. We're building up a body of programming knowledge for future programmers to search through and find answers to their questions. I always upvote the question and answer when I find a solution to a problem I'm working on, despite the age of either post (assuming I have votes left).

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Great -- thanks for the insight! –  Chris Gregg Jul 29 '11 at 16:27
    
I just hit 50 karma on my SO account. I'd like to hand out upvotes to things I find useful but I'm reluctant... is there any reason I could get in trouble for being too generous? –  Roy Iacob May 12 at 13:08
    
@RoyIacob As long as you're upvoting because you found a post useful, you should be ok. The #1 way to get into trouble with voting is to go in and upvote a bunch of posts by a co-worker or someone else you know. If you avoid that, you should be fine. –  Bill the Lizard May 12 at 13:10
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My assumption is that if voting was supposed to stop on old answers then it would be disabled by the system. As it is not, then it seems reasonable to upvote helpful answers, irrespective of how old they are.

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I understand where you are coming from on your second point, but I wouldn't worry about that.

Having a historical "snapshot" of how well the question/answer did at the time is important in some ways, but it is paled by the need for people to be able to gauge their usefulness as time progresses.

In the case of answers, a more thorough one may have arrived after the initial period of attention that new questions/answers get, but may contain enough detail to attract more searches in the long run.

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Absolutely. We want information that is useful now, not information that was historically useful but is useless now. Besides, how else are people going to earn their Necromancer badges? –  Chris Frederick Jul 29 '11 at 17:28
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