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It is quite obvious that votes on Stack Overflow are not distributed equally. Depending on the topic a good (not great) answer might score between 0 and 20 votes.

So, out of curiosity - which are the most lucrative topics? Any hard facts?

I'll answer my own question but I am also looking forward to answers addressing this problem from a different angle.

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Maybe not a duplicate, but some good answers here (despite the sarcasm): meta.stackexchange.com/questions/17204/… –  Robert Harvey Sep 9 '11 at 15:48
    
@Robert: Yes, seen it. But I was actually looking for a confirmation for my feeling that I get better scores with Python than with JavaScript despite being far less experienced with the former. And for the suspicion that earning reputation in the C# corner is easier. –  Wladimir Palant Sep 9 '11 at 15:56
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You have it backwards. You get upvotes for providing good answers, you should not answer questions as a way to get upvotes. –  Nifle Sep 9 '11 at 16:06
    
It's no secret that each tag has its own "personality." Anecdotally, I'd say that Python code is (on the surface) easier to understand than Javascript code, making it easier to vote up, although Fiddles help your Javascript answers because you can prove your code works. –  Robert Harvey Sep 9 '11 at 16:27
    
@Nifle: I don't answer questions to get upvotes. :) But it is notable that "good answers" aren't enough, you also need to "choose" the right topic (unless "Unsung Hero" is your goal of course). –  Wladimir Palant Sep 9 '11 at 18:08
    
If you haven't already you should check out Jon Skeet's Answering technical questions helpfully. –  Some Helpful Commenter Sep 9 '11 at 23:34

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I've been playing with a Data Explorer query to investigate this question and here is what I've come up with: http://data.stackexchange.com/stackoverflow/s/1522/tags-with-most-valuable-accepted-answers.

This monster query will look at the accepted answers on questions from the past year and calculate the score median for each tag. Originally, I was calculating the average, but it tended to be skewed by single questions with an extremely high score. I also restricted the query to popular tags that got at least 1000 questions in the past year.

Looking at the results, we all need to learn Haskell. The score of a typical accepted answer is 5! Coming from my corner, this is pretty unbelievable.

Scala and Mathematica experts are also pretty well off: score median 4 is pretty nice.

OK score: Perl, Delphi, R, F#, there you can still expect three votes for your answer.

Now coming to the lower end of the scale where the majority of the tags is located. You get only two votes for: C#, Java, C++, Python, SQL, C, and Ruby.

Oh, and then you have the tags where you wouldn't bother answering if you care about increasing your reputation quickly: PHP, JavaScript, Android, ASP.NET and many more. One upvote is all you can count on.

There are quite a few tags where you typically don't get any upvotes at all, but none of them made it into the list due to low question volume.

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Is that not just a function of the quality of the average question in those tags too? –  Flexo Sep 9 '11 at 16:05
    
@awoodland: Maybe. But I rather suspect that in an area where the knowledge isn't quite as widespread (like Haskell) people tend to be more grateful for the answers. –  Wladimir Palant Sep 9 '11 at 18:06
    
Thanks a lot for making that query! In my very personal and unrepresentative experience, many of the Javascript and PHP questions are "fire-and-forget" style simple questions about overcoming one specific, yet basic hurdle, which often get many correct, but rather uninteresting answers and thus (deservedly) few upvotes. Perhaps the basic guide should be to answer interesting questions with greater preference. –  Kerrek SB Apr 15 '12 at 21:07

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