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When should I vote?

In a question like this where the answer is totally unnecessary (let alone a working example), is rep-whoring actually a good reason to downvote?

Because a downvote is to mean that the answer isn't useful, but that isn't the case here.

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marked as duplicate by Bart, Martijn Pieters, hims056, Diago, ChrisF Dec 15 '12 at 13:22

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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IMO no, downvotes are for bad answers. But it's everybody's own decision. That is a remarkable question, by the way, elementary doesn't nearly describe it. –  Daniel Fischer Dec 15 '12 at 10:12
    
Yes. Made me wonder why "Close as too stupid" wasn't an option ;) –  Anirudh Ramanathan Dec 15 '12 at 10:16
    
@DanielFischer while there isn't a fix, I hate the "everyone has their rules for voting" excuse sometimes. The problem, despite the elementary nature, is you now have 4 or 5 similar correct answers that look like they are bad. The question needs deleted just to avoid confusing someone. –  psubsee2003 Dec 15 '12 at 10:16
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@psubsee2003 Though that statement is often not meant as a justification to vote willy-nilly. It is rather an indication that those looking for a justification of downvotes/upvotes are not going to have much of a chance of that happening. Voting is after all anonymous. I guess most of us have an intuitive sense of what is appropriate voting. –  Bart Dec 15 '12 at 10:20
    
Great. Someone +1'd everything trying to offset the downvotes. That isn't right either! Whoever that was, the first part of this answer is actually wrong. –  Anirudh Ramanathan Dec 15 '12 at 10:21
    
And it's gone... –  Bart Dec 15 '12 at 10:24
    
@Bart One of the answers they upvoted is partially incorrect. –  Anirudh Ramanathan Dec 15 '12 at 10:24
    
Theoretically it's not a good reason to downvote but people who answer questions like this make my trigger finger itchy. They should just be VTCing or flagging it to death... There must be a duplicate somewhere; it's not like no-one has ever discussed looping before. –  ben is uǝq backwards Dec 15 '12 at 10:54
    
I agree with the majority here. While rep-whoring is deplorable/pathetic and I can understand the desire to punish them, down-voting a post that is actually correct and helpful is the wrong move. If you really want to punish such a person, then you can up-vote (good) competing answers and/or look for their posts which are legitimately bad, then you can down-vote them with a clean conscience. But be careful and spread it out because a mod may not pay attention or be lazy and think you are spite-voting and reverse the votes instead of actually checking if the down-votes are justified or not. –  Synetech Dec 23 '13 at 22:55

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

No, rep-whoring is not a good reason to downvote.

That said, the answers there are not particularly helpful, imho. I have no reason to doubt that the answerers honestly felt they were helping the asker, but what they are actually doing can only be described as extreme spoon-feeding. And, at least to me, that's neither helpful nor useful, the asker didn't learn anything new today, they just got a ready made solution.

Furthermore, the tag is notorious for the vast amount of crap questions it gets, and I really hate it when people choose to answer them instead of moderating them. Answers to such crappy questions serve only one purpose, and that's to offer a (false) sense of legitimacy to the question. The asker got what he was looking for, without any effort at all. And that's... not good.

I personally wouldn't downvote, because technically they are correct answers, but at the same time the proliferation of crap in the tag that's partly encouraged by rep-whoring answers is one of the many reasons I've given up on Stack Overflow.

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Slightly off-topic, but if the PHP tag has crap piled upon it and is rife with security issues should this not somehow be addressed? Or are we in a "too late for that" situation? I don't participate in it at all, but you wouldn't want more people to leave SO because the PHP part of it is not worth the effort. –  Bart Dec 15 '12 at 10:39
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@Bart To be perfectly honest, other than (very casually) browsing the tag once every couple of weeks, I don't really know what's going on there anymore. I know the PHP chat room regulars are trying to do the best they can (ircmaxell who brought up the security issues is one of the room's owners), but... I'm pessimistic. Also, I haven't (yet?) officially ragequitted SO, just prefer to spend 99% of my SE time elsewhere. You don't even need any PHP knowledge to understand the answers in the question in question, people are just copy pasting for loops from the manual. Absolutely... boring. –  Yannis Dec 15 '12 at 10:44
    
Totally agree with the issues plaguing the PHP tag. Everyday, we see a similar set of questions being asked, and not being closed. Have almost stopped visiting the tag (except to comment), thanks to that. –  Anirudh Ramanathan Dec 15 '12 at 10:55

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