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I've just seen an answer that I liked. It was:

  • well thought out
  • well laid out
  • of a good length
  • the only answer given so far

However I cannot bring myself to upvote it yet - because despite what I said above, I do not know if it is the correct answer to the problem (not without whipping up some test code). IOW, the truthness factor is high, but I don't want to up vote something where I don't know if it is correct.

This is a shame for the person who posted that answer, because I have just moved on and they won't ever get the up vote their answer deserves - unless I keep visiting the page to see if it has been marked as the correct answer.

So... what about a provisional upvote feature? In this feature the upvote is kept in a pending state and gets awarded once the OP marks the answer as correct (marks it as the accepted answer).

What does this solve? Well, nothing really, because there isn't a problem as such. But it would be nice to be able to reward an answer when it is proven to be correct and the reader is not in a position to make a call on its technical accuracy at that point in time.

Will this cannabalize real votes? I don't believe so - if I know an answer is good then I will up vote it immediately. Plus provisional upvotes could be geared to a certain rep level, it could be another privilege that a user can earn. Like real upvotes, you could also be limited a certain amount in any particular time frame.

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because there isn't a problem as such. Indeed! – Martijn Pieters Jan 10 '13 at 12:27
Just star the question and revisit it later on? Verify the answer for yourself, then vote? – Martijn Pieters Jan 10 '13 at 12:27
what if OP accepts an answer in error? after all if they knew better they wouldn't ask in the first place would they? – gnat Jan 10 '13 at 12:29
@MartijnPieters therein lies the problem. At the moment I simply keep the tab open in FFox and refresh it once every few days, and I only do that because I think the answer may have merit. There will be a lot of people who simply don't care so the answer won't get the recognition it deserves. I admit it's not a must-have feature, just a nice-to-have. – slugster Jan 10 '13 at 12:31
The OP is often the least qualified person to judge an answer. Also, this would be a huge change in the system, and add immense complexity for relatively little gain. Your ethics are commendable, but it's probably easiest to go with the flow... which means upvote if it looks good enough – Pëkka Jan 10 '13 at 12:32
@gnat Fair point, but I think there are relatively few of those. It is being tracked as a provisional vote, so it can also be reversed if the acceptance is removed. – slugster Jan 10 '13 at 12:32
@MartijnPieters Also: quite often an answer isn't accepted for quite some time, so clogging up my favorites isn't an option. – slugster Jan 10 '13 at 12:37
@slugster: Then don't base your votes on wether or not something is accepted. That's not good voting advice in the first place. – Martijn Pieters Jan 10 '13 at 12:39
So you're saying that you're upvoting an answer that you aren't sure whether or not is a good answer strictly on whether or not it was accepted? That's an absolutely wrong reason to cast an upvote. An upvote (ideally) should be given when you have the conviction that the answer is useful in general, the accepted answer mark is to indicate that the answer was useful to the person that posted the question. They are very different things, and are not the same. – casperOne Jan 10 '13 at 13:47
@casperOne When I cast a vote it is because the answer is done well and because it is correct. I don't just up vote because I think it looks good. Granted, the OP accepting the answer doesn't mean it is 100%, but all I'm looking to accomplish is to reward answers I like but I cannot immediately validate. – slugster Jan 10 '13 at 13:55
up vote 1 down vote accepted

It would be simpler from an implementation viewpoint to just have it so that after you add a question to your favorites, that it will be noted as 'changed' in your favorites list whenever it is accepted, i.e. treat accepting the same as an edit in regard to notifying favorited users of changes.

This will float the question to the top of your favorites queue, and highlight it, so you can then go and review the question and answers (and comments in the case of bad accepts).

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I don't think this is good idea - for several reasons.


For now voting is quite a simple process: Just click the up- or down-arrow and you are done. Users are encouraged to vote by the way a post is being displayed, the voting buttons on a prominent place right a the top.

Adding provisional votes would either add a second set of voting buttons or a way to select whether my vote is a provisional one. In my opinion that is too big an impact for only a little gain.

Less user feedback for the answerer as well as for the asker

I myself like when my answer gets votes - either way, up or down. Up, because I know I most likely am correct and have produced a solution to the OP's problem or Down, because I know I most likely am wrong, have something misunderstood, or missed some point. In that case I myself can learn and correct the answer. Provisional votes would prevent that, because I could not see what's going on.

When asking a question the number of votes is a quality indicator for the answers given. For the asker the votes act like a kind of "community-filter". Obviously bad or wrong answers have a lower score than good or correct ones and thus help the asker to choose the correct answer. Provisional votes would prevent that, and thus reduce the help the asker receives from the community.

Less reward for answerers

The maybe most important reason for myself to not support the request is the missing reward for the answerer. I am not necessarily talking about reputation - it simply pleases me to see the score of an answer go up. The purpose of voting is to judge the quality of the posts and to reward the user that has written the post. Even if the post is not chosen as the accepted answer it still may be valuable content for other users, which deserves some reward.


As far as I understand the purpose of votes is not to build a chorus standing behind the asker singing "Your answer helped a lot, thank you very much!" only to the author of the accepted answer. Rather the purpose of votes is to mark content as good and helpful, and in a community-driven site that is not only up to the asker to decide.

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I agree with your point, but not your Conclusion. This request isn't just about the asker provisionally voting. – Lance Roberts Jan 10 '13 at 13:44
@LanceRoberts, exactly. And my conclusion meant that it's not the purpose of (anyones) votes to just upvote the accepted answer only. That's why I wrote "To build a chorus standing behind the asker" - the asker him or herself is hardly a "chorus". – Spontifixus Jan 10 '13 at 13:51
Ok, I get it, hadn't noticed that the vote would kick in with the accept. I was thinking you'd go back at some point based on some provision list. That's what I get for looking at Meta a four in the morning. – Lance Roberts Jan 10 '13 at 14:00
I agree that there is less immediate reward, but look at it the other way round: sometimes very good answers get very few votes. Less user feedback isn't an issue - I covered that in my suggestion (the vast majority of my votes would still be immediate). I'm looking to reward excellent answers that I encounter which are unloved due to their technical complexity - people scan it and move on. While a provisional vote may not be the best answer, hopefully this will discussion prompt someone to have a great idea that can be implemented. – slugster Jan 10 '13 at 14:01
@LanceRoberts Having a separate list might not be a bad idea (rather than just awarding the vote on acceptance). I don't want to be cluttering up my favorites or keeping excessive browser tabs open - a new list would solve this. – slugster Jan 10 '13 at 14:04
+1 for your attitude regarding getting down votes! (and the rest of your answer) – Andrew Barber Jan 10 '13 at 18:56

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