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I totally get how upvoting good answers makes the whole site work.

But what is the point of upvoting a question?

Relatedly, for what criteria are we meant to vote a question up? Is a well written question more deserving of upvotes than a hard to answer question?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Aug 24 '09 at 17:53

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

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Another mysteriously unclosed question. This has already been discussed here: stackoverflow.com/questions/2824/… –  raven Nov 6 '08 at 2:52
    
Closed and covered to death in the link raven provided. This should also be a wiki question. –  The Anti-Santa Nov 6 '08 at 4:05
    
While raven's link is useful (and could be posted as an answer), I disagree that this is an "exact duplicate". The question I'm asking is: why is the system designed to allow question up voting at all? What is the intent of an upvoted question? –  Jacob Carpenter Nov 6 '08 at 7:38
    
Certainly doesn't seem to be a duplicate any more...raven's link now appears to go to a dead page. –  beska Nov 9 '09 at 19:46
    
I have this question too. Ravens link doesn't seem to address it, or if it does, it's lost in a sea of answers and comments. –  Jason C Nov 5 '13 at 17:56

10 Answers 10

I upvote questions that I feel are especially insightful and/or are ones that I could see going into an FAQ.

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Two points I can think of off-hand:

  1. To reward those who ask good questions.

  2. To draw people's attention to the good questions in filtered lists.

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Means other people think it is an interesting question? Maybe because it's a question they wanted to ask or because it is something they deem to be a valuable piece of knowledge.

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I believe the point is to allow more useful and interesting questions to propagate up the lists so that common issues have greater visibility and attract more eyeballs (and thus more answers, and more editing and moderation).

It ties in to the fact that, in hacker culture at least, people like to be asked interesting and challenging questions - "good question" can be a genuine complement in such a case. Boring, badly-worded questions are generally not as well respected, and may not elicit any reasonable answers.

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More votes means more popular which is especially useful under the votes tab. Looking at it from another angle, if the question has been downvoted, we know it is not worth it.

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Yeah, I think that good, thoughtful questions that help everyone out are as important as well articulated answers. For instance, if I'm having trouble doing Type 4 Widget Formatting in C and want to do a quick search for others having my issue a good question is going to help me get started much more quickly than something like:

"Have trouble in C. Please help. Need code for widget stuff."

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I upvote questions that meet the following criteria:

  • The question is well-written. It's not too vague; it's prompted at least one or more equally thoughtful answers.

  • The question is good, and likely something I'll need to reference in the future. But it's not quite at the level of making it a "Favorite." I can go back and see what questions I've upvoted (and the date of the vote). This gives me a history of questions I've viewed and liked.

Note that others can view your favorites, but only you can view the list of your upvotes (or downvotes).

Essentially upvoting can become like a private favorites list.

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How can you view your list of upvoted questions? –  Jacob Carpenter Nov 6 '08 at 0:34
    
Oh! I found it (in profile under votes tab). But posts are intermingled with questions, right? –  Jacob Carpenter Nov 6 '08 at 0:39
    
Go to your profile page (click on your name) and then there's a list of tabs below the header. Each of these (Stats, Recent, Responses, ...) will change the lower half of the page. You want "Votes." –  BQ. Nov 6 '08 at 0:39
    
Questions and Answers are intermingled, but you can tell the Questions apart because they're blue (and the URL they link to will indicate this too if you look closely). –  BQ. Nov 6 '08 at 0:41
    
They're blue and BOLD, actually. Since visited links are darker, the boldface helps. –  BQ. Nov 6 '08 at 0:42

Surely many here have read the Hitchhikers Guide would know the question is often harder to find than the answer

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I personally upvote a question, when I first have no answer for it and second I'm interested in a good answer for it. So I don't upvote questions that could be useful for others, but I upvote questions, which I'm interested in to be answered. And I think, that's how it should be. So if you see a question that has 20 upvotes, you have a question that 20 other people also want a good answer for, and not a question, where 20 people think that it is a "good" question.

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I upvote questions when I think the answers are or would be of interest to me and others.

I also do it as a means of encouragement (and discouragement in the case of downvoting or ignoring) so that I/we can get more questions of that type, style, content or topic.

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