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This keeps nagging me. The other day, this question was asked and in no time it had 10 upvotes. Same for the most upvoted answer.

I was surprised. For a first question it's a relatively good question, but not exceptional. In fact, similar questions are asked at least five times a week. They are marked as duplicate or when they get answered, the answer is always roughly the same, but I never see them get so many upvotes. Neither do the answers.

I was surprised, fascinated really, but tried to forget about it and move on.

But then this look-alike question came in. And it was answered by him who often gets many upvotes. (You know). What? One upvote each!

I have to ask. Can anyone explain to me what it is with this first question? I hang around at StackOverflow often and long enough to notice this as "remarkable". Not necessarily implying misbehaviour, but it is uncommon. Is it these intangible psychological mechanisms of voting?

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The question may have landed in the "First Posts Review Queue", due to which it may have received more than usual attention. I would say that it is a well written question though. – Aziz Shaikh Jun 21 '13 at 7:57
The first question was by a new user, ended up in a review queue, was good, so a valid review action is to simply upvote...? That might explain part of it. And to some extent upvotes cause more upvotes I guess. And let's be honest, he who shall not be named has more than enough upvotes now. We shouldn't overdo it.... – Bart Jun 21 '13 at 7:57
"him who often gets many upvotes" Now, that's an understatement. – Yannis Jun 21 '13 at 7:59
Ahh, the review queue, that could explain at least part of it. – Gert Arnold Jun 21 '13 at 8:00
Voting is arbitrary and silly just as often as it is effective. I've noticed a voting curve: The amount of votes a question gets decreases with time, but also changes nonlinearly with the number of votes it currently has. The following assumes a good question. From 0-2, there is an average amount of attention. From 3-5, it begins to pick up attention. Depending on how old the question question is at this point, if it reaches 6-8 upvotes, it will begin to take off and settle east some arbitrary value very much linked to age. – Emrakul Jun 21 '13 at 8:00
@KnightswhosayNi Yes, after the quick ten votes it was over. – Gert Arnold Jun 21 '13 at 8:02
@AzizShaikh It is a pretty good question. Now you say this it occurs to me that the effect of the review queue is that questions receive attention from people outside the niche. They are probably more inclined to upvote solely because of the quality of the question, while people inside the niche may think: no, yet again, and forget the the OP actually did a good job. Makes me think about my own voting behaviour. – Gert Arnold Jun 21 '13 at 8:06
@GertArnold to add to your point above, the tooltip message on upvote arrow is "This question shows research effort; it is useful and clear". For a new user, the first +10 or +5 is a real motivating factor. – Aziz Shaikh Jun 21 '13 at 9:45
up vote 6 down vote accepted

I can think of several theories why the first question is at +10 and the second at +1:

  • As Aziz Shaikh and Bart mentioned in comments the first one is by a fairly new user, it might have been featured in the "First Posts" review queue. This is the more plausible theory.
  • They were posted at different times. For all you know the first one was posted right at that wonderful time when most followers of its tags are active on the site, and the second one an hour or two after most followers of its tags went to bed.
  • Other than [c#], the questions don't share tags. Perhaps the OP of the first one was lucky and picked tags with more followers.
  • The first question may have been featured in a chat room.

And perhaps there are a few more reasons that might explain the difference. But, as long as the best answers bubble at the top, does it really matter?

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This makes sense, thanks. I never really paid attention to the best time to post, funny. Are there any statistics about this? And of course it is OK, nothing I worry about. – Gert Arnold Jun 21 '13 at 8:22
@GertArnold I'm not aware about any statistics, unfortunately. However, I'm mainly active on smaller sites of the network (including a couple of young betas) where such differences are more common and easy to observe. On History, for example, most upvotes I've received are at times that roughly coincide with the east coast's noon or shortly after. My answers stay at 0 or +1 for a few hours, and then suddenly I get a bunch of upvotes (and occasionally a downvote or two). And then no votes at all, until New York's next lunch break. – Yannis Jun 21 '13 at 8:38

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