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I've noticed Stack Overflow has a tendency of downvoting questions which are not thoroughly researched and lacks clear communication. They're also meant to answer specific problems involving programming, and if you can find the answer on Google Search, then chances are that you'll be downvoted for supposedly being lazy and getting others to do their work for you.

Why then, do you get questions like this: What are the differences between C and C++?

The question did get closed, but certainly not before it got 46 upvotes! That person received well-over 200 points! And the Stack Overflow guidelines clearly state to not ask questions about comparisons. Not only that, but this is one question which has thousands of answers if you search on Google, and I'm definitely not exaggerating here. That's probably like one of the most popular questions in programming. So why would it be receive so many upvotes on a site like Stack Overflow which is solely dedicated to professionalism and real problems?

I only ask this because there are times when some users - myself included - get downvoted for real programming questions that we've spent effort into finding the answer to, but found none.

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46 upvotes is not "ridiculously high"... –  Mysticial Sep 30 '13 at 17:32
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Note the date; 2010, things were different then. Also abnormalities can happen; such as being mentioned on a popular third party website –  Richard Tingle Sep 30 '13 at 17:32
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@Mysticial Pretty sure this is ridiculously high :p - stackoverflow.com/questions/11227809/… –  Josh Crozier Sep 30 '13 at 17:33
    
The post was marked CW pretty quick. The author only got 33 rep. The answerer that got the most rep was one person who hit the rep cap once, getting 200 rep. –  Servy Sep 30 '13 at 17:34
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@JoshC And also awesome –  Richard Tingle Sep 30 '13 at 17:34
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@JoshC I stand corrected –  83457 Sep 30 '13 at 17:35
    
Ok after seeing that question with 5762 up votes maybe ridiculously high was a bit too hyperbolic, but 46 points is still a decent amount. If someone were to get that all the time then they'd have 10k reputation in no time –  83457 Sep 30 '13 at 17:37
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@Kenny_007 As I said, they didn't get much rep off of it. They got 33 reputation off of the question in total. There were only seven upvotes and one downvote before the question was marked as CW. –  Servy Sep 30 '13 at 17:38
    
46 upvotes in 3 years is a solid one upvote per month. Or one upvote per 1000 views. –  Juhana Sep 30 '13 at 17:39
    
I voted to delete. –  AAA Sep 30 '13 at 17:41
    
Or maybe a historical lock? –  Richard Tingle Sep 30 '13 at 17:49
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@RichardTingle I don't see this as being historical enough to warrant me putting a lock on it. The top-voted answer there is barely even an answer, and more a list of useless crap. –  animuson Sep 30 '13 at 18:00
    
We're discussing a way to prevent these kinds of useless escalations here. –  Kevin A. Naudé Sep 30 '13 at 18:56
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A better example may be How do I edit an incorrect commit message in Git?. (And a lucky punch: more than 10,000 reputation points for a single one-line command-line-only answer.) –  Peter Mortensen Sep 30 '13 at 20:05

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The question in question is

  • over 3 years old (42k views!)
  • community wiki (some tend to rather upvote questions when nobody earns rep for them)
  • off-topic but interesting

It is not really surprising that the question collected so many upvotes in time.

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@animuson fair enough –  83457 Oct 4 '13 at 16:17

The Stack Overflow voting system is far from perfect; people may click the upvote button for any reason they choose.

Ideally, voting will cause good questions to rise to the top in direct relation to how high quality they are, based on the criteria you outlined. In reality though questions which, for any number of reasons, attract a large number of viewers (and are otherwise on topic) will naturally get more votes than they would otherwise "deserve."

One of the best (or worst, depending on your perspective) examples of this can be found here

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