I find it a bit annoying which answers get the votes on SO. A practical answer to a practical problem, especially in a niche or relatively advanced topic, gets very few votes no matter how good. An opinion about a general topic gets many more votes.

I stand by my top two vote-earning answers, but they definitely reflect this tendency. I think I have written much more deserving and much more useful answers.

So - I'd like the ability to transfer votes from one answer to another.

Common sense applies, of course - limits based on proportion etc should be included, moderators should be able to reverse my decisions (or delete the transferred votes) and perhaps ban me from doing this in the future if I abuse it, it should only be possible after I cross a certain reputation threshold, and votes should only be transferrable once (no shifting votes around as a quick con to get answers accepted by deception). Maybe there should be a reputation cost as a disincentive to abuse.

But - used appropriately - it's a simple way that contributers who've earned the reputation can use that to highlight the answers they think are most useful, rather than those that attract the attention of the masses.

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Just because the answer is "no", does that mean the question itself is intollerable? Why the downvotes? Is it evil to even discuss the idea? –  Steve314 Feb 23 '10 at 15:52
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On meta a downvote is a disagreemenet. Nothing personal. –  Andreas Bonini Feb 23 '10 at 15:52
    
Just seems to me that there's a difference between a bad question and a bad idea. –  Steve314 Feb 23 '10 at 15:55
    
@steve314 - welcome to Meta, that's just the way things are done here. Personally I agree with your comment, but others tend to equate "bad idea in question" with "question is not useful". Don't worry about it too much. –  Dominic Rodger Feb 23 '10 at 15:58
    
Also - downvoting a question to say "bad idea" rather than "bad question" is really just a disincentive to asking potentially controversial questions. I had an idea things might go this way before asking, but I thought it was a good idea to get the idea out there anyway. Next time, I'll think twice. –  Steve314 Feb 23 '10 at 16:05
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@steve314: potentially controversial questions that polarize voters get in the end a lot of rep, even taking downvotes into consideration (With this question +1/-6 you have lost no rep). Reputation is just a number, don't cling to every last point as if it were a big deal. Downvoting in Meta means disagreement because it's the simplest way we can show disagreement and see at a glance the answer of "the community" about a topic. We aren't downvoting you, we are downvoting this proposition. It is not personal. –  perbert Feb 23 '10 at 16:28
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@steve - you're asking for a feature. Voting on the question reflects whether or not you agree the feature should be implemented. That's how we give feedback to the SO team on what they should be working on (or not, as the case may be). –  tvanfosson Feb 23 '10 at 16:38
    
I'm not taking it personally - just commenting on something that seems strange. With my grand total of two questions here, and having never answered even one question, meta really isn't a big deal to me. But - if there's no simple way to indicate "bad idea" rather than "bad question", maybe there should be? Could be controversial, though - people set in their ways may not like it. Safer not to ask, maybe? Still - as a not-really-meta-person who's now moving on, I'll leave that thought to you guys. –  Steve314 Feb 23 '10 at 16:40
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@steve314: bad ideas are down-voted. Bad questions are closed and/or deleted. –  Shog9 Feb 23 '10 at 17:06
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5 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

No - I chose to mark that answer as useful, you shouldn't get to transfer that opinion on to another question of yours, which I may or may not deem useful.

What's more, this approach would open up the system to all kinds of abuse, since it's well known that answers with lots of votes attract more votes, since they get more attention, and there's a tendency towards "all those people can't be wrong, here's a +1 from me". It'd be all too easy to instantly give yourself 3 upvotes on a question likely to attract a lot of attention, and so get more consequent upvotes.

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I would simply say "don't allow the transfer until an answer is accepted" or "only allow transfers to accepted answers" or whatever, but I can see which way the wind is blowing - answer accepted. –  Steve314 Feb 23 '10 at 15:58
    
Display transferred votes as transferred votes, even. –  Steve314 Feb 23 '10 at 16:00
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I think the paragraph where you explain the possible problems and measures to prevent them, is far larger than the one that explains the benefits.

That should tell you something.

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Everyone's vote should be equal. More reputation = more trust in the system, i.e., you can do more things, but your opinion about an answer or question doesn't (and shouldn't) count any more than anyone else's based on your reputation in the system. Allowing high rep users -- at cost to themselves or not -- to take votes from one answer and apply them to another makes their opinions count more than other users on SO. It think that would be fundamentally unfair.

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What's the point of reputation if it doesn't reflect trust? What does reputation even mean if it doesn't mean your opinion is trusted? –  Steve314 Feb 23 '10 at 16:08
    
@steve: it only means that you have been upvoted enough times, that you have participated on the site, not how much you know. Your reputation means you are trusted in the eyes of the system. –  perbert Feb 23 '10 at 16:36
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Trusted to perform moderator-like actions, not super-elevated voting privileges. Reputation in SO doesn't make my analysis of an answer worth any more than anyone else's, nor should it. –  tvanfosson Feb 23 '10 at 16:36
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The score of your answer represents how much the community as a whole thinks of it as interesting and helpful. It's by design that questions that can be useful to an extremely small number of people have a lower score.

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There is one thing that you aren't taking into consideration: the possible explosion of complexity needed to measure the "true" worth of a post. It has been proposed in the past that rep where not a fixed number, but inversely proportional to the amount of views of the question, or some other metric, and they all have been shot down.

Reputation isn't how much you are worth, or how much you know. It only means how much you have participated and how "well known" you are to "the community". If you linger in less known tags, you'll be less known by "the community".

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