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Sometimes I read a question and look at all the answers and decide that there is already a good answer.

I usually don't up vote it because I gain nothing. (I only really up vote when the answer is great)

However if you want to encourage more up voting I propose the following:

For everyone who voted for an answer before it gets accepts earns 2 reps when it does get accepted.

This will help good answer float to the top more quickly and over the noise.

There is however room for abuse here. Somebody can just up vote all the answers in the question and guarantee 2 rep per question. Obviously we need to avoid this and it can be handled in many ways.

  • don't award this rep if user voted for more than 1 answer per question
  • don't award this rep if user doesn't have related guru badge (harder thus should gain more than 2 rep if this rule is used)
  • don't award this rep if question only has one answer
  • lose 2 rep if votes for answer go below 0 and doesn't get accepted


You guys have bought up a good point where you can also abuse the system by jumping on the bandwagon and earn an easy 2 rep. So we can add another rule:

  • only award this to first 3 up votes (or only for the first up vote)
share|improve this question
Why would we want to encourage upvoting? – nb69307 Apr 8 '10 at 17:58
To get good answers over the noise – Pyrolistical Apr 8 '10 at 18:01
The way to do that is to downvote the noise. – nb69307 Apr 8 '10 at 18:02
People don't want to down vote because it cost them rep. If there's 10 answers with one good one you down vote 9 instead of up vote 1? – Pyrolistical Apr 8 '10 at 18:05
Downvoting the noise is good. Upvoting good answers because they're good answers is also good. Upvoting any answer because it might be accepted... not so good. – Aarobot Apr 8 '10 at 18:07
@Pyro - Nah, I just close the question. If the signal to noise is that bad, then something is fundamentally wrong with the question itself. – Adam Davis Apr 8 '10 at 18:08
@Polly I find that the SNR ratio is pretty bad for very new questions. There'll be 3 or 4 questions all with 0 votes with one being correct. – Pyrolistical Apr 8 '10 at 18:24
You should upvote because it's a good answer, whether you gain anything or not. – Lance Roberts Apr 8 '10 at 18:29
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Please do not conflate acceptance with correctness.

Answer acceptance is a power given to the asker who---usually---is someone who doesn't know enough about the problem to be able to see the "right" answer in the first place.

share|improve this answer

However if you want to encourage more up voting I propose the following:

No, I don't want to encourage upvoting, especially if it means people can game the system to get more rep by 'betting' on answers - and doubly so when it doesn't cost them anything to place the bet.

Other effects:

  • It discourages people from upvoting all the good/great answers in a question. If SO wanted that, it would allow only one answer upvote per question.
  • It provides yet another sideways path to game the system with sockpuppet accounts - one that is harder to detect due to the indirect nature of the rep gain
share|improve this answer
I'm betting -- I mean voting -- that this is the correct answer. – Jon Seigel Apr 8 '10 at 18:02
How can you game the system with sock puppet accounts with this idea? – Pyrolistical Apr 8 '10 at 18:07
@Pyro: Isn't that obvious? Ask a lot of questions, use a sockpuppet account to vote on one answer in each, then accept those answers. Considerably harder to detect than any other form of gaming. – Aarobot Apr 8 '10 at 18:09
@Pyro @Aaro - but a bot would be way more effective. The OP can't accept an answer until 15 minutes after the question is posted. At 14:59 after posting the question, the bot simply upvotes the leading answer (as voted by everyone else). With thousands of questions a day, one could easily hit the 200 rep limit with such a simple bot. – Adam Davis Apr 8 '10 at 18:13
Can you imagine users with 10k that have no questions and few answers (just enough to meet the requirements, such as the guru badge, etc) – Adam Davis Apr 8 '10 at 18:15
@Pol - well, there is the 30-vote-per day limit, so not quite. But it would be an effective strategy, I agree. – Aarobot Apr 8 '10 at 18:15
@aaronaught - True. That would limit rep gain to 60 per day. Do this with 5 accounts and in 50 days you'll have 5 accounts with power to close. You can now, in two months, insta-close or insta-open anything you desire. – Adam Davis Apr 8 '10 at 18:19

Should we encourage up voting by rewarding for correctly up voting accepted answer?

No I think the system works pretty well the way it is, in terms of upvotes.

share|improve this answer

Adding to what Pollyanna and Aaronaught said, this would also cause the users who cast the "losing bets" to become upset. People would start to argue about which answer was really the best, since they would now have something at stake themselves.

I do like the idea of encouraging more participation before the question has an accepted answer, but giving away free rep just for showing up isn't the right way to do this.

share|improve this answer
Shouldn't we argue for the truth? – Pyrolistical Apr 8 '10 at 18:09
@Pyro - we will argue to our own advantage. We are human, after all. – user27414 Apr 8 '10 at 18:10
@Pyro: We already argue for the truth. That's exactly what the current voting system encourages by conferring no special benefit for upvoting/downvoting a particular answer. Your version of the system adds a selfish motive to the mix, which in the end will reduce the objectivity of votes. – Aarobot Apr 8 '10 at 18:12
@Pyro - even in programming, truth is often subjective. When there are two ways to solve a problem, and both ways are valid, you may end up with a small war about which is better simply because 2 points of reputation are at stake. – Adam Davis Apr 8 '10 at 18:21

An accepted answer does not make it the "right" answer. Somebody just linked to this one the other day. Should somebody who voted for that answer gain rep for it?

A high number of votes means significantly more than a green checkmark. Let's not invert the meaning.

Anyway, we already have the Civic Duty and Electorate badges, which I think do more than enough to encourage upvoting - perhaps too much, depending on who you ask.

share|improve this answer
We would need a penalty for downvoting the correct answer! – user27414 Apr 8 '10 at 18:06

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