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I have seen a few questions which are not very clear, repeated, and sometimes not very important, but having 5 to 10 upvotes.

How should I decide on when to upvote these kind of questions?

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Follow your consience. If it makes you feel dirty then don't vote it up. – slugster May 26 '10 at 6:21

4 Answers 4

I tend to upvote on the clarity of the question:

  • Does it lay out the context of the question precisely but succinctly?
  • If it mentions an error, does it give details?
  • Does it contain code to reproduce the problem, ideally in a short but complete program?
  • Does it ask a specific, answerable question?
  • Has the questioner paid attention to spelling, grammar and formatting? (i.e. is the presentation good?)

Then about the question topic itself:

  • Is it interesting and unusual?
  • Does it surprise me (e.g. showing a bit of C# doing something I wouldn't expect it to)?
  • Do I think other people ought to know more about this area?
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I've been known to upvote a question just because it included a small sample with both expected and actual output, even if the rest of the question was crap. – Greg Hewgill May 26 '10 at 6:02
Just a reminder. There are a lot of non-native English speakers on stackoverflow like me. Spelling and grammar may be difficult for us, so don't be too tough on those points. – Lucas May 26 '10 at 9:02
@Lucas: It's definitely harder for non-native English speakers, but often people clearly haven't made any effort at all. Worse still is using texting abbreviations in questions :( – Jon Skeet May 26 '10 at 9:59
@Lucas, +1 thei realy r so cruel to us poor :( i know english bad why dwnvote? – Pavel Shved May 26 '10 at 12:29
@Pavel Shved: ur english sux! – Lucas May 26 '10 at 13:18
  • If you see yourself asking the same question - upvote it +1.
  • If you don't know the answer for this question, and you would like to know - upvote it +1.
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+1, Two of the exact standards I use. – Lance Roberts May 26 '10 at 5:58

My suggestions...

  • If the question is helpful to you, upvote it.
  • If the question isn't clear or helpful, don't upvote it.
  • If the question is a duplicate, don't upvote it. Upvote the original instead (if you find it helpful).
  • If the question is "not very important", silly, off-topic, etc., don't upvote it. You may even want to downvote it.
  • Most importantly, don't just upvote because everyone else is. There are already too many people who upvote nonsense questions.
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In addition to many other suggestions, upvote a question you answered. Most likely, if you decided to invest your time into answering, the question was worth it, wasn't it?

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But I only get 30 votes per day! More seriously, there can be a question which I am capable of answering but which still wasn't a particularly good question. – Jon Skeet May 26 '10 at 10:00
@Jon, actually, I didn't say about every question; nor I said about every question you are capable to answer. – Pavel Shved May 26 '10 at 12:51
Okay, to restate: There can be a question where I want to help the questioner and am capable of doing so - and so I do answer. That doesn't mean I necessarily think it's a good question. That happens sufficiently often that I wouldn't say your "most likely" applies. – Jon Skeet May 26 '10 at 14:33

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