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I have only been on SE for a short while (and I really only find Stack Overflow relevant at all, all the other sister sites I've checked so far are very low quality).

What disturbs me on Stack Overflow and on other sites are how up-voting and down-voting work. Basically, to get a lot of up votes you need to do this:

Write a short summary that is somewhat correct. Highlight at least one word.

  • Make a list
  • Stating the same thing
  • As the short summary

Maybe add an additional summary stating the same thing as the first one. Also add some very cheesy sample with code tag.

And if you have more than some K rep you will be up-voted 5 times in matter of minutes.

I wonder, is this some old guideline or what am I missing? Why do we need the lists to consider an answer worthy to up vote?

Also, this behavior is a lot worse on the non-/-related tags.

Personally I've stopped up-voting all answers following this pattern unless they really contribute to the question (when the answer was posted) just because I find them way too cheesy, am I breaking some guideline?

share|improve this question
You certainly have a point - pity upvotes and "welcome to SO" upvotes (on terrible questions) are a real problem. – Pëkka Mar 12 '11 at 18:33
@Pekka did you just upvote my question? :-D – stefan Mar 12 '11 at 19:11
yes. I mean, who could resist! I was already sold when I saw the list and the horizontal lines. Then I saw the bolded text and I was lost. :) Next time however, I would like to see a code block or two. – Pëkka Mar 12 '11 at 19:12
up vote 15 down vote accepted

Upvote things that are correct and useful. Readability counts. A post with bullet points can be much easier to read and digest than a text-dense one. Code samples are about the most useful thing that you can add since it answers the question explicitly and unambiguously.

  • Correct and useful
  • Readability counts
  • Lists are easier to read
  • Code samples make things clear

In short, you should upvote things that help the user, that are easy to read, and clearly answer the question.

public string Answer()
   return Correct + Useful + Clear + Unambiguous;
share|improve this answer
+1 for bulleted list, but what the heck are you saying here? – Bill the Lizard Mar 12 '11 at 18:00
LOL AWESOME :-D – stefan Mar 12 '11 at 18:10
No +1: I don't see a horizontal line. – IAbstract Aug 5 '11 at 19:57

And if you have more than some K rep you will be upvoted 5 times in matter of minutes.

You're putting the cart before the horse. People don't get upvoted because they have high reputation. They get high reputation by leaving good answers that get upvoted.

As the mouseover text already says, upvote answers that you find useful and clear.

share|improve this answer
I am not. I wouldn't have reacted if the voting where sane compared to effort and uniqueness but as it stands now people are just answering politically correct info in a scheme that makes them get votes rather than writing a more exhaustive reply that may take a bit longer to write and will break the how-to-get-alot-of-votes. It's sad. – stefan Mar 12 '11 at 18:13
@stefan: You don't get upvoted for effort. You can put a lot of effort into an answer and be completely wrong. If you have any links to people getting upvoted just because they have high rep, please post them. – Bill the Lizard Mar 12 '11 at 18:16
@Bill the Lizard iam talking about correct answer with a bit more meaning and or even simpler text but are correct without a list. Adding a list is just cheap. Especially; the difference between 3p and 6p is generally a list. – stefan Mar 12 '11 at 18:18
@stefan: Ok, I admit that I would be frustrated if I posted the exact same answer as someone else and they got upvoted because they used a list and I didn't. If formatting makes an answer clearer and easier to understand, though, I'd have to start using formatting to improve my answers. – Bill the Lizard Mar 12 '11 at 18:21
@Bill the Lizard I am not really moaning about my own answers, but I find it disturbing when reading questions for own reasons (ie trying to find in depth answers). Personally I don't care about my own reputation points. – stefan Mar 12 '11 at 18:23
@Bill the Lizard… – stefan Mar 12 '11 at 18:39
@stefan: The "How do you move the turtle in LOGO?" question is a bit of a special case. Joel Spolsky mentioned it in a podcast and it subsequently got a lot of attention. I don't think that's typical at all. – Bill the Lizard Mar 12 '11 at 18:43
I've also found it somewhat frustrating when I post an answer that is exactly the same as someone who beats me by a few seconds and theirs gets upvoted more than mine. It almost feels as if sometimes people up vote answers based on who answered first instead of on the actual answer. Or maybe people don't realize that you can upvote more than one answer? – j0k Aug 5 '11 at 18:00
@j0k: If two answers are exactly the same, I usually will look to see who answered first. If you find yourself in a close second place, the best thing to do is update your answer to add more detail. The better answer always trumps the earlier answer. – Bill the Lizard Aug 5 '11 at 18:36
@Bill the Lizard That's kind of interesting. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the whole point of up-voting an answer. When you hover above the arrow, it says, "This answer is useful". If there are two exact same answers, wouldn't you say that they're both useful answers? Duplicates, yes, but still useful. – j0k Aug 6 '11 at 5:24
@j0k: If an answer already exists, doesn't that make the second, exact same answer less useful? Definitely if the second answer comes hours later, probably less so if it comes only seconds later. Upvoting only the first of two identical answers is really more about conserving my votes (which I use up almost every day), but it's also a reward for the faster answerer. – Bill the Lizard Aug 6 '11 at 11:55

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