Sometimes I see a question that has been downvoted and I don't agree with the downvote at all (for example if a comment that explains the downvote shows a misunderstanding of the question, or if I think it's an interesting question that I'd like to hear the answer to), but I don't think the question deserves an upvote either. Sometimes I upvote it just to get it back to zero score.

Is this the wrong behavior? I wonder if I'm doing harm by "hiding" the fact that someone has downvoted a question.


So long as you are not upvoting solely to get the question from -1 to 0, but because you honestly believe the question on your screen is complete, well researched, and well written, then that's fine.

  • Nice, added to the newly-minted faq meta.stackoverflow.com/posts/130054/revisions – Manishearth May 5 '12 at 15:41
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    -1: The question asserted "but I don't think the question deserves an up vote, either", and that the vote was indeed solely "to get it back into the neutral", so this answer (by only covering the polar opposite scenario) is misleading. – Lightness Races in Orbit Nov 16 '12 at 19:44
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit +1'd because I think this answer is undeserving of your downvote. – Radiodef Mar 5 '14 at 18:55
  • @Radiodef: Are you aware that, on meta, downvotes merely mean disagreement? It's hard to "not deserve" a downvote on meta. – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 5 '14 at 20:51
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit (You do realize, this question is about not vote countering.) – Radiodef Mar 5 '14 at 21:03
  • @Radiodef: (Yet you're doing it anyway) – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 5 '14 at 23:53
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit (Right, and Jeff said basically not to do it. Clearly, it can't be real.) – Radiodef Mar 5 '14 at 23:56
  • @Radiodef: I really have no idea what your point is at this juncture. – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 5 '14 at 23:57
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit Well, it's interesting, originally it was a joke, though now it appears it's more like an illustration of why commenting about a vote is always a terrible idea. Why would anybody seriously comment that here? It's put in such a ridiculous spot, it's obviously not real. – Radiodef Mar 6 '14 at 0:26
  • @Radiodef: I was only checking. No need to bite my head off over it. – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 6 '14 at 0:37
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit Hey, I'm not trying to be hostile, I'm just amused you had to check. There's predisposition to be suspicious of motives so my joke failed. I guess maybe I should know better. – Radiodef Mar 6 '14 at 0:43
  • @Radiodef: I suppose you think you're the first person to make that joke – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 6 '14 at 9:47

You could add a comment to explain why you're countering the down vote. A well-reasoned comment could rally other SO users to your point of view, and might even cause a change in future voting behavior.

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    That is a great idea! – Jeremy Sep 2 '11 at 5:21
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    Or start a flame war because this is poor voting behaviour. – Lightness Races in Orbit Nov 16 '12 at 19:45

Given the detail of 'Sometimes I up vote it to get it back into the neutral.' I would say the answer is

No, you shouldn't counter-vote like that, you should just up-vote correct answers.

Admission - I've done this too!

  • 1
    asking yourself, "would I down-vote this if it were at +1?" can be helpful here too... IOW, are you rating the post, or are you just pushing it towards it's "proper" score? – Shog9 May 5 '12 at 15:48
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    It's a reasonable observation; it's not good to "pity upvote". The idea of a proper score is somewhat nebulous since I am just a user who has the same biased perception of a question than the downvoter. That said, I think that there are cases where you can objectively see a downvote was not deserved or reasonable, and you should counter that. Fun fact: I totally counter-down-voted this answer. – Jeremy May 5 '12 at 17:24

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