Think of following pattern of events:

  1. User A asks question.
  2. User B answers this question, but don't upvote the question.
  3. User A upvotes User's B answer.
  4. User B checks whether his answer had been upvoted and if and only if it looks like it was upvoted by the User A, only in that case up-votes the question itself.

    By "looks like it was up-voted by the author of the question" I mean that there is such set of empirical rules which can help us to probably guess that kind of situation. If this sounds too theoretical to you, then just think of the case when user B up-votes if and only if his question is marked as accepted.

    Should we consider such behavior a sort of shady transaction? I mean, user B actually does not even care about the quality of the question he is answering. This is only about a deal - up-vote my answer, and I'll up-vote you question too. In turn, user A who finds this deal fair also is not so strict about answers quality.

  • Of course this is not something SO promotes, but what are you suggesting we do about it? – Martijn Pieters Jul 23 '12 at 8:45
  • I wonder why User B would go to such an extent. It's just an answer upvote. User B may as well complain that User A forgot to accept the answer. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Jul 23 '12 at 8:46
  • @MartijnPieters well, at least in case when user B up-votes the question only when his answer is accpeted, we actually CAN do something. I mean, it is strange that User B find this very question valuable only after he provides answer. – shabunc Jul 23 '12 at 8:47
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    I admit to this behavior - abeit unintentionally. When I see a question, I often jump straight to answering it - completely forgetting to upvote it. Only later when I see an upvote or an accept do I actually remember to revisit and upvote the question. – Mysticial Jul 23 '12 at 8:48
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    I guess User A and User B also keep track of who sends them Christmas cards, and soon won't get any at all. I just pity those people, but feel no need to do anything about it. – Arjan Jul 23 '12 at 8:51
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    ... I mean that there is such set of empirical rules which can help us to probably guess that kind of situation. That clashes with another, valid situation: "This user answered my question, I'll check out the profile and see if there are more good answers". – Time Traveling Bobby Jul 23 '12 at 8:51
  • @Mysticial, this is a good point. But wouldn't you find it strange if say, about 90-100% of up-votes of some user will follow this pattern. I mean, we can always see whether it random or systematic. – shabunc Jul 23 '12 at 8:53
  • It's a fuzzy line. Once something becomes a habit, it kinda sticks. This is especially the case on the FGITW questions where speed is of essence and subconsciousness and reflex override intent. – Mysticial Jul 23 '12 at 8:55
  • @Mysticial: Only when it's the asker that upvotes your answer? :P – BoltClock's a Unicorn Jul 23 '12 at 8:55
  • @BoltClock'saUnicorn lol, no. It's hard to tell anyways, but an accept is more likely to draw my attention back to a question. – Mysticial Jul 23 '12 at 8:57
  • @Mysticial: True. That happens to me at times as well, if I don't get the "questions need upvotes too!" prompt first. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Jul 23 '12 at 8:57
  • @BoltClock'saUnicorn This is especially the case for users with high-residual votes. For example, I've been recapped for much of the past month due to one popular question. So I don't even see the upvotes immediately. Accepts though, will show up instantly on the auto-updates. – Mysticial Jul 23 '12 at 8:59
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    I might be inclined to answer this, but I would have to be sure first it's worth my while. A bit of positive feedback on some of my contributions could speed up the process... knowwhaddimean? – Pëkka Jul 23 '12 at 9:01
  • @shabunc As a rule (and more, with more SO experience and rep) I rarely answer questions I don't believe deserve my upvote. – raam86 Jul 2 '13 at 7:11

Pulling my comments into an answer...

While the situation that you propose is possibly borderline of vote-fraud. I'm afraid of the following false-positive that I myself would fall into:

  1. User sees a question. It's a FGITW type.
  2. Because speed of essence, the user jumps straight to answering it - completely forgetting to upvote the question.
  3. Later on, when the user receives an upvote or an accept, he/she remembers to revisit the question and upvote it.

This is especially the case for active users who are repcapped for most of the day. They don't even see the upvotes. But they will see the accept. So there is possibly a high correlation between an accept followed by an upvote on the question.

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    Now that I have an upvote, should I upvote the question? :P – Mysticial Jul 23 '12 at 9:07
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    a-ha-ha, upvoted you answer. Could you, please, up-vote my question? ))) – shabunc Jul 23 '12 at 9:07
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    Okay, upvoted! Now I've just committed vote-fraud. awaits suspension – Mysticial Jul 23 '12 at 9:08
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    i haven't asked or answer, but i want to upvote for both of you :) – Lucifer Jul 23 '12 at 9:13
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    I think I am going to start an upvote pyramid scheme. After my head stops hurting! – Andrew Barber Jul 23 '12 at 11:29

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