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Why do users feel the need to notify each other [+1] when they upvote a question or answer?

Update: I've just read the answers to this question Why do users feel the need to notify each other [+1] when they upvote a question or answer? , apparently they provide good answers to this question as well which means I am voting to close this question as a duplicate of that one.

I was unable to find it by searching for it and only found it as a related question to another question when looking. This means that closing this question as a duplicate would likely assist users who will look up this subject in the future.

I've read the FAQ and to the best of my understanding this is where I should ask this.

A lot of times in Stack Overflow and other Stack Exchange websites I notice comments in the format of:

+1 good answer, also I'd like to add...


+1 I'm upvoting this because...


-1 you should have said...

I was wondering if writing this sort of comments is considered bad manners since it kinds of beats the purpose of anonymously voting on questions. For downvotes it makes sense since you're giving criticism, but still you don't have to include the -1 in the comment.

Here is some related reading raising some points for and against it in the following post about a suggestion to make these mandatory +1 / -1 in comment

I have also found this strongly related but somewhat different question Why do users feel the need to notify each other [+1] when they upvote a question or answer?

  • It's not bad manners, but you are right, it's pointless. – yannis Feb 3 '13 at 18:40
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    If it's accompanied by some actual content (especially in the case of downvotes) it might have some value. But other than that it's noise. – Bart Feb 3 '13 at 18:44
  • @Bart Fortunately, a comment that's just +1 or -1 is too short to be posted (unless it's preceded by a ping to a quite long username). – Eliah Kagan Feb 3 '13 at 18:58
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    @Bart +1 for being specific about comments with content and those that are just noise. – Alenanno Feb 3 '13 at 18:59
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    @BenjaminGruenbaum +1 – Doorknob Feb 3 '13 at 19:43
  • @EliahKagan Hey! It worked! (see comment above ^) – Doorknob Feb 3 '13 at 19:43
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    @Doorknob +1 – Eliah Kagan Feb 3 '13 at 19:57

Stack Overflow and other Stack Exchange sites have had a long tradition of commenting on why you downvoted. Including the -1 in that context makes the comment's purpose explicit.

Beyond this however, voting is as anonymous as you the voter wishes to make it. If a voter chooses to forfeit anonymity by noting +1/-1 that is the voter's personal choice. It doesn't differ much from voicing one's opinion in democratic elections. The ballot is cast in private but no one is prevented from telling others how he or she voted (unless you have some local law forbidding it, YMMV). I would add though that if a user takes pains to chide others in comments often, the community can respond by flagging where appropriate.

For viewers below 1000 rep, it gives an indication of the broader acceptance of a question or answer, which may not be apparent by looking at the current score. But for users over 1000, it provides additional context to the up/down vote counts already visible to them by the "established user" privilege.

Specific to +1 comments, if you see something particularly useful or insightful in an answer, why not boost the ego of the answerer by explicitly pointing it out? If someone else disagrees, they can do so in the comments; that's what the comments are for. I can remember as a new user receiving such comments from high-rep community members, and really beginning to feel like I was part of the community. I think it's a nice way to encourage participation from promising community members.

  • I like the 'established user' part, reputation indicates trust by the community. – Benjamin Gruenbaum Feb 3 '13 at 18:49

It's not bad manners. It's a way of giving feedback on what you like or dislike in the post. It's not important enough to have any kind of policy on.

  • +1 for a short, pithy answer. :) – CodeGnome Feb 3 '13 at 23:07

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