I think this is more of a question about the nature of SO users. I see a lot of questions with 5 or 6 answers, but 0 up-votes. I realize that sometimes that may be because down-votes and up-votes cancel each other out, but in a lot of cases people will just answer, and not up-vote.

Isn't answer a question implicitly indicating that you feel it is worthy of the time it takes you to answer? If I answer a question, I will (almost) always up-vote the question.

I also realize that a lot of times people will answer a question that they feel needs to be improved upon (needs to be clarified, formatted better, etc). In those cases I don't up-vote, but I find those cases to be in the minority of the questions I answer.

Any thoughts?

  • 10
    Even stranger is one of those answers having a lot of upvotes, that would make me think the question would deserve one as well...
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Aug 24, 2009 at 15:41
  • @Ivo, yeah, I agree, I think that is the type of scenario I've been subconsciously noticing which brought me to ask this question. I see that a lot, now that I really think about that.
    – Rob
    Commented Aug 24, 2009 at 15:45

10 Answers 10


I generally do vote up questions that I answer if I feel they were a good question. That is not always the case.

Just because someone took the time to answer you does not necessarily mean that they believe your question had any significant value. Or they may be out of votes. There are numerous reasons as to why someone wouldn't upvote your question even if they provide an answer.

  • 2
    Agreed. I'll try to help people even when the question they ask is ill-considered, misinformed, trivial, or otherwise not worthy of an upvote. Really good questions have something to teach people---when you understnad the answer, you know something you didn't know before. Commented Aug 24, 2009 at 15:31
  • I find it to be more of a curiosity, than anything. I generally won't answer a question if I don't feel it was a good question, unless I can see some room for improvement. And I'm not necessarily talking about my own questions - it's a trend I've noticed for awhile on SO.
    – Rob
    Commented Aug 24, 2009 at 15:32
  • 4
    There are a lot of questions that are of zero value to anyone but the OP, e.g. a simple Google or SO search would have provided the answer straight away. I don't mind answering these questions for the OP's benefit, but they certainly don't deserve an upvote. Commented Oct 6, 2009 at 16:02

This question is useful and clear

That's the tooltip of the upvote button for questions. A question doesn't have to be useful or clear to get an answer. It's all in the definition.

  • 1
    Very good point, I actually had never noticed that tooltip before.
    – Rob
    Commented Aug 24, 2009 at 15:36

I vote up good questions whether I answer them or not.

Actually, I probably vote up questions I don't answer, more than questions I do answer.

  • 4
    Yeah, I find myself doing that too - voting up questions I don't answer. I do that a lot of times when I feel I am unable to answer the question, but I know that there are others on SO that can, and I don't want the question to get lost in the mix.
    – Rob
    Commented Aug 24, 2009 at 15:37
  • Yes, I often upvote questions when I'm interested myself in the answer - and then it is most often the case that I can't answer them. Commented Apr 14, 2011 at 23:45

Case in point, I just asked a question today that someone actually bookmarked, and I still didn't get any upvotes. Who would bookmark a question if they didn't think it's a good question? I guess it's possible I got one upvote and one downvote, but still...

I think maybe people don't upvote because SO doesn't provide much incentive. They added the "accept rate" thing to encourage people to accept answers. I also think when the author of a question upvotes an answer, a reminder to accept the answer appears in a little pop-up. I would like to see a similar pop-up if you bookmark an answer and maybe if you choose to answer a question. If can just say, "If you thought this was a clear and useful question, please consider upvoting it."

  • 3
    I have bookmarked many questions I didn't upvote. Typically because several answers were good, or it is on a topic that interests me, but the question was no great shakes. In fact, I've bookmarked and downvoted bad questions, because I want to revisit it later. Commented Sep 23, 2010 at 22:29
  • Because they thought that you did a poor job of posing an interesting question.
    – Rosinante
    Commented Apr 15, 2011 at 1:17
  • 1
    I have on occasion bookmarked bad questions for purely sociological reasons. Commented Apr 15, 2011 at 9:07

Thinking of the standard feedback survey, you're asked "did you find the service useful?" - this only applies if you're using the service to provide an answer to a question you have.

When you're actually doing the question answering, the question's "useful"ness doesn't really apply.

Personally, if I found the question led me down a path that caused me to learn something interesting, I'll upvote it, but most questions (in the areas I frequent) are like FAQs, and are rarely useful.


One over all goal of these websites is to be a resource and reference on the Internet. They encourage the upvoting of good questions that are well written and will be an added benefit for anyone who may be searching for answers to a similar issue either through the sites search or google search. The voting system is to rate the question on being clear and a great resource question that many people could reference.

The answer up/down vote on the answer is simply being a great solution to the question given. Doesn't mean it was a great question to begin with. I have even answered questions I have downvoted.

  • Yeah, I've done the same, now that I think about it (answered a question I've downvoted).
    – Rob
    Commented Aug 24, 2009 at 16:54

Users may get too wrapped up in providing the answer that they forget to vote on the question. Or they feel the two are mutually exclusive. What is the criteria for giving a question an upvote? Mayb a prompt is in order?

  • I don't really know if a prompt is necessary, I don't think people should feel pressured to upvote or downvote, but I think that people's willingness to provide answers should be somehow included in the overall "worth" of a question. I'm not sure how it would be possible to do that in practice, though.
    – Rob
    Commented Aug 24, 2009 at 15:51

Personally, I don't think up voting questions provides much use to the site. Most of the pages do not sort questions by votes, and usually the highest voted questions are the low hanging fruit type.

For an example of what I mean, take a look at the "hot" questions on SF - https://serverfault.com/questions?sort=hot

Everything is 3 votes or less and there is little correlation between the question's score and its usefulness.

The site would be just as functional if there were no scores on the questions themselves.


Another problem is that a question may be asked poorly or missing information and then get down voted, but if the person edits the question to add the relevant info the votes are still there.


Maybe when a user answers a question, the question should automatically be upvoted unless the user checks a box saying "do not upvote question" or similar?

I think I should upvote more questions than I do when answering, but somehow I often forget.


I would never leave an answer to a question without an upvote as I don't think a bad question deserves a good answer. But I would give a bad answer to a bad question and so I would leave it on 0.

As others said, there are good reasons to not upvote the question you answer to and even though I disagree on giving good answers to bad questions doesn't mean I'd never do it. It highly depends on each case and it doesn't even depend just on the question. It could rely on my mood!

But I believe most people do it for no good reasoning and I'd like to be proven otherwise. Or maybe, as some have suggested, they simply forget about it and would need a reminder.

  • 1
    you proposed something on a comment to the other question: add a script reminding to upvote the question. I'd suggest you to add it in here as part of your answer to improve the visibility since I think it's a very good option. My personal opinion, though, is that it should remind the answerer to vote it (whether up or down) and not assume that the vote would be good. I do answer bad questions if I see that the topic is worth being answered, but I do not upvote and I may even downvote those.
    – Aleadam
    Commented Apr 15, 2011 at 6:42
  • @aleadam your wish is my command! ;)
    – cregox
    Commented Apr 15, 2011 at 8:25

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .