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There is a post on How do comment voting and flagging work?, but I didn't find any post on the philosophy behind it. I see people often mean "me too", "I agree" or "I like it because it's fun" by a comment upvote; "this comment really helps" seems to be quite a rare message.

Are all these reasons to upvote a comment considered "good" or at least "OK"? Has there been any discussion or is there a consensus about this? And finally, as an optional subquestion: what were the supposed reasons to upvote when comment voting was implemented?

  • I use it to mean "Ha that was funny" or "I would post this too, except that would be stupid because it's already there." – Aza Apr 6 '13 at 14:24
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A comment upvote is only meaningful in that it enables the most upvoted ones to be more noticeable or, in long comment threads, to rise to the top.

There are several reasons for wanting comments to be noticeable, "I agree" or "I like this" probably being the most common. As with everything else voting is private and anyone is able to do so how they wish, for whatever reason they wish. Thinking out a philosophy behind hundreds of thousands of people randomly clicking little arrows because they like what someone's written isn't, I believe, worthwhile. People like something, they click the arrow.

To bring this back to your question "this comment really helps" is almost identical to "I agree", so I'm not sure how you're distinguishing between the two. However, "helpful" comments have, hopefully, been extended into helpful answers, in which case there's no point upvoting the comment.

Yes, your reasons to upvote a comment are all "okay". There isn't a "bad" reason to do so as you're able to upvote entirely according to your own whims.

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