Actual (for lack of better title)

I think what I'm trying to say is that the current game type system is geared up for people who want to play the game. The game works for Stack Overflow because it provides them with what they need to make this a encyclopedia of answers.

I feel that there is no personal touch left in this forum to actually get users positively contributing.

The symbols used by Stack Overflow such as -, to me have a greater negative impact than what is intended to be perceived. I still can't help feeling aggrieved by the vast majority of negative downvotes for this post even if they're just people saying "I don't agree".

This brings me onto my second point, that the Stack Exchange seem to employing a one size fits all approach as well. Obviously you can't have a "this helped me out" checkbox in this forum because majority of the time it won't. Discussions aren't particularly going to lead to helping people out, it's not the inherent point. I'm specifically talking about StackOverflow, not meta (I thought meta is where you talked about the overflow forum).

I can see the point of using what Stack Overflow have done, but I feel they need to refine it further.

And all I have is a suggestion for that to be used along side the current system NOT in place of the current. And my suggestion has the following attributes:

  1. Positive
  2. Personal (no automation, no generics)

Positive: it's an inherently positive statement. "Thanks mate you've helped me out", it also adds more to it, it makes the user feel that they want to keep providing more of these answers, more of these questions and overall make a better contribution.

Personal: It's a clear indication from another user that you've done well. No strings attached. No negativity, no b******t. It's from one user to another. This can be used to grade answers and questions as well as up voting. Making a more comprehensive system for Stack Overflow.

That is all my suggestion is, below are few points I addressed. In the interest of backing up my point.

As I understand it the upvote is used for a variety of things, such as to indicate that a questions was a well formed question, or that it's a really good question etc.

Shouldn't there be a dedicated "This Helped Me" vote that can only be up voted (down voting definitely shouldn't be allowed for this sort of thing).

My main reasoning for this is, when you're trawling Stack Overflow and you find some question and answer which literally saves your life (probably more figuratively) you should be able to say this "Helped Me", because it's a user based reward system rather than rewards issued by Stack Overflow (automation).

This system allows other users to recognise other peoples' hard work etc. Everyone likes to be recognised for some hard work and achievement, and answering questions is an achievement and it means more to some people and I feel this should be recognised. If other users could vote on this to say this "Helped Me" then that would mean so much more than a badge, because it is direct feedback from the community who we're trying to support. It also provides a "Your a valid member" thing as well. If someone said, "Mate your question and answer helped me out", you would feel good and this positive re-enforcement would keep people actively helping.

I would think that it wouldn't be subjected to the "upvote me and I'll upvote you". And it is more specific than upvoting. It wouldn't be able to be downvoted. And anyone can do it, it's more quantitative.


This isn't about answering questions or creating questions. It's about just random users trawling for an answer to their problem, finding it and just saying this helped me out. An upvote can mean many things: It helped, it's good, this is a good solution, it worked. Example:Careless upvotes

I'm talking about a very specific type of vote which is a clear recognition.

The key to this is you can't get downvoted. That induces a negative feel into it, which causes negative repercussions. This helped me out, is purely a positive thing. It is a true recognition of the point of Stack Overflow.

What about making it a comment?

You can't add comments like that because Stack Overflow is very specific about what you should comment on. They don't want it to be filled with fluff such as hundreds of people saying "this helped me". The current voting system is very non specific and could be for any aspect that was "GOOD". This option would allow people to say one very specific thing which is what this Q&A was designed for.

Because Stack Overflow wants to be an encyclopaedia of answers, they want you to be specific and cut the crap. But in order to encourage people to answer, they make it into a game by adding badges etc and up voting etc. But this "Helped me out", takes it away from the game, and focuses purely on rewarding the user with a real award.


Stack Overflow is a purely negative system. This "Helped me out" is a pure, non negative response. Its very specific and is far more rewarding than any game related thing. It's good for the soul.

The funniest thing is that I've reached a score of -3 when I last looked. How do people find this encouraging? I'm being active on this site and I get slated for it? That is the inherent fundamental problem with Stack Overflow and its game type system.


We cannot allow passer-by to do any voting that makes visible impacts on the scores, since the numbers can be modified way too easily

I agree, I meant only people with rep or whatever Stack Overflow allows.


The bounty system is designed for questions that can't be answered or people are refusing to answer. When they get answered you give away a large portion of your reputation to someone else to say thanks for the effort. However, it brings in more negativity. You are losing huge portions of your reputation because some can't answer your question. People don't want to do that if they don't have a lot of it to be used. And since it is your reputation on the line, then when you lose it on a question, you've lost you're rep, that makes you feel bad (or nothing at all if you're a robot). If you did this to the point where you had no reputation you are then cast out of Stack Overflow seeing as most things you need rep to do, like answer questions, comment on questions, up vote etc etc.

This is not good.

It is specifically one use ONLY.

"This helped me out" is not one use only. It doesn't introduce such negativity.

  • That's what the bounty system can be used for.
    – JonW
    May 20, 2013 at 9:54
  • 1
    what, no, bounty is for if your question can't be answered. Yeah, just read up on it. That hasn't got anything to do with what i've stated May 20, 2013 at 9:55
  • 2
    Well, if the question helped you, why shouldn't you upvote it? Its sole existence made you find the question and the answers—great. Vote on it.
    – slhck
    May 20, 2013 at 9:56
  • 3
    This is a better example of using bounties for the purpose you state: Is it possible to award a bounty to or otherwise reward an exceptional answer?
    – JonW
    May 20, 2013 at 9:57
  • because Up Vote is not specific enough I feel. May 20, 2013 at 9:58
  • 5
    @No1_Melman No. That's what upvote is for. Read the tooltip: "This answer is useful".
    – Antony
    May 20, 2013 at 9:59
  • reward an exception answer but its about OTHER people who come across it and go, yeah this helped me out. May 20, 2013 at 9:59
  • 3
    @No1_Melman One of the bounty reasons you can select when assigning a bounty on your own or someone elses question is "One or more of the answers is exemplary and worthy of an additional bounty."
    – JonW
    May 20, 2013 at 10:03
  • But its about getting you question answered. When someone has answered your question that is it. Its left to up voting. Its not specific enough, and its not ongoing. May 20, 2013 at 10:05
  • Why does it need to be more specific than the current voting and bounty systems? I don't understand the need and what problem this is supposed to solve. You can always add a comment - "This really helped me".
    – Oded
    May 20, 2013 at 10:06
  • you can add comments like that because stack overflow is very specific about what you should comment on, they don't want it to be filled with fluff such as 100's of people saying this helped me. The current voting system is very non specific and could be for any aspect that was "GOOD", this option would allow people to say one very specific thing which is what this forum was designed for. May 20, 2013 at 10:10
  • 1
    Regarding the downvotes on this question they just mean that people here disagree with the idea you propose. It got nothing to do with encouraging or discouraging, that's how Meta work. May 20, 2013 at 10:45
  • 2
    Nope. I read through the entire content. I don't see the point. So -1. I didn't consider the initial score.
    – Bart
    May 20, 2013 at 11:09
  • 2
    Brushing the negative aspects under the rug doesn't fix the problem. If people are posting bad content on the main site then that needs to be indicated, and downvotes are the mechanism by which that occurs. Do they feel bad when they get downvoted? Perhaps, but that's not our problem. The purpose of the site is to provide answers to problems that people are facing, not to protect the feelings of people who post bad content. May 20, 2013 at 12:42
  • 1
    The disagreement vote only relates to Meta. Not to other sites within the network. meta.stackoverflow.com/faq#vote-differences
    – Bart
    May 20, 2013 at 12:58

3 Answers 3


Shouldnt there be a “This Helped Me” sort of upvote?

No. There are already mechanisms in place for rewarding questions and answers that help you, namely upvoting and bounties. Can't do either of those things because you're not a registered user? That's the point, they want to encourage you to sign up.

Yes, currently upvotes aren't specific, but I don't see that as a bad thing; I just view it as a general "I consider this to have improved the site in some way" indicator. At least for me personally, there's no additional "happy feelings" if I know an upvote is specifically because my answer helped somebody out rather than just because they thought it was well-written.

In the same way that a large number of "Thanks! This helped me." comments would be noise, I'd consider a second vote count to be noise too. It's been said in regards to moderators, but I think it applies to everybody else equally well, if you really want to thank them: pay it forward.

If somebody reads an answer I've written, learns something from it, then applies that to helping others, that's a lot better than the 10 reputation from an upvote (or, as you're suggesting, a "this helped me" vote).

  • But none of them things are a true reward, or reflect on what you're doing. They game type stuff put in by stack overflow to make users commit to stack overflow. However, its getting a bit old now, and from the post I've seen from some people, they just don't care about the stack overflow system. Its a negative system anyway. This "Helped me out" is a pure, non negative response. Its very specific and is far more rewarding than any game related thing. It's good for the soul. May 20, 2013 at 10:23
  • 2
    That's your opinion, I happen to disagree. It's no more of a positive response than upvotes currently are as far as I'm concerned. Upvotes do reflect on what I'm doing because they indicate that people think my contributions are positive; that's enough for me, I'm not interested in knowing specifics. One thing I didn't mention in my answer is that this wouldn't necessarily be applicable to all sites on the StackExchange network. For example, I'm not sure it would get much usage over on Science Fiction & Fantasy. May 20, 2013 at 10:29
  • Yeah this is specific to stack overflow. Hence why its on Meta stack overflow. I'm assuming its still part of stack overflow. Fair enough, you like to play games. But to be fair, its tiring seeing non specific voting. No one is voting for the same thing. and for a forum that wants to be specific about it's answers, it brings a lot of fluff to it as well in the forms of these upvoting etc. All you need here is "Add To Favourite" if the question is something you need to keep referring to. "This Helped Me Out" if the question helped you out. After that you need nothing else. May 20, 2013 at 10:36
  • 2
    This meta isn't just for StackOverflow, it's for the entire network. You seem to dislike the current voting system, I happen to feel it chieves everything you claim this new system would. I don't think I'll convince you to change your mind so I'll just agree to disagree and move on. May 20, 2013 at 10:44
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    @No1_Melman: "However, its getting a bit old now, and from the post I've seen from some people, they just don't care about the stack overflow system." Oh, I get it. If people disagree with you, it must mean that they don't care. It couldn't possibly mean that you're wrong, or that they have a legitimate point to make, or that they have a legitimate perspective. No, the only reason anyone would disagree with you is that they just don't care. Please take this arrogant self-righteous attitude off of MSO; it's not going to get you anywhere. May 20, 2013 at 11:17
  • I have no idea where you've come from with the arrogant self-righteous attitude, that is an example of exploding with no reasoning or understanding, because I don't think you've understood what I said. Take your attitude out of MSO. I've seen incredibly high rep people slate the system, and the way stack overflow have run it. This is an observation, nothing to do with arrogance. May 20, 2013 at 11:44
  • link this is an example of slating the system. May 20, 2013 at 12:29
  • @No1_Melman That is a user stating that the review queues are problematic when an upvote is the easiest and a valid review action. Particularly when you're on your way to a badge. How does this apply to your post?
    – Bart
    May 20, 2013 at 12:35
  • No where does it say "upvote is the easiest and a valid review action", I can't gather that from the post either. It does show a flaw in the system, which is inherent. May 20, 2013 at 12:41
  • @No1_Melman It shows a flaw in the system, but not one that I can see would be eliminated by your proposal. People upvoting things that perhaps shouldn't be upvoted is still going to happen if you change the meaning of an upvote exlusively to "this helped me". May 20, 2013 at 12:44
  • @No1_Melman Then you might want to have a read on how the review system works. The user states: "Users that are subject to review (via First Posts & Late Replies) are getting upvotes when they should not." This happens because that is a valid review action for the queues those posts appear in. Causing crappy answers (which should receive downvotes, but those cost rep to the voter) to rise to the top. I don't see what your proposal does to address this, nor how it's relevant.
    – Bart
    May 20, 2013 at 12:48

There already is. It's called an upvote.

The whole point of having voting is so that posts which are useful can be distinguished from posts which are not useful. If an answer is likely to help other people, it is useful, so the system allows it to be voted up. Now, if the answer helps you, that suggests it is likely to help other people as well, ergo it is probably useful, which is a reason to vote it up, but beyond that, nobody else really cares that it helped you personally. So there is no particular reason to have a separate indicator for how many people were personally helped by an answer.

  • A lot of the time, posts questions and answers go un voted. It is a personal thing, which means more than a generic vote. That is the point. "Nobody cares that it helped you personally" - really, I think everyone can disagree on that, why the hell do you post an answer then if you don't care. May 20, 2013 at 10:56
  • LOL, I can't downvote this because of my reputation... that is funny. This requires a downvote from me, so this comment will take its place. May 20, 2013 at 10:57
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    @No1_Melman: "A lot of the time, posts questions and answers go un voted." Why do you think these same people would click the "this helped me" vote if they wouldn't upvote? May 20, 2013 at 11:14
  • The same bias wouldn't be applicable to "this helped me", the same stuff wouldn't be attached, like, what do they mean down vote? what do they mean up vote? May 20, 2013 at 11:41

I understand the problem here. An upvote on an answer in an ideal world can mean:

  • The answer is useful. It helped me solved my problem, cleared my doubt, or expanded my knowledge.

  • The answer is correct. My expertise allows me to confirm that the answer is accurate.

  • The answer is much better than the other similar existing (correct) answer.

However, the world is not ideal, and an upvote may have other meanings:

  • The answer looks correct. I guess so. It kinda agrees with my knowledge.

    Well, I do a number of this kind of upvotes myself, since I don't have time to verify the answers. It is OK for majority of the cases, but is totally unacceptable when the correct answer looks counter-intuitive.

  • I want to encourage this new user who just got a downvote on his answer. (A very horrible reason to upvote)

  • So many people have upvoted this answer, it means that it must be somewhat correct.

  • This answer is from someone I know. Let me upvote him to increase his reputation. (Explicitly forbidden)

  • I'm so happy today. Let's give everyone an upvote.

  • This answer cracks me up.

  • etc.

However, I don't think introducing another easily accessible mechanism would help distinguish the quality of the answers. Confused users would just click anything to signify "this thing is good". It is going to end up the same way as how the upvotes are used.

We cannot allow passer-by to do any voting that makes visible impacts on the scores, since the numbers can be modified way too easily (and thus makes the numbers meaningless).

I think bounty is an reasonable existing mechanism for this. If you participate in the community, then you will gain reputation. You can use the reputation you gain to award an exemplary answer that save your day.

  • I agree to an extent, but voting is a useless mechanism, it brings so much different biased and to be honest probably causes more agro (keep up voting, get rid of down voting). Happily get rid of it. I definitely agree that passers by with NO reputation should be able to do anything, I am more specifically saying that user with reputation (even user with millions of rep still need help from time to time) May 20, 2013 at 10:42
  • @No1_Melman: Actually, passer-by can "vote", but it goes into a different number that is not visible on the page. (It is recorded for statistical reason).
    – nhahtdh
    May 20, 2013 at 10:45
  • 1
    @No1_Melman: How is your proposal any different from the current upvote system? I cannot see it from your question.
    – nhahtdh
    May 20, 2013 at 10:46
  • It doens't introduce two things: negativity and generic meaningless(ness) May 20, 2013 at 10:50
  • @No1_Melman: The generic meaninglessness will still be there: You give people 2 "good" buttons - which one to click?
    – nhahtdh
    May 20, 2013 at 10:56
  • It seems to me less meaningless than the up vote system though, I see the point of voting, but there is so much inherently wrong with the system. The 2 "good" buttons are more specific, yes the meaning can be boiled down to it's simplicities such as good. But don't take away the meaning of the two buttons. May 20, 2013 at 11:46
  • @No1_Melman What is, in your opinion, inherently wrong with the system? I tried figuring it out from your question, but failed. I just don't understand what your gripe with the current system is and how you want to rectify it. May 20, 2013 at 12:00
  • I've edited my question to re align with my point May 20, 2013 at 12:15

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