Is it selfish or frowned upon not to upvote another answer (even if its right) so yours will rise to the top faster?

I find myself wanting to un-upvote posts so my answer will do better... But I have been able to push back the evil thus far.

  • 9
    If you goal is to collect internet points rather than to help people, you may be on the wrong site.
    – asawyer
    Jul 23, 2013 at 17:24
  • 18
    All I can say is: Sportsmanship
    – animuson StaffMod
    Jul 23, 2013 at 17:25
  • 1
    Or if your answer is correct too then you could upvote theirs out of politeness and hope they do the same for you.
    – TronicZomB
    Jul 23, 2013 at 17:25
  • 7
    Your answer will do better if it's better. If you want more votes, improve your answer. Other "tricks" are pretty pointless.
    – Bart
    Jul 23, 2013 at 17:31
  • It also costs you reputation points to downvote answers. You probably won't come out ahead.
    – ale
    Jul 23, 2013 at 17:33
  • 2
    See also: What should be done to people who downvote strategically?
    – ale
    Jul 23, 2013 at 17:34
  • 1
    Even more, to avoid temporary downvotes (retracted later, to hide the trace, or to get the lost reputation back), in 2009 the following nasty but required limitation was implemented: "To help deal with the "tactical downvoting" problem, we have radically reduced the window for undoing votes. There is now only the very briefest of windows where you can undo a vote. (edit: this was increased to 5 minutes) After that, the vote is permanently "locked in", until the post is edited."
    – Arjan
    Jul 23, 2013 at 17:43
  • Thanks guys. It's not like I've ever actually done it, I just wanted to ask to make sure there was a consensus Jul 23, 2013 at 18:04
  • 1
    Totally as an aside, it's sometimes nice to just see how the community works. For any question, you can use /posts/xx/timeline to see on which day votes were cast. Like I feel that my late answer to some question is better than the first answer. In the timeline you'll see that often only the accepted, highest voted answer is upvoted. But sometimes both answers, or only my answer gets a vote. I don't care about reputation, but I find it amazing how things work.
    – Arjan
    Jul 23, 2013 at 19:00
  • In general, go with your intuition. It's usually right about such matters. The voting system is designed to get the best, most useful answers to the top, and the least helpful and/or incorrect answers to the bottom. Using it any other way is sketchy. Jul 24, 2013 at 4:33

2 Answers 2


No-one is telling you how to vote, your votes are your own.

However, if you do upvote competing answers, there is a nice shiny silver badge to be earned: Sportsmanship.

Up voted 100 answers on questions where an answer of yours has a positive score.

  • 3
    You stole my badge link! blows whistle Unsportsmanlike conduct! 50 rep penalty! Automatic badge revocation!
    – animuson StaffMod
    Jul 23, 2013 at 17:28
  • 3
    @animuson: Had you posted your comment as an answer, I could have upvoted it! Here on Meta I haven't gotten that shiny badge yet! Jul 23, 2013 at 17:30
  • @animuson: As for the link, I nicked it from the badges page fair and square. :-P Jul 23, 2013 at 17:31
  • Ah, the witty banter of programmers. I love this place. Jul 23, 2013 at 18:05
  • Why isn't there an unsportsmanlike badge: 100 downvotes on questions where you have an answer.
    – Joe
    Jul 23, 2013 at 18:07
  • 4
    Because badges are there to promote positive behaviour. Jul 23, 2013 at 18:10

I tend to revisit questions I answered when I notice a new upvote. After I revisit the question, I upvote the other (correct) answers. So (if other users act the same way) upvoting a "competing" answer leads to more upvotes on your answer. Having said that, for me, the gaming factor in Stack Overflow is not to have the highest scoring answer in each question, but to earn the maximum upvotes overall.

  • 2
    Or the most badges; Sportsmanship badge, here I come! :-p Jul 23, 2013 at 17:49

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