I noticed people aren't voting that much. At least not as much as me, I vote for more than 70% of the questions I see, and more than 50% of each answer.

In fact, I haven't found a single question or answer with more than 2 days that had a max(total_question_votes; answer_1_total_votes; ...; answer_n_total_votes)/views ratio superior to 10%. If these were elections of a law in a parliament, it would be seriously weird to have more than 90% abstention.

What do you think of this? How do you vote yourself?

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    Views != viewers. And sometimes a question is just.. meh. Not worthy of either up or downvoting. Abstention is a vote too. – Martijn Pieters Aug 29 '13 at 22:22
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    @MartijnPieters: Hm? SE does do some degree of de-duping. You don't get a new view added to the count every time you press F5. – user102937 Aug 29 '13 at 22:24
  • @Martjn, on the right side of this post I see how many times the post was "viewed", how many "views" it got. By now, its at 0% of that ratio. Abstention may be voting, but why does one abstain 90% of the time? Plus, @ RobertHarvey is right (unless you change your IP all the time). – JMCF125 Aug 29 '13 at 22:24
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    I upvote a question if it is clear, useful, shows research effort and meets the site requirements. I'd say less than 5% of all questions asked on Stack Overflow meet these metrics. – user102937 Aug 29 '13 at 22:26
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    @RobertHarvey: some degree does not make views equal to viewers, however. – Martijn Pieters Aug 29 '13 at 22:26
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    @JMCF125: Because most questions are 'meh', really. – Martijn Pieters Aug 29 '13 at 22:27
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    @MartijnPieters: I just don't think the difference is significant. Views are a fairly accurate measurement of how many people are reading the question. – user102937 Aug 29 '13 at 22:28
  • @Martjn, no, I checked that question, I'm talking about the global low voting, not just questions vs. answers. – JMCF125 Aug 29 '13 at 22:29
  • Also, your comparison to parliamentary elections is a false dichotomy. People who stay home don't participate at all in the process. People who do show up vote; that's why they showed up in the first place. – user102937 Aug 29 '13 at 22:31
  • You only get 40 total votes per day. And some of those you're using on answers. So I guess you're not looking at very many questions? – Cody Gray Aug 29 '13 at 22:43
  • @CodyGray, I normally view acouple of questions, vote on them (approx. 70% of the time), and on their answers (if I think they are helpful to me or the OP and contribute to answering the question). Then I go back to gaming, or Programming, or whatever I was doing. After that, I do the same a few more times. I do recall some times when I was out of votes though. I saw some more questions (you see, usually I can't answer them) and went away (it was already late). – JMCF125 Aug 29 '13 at 23:00
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    I am voting less and less for questions, but more and more for answers. I think the whole rep thing is tilted to questions. When I see a very basic beginner question, often very bad phrased, I check the askers profile. Too often (IMHO) I see a rep of x000, hundreds of 'meh' questions. So I think I don't need to add to this felt imbalance. To vote for a question I must feel that it has a more general meaning that just 'why does this code does not run?' – Greenflow Aug 30 '13 at 0:00
  • @Greenflow If you come across a question that is badly phrased, unclear, or not useful, why wouldn't you downvote it? – Cody Gray Aug 30 '13 at 4:02
  • @Cody Gray, I don't know. Perhaps I find it unfair only to downvote when at the same time I try to avoid upvotes? Another reason is that many many bad questions come from the fact, that the asker in very bad in English. He cannot ask better. I wonder what my questions would sound like if I had to ask in Russian using google translate. From a SO point of view it is still a bad question. But why downvote? This is punishment for something the asker can't easily change. And he already has his punishment: The chances to get a good answer are very low to nil. – Greenflow Aug 30 '13 at 8:43
  • How can this be marked a duplicate of two non-duplicate questions? I always thought duplicate marking had the transitivity property. Besides, although the title is similar, the questions themselves are rather different. – JMCF125 Aug 30 '13 at 9:26

It is really up to the member how and when they vote. There is no obligation to do so.

Edited to add - I think the parliament analogy is flawed, they have discussions (off topic here).

How do you vote yourself?

I can't vote for myself... j/k.. but bad jokes aside, what I do is:


If I can understand or if I learnt something from a question and/or answer. If references are used and paraphrased in a useful manner then yes.

No vote

When I can see that the post follows what is acceptable, but I don't quite get it. Or as mentioned in the comments, is a 'meh' standard. If there are excessive quotes, but it still answers the question.


When I can see that there is little research, when the post wants the work done for them, or when an answer shows little research, does not answer the question or simply is nonsense. If an answer is nothing but a quote or a link.

  • I actually laughed at that joke! (basically because I didn't get it at first) Do you only up/down vote 5% of the questions though? – JMCF125 Aug 29 '13 at 23:21
  • @JMCF125 I vote on approximately pi% of posts – user226423 Aug 29 '13 at 23:23
  • I hope that's a joke... – JMCF125 Aug 30 '13 at 9:16
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    @JMCF125 It depends, some days I'll just be no-voting and downvoting. Some days, I'll be doing all 3, and others (albeit more rarely), I'll upvote. – user226423 Aug 30 '13 at 10:50
  • I guess I have a more consistent behavior then. – JMCF125 Aug 30 '13 at 10:54
  • @JMCF125 I am also consistent, I follow my set of guidelines (outlined above). – user226423 Aug 30 '13 at 10:55
  • You said: «It depends, some days I'll just be no-voting and downvoting. Some days, I'll be doing all 3, and others (albeit more rarely), I'll upvote». As your guidelines are rather open, as for everybody, it will depend a bit on your mood that day. I'd just like to know how does the community vote. For expl., are there groups than down vote a lot and others who don't vote at all? – JMCF125 Aug 30 '13 at 10:59
  • @JMCF125 that is partly my point, each community member will vote in their own way, by their own guidelines and their mood. – user226423 Aug 30 '13 at 11:00
  • Indeed. I was kind of hoping for some moderator to drop an answer filled with statistics. – JMCF125 Aug 30 '13 at 11:06

How do you vote yourself?

If one posts a sscce or mwe, he/she gets an upvote. If I see that the person is an expert, I often do not upvote for this. Then I do it, if I understand the question and think it's useful.

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