I have seen various times on meta that up vote on meta means you agree and down vote on meta means you dis agree.

But the tooltip for up vote says

This question shows research effort; it is useful and clear.

(Not I agree with the idea in this question)

and tooltip for down vote says

This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful

(Not I disagree with the idea in this question)

So why do people keep voting for agreeing or disagreeing and keep saying voting is for agreeing or disagreeing on meta?

  • 4
    Because agreement/disagreement is only another applicable factor in voting here on Meta. It's not the only thing the votes mean.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 17:50
  • 2
    Proposals to make changes to the tooltips have already been made (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/75049/…, meta.stackexchange.com/questions/98748/…, etc.) But most of the time I vote in line with the explanations provided in the tooltips (As I already stated here).
    – Bart
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 17:52
  • 1
    @animuson ON your answer, number 4 is the main reason people vote on meta
    – Walker
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 17:52
  • @PreciousTijesunimi That question is specifically referring to just discussions; you're talking about on all of meta. Obviously that will result in some differences.
    – Servy
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 17:55
  • @Servy I once asked a discussion question where I was asking for people's opinion but it got -6 because people don't agree
    – Walker
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 17:57
  • 3
    @PreciousTijesunimi Then odds are your discussion was interpreted as a proposal of some sort, or a call to action, rather than a neutrally phrased request for information. That, or people weren't actually voting based on agreement/disagreement. One can never know for sure of course.
    – Servy
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 17:59
  • @Bart No. Not that one. The one about unneccesary details
    – Walker
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 18:03
  • Myeah, I see. I'd interpret those as a "no, don't do that" indeed. But then again, that's my interpretation of them.
    – Bart
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 18:06
  • @Bart Looks like your putting of that link got me more down voted :)
    – Walker
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 18:08
  • 1
    @PreciousTijesunimi There are a lot of problems with that question from a lot of people. Your question has several built in assumptions, and it's one of those assumptions that rubbed a lot of readers the wrong way, which distracted from the actual question, among other problems. It could have been phrased a bit more constructively to address that, but part of the problem is indeed that (as often happens) people began discussing one single example more than the underlying concept being brought up, and that side tracked the whole question. Sometimes things like that happen...
    – Servy
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 18:09
  • 1
    One thing that might be helpful, is that us meta users will (subconsciously) try to interpret things as negatively as we possibly can. We tend to judge the intention of the OP rather than what the content says. So if there's a proposal that (in)directly hints at something that people don't like, you will get downvoted for it. I don't like it either, but that's just the way it works around here.
    – Mysticial
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 18:11
  • 1
    @PreciousTijesunimi. I noticed and did not intend that. So I removed the comment. Sorry about that.
    – Bart
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 18:14
  • @Bart No need. I've gotten used to down votes on meta :)
    – Walker
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 18:15
  • I think this comment by Cody Gray really addresses this point better than I can. It's not that voting is different on meta, but that meta itself is different. If subjective opinions were allowed on other sites, not just meta, voting would probably be the same on those sites. Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 18:54

1 Answer 1


People can and will vote however they want, with only a few exceptions for voting fraud. They are under no obligations to vote based on the tooltips' text. They are merely guidelines, and guidelines that are not enforced in any way, shape, or form. It's just there to give newer uses some idea of what's going on.

The tooltip is there more to inform users how people use their votes, not to restrict how users are allowed to use their votes. On meta sites, due to the complexity of people's intentions and patterns when voting, trying to distill it down to a short phrase/sentence is almost impossible; as a result it's not a particularly helpful tooltip.

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