There is a limit of 30-40 post (question/answer) votes per day (What are the limits on how I can cast, change, and retract votes? and Please don't require answer votes to be cast before question votes).

I reach that limit often so I came here to hunt for related topics. The reasons for limiting votes make a lot of sense: Why are there voting limits?

However, thinking a small increase at higher rep would be a reasonable request (and knowing that surely it's been discussed before), I found a number of posts to that effect:

I'm sure there are others.

I am not requesting an increase in the voting limit. I am also aware of the fact that, for reasons I don't understand, I am an "exceedingly rare" case (I am at least consistent - I hit the limit around the same time every day that I am active; with ~4-6 hours remaining).

My question is: Why is there such a general negative reaction to these requests? I'm sure the discussion is on meta somewhere, I just have not been able to find it. At first glance a request for a small increase seems reasonable -- but I see a general reaction of "it is rare and so it is not worth it". Given that implementing a change is presumably effortless (I assume it's some configuration option somewhere), what is the cost that makes increasing the limit not worth it? I'm looking for some context; existing discussions, etc.

  • Also, you know: simplicity. If the vote cap varied across people, it would need to be "balanced" and documented somewhere. Why bother? – Frank Mar 14 '14 at 19:07
  • On what site do you reach the vote cap on a daily basis? Because your vote totals are very, very low for an account that's been around for 3 years. – Martijn Pieters Mar 14 '14 at 19:11
  • To add some perspective to Martijn's point. I've voted on about as many posts so far this year on SO alone than you have on every single site you're active on throughout your account's history. And I've only hit the vote cap a handful of times this year. – Servy Mar 14 '14 at 19:19
  • @MartijnPieters I meant on SO, and yes, that is a good point. That's why I qualified "every day that I am active". I have a very inconsistent usage pattern; usually a few days or weeks of activity followed by weeks or months of inactivity (you can see it in my long term rep graph). That's also why I'm not pressing to increase limits, I'm not the most consistent user here. – Jason C Mar 14 '14 at 19:21
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    current limits feel good enough already (FWIW I am currently top voter at Programmers, Workplace, MSO and in top 200 at SO) – gnat Mar 14 '14 at 19:23

I think the actual number of votes you get in a day is pretty arbitrary, but it needs to be limited, and that limit needs to be set relatively low. If the limit were raised so that everyone could vote as much as they want every day, it would be almost the same as not having a vote limit at all. If I always had more votes (or never came near the limit) I could vote for every post I viewed indiscriminately. I wouldn't have to stop and consider whether a post deserved one of my finite votes. That might limit the ability for the best answers to rise to the top, because more people would upvote every useful answer to a given question.

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    Well, in all honesty, the vast majority of users either never, or very rarely hit the cap. Most people don't have the desire to vote a lot, or aren't active enough per day to even read that many posts. The only people it affects are a small handful of very active users, and people committing voting fraud of some type or another. – Servy Mar 14 '14 at 19:10
  • In other words (correct me if I'm wrong), the current limit is chosen -- based on at least a rough observation of the typical number of votes a user makes -- to try and keep most users at or near the limit to encourage them to vote more selectively? – Jason C Mar 14 '14 at 19:10
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    @Servy I rarely hit the cap, but I might vote more often if I knew the cap wasn't there. – Bill the Lizard Mar 14 '14 at 19:11
  • @JasonC Basically, yes. I don't know if any analysis was done to choose the limit, but it does serve to make people vote more selectively. Also, someone upvoted every question during the beta. – Bill the Lizard Mar 14 '14 at 19:13
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    @BilltheLizard I almost always vote as if there is no cap, on anything I have an inclination to vote on. I'm also very active and frequently read a lot of posts in a day. I only occasionally run out of votes. (Although I often come close, so my total votes cast is quite high.) – Servy Mar 14 '14 at 19:14
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    If what Servy says is true, that implies that perhaps hitting the cap isn't what's actually putting the pressure on users. On the other hand; once a user hits the cap a few times, you'd imagine they would get used to it and pull back (without hitting it as often any more) -- I wonder how close to the cap most users come. – Jason C Mar 14 '14 at 19:14
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    @JasonC Take a look at the votes section of the users tab for at least some info. You can see that, at least over extended periods of time, very few people regularly vote at, or even close to, the vote cap. It doesn't tell you how often people hit the cap on any given day though. – Servy Mar 14 '14 at 19:15
  • @BilltheLizard That makes sense, thanks (and yeah I read about the voting script, I actually linked to that exact comment in my post here :) ). – Jason C Mar 14 '14 at 19:15
  • @JasonC You linked to everything under the sun. I didn't follow all of your links. ;) – Bill the Lizard Mar 14 '14 at 19:16
  • @BilltheLizard So; returning to the question: You wrote, "If the limit were raised so that everyone could vote as much as they want every day, it would be almost the same as not having a vote limit at all." Would you say this is the primary reason that increase requests are met with negative response; because the community generally agrees that this would happen and that it would be an issue? – Jason C Mar 14 '14 at 19:18
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    @JasonC Yes, that's my thinking. It could also simply be that since most people don't come near the vote cap every day, they don't feel that there's a strong need to raise the limit. – Bill the Lizard Mar 14 '14 at 19:21
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    Well, I have some strong feelings against a general "can't think of a good reason to do it = sole compelling reason not to do it" attitude, but this explanation is reasonable and probably as good as it gets. :) Thanks for explaining! – Jason C Mar 14 '14 at 19:33

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