When I look through "new" questions on Stack Overflow, I give upvotes based on quick first impressions.

For example, if I see a sizable question of at least 50 words, with some code and at least a modicum of effort, I go ahead and up vote.

But I don't even really know if they are technically correct. I just up vote because this person put in some effort.

So we have a lot of drive-by users who post one-liners, right? In my opinion, these are a degree below people who put at least some effort. And that's why I'll give a up vote without really thinking it through. My reasoning is that if it's bad someone else will come and DV anyway.

Is this -- without really reading, but just based on first impressions -- an incorrect way to use up votes? .

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    Based on your description, you're not rewarding users for putting in effort - you're rewarding them for knowing how to type. Anyone can copy-paste a block of code, some are just too lazy. But knowing how to paste their code isn't effort. – animuson Mar 23 '14 at 19:40
  • @animuson - So you're saying I'm being overfly generous I guess :-) Well , perhaps ; but my idea is that it's rewarding you for being better than others , if it makes sense – Adel Mar 23 '14 at 19:46
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    Quantity != quality, though. A question being long has absolutely no relation to it being better or worse than a question which is short. – animuson Mar 23 '14 at 19:50
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    Interesting short question. Terrible short question. Good longer question. Terrible longer question. See any correlation? I don't. – jscs Mar 23 '14 at 20:09
  • @JoshCaswell - there are statistics about this issue though, just saying ;-) I mean length in relation to up votes, it's a SQL question . But statistics is a shady area i know – Adel Mar 23 '14 at 20:11
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    @animuson There is a demonstrable correlation. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/225367/… (though I do, of course, agree it isn't worth acting on) – user206222 Mar 23 '14 at 20:30

Is this a wrong way to use up votes?

Your votes are yours to use as you wish so if you think it's "right" then it is for you.

But I don't even really know if they are technically correct. I just up vote because this person put some effort.

If what they were posting was "technically correct" then they probably wouldn't be posting. Most of the time, it seems that people need help because they can't yet make it technically correct.

I give upvotes based on quick first-impressions.

Personally, I don't like to vote either way without going through and seeing that what they are saying makes some sense. Just because they have " a lot" of words and "some code" doesn't mean that it should be upvoted or that it is a good question, IMHO. What if the text they put makes no sense at all? What if the code they have is ripped off from somewhere and they haven't even tried to understand it? I see a lot of posts that have explanations like "I got this code from a tutorial. Help me make it work" followed by code. This, to me, shouldn't be upvoted in most cases.

I would be quicker to downvote very poor/low effort questions than I would to upvote an answer after a quick look just because, on the surface, they appeared to put in effort. I also will look to see if what they have posted is likely to help others since, after all, that's the main focus of the network.

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  • Thank you, good points. I will aim to study them better , it is true that many just dump code from other sites. – Adel Mar 23 '14 at 19:50
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    I appreciate what you are doing in trying to reward those who are actually trying, especially with a lot of posts that we get as "questions". I just think you should go about it a little differently and make sure that they are trying. – codeMagic Mar 23 '14 at 19:56

Yes, it's faulty. I am just about speechless that anyone would say what you've just said.

Please think and actually evaluate a post before doing any kind of voting: up, down, close, or delete. We're not handing out gold stars for showing up here. These sites are supposed to be archives of interesting, expertise-filled question and answer pairs.

Bonitas non est pessimis esse meliorem.

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  • I think that we can agree that "upvotes" are personal and subjective still. Some people decide to give them out only if the question is superb. That is fine. Others may choose to be more liberal – Adel Mar 23 '14 at 19:56
  • No. There is latitude for your judgement of the material, not for the action of voting: we may disagree whether the post is good or not, but you should not (up)vote unless you have actually judged the post. Doing otherwise makes your upvotes meaningless or even harmful. – jscs Mar 23 '14 at 19:57
  • "It is not goodness to be better than the worst." thanks – Adel Mar 23 '14 at 20:01
  • You have a good point. Upvotes can't be given because a question isn't {insert_lousy_trait} . Otherwise it'd devalue up votes themselves – Adel Mar 23 '14 at 20:05
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    If there were an actual relationship between question length and quality, the site could just refuse to accept short questions at posting time. – jscs Mar 23 '14 at 20:11
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    @Josh There is, but it is of course still not worth acting on – user206222 Mar 23 '14 at 20:26
  • Assuming that the post score is not skewed by other people using Adel's voting method, @Emracool. :) – jscs Mar 23 '14 at 20:31
  • @Josh Yeah but... well yes, but...... but the... Fiiiiiine – user206222 Mar 23 '14 at 20:33
  • Touche toucheā€¦ it's clear I was being too liberal with votes. I just wish there was some sort of half-way vote to indicate partial-goodness – Adel Mar 23 '14 at 21:43

I am getting "error happened" in this code

This is some useless exposition detailing exactly how frustrated I am, reassuring the audience that I'm a noob and please don't downvote me.

This is now a completely irrelevant block of code that has no use in solving my problem.

$.is_amazing = true
function onError(e) {
    alert("error happened")
etc etc etc...

Here is some

  • fancy
  • Markdown
  • formatting

that is also absolutely useless.

Here I mention that I am getting "error happened" and I don't know why. Plz help.

This is the final paragraph which concludes that I researched this "everywhere" with no other details, and it is an urgent problem.


Sure, let's toss him an upvote because he knows how to type. Right?

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This question reminds me of my university exams. People often said, fill up your answer sheet doesn't matter you know the answer or not. Evaluators use scale to measure the answer and give marks accordingly. Of course, length of an answer doesn't reflect its quality, does it? Same rule applies here.

I mean this doesn't make sense in any field of evaluation of any thing. You can't and you shouldn't just judge a particular question good or bad by just looking on it from the top. You need to read and understand it whether it really is worth of votes (both up and down). It would be rather unfair to the asker in both cases. Giving random upvotes will make the asker feel, the way he has written his question is OK, even though it might not be. So please spend some time reading a post before taking action on it. Power is yours, please use it responsibly :)

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  • Ah yes, the "rules of getting a C" - hehe - 1. go to each class 2. fill up the whole test 3. go to office hours 4. do HW – Adel Mar 23 '14 at 19:58

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