I have read many questions asked in SEs I have not joined yet; the sidebar advertises new hot questions and the top questions of many SEs are worth reading.

Whenever I read an really awesome answer (or a question) on such a SE site, I wonder whether I should join the SE just in order to upvote the answer (or the question, respectively). I know my behavior will have only a minor impact on SE sites, but I look for a general policy which is, in some way, good for SE if followed by all persons who are in such situation.

Is there any such policy? Or should I just do not care about voting and do whatever feels right at the moment. (In the past I have both joined the SE site and simply ignored the upvote button.)


2 Answers 2


Go for it.

As others pointed out, to upvote, you'll either need to earn 15 points on each site, or earn 200 on any one to cover them all with the association bonus.

But in any case where you have the right to vote, the more you use it, the better - votes not only help ensure the best answers are on top, but they're a great feedback loop for someone who took the time to help. We want more voting for good posts.

Plus, if you're interested enough to vote, it ain't crazy to think you might stumble on something you can answer down the line, and if you've already got an account handy from that time you signed up to vote...

  • "We want more voting for good posts" -- users who are not familiar with site quality norms do not necessarily vote up good posts. Since this discussion is about hot questions, I think it would be more accurate to stick with officially stated attributes of these - entertaining, interesting etc. None of this "...seems to suggest that hot questions are selected based on quality or usefulness"
    – gnat
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 8:37
  • @gnat, users should generally assume that if they find a post to be valuable to them, and have earned the right to vote, they can assume voting is helpful. I know sites can fret about how more broadly accessible questions (that they do allow) get more than they "deserve", but I think this is okay- if more benefit, I think more votes is fine. What I worry more about is someone worrying about what questions someone else thinks deserve their votes. (Side note - we've did done quick analyses that suggest that "hot question" activity pops often do drive a pop in long-term contributor signups.
    – Jaydles
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 13:28
  • if you have new data about long term effect of hot questions, consider sharing it in Can we track the positive effects of a popular question? (where consensus so far seems to be strongly tilt into belief that these are useless for site community). If the evidence is strong enough, this may even be worth pointing at in What is the Goal of “Hot Network Questions”?
    – gnat
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 14:29

I don't think there's a policy against this, nor should there be one. Heck, some users even join SE sites just for the Fanatic badge, and they're not punished in any way. This shouldn't stop you from voting on an answer that deserves it.

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