User A asks for a definition of term X. User B provides a definition, the answer is clear and seems complete. I also wondered what is X. Can I upvote the answer of user B, even if have no way of verifying it is correct?

There is a similar question on Meta, but it considers accepting an answer. One of the advises is votes from the community will fill the gap between which answer is most correct. So it seems that upvoting is treated as an opinion from an expert who can verify that the answer is correct. Is this true?


If you honestly have no idea of whether the answer is fundamentally correct or not, then you shouldn't be voting on it. While nobody is technically able to stop you, you're doing a great disservice to all of the future readers of the post by claiming that the post is useful when you don't actually know if the post is useful or not.

  • It is useful to me in the sense that I'm going to assume that the provided definition is true, because I have no other sources to verify this. But that's probably not enough. – nuoritoveri Jul 28 '16 at 13:35
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    @nuoritoveri It's useful to you if the information is correct. If you have no way of knowing if the information is correct, you don't actually know if its useful to you. If you would consider the answer useful even if it was entirely incorrect (or at least, if everything that you didn't know concretely was correct was in fact wrong), then that would be different. – Servy Jul 28 '16 at 13:37

The tooltip on the upvote button says "This answer is useful". Most of the times, this means it is correct as well, but that is not what it says.

Consider the following situation. You visit a page on Stack Overflow because it showed up in Google when searching for a specific error message. There is an answer which helps you in solving your problem, but the OP's problem was slightly different and the answer didn't work out for them, so it is not 'correct'. That doesn't mean you can't upvote it.

In the end, the votes are yours to decide. As long as you don't engage in serial voting or sockpuppetry, you may upvote whatever you like.

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    You're aruguing that an answer can be useful even if you notice small problems with it that make it technically not correct. The OP is asking about a situation where he has no way of verifying the correctness of the answer at all, which is radically different. Knowing that there are no big mistakes, but that there are a few small ones, is very different from not knowing if there even are any big mistakes. – Servy Jul 28 '16 at 13:26

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