A question has a score of x. Its accepted answer has a score of y. On any site on SE, you notice that if the above was substituted for most questions, then y is usually more than x. For example I have a question with a score of 17. The answer I accepted has a score of 41! Why is this? What do people look for external to the post, apart from the actual post itself? Does reputation, badges and Number of other votes on other posts go towards when you vote?

p.s., I am not complaining. I am actually congratulating that person!

p.p.s., I posted this to learn about writing better posts!

  • I think you should refine each occurrence of "post" in your question here: do you mean "question", "answer" or "question or answer"? – Pierre.Vriens May 12 '17 at 18:44
  • 2
    People simply vote on answers more than questions; you even get a little reminder popup if you vote on too many answers without voting on a question (iirc that is also why downvoting questions is free whereas downvoting answers is not) – Cai May 12 '17 at 19:12
  • @Cai. Obviously, use SE terms... – VortexYT May 12 '17 at 20:31
  • @simplest_mathematics I'm not sure what you're saying – Cai May 12 '17 at 21:14
  • Well, when somebody is looking for the answer to their own question, what helps them more, the question, or the answer? For every time you've found a result on SE, ignored the question, scrolled right to the answer, read it, upvoted it, then left the page, multiply that tendency by every user who uses SE and the systemic bias should become clear. – Jason C May 13 '17 at 14:50
  • @Cai, sorry, I meant Pierre.Vriens. I am in mobile on an old iOS so I ha the choice to select you or the other. I was meant to select Vriens, but pressed you instead. Soz – VortexYT May 13 '17 at 15:58

You are right, it's quite common for answers to have very different scores than their questions. I suspect you're running into a little confirmation bias and mostly seeing the case where the answers scores more highly; the other way around most certainly exists.

Answers tend to outscore questions when

  • the question is rather mundane or unimportant to me, but someone wrote a really nice answer to it anyway. I vote up questions I want to know the answer to (and don't already) but I upvote answers that are correct. So if I don't much care about the question, or already know the answer I won't upvote it, but might very well upvote the answer if it's right. And already knowing the answer is a popular reason for clicking on a question.
  • the question turns out to be interesting but was poorly written. Again a good answer can get an upvote when it's to a "bad" question — and if we're lucky the question will get an edit, making it higher quality, but will probably never catch up the "missing" upvotes from its lower quality start
  • an answer is gaining a crazy number of upvotes (over 200, over 1000) and while some folks want to reward the asker for causing this great answer to be created, others feel 100 upvotes (or some other arbitrary number) is more than enough reward so they don't upvote because they feel the question has enough reward already.

Questions tend to outscore answers when:

  • I'm having this problem too
  • You wrote this nice and clearly; it's a shame none of us can help you

As an asker, accept that the most important part of your reward will always be getting your answer and solving your problem. The more clearly you write, the more answerable your question, the more attractive your title to the front-page-readers and the HNQ-browsers, the more votes you will get. But you're really asking so you can have an answer. Work on that. The votes will (to some extent) follow.

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