A good question will receive many answers, and much more views than normal.

This level of activity is not reflected in the upvoting of said question. I recently encountered several such questions, which until I pointed this in the comments (like in this example on SO) stayed in the lower 0-2 upvotes.

My two suggestions:

  1. Automatically upvote any question you answer, with the ability to cancel this up-vote. This makes sense to me, as I answer only questions I like/are good (and I suppose others too).
  2. Display popup message similar to:

    Have you considered upvoting this question?

Addressing comments given so far: Answers do not mean a question is good, but it does imply you have an opinion on it. So why not prompt any one who answers to express their opinion by voting? (Similar to what happens when you upvote an answer to your own question).

  • 4
    "Have you considered downvoting this feature request as well?"
    – random
    Nov 21, 2009 at 3:10
  • And deprecating you from the chance to make such comments? Nov 21, 2009 at 3:27
  • What do you mean by "deprecating"?
    – random
    Nov 21, 2009 at 3:34
  • 2
    Dang, I want to know who voted "blatantly offensive." I hate the idea, but I wouldn't call it "blatantly offensive ... "
    – John Rudy
    Nov 21, 2009 at 8:06
  • 1
    There needs to be a "blatantly stupid" flag/close reason. Not necessarily for this question (although I don't think it's a good idea), but some of the questions on S*...
    – womble
    Nov 21, 2009 at 21:19
  • 12
    The natural complement to this feature is one that auto-downvotes any question you look at but don't answer.
    – womble
    Nov 21, 2009 at 21:20
  • @womble: the opposing actions here are not upvoting vs. downvoting, they are upvoting vs. not-voting.
    – Doc Brown
    Jan 26, 2020 at 0:27
  • Better to automatically apply all downvotes on the question since time of answering to an answer.
    – philipxy
    Jan 26, 2020 at 1:06

5 Answers 5


Put simply: I answer a great many questions that are ill-thought out, based on some misunderstanding, painfully simply, easily answered by looking in the documentation, unoriginal, or otherwise not very interesting.

I answer them anyway because

  • I just like to help
  • To help make SOFU a general repository of answers
  • For the rep

but that doesn't mean I like the questions---more than a few of them make me cringe---and I would be very annoyed if someone tried to make me vote for them.


So popular stuff now already has an incredible advantage over complex technical stuff due to the bike shed effect.

You are proposing giving popular stuff more of an advantage, and this will help, how?

  • 6
    Who mentioned "help"? He's lazy and that why he wants a feature that saves him one click.
    – innaM
    Nov 21, 2009 at 12:47
  • 1
    I think it's more a case of, "he's concerned that questions don't get the rep they actually deserve because people don't remember to vote on the question", which is fair =) Maybe this isn't the correct way to remind people.
    – Ryan S
    Nov 1, 2016 at 17:38

This make sense to me, as I answer only to questions I like/are good (and suppose others too).

I suppose you are wrong. I often answer questions not because I think they are especially good questions, but because I know the answer and can post it without much effort.

And why would many answers be the sign of a good question? More often than not it's just the sign of a subjective and argumentative question (which should be closed), or a question that doesn't have any real answer (and therefore also doesn't belong here). Just because it's something lots of people can have an opinion on doesn't make it a good question. In fact more often than not it makes it a bad question for Stack Overflow. So up-voting them automatically makes no sense at all.

And here on meta: I answered to your suggestion, but not because I like it.

  • Differentiate between a bad suggestion and a bad written suggestion. Besides, It does not look to me that the QA format is the optimal one for Meta. Nov 21, 2009 at 3:09
  • 1
    One more thought your answer poped into my mind, You are right, answering does not necessarily mean the question was good, but it does imply you have some opinion on it (as you so nicely proved just now) So why not prompt any one who answers a question to vote for it (either up, or down)? Nov 21, 2009 at 3:12
  • 4
    @Itay, Why does having an opinion on something imply that 'the question is useful' like the hit over the upvote suggests?
    – Zoredache
    Nov 21, 2009 at 7:39

No. This is a bad idea.

Auto upvote? This would only cause the voting system to be even more out of whack. No one likes to be auto signed up, voted for, or whatever in any way. I am afraid you would introduce just as many problems as you're trying to solve.

as I answer only to questions I like/are good (and suppose others too).

I would try not to suppose anyone's intentions on site. We all have our guesses and theories, but we really do not know.

  • I corrected my suggestion a bit - what do you think now? Nov 21, 2009 at 3:16
  • 4
    Number 2 is fine I guess, but the main thing that is a complete fail is "automatic" voting in either direction IMO. There should be no automatic opinions/ranking just because of an answer, even if it is reversible as you suggest. Just because someone answers a question does not mean the question was good in any way. They just happen to want to answer the question. I have answered questions I have downvoted.
    – Troggy
    Nov 21, 2009 at 8:00

I confess, I like the idea. I guess one of the top reasons why people answer questions but don't upvote them is the paradox of choice - when we have to make a decision between different alternatives, we often tend to make no decision at all. I am pretty sure making the "upvote" the default option and the "no vote at all" the option which requires an active decision will bring questions more upvotes.

Even if a question is of mediocre quality - if it generates answers, it usually can't be that bad (ok, there are exceptions, but as you suggested, there should always be the choice of overruling any automatism). Moreover, if one writes an answer for the rep and hopes for upvotes on it, IMHO it is an act of fairness to upvote the question as well - treat others the same way as you want to be treated.

It is more than 10 years ago since this question was asked, and things have changed a bit since then. SO (inc) has made some efforts of fighting some of the perceived hostility, like this blog post. We also get always this new "be nice" reminder when writing an answer to a new community member. Making the system reminding answerers for upvoting could be a further step to support this.

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