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Stack Exchange has expressed an interest in increasing the reputation earned from question upvotes from 5 to 10 on all sites.

Do you think this is a good idea?

  • 4
    That question was closed as a duplicate of something that's asking the opposite of what I'm asking – Robert Harvey Nov 9 at 18:21
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    Note: a similar question was already deleted. – Glorfindel Nov 9 at 18:25
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    I don't think it's a good idea at all. I think it's just one more push towards friendliness, sacrificed on the altar of quality. – Robert Harvey Nov 9 at 18:27
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    @glorfindel that other question looked like it carried a lot of irrelevant baggage. – Robert Harvey Nov 9 at 18:30
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    I could be OK with that, if the weight of downvotes would be drastically increased as well. – πάντα ῥεῖ Nov 9 at 19:02
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    @RobertHarvey I think you should add your own answer, too. This question will be down voted to oblivion (though you have enough reputation to spare ;) – Her Majesty Queen of ARC Nov 9 at 19:11
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    Where and how did Stack Exchange express this interest? Is there a link you can provide, or some additional context you can describe? – Eric Wofsey Nov 10 at 0:35
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    @EricWofsey StackExchange staff doesn't want you to know. They're keeping that secret to everybody except moderators. If you search hard enough, though, you might be able to find an archived link. – House- 'Reinstate Monica' -man Nov 10 at 0:57
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    @House I don't mean to be rude, but why not just give Eric a link instead of being cryptic and making everyone reading do more work? – scohe001 Nov 10 at 1:03
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    Suggestion for improvement, as the OP asked: What problem does SE think this would solve? My answer may have been too flip -- I said in part that the question was trying to solve a problem that did not exist. But maybe I was wrong. – ab2 ReinstateMonicaNow Nov 10 at 1:28
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    @scohe001 Because it'll 1) Be deleted by mods/staff, and 2) I might get punished for posting the link – House- 'Reinstate Monica' -man Nov 10 at 1:29
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    If it's anything like the previous question, this will be closed unfairly as "primarily opinion based", get a several comment rant by a moderator and then be deleted by the same mod for "the [sake] of consistency, fairness and a certain desire to respect the spirit and letter of the rules" – Jo King Nov 10 at 1:44
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    No, and furthermore privilege levels should be increased to increase the quality of moderation. Bad closures are not solved by having more, less experience closers. – Sklivvz Nov 10 at 8:09
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    Wouldn't that be quality sacrificed on the altar of friendliness instead? – Mast Nov 10 at 11:01
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    @JoKing As you can see now, or very soon, SE is going ahead with increasing the votes per question (Sara Chipps also has a blog post of We’re Rewarding the Question Askers, with header links to it). Here on this meta, my reputation has already changed by several hundred more, but not yet on Math SE (although I only wrote 2 questions there). – John Omielan 12 hours ago

16 Answers 16

138

No.

  • Answers are more valuable than questions because they require knowledge, giving more reputation to answers rewards learning and acquiring that knowledge.

  • Users asking a question (trying to solve problem) will get answers besides the reputation, a solution to their problem which is a reward on its own.

  • Reputation unlocks moderation powers - reputation gained through knowledge means moderation will be done by more knowledgeable people and that reduces potential errors.

  • We don't need to add more incentive for people to ask questions, especially not on Stack Overflow, there are already way too many poorly researched and poorly asked questions.

  • Questions often get upvotes because of "me, too" problems. Someone has a problem, finds the answer on existing question and upvotes both even though question might be less than stellar or even rather poor.

As the end result, giving same reputation for questions as for answers will only reduce overall quality.


If there are specific sites in SE network where having +10 reputation on questions would be beneficial, then such change should be discussed and applied only on those particular sites, not SE wide.

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    Exactly. It won't fix any problem while it would introduce a whole lot of new ones or make existing problems worse. – Mast Nov 10 at 9:22
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    Individual sites have tried, but the official response is "The amount of rep that is generated by each action (question up-votes, etc.) is too integral to the system to be a per-site setting.", though that's already proven false by Stack Apps. Hopefully SE reconsiders? – Jo King Nov 10 at 9:26
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    @JoKing I hope they will reconsider. But I would not get my hopes high. For years SE seems more interested in treating symptoms rather than dealing with core issues. – Her Majesty Queen of ARC Nov 10 at 9:49
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    here are already way too many poorly researched and poorly asked questions which do not need to be incentivized. (If there was a way to put that in to blinking lights ...) – KorvinStarmast Nov 10 at 16:36
  • Later I'll post a reply in ny answer as to why I think the "me too" upvote us actually a positive thing. Hint: duplicates. – Mari-Lou A Nov 11 at 6:31
  • @Mari-LouA I agree with that part. If you are satisfied with found answers, you don't need to post duplicate questions. But, again that does not always justify upvote to each and every such question. – Her Majesty Queen of ARC 2 days ago
  • [transferred comment] Without quality questions, hi-rep users will continue to abandon SO, the exodus has already begun. SO has a tab for interesting questions, does it not? The first question in a page filled with 0 scores, with a score of 7 was posted seven months ago. Why is that? Why don't seasoned SO users, upvote questions more often? Even one upvote. How much does it cost to show some good will? Maybe if more hi-rep SO users had been more generous in the past, maybe we (the entire SE network) wouldn't find ourselves in this current situation. – Mari-Lou A 2 days ago
  • @Mari-LouA We were more generous, we were commenting more we were guiding more. Then the Welcoming wagon ran over us. Now we just down vote and close vote (if we are not on strike). I just went over that page and half of 15 zero scored questions I opened deserved immediate down vote because they were just "I need this" kind of questions. – Her Majesty Queen of ARC 2 days ago
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    @Mari-LouA SO statistics for last 30 days: Questions Asked: 221616, Questions Closed: 23181. And probably many more questions deserved closure but were not closed. This is what SO is dealing with. Comparing to English Language with total 108,111 questions, and English Learners with total 70,047 questions. Don't know the close stats there, nor whether moderation on those sites is adequate (poor content can be closed and removed fast enough). – Her Majesty Queen of ARC 2 days ago
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    What has that got to do with raising the number of points on an answer? As anonymous rightly said, because increasing the value of an up-vote doesn't matter if nobody votes on a question I'm speaking about attracting users to stay long enough so they too can begin care and help curate the site. But if the underlying ethos on SO is your (pl) questions all suck, and you should be glad that we give you any answer. Well...the situation won't improve. Either that or visitors have to pay a subscription fee but that's going off-topic and I don't have any more spare time to reply to comments. – Mari-Lou A 2 days ago
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    We’re Rewarding the Question Askers: "increasing reputation points for question upvotes [is] an exciting start to working hand in hand with the community". No means yes. – Henrik 12 hours ago
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    "reputation gained through knowledge means moderation will be done by more knowledgeable people" –– That is not true. The knowledge required to answer questions is not the same as the knowledge needed to help manage a community. Think of two persons joining the site at the same time. One an eminent psychologist, the other a world famous photographer. The psychologist has just recently begun to photograph and now asks a newbie's question on Photo.SE, to which the knowledgable photographer gives an answer. Both have no experience of the site. Who is better able to moderate the site? – user644520 11 hours ago
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    @user644520 Of course, that managing and answering requires different skill sets. But statistically people that gained reputation through answering have more knowledge about matter they are answering and are in better position to know what and how should be moderated. – Her Majesty Queen of ARC 10 hours ago
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    @Henrik Insanity strikes again. – Her Majesty Queen of ARC 10 hours ago
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    @Henrik If someone wants to know that SE is doing to the veteran users, googling for "No means yes, yes means..." could be insightful. I'd favor a bounty for good questions, because that's a case where people (who have rep to spare) dedicatedly award outstandingly good questions. But it's already a severe problem that bad questions are upvoted by everybody who knows the answer (and now, the asker even gains privileges more quickly). The responses to this Q/A have been clear, and blatantly been ignored. Seriously, this is ridiculous. – Marco13 9 hours ago
76

Simply increasing question reputation as stated will make it easier for sockpuppets/voting rings to start. It's rather easier to copy a nice looking programming question from Quora / Reddit and post it on Stack Overflow (maybe changing a few words to avoid the simplest plagiarism checks) and after two upvotes (instead of three) you'll already be able to upvote yourself. Since those votes can come from the ring themselves, their growth rate will be more than doubled, it seems. This will make it harder for regular users, ♦ moderators and Community Managers to detect and take care of them.

So my two cents: it could work but only if the reputation needed for the upvote privilege increases as well.

There's one site in the network where a question upvote already gives +10 reputation: Stack Apps. Incidentally, it's also the site with the highest Good Question : Good Answer badge ratio, as this SEDE query shows. It doesn't have voting rings since it's small enough to moderate effectively.

(You recognize this? That's correct, it's a repost from another, now deleted question.)

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    "It doesn't have voting rings" - or it does but they're too effective ... – Rand al'Thor Nov 9 at 18:51
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    I post an answer that I know will please the OP and the masses. I earn 10 upvotes one day, then another, the question hits the HNQ and now I have new privileges and I can create a sock puppet, so my posts will always be upvoted. The disadvantage you describe is also true for those posting easy answers. – Mari-Lou A Nov 11 at 6:38
  • I don't think that there's much (public) information about how severe the problem of organized voting rings actually is. But I emphasized one word here: It may be easy (or at least possible) to spot voting rings via mutual upvotes of a certain group of users (maybe even taking into account metadata, like ~"similar IP address ranges" or whatnot). The larger problem are what I'd call "unorganized voting rings": Crap/dupe questions and C&P'ed answers under these, where the asker and answerer upvote each other to "validate" what they have done... – Marco13 9 hours ago
59

Weighing up the pros and cons, I'd have to say overall "no".

  • It's very site dependent. Compare:

    • Stack Overflow and Math.SE attract users who repeatedly post poor questions, and slowly accumulate reputation. This change may encourage them, so I'd expect it's not beneficial at these sites.

    • At Chinese.SE, I can spend 20+ minutes writing a question, only to have it answered in seconds by a native Chinese speaker. Moreover, at small sites there's issues with having enough users with enough reputation to cast 5 close votes. I think it would be beneficial here.

    • At Islam.SE, which is also a small site, writing decent answers take a lot of research effort. I think it's safe to say that answers are more valuable than questions.

    • At Skeptics.SE and CodeGolf.SE, writing good questions is quite difficult. Perhaps it would be beneficial here.

  • I expect voting patterns would adjust accordingly. Knowing a question now gets twice as many reputation points would possibly lead to users voting on questions half as much.

I feel it's better to put more effort into encouraging users to selectively upvote worthwhile questions. Make them stand out on the front page. Draw attention to good, effortful questions.

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    Why are SO and Math users upvoting off-topic poor questions? Why does awarding 10 rep for a good question assumes it means rewarding poor questions? – Mari-Lou A Nov 10 at 12:41
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    @Mari-LouA I put this comment under another answer here. But here it goes again "Questions often get upvotes because of "me, too" problems. Someone has a problem, finds the answer on existing question and upvotes both even though question might be less than stellar or even rather poor." – Her Majesty Queen of ARC Nov 10 at 12:48
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    Worldbuilding has a similar issue to SO and Math: I suspect it's often a balance between "that's a really cool idea" upvotes and "that's a really bad question about a cool idea" downvotes. But the upvotes are worth 2.5x as much as the downvotes, so the "here's an undeveloped cool idea; what do you think?" askers gain lots of rep and keep asking bad questions. – manveti 2 days ago
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    CodeGolf.SE has wanted an increase in question rep specific to the site for several years, for exactly the reason you mentioned. – isaacg yesterday
42

No.

Answers > Questions

Answers are more important than questions because people (including ones who posted a question) are coming for the answers. Nobody is interested in a wonderful question that has no answers. Someone can argue that an awesome question will inevitably get interesting answers but that's actually means that by definition valuable question is something that has valuable answer.

That said, I as an active user who answers a lot and actually asked questions quite a lot never was annoyed by 5 point for a question up-vote.

Any changes should be justified

We need to address first what exactly problem we have and will try to solve by increasing the value of a question up-vote. In my opinion we don't have a problem at all. It's not like someone was going to ask an interesting question and then like: "Hmmmm, 5 points per upvote just doesn't worth it".

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    Not that I disagree that answers are more valuable than questions, however the question is what brings anyone to the network. The answers are why they stay, so to speak. – RageFoxx 2 days ago
34

No

Although it can be frustrating to ask a good, well researched question and get only 5 points, or a multiple thereof, and see a not particularly good answer get a multiple of 10 points, that is life, and with enough activity, it evens out. I'm not going to repeat the points in the other answers, except to say that writing a good answer is, on average, harder than writing any but an excellent question. I see this as "solving" a problem that does not exist.

It would be helpful if the OP told us what problem SE thinks the change would solve.

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    From personal experience, if OP specified the problem that SE was trying to solve, they would get seriously downvoted, followed by deletion by a mod – Jo King Nov 10 at 1:54
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    ...and 30 day suspension for good measure. – Frédéric Hamidi Nov 10 at 7:33
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    Increasing the score for question upvotes will make this problem worse for new users, because the users who view and upvote newly-posted questions will upvote fewer questions if they apply the same standards as upvoting an answer. The number of users frustrated because their question received no response whatsoever will increase. What question askers want most is an answer. An upvote or two is also nice for validation that your question was legit, but the amount of positive interaction is more important for this than the number of points it's worth, and that will go down. – user56reinstatemonica8 2 days ago
  • @user56reinstatemonica8: You mean that people don't already apply the same standards when upvoting questions v. answers? – Sean 8 hours ago
  • @Sean Can't speak for everyone but I certainly don't. I will (or, used to) upvote any question that shows good intentions and effort, but for answers, it needs to also show some knowledge or expertise beyond that. – user56reinstatemonica8 7 hours ago
30

Strictly Speaking, No, but It's Complicated

If a site's community wants to change a question's upvote value for that site it could be beneficial, but it's not clear all sites would benefit.

Site Dependent

The issue isn't what to do with bad or even mediocre questions; SE has multiple ways of dealing with them, and bad questions tend not to get many upvotes. Good question asking varies widely in difficulty based on site nature and culture. For example, devising a puzzle is easy, but devising a good puzzle can be quite difficult. It wouldn't be unreasonable for Puzzling to value good questions more highly than a site where composing a good question takes less effort.

Other sites have a culture where most questions die quickly. Merely making the minimum standard to survive can be quite challenging. It isn't unreasonable to give more reputation for writing a question that manages to make it on such a site.

Rate Limiting

Questions need answers and answers need questions, but Stack Exchange culture values having fewer questions over having many interesting but unanswered questions. Having a higher numerical reputation value for quality answers encourages some users who would otherwise write questions to write answers instead. It could be interesting to experiment with a "congestion pricing" style of valuing questions relative to answers, but I would imagine that too few users would pay attention to the current payoffs to make it worthwhile.

This Isn't the Feedback Mechanism You're Looking For

The meaning of upvotes is heavily overloaded, in practice if not in theory. Question upvotes are even less strongly tied to quality than answer upvotes. On the technical sites, even a barely adequate question will garner upvotes if it's found by users with similar issues, while a well-posed question about an obscure problem is unlikely to get many upvotes at all. While there is certainly value to the site having the solution to common problems (and that requires questions about common problems!), stumbling into a lot of common problems doesn't seem to be what reputation was intended to mean.

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    +1 for "This Isn't the Feedback Mechanism You're Looking For". I 100% agree. All this discussion suggests that you can create a high quality site if you only have a key to distribute reputation points, from which you can't buy anything, and which do not reflect the competence of the corresponding users in general. – Schrödinger's cat Nov 9 at 23:43
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    A great answer, with fewer votes than the question. --- Simply doubling the reputation for questions on every site is an analogy of: Transfer Reputation Between Sites - all sites are not created exactly equal and as time passes the drift becomes greater, transfering reputation from site to site is unwanted (see that link and it's numerous dupes). Making questions on every site add double the reputation equates the difficulty of asking a great question at each site. It's not equal, but let's not point fingers, just leave it as is. – Rob Nov 10 at 0:21
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    Code-Golf has been asking for this for more than 8 years, same with Puzzling, and there's a precedent in Stack Apps already having +10 for questions. – Jo King Nov 10 at 1:53
  • @JoKing, I'm sure, almost all questions on this page require a couple years of university mathoverflow.net/questions and most on this page: math.stackexchange.com/questions and it's not easier over at physics.stackexchange.com/questions or quantumcomputing.stackexchange.com/questions - shouldn't questions at those places be worth 20-50? Whom will agree, whom will object; that's what doing this is starting, so everywhere would have a difficult to agree upon different value. – Rob Nov 10 at 2:07
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    @JoKing If there are specific sites that really would benefit from such change (having +10 for questions), then such changes should be discussed and applied on those specific sites, not SE wide. – Her Majesty Queen of ARC Nov 10 at 9:13
21

No, because increasing the value of an up-vote doesn't matter if nobody votes on a question (or answer).

One of the purposes of a site like Stack Overflow was for users to treat it a bit of a "developers notebook" in which problems were documented along with their solution. While this can be useful for generating useful information over the long term, obscure problems are rarely rewarded.

Case One: Recent question, self-answered, with zero up-votes. However, it resulted in a patch to a popular library.

Case Two: Old question, 45K views, likely getting a lot of "drive by traffic" from Google. However, limited votes (10) on the question and even the top answer doesn't have that many votes (21).

Case Three: Old question, 4k views, high up-votes for both the question and top answer. Compared to Case Two this tends to imply that the value of a question isn't tied to the popularity (as measured by views) of a question.

In short, there is a lot of evidence on Stack Overflow that votes are inconsistently applied and good work for obscure problems isn't necessary rewarded. As such, increasing the value of an up-vote on a question isn't going to resolve an underlying cultural issue.

18

No.

Questions should be asked from a need to find an answer, and the answers should be reward enough.

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15

I lean towards "no, it should not be increased", that's probably a bad idea, unless...

First why not: because I don't think the common assumption that increasing rep earned from questions means "more incentive to ask better quality questions" is necessarily true. The incentive is probably just to ask more questions, quality be jiggered. Increasing the rep earned may have the opposite effect and may actually incentivize bad questions.

One of the important things the +5 rep weighting for questions does is keep it closer to the -2 rep weight for downvotes. This keeps serial question abusers (which are much more common than answer abusers) from making too many low quality posts and taking advantage of the community. If the delta value was to change from Δ3 to Δ8, that would make it firmly in the best interest of anybody to keep posting as many low quality questions as they felt like without looking back. The vote weight disparity is less of an issue for answers because there are fewer other incentives for posting bad answers. Sure some people do it for the virtual internet points, but the "do my homework for me" and "I'm too lazy to debug this problem myself" questioners have motivation coming form outside the point system. The reputation should roughly reveal or equate to what they are putting into the system, and a bunch of low quality questions is not something you want to add up to a large rep score.

...now for that "unless".

Given that I think the issue with raising the question rep score to +10 is more about the delta between up and down votes, you could easily fix this concern by also raising the downvote weight to -5. That might actually equalize the incentive for asking good questions vs. writing good answer, but still keep the stakes high so people don't get lazy with their questions. They already expect people to volunteer their effort to answer, there should be high stakes for that.

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    While I agree with the raising down vote weight if the up vote weight for questions is raised, I still don't think that raising reputation on questions is generally good idea. – Her Majesty Queen of ARC Nov 10 at 11:13
12

Do you think this is a good idea?

Not at all. All the true quality folks are welcome to skip this answer, you probably won't like it, as this is pretty emotional, and not so much focusing on the aspects the quality folks uphold.

Thing is: gamification is still a large factor that drives this network. Many people that contribute a lot of content do that to hunt reputation, and badges.

Sure, I would love to make more from asking questions. But changing that part of the system would also change "the physics" of the game.

I do dislike various aspects of the those "game physics", but well, that is what we have here. Same rules for everybody, 10 years ago, 5 years ago, today. Changing that part would feel like tilting the game. Leading to "subtle" questions, like:

  • Would old questions be "re-counted", including daily limit scores and whatnot?
  • Would it just mean that people starting now get that benefit?

Seriously, I try to contribute high quality input on Stack Overflow, but the game part is an essential part of that. Screwing with that will definitely impact the motivation of this top 0.03% contributor, and I think that I am not alone with that.

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    IIUC reputation for every user will be recalculated based on their whole history.. – Stop harming Monica Nov 10 at 20:10
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    @StopharmingMonica I honestly think you are A) dramatically under-estimating the complexity of such a "recomputation". There is the daily 200 cap limit, and a counter for that limit. Then there are all kinds of vote-count related badges around. I think: a "fair" recount would be hard to get to. and B) we have no idea if +10 instead of +5 will do any good. Long story short: you dont change a running system because you can. You do it because you have damn good reasons to do so. "Lets try if 10 instead of 5 works better", is not a good reason, especially given the consequences! – GhostCat says Reinstate Monica 2 days ago
  • That is just my understanding from what I have read elsewhere. Looks doable to me at first sight but I won't make any hard claims. I might have got it wrong and people might change their minds. I agree with you on B and your summary. This would better be an experiment first. – Stop harming Monica 2 days ago
9

I'm on the fence about this proposal

Since the reduction of the question upvote value in 2011 was not an efficient measure to suppress low-quality questions, I don't expect an effect in favour of good questions by undoing this change. I expect no significant change in user behaviour here.

So the net effect is giving out a lot of reputation at once and by proxy giving out a lot of privileges at once. It will also make earning privileges easier, since even a controversial question voted +3/-3 already earns 24 reputation points. I don't know whether this is a good thing or not, maybe it will lead to other necessary adjustments like increasing the question downvote value or adjusting the privilege ladder steps.

  • I’m with you. If changing the amount of reputation had no effect, and no-one is sure of the effect of setting it back, at a minimum the change shouldn’t be retroactive. It would cause less and more predictable disruption simply changing it moving forward than granting billions of reputation and changing what people’s votes mean retroactively. – ColleenV 2 days ago
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    According to this, the reputation system was simply rebalanced to reflect the fact that answers are more important than questions, but I don't think there was ever an expectation that it would result in better quality questions. – Robert Harvey 2 days ago
  • @ColleenV: I see the point of making a change only pro-active, but there's an immediate follow-up question: How can I turn a historical light-weight upvote on a question into a new heavy-weight upvote when I want to do so? – jknappen - Reinstate Monica 2 days ago
  • @jknappen-ReinstateMonica Why do you think you should be able to? – ColleenV 2 days ago
  • Because if had waited with upvoting until the date of change, my vote had been heavier. – jknappen - Reinstate Monica 2 days ago
  • @jknappen-ReinstateMonica And? Should everyone who bought something in the past get a refund if it goes on sale today? Should you have to pay more taxes on past purchases if the tax rate goes up this year? Isn’t it strange that we can award extra reputation to answers through bounties, but there’s no similar option for questions? The reputation isn’t as valuable to the author as a good answer to the question in most cases. – ColleenV 2 days ago
4

Yes.

I am in favor of changing the upvote value to be equal. Here's why.

  • Question standards

We hold questions to... pretty high standards. They can't be too opinion based. They can't be too broad. They can't be soliciting recommendations. It has to be self-contained. They have to be on topic. They should show prior research, be clear, interesting, and useful.

That's a lot to ask of a post on the internet.

Writing good questions is hard. Not everybody can immediately walk in and ask a good question. It takes a bit to develop the skill, and even then, you don't always succeed. Writing questions is hard.

  • The value of questions

And yet, questions are the life blood of a site. Without questions, there can be no answers. The site needs those questions for people to be able to write answers. A question and answer site isn't very useful without the questions.

When a new site is starting out, what's the most important thing for them? Questions. Because without those all important questions, the site does not exist.


Now, I may be biased. I've asked hundreds of questions here on Stack Exchange. A large percentage of them come from me learning about a new subject, having difficulties, and asking questions. I've learned the hard way what happens when you ask under researched questions, or boring simple questions. I have experience with sites such as Puzzling.SE, where the question is a challenge to the community, and designing a question can take months at a time.

I know just how hard it is to actually write a decent question - and it is at least as hard, if not harder, than writing an answer. And questions are of at least, if not more, the same value as an answer - because one cannot exist without the other.

Questions are an integral part of the site that are currently not being recognized the same way answers are. I think it's high time that changed.

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    As mentioned before, not without changing the weight of downvotes drastically. Either to 5 or even to the same weight of 10. – πάντα ῥεῖ Nov 10 at 2:49
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    While it's theoretically true that "questions are the life blood of a site", if you want to stick with the bodily fluid analogy my experience is that SO in particular is pretty much drowning in it's own blood. Many smaller sites have a different problem, but SO is not hurting for questions. – Caleb Nov 10 at 7:08
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    @Caleb - It's true that SO doesn't lack for raw questions. However, my understanding is that those questions are often not very high quality. It lacks high quality questions. And, as I love to say, SE is more than SO. There are over a hundred other sites that do not share SO's problems. – user58 Nov 10 at 7:45
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    The 100+ other sites all totalled together don't even come close to the size of SO. I'm sympathetic to the issue: I was a mod on two lower traffic sites that had different problems than SO, but saying "yes" here doesn't solve those issues. In fact I don't think raising the vote value to +10 will incentivize higher quality questions. Actually I think it's more likely to motivate more low-quality posts! – Caleb Nov 10 at 7:51
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    Questions often get upvotes because of "me, too" problems. Someone has a problem, finds the answer on existing question and upvotes both even though question might be less than stellar or even rather poor. – Her Majesty Queen of ARC Nov 10 at 8:52
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    'That's a lot to ask of a post on the internet.' - No, it really isn't. You (in general, not you as in *you) are asking a question because you want an answer, so of course you need to be clear, coherent, and provide all the information. It's a lot to ask because people are used to asking crappy (not meant as offensive) questions everywhere else on the Internet and getting answers. This is a baseline that we've set here to to make life easier for answerers. In real life if you asked the sort of questions some people ask on SO you'd get ignored or laughed at. – Script47 Nov 10 at 12:42
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    Fundamentally, I believe that the asker is rewarded by actually getting the answer to their question and alongside that they get a +5 rep for each up-vote which I believe is more than fair. – Script47 Nov 10 at 12:51
  • 1
    @πάνταῥεῖ "Should the weight of question downvotes be increased" is a different question that you could ask separately. – gerrit 2 days ago
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    @user58 do you support the idea of increasing all question upvotes everywhere to +10 points, or, allowing sites to choose that change? For example, on Puzzling and on Code Golf, users have been asking to be allowed to do this for years, while on many sites (especially Stack Overflow which is drowning in questions with too few answerers), it would be a very unpopular move. – user56reinstatemonica8 2 days ago
  • @user56reinstatemonica8 - I think it should by default be +10. If a site wants to keep it at +5, though, then maybe that should be an option. – user58 2 days ago
4

Yes if and only if we can do something about the "pity upvote." The pity upvote is too common of an occurrence, and the change would make it more likely for an otherwise terrible question to net positive rep.

I don't know what it would be, but maybe if a question has more than twice the number of downvotes, the upvotes should be worth 5. Something like that.

  • 2
    The experiment on StackExchange of hiding negative votes may help with this. – Ian Ringrose 2 days ago
4

Firstly I will declare that this change will increase my rep by about 50% on Stack Overflow. However, I care much more about most questions being unfit to take up space on the home page, hence having long ago driven away many of the experts.

I think the rot started when we were no longer allowed to close question as "you don't show enough skill to make us believe you can understand an answer". Hence if you still care (I gave up years ago) the only option is to use the voting and closing system in a way that will trigger the maximum number of question bans, remembering that targeting more then 2 or 3 votes at a user on the same day will get your votes automatically rolled back.

But there is hope. At present I get the feeling that many questions get upvoted to 0, that would not have got an upvoted if they were not on a negative value. Maybe the experiment with hiding negative values will remove this problem.

Giving more credit for answers than questions gives out the message that the site cares most about the experts. If this is no longer the case, and the site just cares about maximising short-term engagement then making them equal would be logical.

2

Yes

You'd think there were no such thing as “sand answers”. Is anyone complaining about lazy answers, which consist of a few lines, being upvoted and their authors earning privileges that they don't deserve? Have users on Meta Stack Exchange (herein MSE) and Stack Overflow forgotten that questions can also be downvoted?

  1. In @Her Majesty Queen of ARC's answer, the following reason for not awarding 10 reputation points is given

Questions often get upvotes because of "me, too" problems. Someone has a problem, finds the answer on existing question and upvotes both even though question might be less than stellar or even rather poor.

Upvoting a question where you found the answer to your problem, is exactly what the Stack Exchange model is all about. The person upvoting did not need to post a question because they found the answer. I agree, often a question may not be stellar but it was definitely very useful if it helped somebody.

Looking into the near future

When a low-quality question is upvoted and earns 10 reputation points, there will be a hoard of disgruntled hi-rep users marching to downvote the post, effectively telling its author and the community that the question is “defective” as it fails to meet the minimum requirements laid out in the Help Centre.

But recently there has been some exciting developments, the newly introduced Question Wizard is meant to stem the flow of no-effort, useless questions hitting the stackoverflow home page in the first place.

From stackoverflow meta, the following announcement earned a very respectable 684 upvotes, with just 10 users opting to downvote the initiative.

The Ask Question Wizard is Live!

  1. Guided mode means better questions on the site overall.

Based on our experiments, we found that question quality improved when using guided mode compared to traditional mode. In our latest experiment, we found a 5.12% decrease in bad-quality questions, and a positive change in neutral-quality questions (2.26% increase) and good-quality questions (1.12% increase). We also saw an overall 3.42% decrease in overall question volume, which correlates pretty well with the decrease we saw in bad quality questions.

The Advantages of Rewarding good Questions

The author feels encouraged, gratified and the person will likely repeat this positive behaviour in order to get (hopefully) great answers as well as further gratification in way of reputation points. This is precisely the type of newcomer that every site on SE needs and should welcome with enthusiasm. Every SE site needs young healthy blood, if the community wants to survive long term.

If the proposal goes forward, getting two upvotes (20 rep) on a first question will generally send a positive message, if that question also gets a downvote (-2 rep), which frequently happens, the new contributor will feel the sting less. Under the new system, the acceptable question with two upvotes and one downvote will earn the asker 18 reputation points while the visible score will remain +1. The number of votes will be unaffected.

What happens if the new blood contributor becomes lazy and thinks it they can get away with posting homework-like type of questions. Those off-topic questions can still be placed on hold, closed and eventually deleted. New contributors soon discover at their own expense the punishment for submitting repeatedly, low-quality questions.

The Question Ban

What is a question ban, and why is it implemented?

Source

As stated in the about links on every page, Stack Exchange is a network of question and answer sites, not help forums. This implies that all posts are expected to have some value for later visitors too. To enforce that, and to prevent help vampires making the answerers turn away from the communities, low-quality questions and answers are blocked. This includes posts from:

  • users who can't be bothered to form sentences
  • users who don't do the most basic kinds of research themselves
  • users who barely even explain what it is they are trying to do An automatic filter is in place to ban questions and/or answers from IP addresses or accounts with a history of extremely poor posts.

To avoid bypassing the filter its internal rules are a secret, but it is partly based on downvotes cast by other members of the communities. If the other members of the site consistently give your posts a low ranking, you should try to identify the reason(s) for this.

Once you have posted too many poorly-received questions or answers, you will be banned from posting more, and you will see the error message.

From MSE

However, suspension is a much more blunt instrument for dealing with folks who, for whatever reason, simply cannot seem to ever post a useful question. Unlike suspensions, you can "work your way out" of a q-ban: just post some helpful or insightful answers. […]

Philosophically, I like this sort of merit-based restriction a lot better than suspension. Even if in practice both mean than someone can't post questions for a few months, the former puts this decision squarely in the hands of the participant themselves and the community they wish to be a part of.

Shog9♦ (Sep 17 '13)

Overall, questions can be downvoted, placed on hold, closed, locked, and/or deleted. A person asking their first ever question on SO is going to be intimidated by all the roadblocks put in place, including the Question Wizard. Questions are subjected to far more rigour than answers, no wonder many potential good contributors decide to leave the site. Their questions are considered trivial, as seen by the number of points awarded: 5 points compared to 10 for an answer.

  • Today, a question with two upvotes and five downvotes earns its author zero points.
  • An answer with the same number of upvotes and downvotes earns its author 10 points.
  • Why does that answer have more value than a question with the same number of votes?

Graphs

On EL&U, I sincerely believe in helping people find good answers to their English language questions, some of the ways of doing that is by editing. Since 2013 I have edited users' posts 3,634 times, and cast a total of 23,799 votes. On my profile page it says I have cast 19,798 upvotes and 1,063 downvotes and offered 96 bounties for a total of 12,950 reputation points. Since I have virtually stopped contributing on ELU, October 9 was my last post, the number of questions and upvotes have seen a sliding trend. It probably signifies that other high rep users such as myself have been disillusioned by the company's treatment of Monica Cellio, and have stopped curating the site we once loved.

For those who love data, I have access to EL&U's site analytics, here are a few telling line graphs

The first graph plots the number of questions posted weekly between November 11, 2018 and November 11, 2019. The week beginning December 3, 2018 saw the first peak (469) followed by January 21st and the second week of March: 467 and 465 respectively. However, between September 23 and October 14 2019 the number of questions plummeted from 332 to 247. The number of questions began to rise slightly in the week of October 21st but steadily dropped showing a mere 257 questions in the week of November 4th.

graph plotting the number of questions posted between November 11, 2018 and Nov 11, 2019

The second graph displays the total number of posts (questions and answers) submitted in the last five months: May 10 - November 10. From a peak of 447 answers posted in the second week of May, that number fell to 294 in the week beginning November 4th.

graph plotting the number of answers and questions posted between May 10 and November 10 2019

The third and last graph, shows the number of upvotes and downvotes cast during the same period.

graph plotting the number of upvotes and downvotes in the same period (2019/10/5-10/11

Without questions, a site will over time wither and die. Users will become less invested, visitors will find answers to their own questions but will not be motivated to post a new question because, frankly, the home page with its zero votes and one or two posted answers looks bleak and lifeless. In order to incentivize visitors, it is absolutely necessary that the home page looks productive, we can achieve this by voting more often. When a question receives an upvote it creates a sort of domino effect, it increases the likelihood of getting a second upvote and fosters an air of positivity. Above all, it shows respect to the new querent. It goes without saying that low quality questions should never be rewarded, but sometimes there are hidden gems, and it's well worth the effort editing those posts so they become on-topic and interesting. Add an upvote and users become curious and are gratified when they see the question improved.

A site's home page shows visitors questions with its number of votes. It doesn't show visitors the number of upvotes a brilliant answer received that only happens if they click on the question. If users on SO had edited and upvoted a few more questions and showed some good will, perhaps management would not be thinking of augmenting the points for questions across the network.


  • Who needs interesting and thought-provoking questions the most? Your hi-rep users, the ones who started their career by posting answers to easy questions, encouraged by the positive response i.e. upvotes, they moved on to answer the trickier, more challenging questions. But today they're not finding challenging questions because users who are able to produce quality questions are not staying.

  • Who stays? The “help vampires”, the gimme the codez users who demand answers, as if it were their right. “Help Vampires” don't care about keeping a site clean or building a repository of useful Q&As.

Still Feeling Peeved that a question can earn 10 Internet points?

“Answers are more valuable than questions because they require knowledge”

  • Instead of 10 reputation points, make it 8. Is there a reason why the system cannot handle upvotes worth 8 points for questions? Answers continue to be viewed as being more valuable than questions, and questions are no longer felt as third rate.

Afterthought

TEST DRIVE the initiative on Stack Overflow for two months.

[Still work in progress.]

  • 9
    "Those off-topic questions can still be placed on hold, closed and eventually deleted." I only wish. SO is drowning in poor questions. Question Wizard helps only to a point and only for those people that are wiling to put some effort. If we could put a month long ban on asking any question on SO, this will not be enough to clean up the site. – Her Majesty Queen of ARC Nov 10 at 14:55
  • 8
    As for "lazy answers", I also wish we could deal with them better and faster, too. But there is a significant difference between questions and answers. If you find lazy answer, you can always post your own, better one. Lazy answer will not gain much reputation afterwards. If it is on poor question, you can only hope they will get cleaned together. – Her Majesty Queen of ARC Nov 10 at 14:58
  • My worry about this change is that if regular users know a question upvote earns as much as an answer upvote, they will become even stingier with question upvotes than currently, which (especially on SO and other busy tech-help sites) will mean even more tumbleweed and frustrated new users seeing their posts get no response whatsoever. – user56reinstatemonica8 2 days ago
  • @user56reinstatemonica8 that is a very possible outcome which I hinted at in the answer. Users who have contributed longer, and have all chipped in to making their site clean, and set standards will probably be among the first to resent or oppose this initiative. But, users with six months' worth of contributes will likely respond more positively. SE, and especially SO, absolutely need interesting and useful questions. – Mari-Lou A 2 days ago
  • 2
    @Mari-LouA We do need more interesting and useful questions, but I absolutely don't see that happening with increasing reputation for questions. Probably some kind of bounty system for rewarding great questions would be better even though it is questionable who would post bounties on such questions. High reputation answerers maybe... – Her Majesty Queen of ARC 2 days ago
  • 1
    We agree on the need for quality questions, but we disagree on how to get there. On SO one of the problems why high rep users are leaving is flood of poor questions. With better moderating tools we could possibly contain that flood and increase the quality. Core problem is moderation. – Her Majesty Queen of ARC 2 days ago
  • 1
    @HerMajesty the solution often touted is to downvote, close and delete questions, (especially questions by newcomers). I know the story very well, but if a community is more friendly and willing to lend a hand, new users will better appreciate the ethos of quality vs quantity and will also help clean the site. But people only hear what they want to. – Mari-Lou A 2 days ago
  • Work in progress. The name of the meta website is exactly how I wrote it. – Mari-Lou A 2 days ago
  • You misspelled “teh”.      :-)     ⁠ – Scott yesterday
2

I generally agree with @Glorfindel's answer, but have some additional context. The main issue here is the large difference between the cost of a downvote and the benefit of an upvote (to the poster receiving the vote). I think this concern is highlighted by looking at some posts the community has strongly disapproved of in the past:

  • An apology: 106 up, 2228 down, -2122 net votes,
    -3396 net rep (current weight), -3926 net rep (prior weight)
  • Moderator Review: 152 up, 696 down, -544 net votes,
    +128 net rep (current weight), -632 net rep (prior weight)
  • Testing advertisements: 164 up, 580 down, -416 net votes,
    +480 net rep (current weight), -340 net rep (prior weight)
  • 4.0 license change: 152 up, 502 down, -350 net votes,
    +516 net rep (current weight), -244 net rep (prior weight)
  • MIT license: 191 up, 525 down, -334 net votes,
    +860 net rep (current weight), -95 net rep (prior weight)
  • Forced arbitration: 70 up, 346 down, -276 net votes,
    +8 net rep (current weight), -342 net rep (prior weight)
  • Another apology: 668 up, 939 down, -271 net votes,
    +4802 net rep (current weight), +1462 net rep (prior weight)

This illustrates the effect of changing the ratio of the impact of an upvote to the impact of a downvote from 5:2 to 5:1. As "rough measure of how much the community trusts you", this does not seem to match with reality at all. Yes, they are internet points, but they are designed to reinforce behavior and control access to site privileges, and should produce a meaningful result.

Note there are reputation change caps that effect the net rep seen by the user, especially in these extreme cases (e.g., the user who posted An apology met both the upvote and the downvote caps at various times on the day it was posted). These caps aren't considered in the numbers above.

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