For me voting on questions is much less important than voting on answers.

If you have a question, you have it, period! It doesn't matter if it was upvoted by others or not. The reason you ask the question and the reason people come to Stack Overflow is to find the best answer. I rarely vote on questions, I normally vote on answers.

To change this kind of behaviour, we got the new Electorate badge. There are some concerns about this badge.

Jeff says voting on answers is so sexy, that people will still do it (well I do). The idea is to encourage voting on questions.

Following this thread and watching the number of upvotes, it looks like many people think it is a good idea to vote on questions, but so few actually do it. Why?

Joel mentions (no, not Spolsky. The one who matters: Coehoorn) that shifting rep from questioners to answerers is a bad thing. I assume he refers to the discussion of gaining rep with meaningless questions.


  1. Shall we encourage gaining responsibility on SOFU by asking questions?
  2. Shall we encourage voting on questions?
  3. Does the new electorate badge solves the problem, discussed in Why-does-noone-vote-for-Qs?
  4. Is it actually a problem (it's from August 2008. Maybe you changed your opinion now)?
  5. Does the badge need more fine-tuning beyond the clarification of the description?
  • 4
    +1 (just because it's a question); Seriously, the only thing that makes me not hate the Electorate badge is that it's not started on a reddit thread discussing why SO sucks :)
    – mmx
    Jan 3, 2010 at 18:15

2 Answers 2

  1. No.
  2. Maybe... See below.
  3. No.
  4. No.
  5. Yes.

FWIW, I've decided (since I can't resist the allure of a new badge) to attempt to achieve it using only down-votes. As rare as votes on questions are, down-votes on questions are rarer still - and therefore badly needed. Yes, there are some problems with down-voting questions, but they'll never get ironed out if we just sit here hoping. We gotta get out there and do something, and this badge is just the token reward necessary to prompt Real Action™.

So, go do your part and down-vote 20 questions!

  • +1 for the "bwahahahahahahaha" factor. i'm with you tho -- as much as i ought to be voting on questions, i ought to be downvoting questions much more. Jan 3, 2010 at 17:10
  • 2
    Actually I suspect most of my downvotes go to questions, as I feel it's more important to bury a bad question in a list among its peers than to bury a bad answer.
    – Ether
    Jan 3, 2010 at 17:42
  • People don't down vote questions much because, for those with enough rep, voting to close is more powerful and doesn't cost you any rep. So why is there a -1 penalty for voting down questions? Wasn't the -1 penalty introduced to deal with strategic down-voting of answers?
    – Dan Dyer
    Jan 3, 2010 at 17:44
  • @Dan: The -1 penalty is also a "think twice" trigger. To avoid fun downvotes. Jan 3, 2010 at 17:47
  • @John: Not sure what constitutes a "fun downvote", but I doubt it should be discouraged any more than a "fun upvote" should be discouraged. The disparity between down votes and up votes is Stack Overflow's biggest flaw.
    – Dan Dyer
    Jan 3, 2010 at 17:53
  • 3
    – mmx
    Jan 3, 2010 at 17:55
  • @Dan: Upvote here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7322/… Jan 3, 2010 at 17:58
  • 3
    @John: It's an answer. No way we're gonna upvote that!
    – mmx
    Jan 3, 2010 at 18:00
  • @Mehrdad: ;-) I assume you have already upvoted it. Jan 3, 2010 at 18:04
  • @John: Actually, I had upvoted the question but not the answers (as they are basically dupe of the question). Looks like something in me knew there's going to be a gold badge on the way.
    – mmx
    Jan 3, 2010 at 18:06
  • I've taken a similar but completely opposite position: find an upvote-unworthy question you can edit to improve, then vote it up.
    – Gnome
    Jan 3, 2010 at 18:07
  • 4
    To prevent the rep cost, I suggest downvoting fun wiki questions (if you haven't done that already). Downvote party starts here ;) : stackoverflow.com/search?q=wiki%3A1
    – mmx
    Jan 3, 2010 at 18:12
  • 1
    Mehrdad: great idea: stackoverflow.com/search?q=wiki:1%20[fun]&tab=votes
    – Gnome
    Jan 5, 2010 at 0:55
  • 1
    I like this one: stackoverflow.com/… But remember, we're not supposed to be closing popular fun questions now, so just down-vote...
    – Shog9
    Jan 5, 2010 at 1:19
  • 2
    @Shog9: Indeed. I'm deciding to not use anything except the downvote button. The only problem here is that sympathy upvotes are still there and I don't want to give rep to bad questioners. So, make sure you only downvote CW questions where sympathy upvote is not an issue.
    – mmx
    Jan 5, 2010 at 3:54

There is an interesting 'local versus global rating' problem here. Do I say,

'This question is lacking, I'll vote it down.'

Or ...

'This question is lacking, someone else already voted it down, -1 is enough.'

When looking at answers, there's some help: if the answer is the best of the bunch, it's worth throwing on an extra up vote if that scores it higher than then alternatives, or the other way around.

Generally, though, I've decided to do like @Shog9, and routinely downvote questions that have material problems.

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