Possible Duplicates:
Why should I upvote a question?
What purpose does downvoting questions serve?

Voting on questions played a big role in the site when we didn't have the option to comment on, close, migrate, flag, or edit questions which did not fit the site or required modification to be useful and usable.

As it is, question votes are not much more than a popularity contest, and a lot of bandwidth is taken up on Meta regarding question votes. Notably:

In most cases a downvote is being given where a good edit should be used instead, or a comment indicating that the question user needs to provide more information. People are also downvoting in the case of duplicates (or suspected duplicates) when they don't want to do the work of finding the duplicate. There is no need to downvote to 'alert' other users that a question isn't worth spending time on - if it's bad enough that it can't be fixed, and so bad that you want to be sure others avoid it then it's not worth keeping open.

These are all situations where the person downvoting should be taking a different action.

Upvoting on questions is very low, and several questions have thrown ideas at how to increase question upvoting artificially, and a new badge was even implemented to encourage this behavior.

Given all this, I am now convinced that voting on questions is an unnecessary distraction.

Voting no longer provides any useful information about a question, and there are more than adequate means of fixing or removing questions that need work. Voting makes more sense for sites like Meta where questions aren't really questions, but suggestions and discussions. For purely Q/A sites such as SO, SF, SU, the voting is superfluous.

The only two possible positive things voting now provides are:

  • A way for users at lower rep levels to have a voice when they are unable to perform many of the other functions that are needed to fix a question (I contend this is useless, but perhaps they need some sort of outlet)
  • A 'hook' to get new users into the reputation game (which fails frequently because questions aren't getting upvotes, especially questions from new users)

If that is truly the case, then we should consider removing question voting altogether, or removing the effect of question votes on reputation.

  • Am I wrong?
  • What obvious and explicitly important role does question voting play in our community?
  • See: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/139/…
    – Shog9
    Commented Jan 27, 2010 at 19:08
  • @Shog9 - if the question is not useful or clear, it should be commented on and fixed.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Jan 27, 2010 at 19:16
  • 1
    "Should be" and "will be" are two different things. Plenty of folks posting questions and then leaving, never responding to feedback. And remember, unlike commenting voting can serve a dual purpose: it's shown in search results and on the questions page, allowing other readers to benefit from it without requiring them to load the question and read through it down to the comments.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jan 27, 2010 at 19:20
  • 1
    meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1871/… Commented Jan 27, 2010 at 19:37
  • 1
    Some people used to edit questions extensively and were able to turn the questions from down vote magnets into useful questions. And then the community decided to crucify people for editing. You cannot have it both ways.
    Commented Jan 27, 2010 at 19:58
  • 1
    I don't have time to read all this... where's the title so I can press the vote button?
    – Xeoncross
    Commented Jan 27, 2010 at 20:08

1 Answer 1


The only two possible positive things voting now provides are:

What about when you're searching for something, and you get several results - don't you look to the highest-voted matches first? I do. Even if the choices are 0 and -1, all else being equal I'll look at the 0-ranked question first. In that scenario, even the down-vote led to a positive result: helping me to narrow down search results.


  • 1
    Personally I'd rather see questions where the answers are highest votes first.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Jan 27, 2010 at 20:13
  • Well, that could be nice at times... But the rank of answers from separate questions aren't usually directly comparable.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jan 27, 2010 at 20:23
  • are you suggesting that the rank of questions are directly comparable? lol...
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Jan 27, 2010 at 21:23
  • Nope. But questions are ranked alone, while answers are ranked along with other answers; however skewed by time of day, day of week, or current events a question score might be, answer scores must contend with these factors and their relation to other answers to the question. SO could at least attempt to normalize question scores using the view count; normalizing answer scores would be more troublesome.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jan 27, 2010 at 21:40
  • 1
    @Pollyanna: Depends on your point of view. If I've gone to SO to get something answered, and search for it, then yes, you want the sort to have highest-ranked answers first. But if I'm looking for something to answer, I could care less about the answer ranks -- I'm actually looking for highest-voted, lowest-number-of-answers questions in that scenario. Before we jump to conclusions that scenario 1 is the most likely use case because most people are here for help, remember those nameless masses got here via Google, and thus typically were kicked straight into the question already; no list.
    – John Rudy
    Commented Jan 27, 2010 at 22:57

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