I noticed by default answers are sorted by votes. That means when I post an answer and I then look at all the other answers (esp. new ones with zero votes) for rep reasons I'm tempted to not vote for the others because it will keep my answer at the bottom until someone else comes along and votes for my answer.

Is there a way to fix this? I would like it if myself and others were not tempted by greed for rep.

EDIT: Notice I am not speaking of down voting others. So I don't see this as a duplicate question.

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    I sometimes upvote others because their answers are good/better than mine. Why block me for rewarding a better answer/punishing a useless, wrong answer? – alex Feb 5 '10 at 19:12
  • The only issue which was, was about time of posting which was pushing people to post as fast as possible, but it was fixed, and an answer is now randomly put with others of same vote count. Other than that, if you want to be voted for, write quality answers, that's all. – Gnoupi Feb 5 '10 at 19:17
  • Duplicate? meta.stackexchange.com/questions/28777/… – Perpetual Motion Goat Feb 5 '10 at 19:29
  • Notice I did not ever say I succumb to the temptation to let greed win out. I'm only pointing out that the system creates the temptation... – harschware Feb 5 '10 at 19:48
  • possible duplicate of meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4012/… – George Stocker Apr 20 '10 at 20:21

This question links to a lot of related questions that have insightful discussion on this problem. They are all describing a slightly worse form of this, that of downvoting other answers to enhance your own, but the reasons to allow voting on questions you've answered are still applicable to this situation. My take on this is given as an answer here:

Disallow downvoting other answers if I've posted my own

In short: If I am capable of answering the question correctly, then I'm also capable of knowing whether other answers are more or less correct, useful, interesting, or insightful.

Those are the people that should be encouraged to vote, and they shouldn't have to make the choice between voting or answering, when voting and answering will improve the overall question significantly more than one or the other.

  • It would probably be better if we were locked out of voting on our own answers or questions. Voting on other people's answers to questions we've answered is fine though. Votes ought to be a mark of others' appreciation of what has been written. – Donal Fellows Apr 20 '10 at 15:15

The solution is to grow up. Don't treat these sites like they're a video game. You're here to help people and be helped, not just to gain rep.

  • If only I were the upvoter... – juan Feb 5 '10 at 19:28
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    Yeah, but rep exists because people treating it like a video game (perhaps subconsciously, or perhaps overtly) can actually help to produce better, more timely answers; at least, that's the hope, and it does seem to work out in many cases. If you were just here to help people and be helped, then there would be no rep or badge system at all. – Brian Campbell Feb 5 '10 at 19:28
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    @Downvoter: You could change your username. Oh, wait... – fretje Feb 5 '10 at 20:09
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    Immediately go read bit.ly/GamingWork - the whole point of the reputation system is to tease that "video game" behavior out of programmers and use it to the site's advantage. Make no mistake, this is an intentional, designed, and major aspect of the site. Stackoverflow would not be what it is without the reputation system. Listen to the podcasts and read the relevant blog posts if you still don't understand. Bottom line: SO is as much a video game as any 'real' video game, only the outcome produces work, like the mechanical turk. – Pollyanna Feb 5 '10 at 20:19

I don't think there is anything wrong to use the website just to gain rep rather than helping others. The reasons you have are your business and your business only, if you consider SO to be a game then good for you, I hope you are having fun! (Since this is a pretty radical view I want to explicitly say that I'm not being sarcastic)

With that being said, if you think it's a problem for you ("helping the competition") don't vote them or vote them the day after. You are just 1 person; you won't make a huge difference. There will be other people voting.

This probably won't be a popular answer :(

  • "The reasons you have are your business and your business only" if it's only your business, then why does everyone else get to see your actions? If it's only your business, then it shouldnt' be on a collaborative site. – John Saunders Feb 5 '10 at 19:23
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    @John: I don't understand your comment. Actions != reasons.. I honestly don't understand what being able to see his actions has to do with his reasons. "If it's only your business, then it shouldnt' be on a collaborative site": I don't really care why he's here, nor should you. I only care about the quality of his answers and questions. – Thomas Bonini Feb 5 '10 at 19:25
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    If you are participating in SO just to "play the game" then everyone wins. There's little downside to this perception of the website. I can think of a few circumstances where this might ultimately erode the site, but I don't see that happening given how the current community protects itself. – Pollyanna Feb 5 '10 at 19:57
  • My point was that you're welcome to consider SO to be a game - as long as this only affects you. But because SO is a public web site that works through participation, it does matter to me whether someone else decides to make a game out of SO. Don't ask me to "mind my business" in this case. The fact that I'm an SO user makes it my business. – John Saunders Feb 5 '10 at 19:58
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    "I don't think there is anything wrong to use the website just to gain rep rather than helping others." I think this kind of behaviour is the reason we're having this whole discussion over here (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/38391/…) about the high rep users on SU. There isn't anything wrong, as long as there's not too much users thinking that way. – fretje Feb 5 '10 at 20:16
  • @John: you can't force other people to do what you want. If he doesn't want to upvote answers that compete with his, he has the right to do so. Ask yourself this question: "would SO be better if he wasn't there?". The answer is no because then not only you wouldn't have his votes anyway, but you wouldn't have his answers either. – Thomas Bonini Feb 5 '10 at 20:51

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