Most of the trivial questions, i.e. the questions answered directly from Google, get the most upvotes when answered. Take for example this question:

What does << mean in java?
The answers get many upvotes, while they are directly quoted from the first Google hit.

On the other hand some answers that took the answerer great time to think about and write never get an upvote, if they do then its 1 or 2 upvotes.

Most people tend to hunt for simple questions and answer them very quickly, there should be a motivation to make people answer hard and old questions.

  • 7
    This question is TL/DR, I'm going on to the next. Wish I could vote for some of the answers.. oh, there's Jon Skeet, I'll vote for him, and then move on.
    – Gnome
    Mar 22, 2010 at 7:15
  • 3
    How do you measure complexity? That's going to be your first hurdle.
    – user14860
    Mar 22, 2010 at 7:19
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    @Gnome, what's TL/DR?
    – mohdajami
    Mar 22, 2010 at 8:40
  • Too Long, Didn't Read
    – Gnome
    Mar 22, 2010 at 9:15
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    answering and asking complex question would deserve more votes, obviously hard work have to be better recognized than easy one...well that's in a justice sense..outside that desire, society uses democratic (supply and demmand) stupid way of judging things as better..I would love developers could create a modern and better place than an economy society
    – please delete me
    Apr 23, 2010 at 16:50
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    This isn't always the case, take a look at this question: stackoverflow.com/questions/10289890/… I spent a good 2 hours working on the answer to that one, and I got rewarded. The issue of SO is that you need to have a question that people are interested in, so choose carefully when answering complex questions. Jun 19, 2012 at 16:14

5 Answers 5


It really depends on why you participate. I've looked at some long / complex questions, and there is a lot of satisfaction and self-learning to be had from finding an answer. Or reading a good answer from others.

Sure, the rules of bike-shedding means it is unlikely to be a rep-mine (although bounty isn't uncommon on such - and helps, since despite rumour we're not all here 24/7, so might not see it "first time").

Also consider that sometimes a ridiculously complex sounding question can often have a trivial answer, and that a trivial question can actually (sometimes) demand an insanely complex answer.

Sure; quick and simple will be good for points - but I like to go a bit beyond that. Maybe it is just me. Besides, I've probably got enough points now.


This is a fault of the community. Simple answers to simple questions seem to be the will of the masses.

Ultimately it's up to the community to vote for the type of questions and answers they like.

Yes that will cause the type of behaviour you mentioned, but the more important thing is that the hard questions do still keep getting good answers too.

I doubt this can be fixed by fiddling with the rep system.

Clever people will continue answering hard questions because it is fun, rep isn't everything


Well known phenomena. There have been several "fixes" proposed on meta, but none of them went anywhere (mostly due to complexity).

It won't make you feel any better, but I don't hunt for easy questions. I just happen upon them and answer them to get them out of the way. I prefer to deal with harder questions, but there are fewer of those I can answer well.


It's easy for more people to recognize a good answer to an easy question, so many more people are comfortable voting on those answers. That most answers on easy questions are decent plus people hesitating before downvotes is a recipe for waffl— disaster.

In the end you can't answer for the rep, but you can get the rep because you answered well. And then all the questions are more on an easy keel for you: you'll have to work harder to distinguish your answers (or be a watchful FGITW) on easy questions, or you can answer harder questions in the first place.

You could also step back a few months and go for necromancer.

  • 1
    Thanks for pointing out the "necromancer" badge, this is an example of were things could be fixed, i mean i should have get points just for digging up 2 months old questions and answering them, its hard to dig up a question and wait for 5 people to vote for it (although lots of people seem to got the badge). What i mean, is, SO points policy should encourage me to dig up those questions and answer them
    – mohdajami
    Mar 22, 2010 at 8:46
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    @medopal: When you answer it, it gets bumped to the front page (meta.stackoverflow.com), the OP gets notified, and if you post such answers on a blog you have somewhere... Remember you have hours to craft the perfect answer the first time for necromancer badges, rather than mere seconds if you are tracking fresh questions.
    – Gnome
    Mar 22, 2010 at 9:18

Yes, is old question, but I just wanted to throw out a different angle. Sometimes, a question is too complex because it was written in an overly complex manner. Sometimes questions get passed over because they are too wordy when they could be better summarized. Sometimes a complex question gets passed over for being too specific. I too am frustrated with questions solved by a 5 second Google getting 50 upvotes while others get closed immediately (which they all should).

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