I think most of us have seen it. You post something innocuous, it receives an upvote, then another, then another, and before you know it you've got another handful of badges pinned onto your chest.

Now I know that rep shouldn't matter and all that, but I also know that I'm only human. I do have a certain feeling about the quality of a question or answer that I post, and certain (subconscious) expectations about the number of votes it will receive. And sometimes it just happens that the actual number is very different.

What question or answer have you posted, that unexpectedly received way more upvotes (or downvotes) than you had expected?

  • 1
    Almost any question voted up on Sundays:( Apr 9 at 14:56
  • 1
    I’m voting to close this question because this is a list question which is asking people to respond with effectively semi-random questions or answers which they personally found to match the criteria in the question. There's no possibility of actually having an authoritative or "correct" answer, nor does it actually ask for discussion about the site or the software which powers the Stack Exchange network.
    – Makyen
    Apr 9 at 16:28

8 Answers 8


Definitely my answer to "Hello world in less than 20 bytes".

It's an entirely frivolous answer, but has 424 upvotes and 58 downvotes. It's almost certainly my most downvoted answer as well as my most upvoted one :)

The fact that a picture of me in a dressing gown (with accompanying story, admittedly) is worth 291 upvotes (and no downvotes) on SO is surprising too.

On Meta it's even sillier: 108 upvotes and two downvotes for posting my daily timetable.

  • On Meta, though, it's not as surprising, I think :] (And also, the "SO presence" in it is quite impressive, I have to admit) (Or something to be concerned about)
    – Gnoupi
    Apr 7, 2010 at 12:30
  • @jon I took half a day on a sunday to read that question....
    – ACP
    Apr 7, 2010 at 13:06
  • All three posts were removed.
    – wythagoras
    Apr 20, 2017 at 9:12
  • All three links are dead now. Please delete the answer.
    – user59748
    Apr 9 at 12:29
  • The answer was deleted on 2011-08-31. Apr 9 at 13:01

It's a toss-up between:

There's also:

In some cases it's kind of an "escape velocity" thing - once you hit 10 upvotes, people resist giving you any more, but after you hit 20 or so, people start upvoting the answer because it's so popular).


Easily the answer to What is the opposite of ‘parse’?.

After that, it would have to be one of my rants on securing your .NET code. (Hint: don't waste your time on it.)

  • All of your code-obfuscation/copy-protection rants were A+++.
    – Aarobot
    Apr 7, 2010 at 17:44

For me, that would have to be my most upvoted answer.

I mean seriously, all I said was pure logic and guessing, and on a question which is moreover off-topic now on Super User. Really nothing to be proud of.

  • 2
    The accepted answer on that question is much better ;)
    – user27414
    Apr 7, 2010 at 13:10
  • @Jon - yes, wonderful case of "WTF did this one get accepted", in my opinion. Note also that the original contained not only a signature, but the contact mail as well. Impressive.
    – Gnoupi
    Apr 7, 2010 at 13:22

Pick one.

Although I think that my answer to Is a GUID unique 100% of the time? is most interesting for several reasons:

  • Terribly easy to google
  • If you understand what a GUID is, how MS generates one, and basic math, then you can easily figure it out yourself
  • My answer is nothing more than a nicely formatted cut-n-paste from wikipedia
  • It continues to get attention - apparently it's a true FAQ
  • None of the other answers are really wrong - though I dislike saying "yes" to this question because technically it is possible for a collision to occur

But then there's always How Can I Know Whether I Am a Good Programmer? which was well answered by the time I got to it, I threw something together not expecting much to happen, and then found that people apparently thought it was a little more interesting than the existing answers - and continue to find it interesting.


I was surprised at the level of interest in my most-upvoted question: Fastest way to determine if an integer’s square root is an integer. At one point it got about 12k views in a single day. I thought it was a bug, but it turned out the question had just made it to the front page of reddit.

There's also "What real life bad habits has programming given you?", which I answered with "I now consider 256 to be a nice, round number". With 107 downvotes, this is the most downvoted answer in the history of Stack Overflow! (For a while people were actively downvoting it to keep its net score at exactly 256 votes. It recently passed 1024 net votes.)


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