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?

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    @downvoters: Not good enough even for meta? Why not? – Thomas Apr 7 '10 at 12:14
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    What do you mean with "not even for meta"? Meta is not your trash can. – Ladybug Killer Apr 7 '10 at 12:37
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    @Ladybug - I'm guessing it's more a "waffles and unicorns have a free pass, why not such question" statement. – Gnoupi Apr 7 '10 at 12:40
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    @Ladybud: No Super User is... – Ivo Flipse Apr 7 '10 at 12:42
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    @Gnoupi: I have no idea how this should be comparable to pony waffles. It's not even a Iceland-Friday question. It's a question which would be closed on SO within seconds. Same should be true here. And no, it is not SO related. – Ladybug Killer Apr 7 '10 at 12:50
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    Since when is MSO not a trash can? – user27414 Apr 7 '10 at 12:59
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    @Ladybug - it is related to SO sites, in a way, since it's about things posted on any of them. And in my opinion, it's not worse than "why does Jon Skeet never sleep" or "Jon Skeet facts". It's only one more "light" discussion question on the meta site. – Gnoupi Apr 7 '10 at 13:03
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    I'd vote to re-open, but it's one of those situations where I'd rather not use my mod powers to do so. – Joel Coehoorn Apr 7 '10 at 13:14
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    @Joel - the problem with becoming a moderator: you can't leave a simple, innocent "vote to close/reopen" anymore. Everything you do is immediate. – Gnoupi Apr 7 '10 at 13:21
  • @Ladybug Killer: Gnoupi worded it better than I could; that's exactly what I meant. – Thomas Apr 7 '10 at 13:57
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    @Gnoupi, whenever I see "it is related to SO sites, in a way ", gives me the impression that it's a "what is the best soft drink for programmers " kind of question on Meta. – perbert Apr 7 '10 at 14:17
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    @Thomas: For the one-hundred's time: they are exceptions. We do not want these kind of questions. Pointing to these exceptions does not mean you can post every freaking best/most/worst thingy you wish. When will you guys get that? Again and again people will point to these questions, the more you allow the more they will pointing to them. And at the end we only see these questions on the main page and one or two bug entries in between. – Ladybug Killer Apr 7 '10 at 14:44
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    @Juliet: You obviously don't get it. That's not a point of setting something to the ignore list. It's a point of the question quality standard we want people to conform to. – Ladybug Killer Apr 7 '10 at 15:02
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    Pointing out exceptions is the best way to get mods to do some tidy up and close them as they should. – random Apr 7 '10 at 15:23
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    "What do you mean with "not even for meta"? Meta is not your trash can. – Ladybug Killer" Darn tootin'! Meta is MY trashcan! – Pollyanna Apr 7 '10 at 16:38

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 '10 at 12:30
  • @jon I took half a day on a sunday to read that question.... – ACP Apr 7 '10 at 13:06
  • All three posts were removed. – wythagoras Apr 20 '17 at 9:12

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 '10 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.

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    The accepted answer on that question is much better ;) – user27414 Apr 7 '10 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 '10 at 13:22

This one.

And this one.

  • +1 That second one transcends legendary. – user27414 Apr 7 '10 at 13:04

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.)

  • I'd take my upvote off, but it hasn't been edited since I upvoted it and I don't want to bump the question. – mmyers Apr 7 '10 at 17:55

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