In trying to help a proposal I support get through the "discuss" phase, the following vote-allocation strategy seems to work if your goal is to help the project get to commit and beta as quickly as possible:

  1. In the early stages of the proposal, just vote for whatever you like.
  2. As some questions get close to acceptance (20 votes, apparently), move your votes to those questions to put them over the top, assuming that you don't actually hate those questions.
  3. When an accepted question has a comfortable margin (~25 votes), move your votes to other questions which are nearing acceptance.

This strategy is possible because there doesn't seem to be a limit on the number of times you can change your votes, and because there are usually more than five questions that you would vote for if you could. In fact, low vote limit + unlimited changes actively encourages you to strategically change your votes often.

Do the Powers What Be consider this abusive? What about the community? Do others have similar strategies?

4 Answers 4


Ideally, you should vote for the questions you feel are best, regardless of the early trends. You wouldn't want early-arriving questions to become selected simply on the basis of being first.

But, the ultimate goal is create the best possible Proposal. At some point the popularity of certain questions will become clear. If you have a preference for one "contender" over the other, shifting your vote is the best way to indicate your preference.


This seems to me to be a form of gaming. It could have the detrimental effect of falsely promoting questions that are not truly good examples of on/off-topic questions for the proposal. For this alone I would try to avoid it. Better that the site takes a bit longer to go to the next phase and truly quality questions get created. Otherwise there potentially is a bigger chance of failure in the later beta/launch phases which would be much worse.

  • 3
    I wouldn't call it gaming the system if that's the behaviour the system encourages. IIRC, even one of the moderators admitted to voting this way.
    – Aarobot
    Jun 17, 2010 at 18:29
  • @Aarobot: According to what the developers put forth as the purpose of the sample questions, though, this to me is gaming. If non-quality questions artificially get promoted through voting for the sole purpose of moving the proposal along quicker then that to me is gaming.
    – squillman
    Jun 17, 2010 at 18:31
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    @Aarobot Changing votes around to and from high-voted questions you support as being good examples, I wouldn't call that gaming. But if you vote for questions that you simply didn't not think are good examples just to get the proposal running... that I would call gaming with dangerous potential.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jun 17, 2010 at 18:39
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    @squillman, the idea isn't that I would vote for questions that I don't think are good examples. There are usually more than 5 good example questions, and I can't vote for them all. Instead, I allocate my scarce votes for the good questions that seem likely to reach 20 votes, in order to help the proposal along Jun 17, 2010 at 18:42
  • @JS Bangs - Ultimately your votes should go to the 5 questions each that you personally think are the best examples. If you think they're the best, then that's where your votes should go. But if you're just voting to move the proposal along, I don't think that's what was intended by the developers. That said, though, it's really someone's argument vs. yours when it comes down to it.
    – squillman
    Jun 17, 2010 at 19:01
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    @squill, the problem is that what the developers put forth as the purpose of the sample questions is incompatible with the way the system actually works. You only get 10 votes to distribute, a proposal must have 10 questions with 20 or more votes to proceed to the next phase, and lower-voted questions don't count for anything at all. This doesn't just encourage tactical voting on the most popular questions, it demands it. Voting can only be objective if the voter doesn't care whether or not the proposal succeeds.
    – Aarobot
    Jun 17, 2010 at 19:39
  • I don't agree that it is gaming the voting system at all. As @JS says, if there are multiple great questions, consolidating votes to help reach the requirements seems like a good way to push the proposal to the next phase. I don't think anyone is disagreeing with Robert C. - you should vote for questions you like. That said, I have voted for questions I like, then there are more questions added later that I like just as much, or more. Some questions receive more votes and I have changed my votes to quicken the definition process.
    – IAbstract
    Jul 3, 2010 at 16:41

I think this is a problem with the voting system, see "should single transferable voting (STV) be used"


The collective goal is to assemble the representative collection of questions that define the proposal. I see no harm in vote-shifting to build a consensus on the content of the collection.

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