Why does Stack Overflow using voting for questions?

  • possible duplicate of Why aren't people voting for questions? Sep 2 '10 at 20:50
  • 1
    The fact that this question wasn't very well worded doesn't make "noise or pointless". I'm surprised it's not a dupe, actually.
    – user27414
    Sep 3 '10 at 2:32
  • That's a valid question.. :/ Voting to reopen Sep 3 '10 at 2:43

Voting on a question means something like

  • "Hey, that's interesting, I'd also like to know the answer (+1)", or
  • "Reading this question turned out to be an utter waste of time (-1)".

(On meta, things work a bit different, however, e.g. votes on feature-request indicate "want, too (+1)" or "please don't, that would annoy me (-1)", or bugs are confirmed (+1))


My main reasons for upvoting the questions related to my interest are:

(1). I would like to know how to do this if I don't know the answer.

(2). If I know the answer but somebody proposed a better way of doing it then I would upvote both as it helped me learning something new.

Main reasons for downvoting:

(1). User has put no efforts in solving the question. Just looking for somebody else to solve their problem.

(2). Asking the same question again and again and again even after the previous one was closed.


Voting allows users to identify which answers the community feels are most correct. It also helps build reputation. The assumption is that answers by users with a higher reputation might be more reliable, presumably because they are more experienced. This is not always the case, but it generally follows.

  • 4
    Question is about voting on questions not answers
    – ChrisF Mod
    Sep 2 '10 at 10:16
  • @ChrisF: The original question is ambiguous, it could be talking about voting while viewing a question's page (which displays all the answers).
    – Gnome
    Sep 2 '10 at 10:59
  • +1 Nice attempt, but I don't think the OP will come back to clarify and there's really just no way to answer. You did a much better job than posting a random insulting picture like the other answer!
    – Gnome
    Sep 2 '10 at 11:01
  • @Gnome: I only changed the title to what @ChrisF and I understood from the question text, since "related to votes" didn't help much. But your interpretation may also be correct. Let's hope the OP figures out about meta and clarifies. Sep 2 '10 at 11:25

In SOFU and the SE 2.0 sites, voting on questions expresses the importance of the question for the community: there are other people than the OP that are interested in the answers.

Votes on questions in SO only reward the OP with 5 rep points and therefore do contribute to the reputation of the person less than votes on answers. This was done to make it harder to build a reputation just asking questions. Yet asking a good question, provoking nice answers, is vital for a Q&A site. Therefore the rewards.

Votes on questions in meta have a slightly different catch for feature requests and bugs. People express their interest for the implementation of the feature or testify to the bugs existence.

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