It's obvious why one should vote on answers:

  • Upvote answers which are accurate and answer the question
  • Downvote extremely poor or completely incorrect answers

However, it's less obvious why one should vote on questions. Why should one vote on questions?

  • 3
    [ Reminds me of this Question ](meta.stackexchange.com/questions/9508/…) Sep 9 '10 at 17:03
  • Related, although scoped to downvotes: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/54914/…
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Sep 9 '10 at 17:13
  • 1
    Why the downvote?
    – Pops
    Sep 9 '10 at 18:43
  • @Peter: Yes -- I rarely if ever vote on questions -- that question has a good reason why. I would like to know why this was downvoted though. Sep 9 '10 at 19:28
  • @Billy - I'm not sure why it was downvoted... not my vote. Sep 9 '10 at 19:41
  • @Peter, not a dupe. This asks what question upvotes are for, the other asks why people don't use them.
    – badp
    Sep 9 '10 at 21:51

I don't know what others do, but on Stack Overflow:

  • When I find a question on Google, I upvote it.
  • When I find a question I also used to have, I upvote it.
  • When I find a question with insightful answers, I upvote it.

Basically, it's my way to thank the asker for bringing me the answers I needed before I knew I needed them.

For example, I also used to have this question ― thus, +1 for you.


I upvote a lot of questions, especially if I'm interested in learning the answer myself. If it's important enough for me to favorite, even if for only a day, it gets my upvote.

I also upvote old questions if they contained an answer I was searching for. It's a small way of saying Thanks for asking first and saving me some time.

I don't downvote much at all, really, except in cases where people are blatantly rude. In those cases, a flag or a vote to close is more effective than a downvote anyway.

  • I agree, I've upvoted many questions that have taught me something new simply by being asked (and then the fact that they may generate quality answers is a plus).
    – Tim Stone
    Sep 10 '10 at 11:42

Rewards are important when you want to stimulate a certain behavior.

That's why I upvote.

  • +1 -- Hmm.. this is true, but I'm not certain exactly what that behavior is. Hence the reason for asking this question. Sep 10 '10 at 0:39
  • The behavior in this case, is when the person take the time to come here, read your question and elaborate an answer for you. If the answer helped you somehow, you should reward that person so he/she knows its effort was worthed and appreciated, so he/she can continue to come back and help others. Sep 10 '10 at 13:40
  • I'm talking about questions, not answers. Sep 10 '10 at 21:24

Because it gives postive feedback that you think that it is either a great question. I up vote questions that made me think, even if at first glance it seems a simple subject. Or because no matter what level the question actually is, it is obvious that the asker actually took the time to think about it and shows both their own investigation and clearly states what the question is.

Voting down when it is obvious the person hasn't even taken the time to google for an answer. If the question is badly phrased, leave a comment asking for more information / clarification 1st and possibly only mark down if there is no response / edit.

  • 1
    +1 - What makes a good question -- well written? Common problem? Complicated? Simple? Sep 9 '10 at 19:28
  • 1
    @Billy: A combination of everything you mentioned. Just a question you like to read. Sep 9 '10 at 21:11

Simple algorithm: If a question is worth my time writing an answer for, it's worth an upvote.


Though in general voting is for posts, not for users, voting actually also feeds the Sorry, we are no longer accepting questions from this account, to filter out low quality questions.


If you don't make a regular habit of downvoting awful questions, you just accumulate more and more rep. And then you have to build a room to keep it in, and hire a ninja to guard it, worry about it all the time. Far better to spend it by feeding the "Sorry, we are no longer accepting questions from this account" machinery.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .