Some questions contain statements like "will upvote everyone who provide valid code".
When hovering over the upvote icon of an answer, I see that SO believes it should be pressed for a "useful" answer.

I personally think writing sentences like the above imply that the writer is not going to respect SO rules about voting, and should be edited out, although I don't think I've ever seen sentences like that being edited out.

Added: Or is it that the original author can define what he finds useful?

Do you agree?

  • Do you have any examples of questions like this? I'm not sure if I've seen that before (but I'm not surprised it happens either). – Tim Stone Sep 15 '10 at 20:20
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    I'll upvote anyone who can provide examples of this happening. – Grace Note Sep 15 '10 at 20:20
  • @Tim: 100% sure I saw it, but can't find anything specific right now. – Oren A Sep 15 '10 at 20:23
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    @Grace Note, I would like one upvote please: "I will 'upvote' every answer that even remotely assists me in making a decision." – Pops Sep 15 '10 at 20:26
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    @Grace, heck, give me a second one: "I will upvote any non-insane answer." – Pops Sep 15 '10 at 20:28
  • @Popular Demand: Thanks for the examples (-: – Oren A Sep 15 '10 at 20:29
  • @Grace,Popular: That's voting commerce right there (: – Oren A Sep 15 '10 at 20:34
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    I will upvote anybody (in some other Meta question) who upvotes my answer. For a limited time only, there's even a 2 for 1 offer through my sock puppet account. Hurry! – Pekka Sep 15 '10 at 21:07
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    @Pekka: Throw in a SO comment upvote and a small latte or the deal's off! – Tim Stone Sep 15 '10 at 21:29
  • @Tim how about my sock puppet goes upvoting some old answers of yours. On the SOFU[E] site of your choice. Huh? Come on. I even make a condescending sidenote about low quality questions, it's not that hard to upvote. – Pekka Sep 15 '10 at 22:05
  • @Tim: I think that's the first recorded voting blackmail in history – Oren A Sep 15 '10 at 22:08
  • @Popular: Thanks for the edit and sorry for undoing it. Restored it now. – Oren A Sep 15 '10 at 22:34
  • @Pekka: Well, it is true that all those mod_rewrite answers could use more attention...Alright, I'm game. Just give me some time to write a Greasemonkey script to click the upvote button on your answer, so I can have plausible deniability. – Tim Stone Sep 15 '10 at 22:57
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    @Oren A: Some like to bribe people with votes, I like to extort votes out of them. Such is the world... But no, to actually say something of value, I do agree with your point. People should upvote answers only if they contribute in a significant way to resolving the question, and they shouldn't feel like "promising" votes is going to influence the number/quality/whatever of answers they get. – Tim Stone Sep 15 '10 at 23:01
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    That's a very seductive offer by @Pekka, but the real question is, does it work the other way round? Let's see! For a limited time only, I will be posting comments that will be upvoted by everybody but Pekka (or his puppet)! Hurry! This exclusive deal won't last forever! – ЯegDwight Sep 15 '10 at 23:31

Crass and graceless.

That said, there are few answers to my questions that I have not voted for. Broad-based voting for people who take a credible crack at my trouble is just good manners. It's the explicit announcement that comes over badly.


Good point. It's definitely not good style.

Usually, the question will be in the same vein.

I find it okay to edit stuff like this out.

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    Don't edit it out. Just replace "upvote" with "downvote". – Henk Holterman Sep 15 '10 at 22:13
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    @Henk ahahahahahaha! – Pekka Sep 15 '10 at 22:21
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    @Henk "I will downvote useful answers. I will downvote unhelpful answers. I will accept the most downvoted answer." – Mateen Ulhaq May 14 '11 at 23:28

This is similar to "thanks in advance": both promise to not actually consider whether your answer is useful or helpful, and possibly to not even read it at all.

I remember this kind of "upvote promise" being used more on poll/discussion-list questions than other types, and those don't fit very well in the first place. This combination points to a general misunderstanding, even though the "useful" criteria is certainly subjective and interpreted broadly.

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    IMO "thanks in advance" is just good manners. – Oren A Sep 15 '10 at 23:11
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    @Oren: I find it incredibly rude, but, particularly from non-native speakers, I understand it wasn't intended that way. – Gnome Sep 15 '10 at 23:27
  • @Gnome: Full disclosure: I use it a lot (I'm not native speaker). should I stop doing that? (-: – Oren A Sep 15 '10 at 23:32
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    I always consider "Thanks in advance" to actually mean "Thanks in advance for your time." Which is completely valid, irrespective of the quality of the answer, since the answerer decided to spend a finite resource on an attempt to help you. – Peter Ajtai Sep 15 '10 at 23:35
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    @Gnome: I'm curious. I'm a native English speaker. I find "thanks in advance" to be mostly unnecessary, and certainty unneeded in SE questions, but for I don't see rudeness at all. Where is that coming from? – Michael Petrotta Sep 16 '10 at 0:35
  • @Oren: My position should be clear: don't. :) At best, it's unnecessary and redundant in SE questions. If you really want to encourage more/better answers and show appreciation for those taking the time to read your post, spend time writing a better question. – Gnome Sep 16 '10 at 7:45
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    @Michael: "...the phrase 'Thanks in advanvce!' has become a thin veil for 'I'm feigning being polite because in reality I don't want to take the time to properly thank you when I should so I'll just ask and thank you all at once so I don't have to be inconvenienced by properly expressing my appreciation later, when I should. This is really more convenient for me.'" as one person put it. – Gnome Sep 16 '10 at 7:49
  • @Peter: "It is clearly a tactic and not sincere since it can be observed that very few posters that use those phrases express gratefulness AFTER they have got an answer." — Peter Mortensen – Gnome Sep 16 '10 at 7:54

No, writing “will upvote” is not appropriate. It is just one more way to try to get preferential treatment.

Other kindergarten-like behaviour of this sort is "Please help me", "Extremely urgent" and "thanks in advance". It is common on forums, but has the same origin: scream higher than the others or beg to get attention.

It is clearly a tactic and not sincere since it can be observed that very few posters that use those phrases express gratefulness AFTER they have got an answer.

  • +1 for everything except "thanks in advance" - that mostly is just an expression of friendliness really – Pekka Sep 16 '10 at 9:26
  • @Pekka: you might be correct about "thanks in advance". It is also what Eric Raymond writes in How To Ask Questions The Smart Way. But I have my doubts. – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q Sep 16 '10 at 11:06
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    Even ESR notes a large caveat with "thanks in advance"; plus what he currently recommends, which reads as "thanks for your time already spent", isn't "in advance". – Gnome Sep 16 '10 at 17:43

I think that there's too many questions with answers that aren't upvoted. I've seen occasions where an answer is useful to the questioner based on the comments they put in the answer, yet there's no upvote. I wonder how many people think they're voting for the best answer?

So, advertising "I ain't one of them one question, one vote people" is ok, but there certainly is a point at which you're being, um, too easy.

  • +1 totally agree. I think this is a real problem on SO. Far too many good answers (well, at least helpful and/or useful answers) aren't getting any upvotes. – Bill Forster Oct 10 '10 at 2:05

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