Six hours until the vote cap reset, and I've already run out of votes to grant for the day. This is unfortunate for people providing good questions or answers, but wholly understandable.

As I understand it, the Stack Overflow 'day' resets for everyone at the same time, correct? (8 pm Eastern Time (EST)?)

If this is the case, and if a majority of active users are hitting the daily vote cap, then people asking good questions and providing good answers near the end of the day are less likely to get votes than those just after the day resets. If the 'day' reset for different people at different times, distributed around the clock, then this problem could be avoided.

It would be very interesting if someone with deep access to the data ran a query to validate or refute the existence of this problem.

I've just discovered data.stackexchange.com; I'll see if I am able to create a query to find out this information or not and report back either way.


OK, apparently there is not much of a problem here (or, as the downvote indicated: "this idea sux!!1!"). I've created two queries to track average question score by hour and average answer score by hour. I've graphed the results of both:

Graph of Posts and Answer Scores by Hour (Source: phrogz.net)

Although perceived quality of questions and answers dips around +0900 UTC, there is not (as I had feared) a strong downward slope towards the end of the day resetting at +0000 UTC.

It was fun to play with data.stackexchange.com, though. :)

  • 1
    SO time is UTC, so it's 7pm ET in winter.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Dec 31, 2010 at 19:09
  • Please, if you're going to downvote the suggestion, supply an argument as to why you disagree. Drive-by-downvoting helps no one.
    – Phrogz
    Commented Dec 31, 2010 at 19:16
  • 7
    On Meta a downvote can often mean, "Ur idea sux lol!!!11!"
    – random
    Commented Dec 31, 2010 at 19:18
  • 2
    An upvote can also mean "I like you."
    – bobobobo
    Commented Dec 31, 2010 at 19:50
  • 4
    @Phrogz: drive-by downvoting helps everyone. Aggregate votes appear on the main page; comments do not.
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 31, 2010 at 20:42
  • 3
    @Shog9: No, it helps nobody. But if someone's made a comment that gives the reason why I downvoted, I'll upvote that comment. (If there isn't such a comment, I'll make the comment myself. Or it will be utterly blisteringly obvious what's wrong with the question, such as a total lack of vowels or other such stupidity. ;-)) Commented Dec 31, 2010 at 21:56
  • 1
    @Shog9 OK, I suppose I agree. Votes are useful to the population as a whole whether or not they are explained. I should have said "Drive-by-downvoting doesn't help me understand what is wrong with my suggestion, nor provide any seed for further discussion of the topic by others."
    – Phrogz
    Commented Jan 1, 2011 at 2:05
  • 4
    @Phrogz: that's the right attitude. If someone down-votes you (or up-votes you...) without leaving a comment, just think to yourself, "Well, they don't want to discuss it" and move on.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jan 1, 2011 at 19:40

1 Answer 1


I'm really not sure I see what the issue is here.

I vote a lot. Well, I don't know that I vote more than others, but I know I use up all my votes quite frequently. I'm in EST, so sometimes I'll be using the site around 7/8 PM, and will get 30 more votes after already using mine up. I often will wait for my next day's votes to become available so I can keep voting.

But this inevitably has a consequence: I then can't vote as much the next day.

So regardless of if your votes reset for you during a "day" in your timezone or not, you still get 30 votes per 24 hour period. What does it matter where the 24 hour period starts and stops?

Also, I'm not sure how, but I have a good feeling that you could abuse or game the system if your votes were dependent on your timezone. If nothing else it would be a lot more to code with no apparent benefit. Maybe I'm missing something, I just don't see it.

  • (And if I am missing something, I'm sure a freehand circle would show me where it was...) Commented Jan 1, 2011 at 19:30
  • We need a Meme way over used vote for comments. Commented Jan 1, 2011 at 19:36
  • 1
    ...Meme way overused flag for comments... Also, oy.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jan 1, 2011 at 19:41
  • 1
    I don't understand @Rebecca. How can a meme be overused..? Isn't that was a meme is by definition? ;-) Commented Jan 1, 2011 at 20:03
  • Imagine if every user was on stackoverflow around 0:00UTC, waiting for the day to reset so that they could vote like a maniac. Imagine that each user used up all their votes in the first hour. This would mean that no votes would be placed on the site between 01:00UTC and 23:59UTC; there would be a strong disincentive to ask new questions or post new answers during that time. This (to a lesser extent) is the problem I was concerned existed. I'm not 100% sure that my queries prove that there isn't any such effect, but I'm no longer concerned that it makes much of a difference.
    – Phrogz
    Commented Jan 1, 2011 at 22:11
  • But questions asked during that time will be upvoted when people get their votes back... There's no time limit for upvoting... Commented Jan 3, 2011 at 14:02
  • @TheRenamedException This becomes increasingly less likely as traffic on the site increases and questions quickly become 'old', seen only on page 2 or 10 or whatever of any general list being displayed.
    – Phrogz
    Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 15:46

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