From time to time I'll find a good answer to a programming question on StackO via Google, but in my rush to solve my current problem I'll forget to upvote the answer.

I was thinking maybe users could get a few points for upvoting stuff. This seems like it would be a good incentive: People are more likely to upvote, thus improving the filtering mechanism and people who post good questions and answers get bigger rewards.

Maybe it could be implemented via a sort of "investment" scheme. If I upvote a question/answer and later that question gets a bunch more upvotes, then I could a bonus for each upvote that came after mine.

You could stick a cap on number of upvotes per minute/hour/day to keep people from voting blindly.

edit: Wow, lots of downvote rage. Please actually read my suggestion and responses to the knee-jerk objections before downvoting. I seriously think this would be a good idea.

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    I think an upvote should accrue 1 millirep to the user performing the upvote, and that rep should continue to be stored as an integer. – Pollyanna Mar 21 '11 at 21:03
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    Store vote points separately maybe. net_score = base_score + round(vote_points * .1). Not that hard. – user159129 Mar 21 '11 at 21:05
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    I didn't notice any rage or knee-jerk objections. I did read your suggestions, and I'm sure studiohack and Robert did, too. We simply disagree with you. – user27414 Mar 21 '11 at 21:20
  • Heh, I guess seeing -6 just hurt my feelings :p – user159129 Mar 21 '11 at 21:24
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    -7 now! Bwahahaha – Welbog Mar 21 '11 at 21:30
  • "Ideas are fragile and beautiful things. Attack people, not ideas." – Pollyanna Mar 21 '11 at 21:37
  • You are a brave man Jesse – RichardTheKiwi Mar 21 '11 at 21:58
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    @Jesse, you might want to check out the MSO-specific FAQ entry. In particular, "On Meta, an upvote indicates 'I like this suggestion' or 'I agree' and a downvote indicates 'I don't like this suggestion' or 'I disagree.' Note that downvotes do not necessarily mean that you have asked a question or given an answer that is poorly-formed. This isn't an official rule, but it has become the de facto accepted community standard." You have my sympathy re the... enthusiasm... you encountered with the welcome party. – Pops Mar 23 '11 at 14:00
  • Ah, that's good to see. It occurs to me that a lot of the objections probably have less to do with actual merit of the idea and more to do with the devaluation of all the points accumulated by old-timers that would likely result. Maybe if this feature was implemented all points from before the "turn-on" date could be multiplied by some value to compensate for the inevitable inflation... – user159129 Mar 23 '11 at 17:47

I'm a big fan of voting, and frequently hit the voting cap (30 per day) on Super User. I'm also the #1 voter on SU, with 5K+ votes cast.

Imagine what would happen to my rep if I got points for voting! (it would explode). Voting is pretty easy to do, and would be a rather mindless and easy way to earn rep. This wouldn't be fair to those who have actually earned the rep in other ways, by asking and answering questions...

Also, it would allow users to exploit the Stack Exchange system, by simply voting everyday (regardless of a cap), which would eventually allow them privileges, for doing NOTHING on the site, but simply pressing an arrow here and there, they don't even have to put any thought into it! How fair is that?

  • Hmm... ok... so the specific scenario I'm thinking about is coming to a question via google and going through the trouble of logging in, etc. Maybe you only get points for the first 5 votes per day or something. Maybe voting could be worth only a little... like say a tenth of a point. – user159129 Mar 21 '11 at 21:00
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    @JesseAldridge: then the reward for voting would be pointless... 1/10th (or any other fraction) of a point would be meaningless...we would have to start adding decimal places to our rep count. Too complicated if you ask me... – studiohack Mar 21 '11 at 21:02
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    Voting is not the same as "doing nothing". It has some value, albeit not as much as posting good answers. I think this value should be reflected in the scores somehow. – user159129 Mar 21 '11 at 21:02
  • So just round... – user159129 Mar 21 '11 at 21:03

With few exceptions, you don't "earn" reputation by giving it to yourself. In other words, the only way to earn reputation is to provide good content… and have it awarded to you.

If the act of clicking 'up-vote' gave you reputation, that would throw off the whole balance. The person who ran through this system clicking gimme-two-points, gimme-two-points, gimme-two-points, gimme-two-points, gimme-two-points would have earned just as much reputation as someone having their post up-voted by a peer.

That's not what reputation is designed to measure.

  • So not two points then. A tenth of a point maybe. And did you not consider the investment scheme I suggested? – user159129 Mar 21 '11 at 21:12
  • There are exceptions. Accepting an answer gives rep two points for basically upvoting an answer. – Mark Peters Mar 21 '11 at 21:16
  • Ok, but that really doesn't address the question... If anything it seems to demonstrate that, yes, voting does indeed hold value and that that value should be reflected in one's score. – user159129 Mar 21 '11 at 21:21
  • @Mark: And then there's the reputation penalty for downvoting. – Lawrence Dol May 8 '11 at 8:12
  • Actually, reputation is awarded for contributing. I would argue that all votes, positive or negative, are a valuable contribution to the site... if done conscientiously. – Lawrence Dol May 8 '11 at 8:17

A main problem I see with this is that it will introduce more bias into voting. We already have a penalty for downvoting. Adding this will actually accentuate the penalty since you will be losing the 2 rep plus 2 potential rep. We don't need more reasons to have our votes skewed in favour of upvoting in my opinion.

The other main problem is gaming the system for rep, though that has the potential to be countered.

  • I agree about the disparity... but perhaps casting any vote should be a +1 to the voter. After all, voting either way does require time and energy and adds value to the site... when it's done with due consideration. – Lawrence Dol May 8 '11 at 8:16

If this would actually help people vote conscientiously, I think it would be a great idea. However, anyone could simply vote as many times as possible each day to earn the maximum rep from voting. It would cause both rep inflation and vote inflation.

  • Voting as many times as possible would be a good thing, since people would generally vote for good stuff. Rep inflation wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. – user159129 Mar 21 '11 at 21:15
  • @Jesse - there's no incentive to only vote for the good stuff. If you're simply rewarding the act of voting, then people will simply vote as much as possible. – user27414 Mar 21 '11 at 21:16
  • Did you not read this part: "Maybe it could be implemented via a sort of "investment" scheme. If I upvote a question/answer and later that question gets a bunch more upvotes, then I could a bonus for each upvote that came after mine." – user159129 Mar 21 '11 at 21:19
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    @Jesse - that would encourage people to try to predict the most popular answer, rather than vote as they see fit. – user27414 Mar 21 '11 at 21:22
  • the most popular answer is usually the best one – user159129 Mar 21 '11 at 21:26
  • @Jesse - I reject that whole-heartedly. It's the answer that the most people think is the best. That doesn't make it the best. – user27414 Mar 21 '11 at 21:28
  • In practice it usually does. I think in pretty close to 100% of the questions I've asked the highest voted answer is the best one. – user159129 Mar 21 '11 at 21:32
  • @Jesse - haven't you ever voted for an answer that wasn't the highest voted? I know I have. Your suggestion would discourage that. – user27414 Mar 21 '11 at 21:36
  • No it wouldn't cuz if an answer is "under-valued", then it will probably become the highest voted one eventually and you can get in early and reap all those sweet investment points. – user159129 Mar 21 '11 at 21:37
  • Also, that's an edge case. Probably very rare relatively speaking. – user159129 Mar 21 '11 at 21:38
  • @Jesse I don't think its as rare as you suspect. The bottom line is that I object to anything that encourages me to vote in any way other than how I see fit. This horse is dead. I'm moving on. – user27414 Mar 21 '11 at 21:41
  • Well I'd call that a relatively small cost for a potentially huge benefit. See ya. – user159129 Mar 21 '11 at 21:44

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