There have been a discussion on why people answering a question don't upvote the question, and why some questions with 0 upvotes have answers with many upvotes. What do people think about the following idea: if an answer gets an upvote, half of the vote (1/4? 1/10?) goes to the question?

See also:

Do you ever not upvote a question that you answer?
Why not just make answer up-votes contribute to the votes of the question? [closed]

  • 4
    If an answer gets voted down, shall we also deduct points from the question?
    – PengOne
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 17:57
  • Doesn't look right to me. I'd rather agree that answers may be "bad", but questions are almost never "bad".
    – Leo
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 18:05
  • 7
    How long have you been using SO Leo? Have you really never read a bad question? To me, a question is "bad" if I can plug it into google and find the answer on the first page (lazy asker) or if there is no way to tell what the question is asking because it is too vague. These are just 2 examples.
    – PengOne
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 18:10
  • You are coming to a lawyer, pay $50 and ask a question. The lawyer says: "Check out such and such book, you lazy guy". Or "This question is too vague, you dummy". Is it fair?
    – Leo
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 18:16
  • 2
    @Leo: No one pays to participate in SO. Also, have you read the FAQ about what questions should be asked here? This analogy is completely inappropriate.
    – PengOne
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 18:20
  • 1
    The point is that you seek help but got turned down. And on SO you pay with your reputation points.
    – Leo
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 18:22

5 Answers 5


Terrible idea. Often times I see a good answer to a bad question, and I upvote the answer to support the user who actually tried to parse a terrible question and deliver a reasonable answer.

The quality of an answer is in no way correlated with the quality of the question.

  • What about those questions that are not "bad"?
    – Leo
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 17:44
  • 3
    @Leo: If the question is good, I vote it up. If it's terrible, I may vote it down. This has nothing whatsoever to do with answers.
    – PengOne
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 17:47
  • No question => no answer => no points for the answer.
    – Leo
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 17:52
  • 2
    Same "logic" gives: No SO => no points for anyone => every question/answer should generate rep for Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky
    – PengOne
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 17:53
  • I don't know. Probably I'm not happy with the notation of "bad" questions and the fact that people earn points answering "bad" questions.
    – Leo
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 17:58
  • Do people think the following is fair: if the question is "bad" (has negative score) then answers to this question may not earn points?
    – Leo
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 18:53
  • 1
    @Leo: My last comment on this issue is this. The reputation system is designed to encourage "good" behavior. Really bad questions get closed and/or deleted, which in effect disallows reputation gain from answers to those questions. I think that's a good thing. They clutter the web and this site, and so it's the opposite of helpful to have them around.
    – PengOne
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 18:58

Votes on Questions and Answers, while they have some things in common, also have distinct reasons for votes. We wouldn't want to make any assumptions on what reason the answer voter was voting for that answer and apply it to question.

  • Yes, but a person who scored points on answering the question did so because the question had been asked, right? No questions => no points scored on answers.
    – Leo
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 17:50

I hate this idea. Usually, I will upvote a question if I take the trouble to answer it. However, I know I've answered questions (including this one) that I've also downvoted. I've also come across questions where people have answered them and voted to close the question. Sometimes you come across questions that you feel motivated to answer, for one reason or another, but that doesn't make them a good question, or mean that the question belongs. With the current system it's possible to acknowledge that whilst still trying to help the OP. With your idea, I'd be discouraged from trying to help because any upvotes on answers could make it look the the question belonged...


As stated, this is a bad idea since there's no correlation between a good question and a good answer. However, I think that an alert on top of the page or something making it much easier to upvote the question would be nice.

The reason for this: once you've found what you want, you rarely go back to thank all the people who got you there, like the OP. This is why perfectly good questions are not upvoted when their perfectly good answers are. An alert at the top of the site ("Upvote the question too? Yes or Dismiss") would be the beginning of an okay idea, I think.


I am suprised that this question received so many downvotes and attracted condescending, sometimes vituperative comments and answers. I can understand the criticisms of the question, but as a question it is well phrased and is trying to address a significant problem, the lack of upvotes on questions. People seem to be angry because it is not fitting in with the current Stack Exchange way of doing things. Organisations are able to improve more quickly if they are able to consider ideas outside the cannon without shouting them down.

To me the issue is not whether the question fits in with the established way of doing things, but can it help Stack Exchange to find a better, innovative way of doing things.

The Stack Exchange approach is fantastic, and has done much to promote much better Q&A on the internet. To my mind there is a problem with the way reputation is awarded to questions. In particular it does not reward good questions in the sense that that term is used in the wider community. In the wider community a good question is one that provokes new, useful answers. Often the best people to ask good questions are the newcomers, the outsiders, the young. However on stackexchange sites, the goodness of a question is determined by what the insiders think (because it is mainly only experienced users who upvote). However, experienced users are not the most likely to ask good questions, only the most likely to phrase a question in a way that fits in with the rules and ethos of Stack Exchange sites.

So Leo thanks for asking a thought provoking question and how about a few more open minded answers to it?

  • Are you saying Jon Skeet isn't good in asking questions anymore?
    – rene
    Commented Mar 27, 2016 at 21:12
  • No, I am saying that you do not have to be Jon Skeet to ask a good question.
    – Obromios
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 21:44

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