Anonymous and unregistered users with < 15 reputation (the amount required to earn the upvote privilege) will now see


on every post in the area that a logged in user would see "add comment":


When the post area is moused over, the area expands to:

Was this post useful to you? [Yes] [No]

Was this post useful to you? Yes No

once clicked it will say

sending feedback...

and eventually

Thank you for your feedback.

The goal is to offer the 90% of our traffic that is anonymous users a way to provide more meaningful feedback on posts rather than passively incrementing a view counter.

This click data is currently being evaluated to see what we can do with it. Ideas welcome!

  • 11
    I just saw this in Incognito mode and was furiously searching to see if I'd missed a mention of it being added. "What does it do?" was my primary question. I actually expected it to add an upvote or downvote to the question. Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 8:15
  • How will you stock anonymous users thinking that this should update the votes? Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 8:51
  • 16
    @tombull89, if you cast a thousand of these pseudovotes before you reach 15 rep, you're probably not someone we should be handing a badge to.
    – Pops
    Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 13:57
  • @Popular Demand, that's why I suggested such a high "vote" count and a bronze badge. As the FaQ says: Bronze badges ... are easy to earn - so even if they are dedicated enough to spam 1000 votes it's no real gain. or make it 2000, or 5000. It's just a suggestion, after all.
    – tombull89
    Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 14:15
  • 5
    @tombull89, that wasn't the point I was trying to make. You seem to be focusing on giving a reward to people who use the new pseudovotes. However, I think that a high number of pseudovotes is an actively bad thing, because it indicates that a user isn't gaining rep. Unlike some people, I do not believe that rep is easy to earn, but even I think 15 isn't that much. Bronze badges may be easy to earn, but that's no reason to start handing them out for negative or discouraged behaviors.
    – Pops
    Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 14:26
  • 4
    90%?????? Wow ... but, shouldn't that also be available to registered users with rep<15? And believe me, my first 50 so I could finally "comment everywhere" I thought were very hard ...
    – takrl
    Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 15:32
  • 8
    @Popular: I actually interpreted tombull's suggestion as awarding the badge to someone who had their own posts "yes"ed 1000 times, not as an award to the person doing the "yes"ing. I might be totally off in my interpretation, though. Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 16:06
  • @Cody, I don't think that's right. If it were, there wouldn't need to be a defense against "mass yessing." It'd be much more likely for one person to votespam 1000 questions than it would be for a thousand anonymous users to band together to fraudulently upvote one post.
    – Pops
    Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 16:16
  • 1
    @Cody Gray, @Popular Demand, actually, my suggestion was to award the poster of the answer the badge, rather than the person who had voted 1000 times. Sorry for the confusion but Cody seems to have got where I was coming from.
    – tombull89
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 7:36
  • 1
    Have you considered trying to grab more info., especially when the post seems unhelpful to the visitor? It strikes me that one common source of 'No's will be people seeing the question title in Google results, clicking thru and finding that - no matter how good the post - it simply doesn't answer their particular question. It would be useful if we could somehow tell the difference between a post that just needs a different title and one that needs work on the content. (I've not reached a conclusion but I thought maybe a single question as now, but with three (or more) possible responses.) Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 6:52
  • @martin "yes" and "no" are simple.. a four part question that Makes You Think would be far less so. Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 6:57
  • 6
    Is there any development on the subject?
    – Veve
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 18:28
  • 1
    is this abandoned? Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 11:44

13 Answers 13


The wording is strange, in my opinion. "This answer was helpful" is a statement, not a question. I think it would look better with a gray "Was this answer helpful to you?", which turns black on mouse over.

I'm also missing feedback - After voting I see the text "Thank you for your feedback", but I'm missing seeing a score (or anything). Also, when I reload the page I can just vote again as if nothing happened - I understand there's a problem with anonymous votes, but maybe a cookie is in order?
This almost seems like a bug: Voting can be the first interaction people have with the site, but I don't think I'd do it more than once if I can't see any effects...

  • 3
    Far too noisy to have so much text repeated on the page over and over. I believe we ignore repeated votes from the same IP, so no need to worry about double voting. Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 10:23
  • 13
    @Jeff - I'm not worried about double voting, but about seeing the result of my action. As for the first point: "This answer was helpful" doesn't look like it's asking me to vote. How about "Was this answer helpful?" - just adding a question mark.
    – Kobi
    Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 12:30
  • technically you're adding uppercase first char and a ? which makes it noisy to my eye. Commented Jul 16, 2011 at 3:21
  • 9
    @Jeff How about "give feedback"? I agree "this answer was helpful" just seems to mean "you've already voted for this post stating it was helpful. Click here if you changed your mind."
    – badp
    Commented Jul 16, 2011 at 11:32
  • 5
    @badp excellent idea; even better how about just "feedback" Commented Jul 16, 2011 at 17:54
  • @Jeff That works too. Much better now, thanks.
    – badp
    Commented Jul 17, 2011 at 0:01
  • I agree with the latter comment, I had assumed the feedback button was a placebo :P Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 13:59

A review tab containing questions/answers with anonymous feedback that that not collate with votes may be a good way to start using this info.


I think the most interesting data would be negative feedback on questions that received more than a few up votes. This tells us that the question was awesome during the time it was in 'circulation', however something has probably changed since then.

It could be any number of things:

  • The question contains links that are now broken
  • The wording of the question is sufficient to describe a new problem, but is no longer relevant

People might also respond negatively if the answers (in particular the accepted answer) have similar characteristics.

It would be great if we could get these in front of people who have tag badges (or a reasonable amount of up-votes) in the related tags. As Ian suggests, this could become part of /review, or maybe a /spring-cleaning?

In this particular case, we know that the quality of the post is acceptable, so I'm not sure /review is the best way to present the questions for inspection. We really want the people who can spot and fix subtle problems looking at these, the best way to decide who that is seems to be by votes and badges in any given tag.

  • 8
    the other one that turns out to be interesting is "was not useful" feedback on questions with 0 answers. Not many, but they tend to be quite stinky. Commented Jul 17, 2011 at 3:56

I think it would be best used internally for ranking and relevance purposes.Trying to push these into rep points would be wrong as it would need very strong validation , any kind of system would be open to gaming and abuse. We could always just keep it as a psudeo score of some sort.


One obvious idea is that positive anonymous feedback could increase question hotness, at least.


In my recent completely scientific survey of roughly one user, 100% of respondents never clicked the feedback buttons because they assumed it required a login. Could the text make this clearer?

  • 3
    Hi, I'm the 13'th personality of that user and I didn't think it required a login. The other 3872 did, however.
    – user50049
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 16:56
  • I was surprised to see that Super User seems to get at least one feedback vote for each two regular votes. Nice. (This month 17.9k feedback votes versus 23k regular votes; this week 4.4k versus 5.9k.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Jun 16, 2012 at 19:59

How about every time ALL of these conditions are met:

  1. 1000 "Yes" responses...
  2. From 1000 different IP addresses.
  3. Each "Yes" response was at least 150 seconds after the page request (Anonymous user must read and comprehend the post).
  4. "Yes" to "No" ratio is at least 3 to 1.

Then the registered user gets a "Goodwill Ambassador" badge.

On the flip side, for "No" responses? Maybe a "Raspberry" badge?

  • 6
    Just a reminder that SE has a 'no negative badge' policy, which means the 'Raspberry' badge would never see the light of day
    – Yi Jiang
    Commented Jul 17, 2011 at 14:56
  • 2
    @yi well there is tumbleweed, but that's more of a "sorry, thanks for playing" badge. It may be tongue in cheek, but I don't think it is negative. Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 8:15
  • Your "1,000 different IP addresses" will fail to account for response from companies or other groups that sit behind a proxy, thus raising the bar even higher.
    – BryanH
    Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 16:59
  • @BryanH: True, but I don't see that as a problem, the badge(s) shouldn't be too easy to get. "1000" is just a SWAG, anyway. Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 22:06
  • @Brock_Adams: Good point :^)
    – BryanH
    Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 18:26
  • Maybe have three different badges for anonymous upvotes, a bronze, a silver and a gold that can each be rewarded several times. But as Yi Jiang says, I don't think there should be any badge for anonymous downvotes since that would encourage bad posts. Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 21:55

If some trends/summaries were exposed to moderators and X-rep users (3k? 5k? 10k?), that could be helpful in shaping the direction of beta sites and evolving the direction of existing sites. Within the scope of questions that aren't already off-topic across Stack Exchange, of course.

It would probably be a pointless feature on Stack Overflow and possibly the entire trilogy where the site's scope is highly unlikely to change, but it could be helpful on other sites in the network.

Getting the rep requirement for this would be important, since many of the smaller sites don't have many high-rep users.


I feel that the anonymous user's feedback shouldn't be counted towards rep points. If I may suggest, I would recommend the following.

  1. When the first anonymous user clicks the Yes button, a comment with the message Yes, this post was useful. can be added to the post. As more users click Yes, the vote on the comment can be increased. Refer screenshot #1.

  2. When the first anonymous user clicks the No button, a comment with the message No, this post was not useful. can be added to the post. As more users click No, the vote on the comment can be increased/decreased (however, you want to look at it). May be, the count can be displayed in negative. Refer screenshot #2.

  3. A post can also possibly have both the comments.

  4. I gave the user name Anonymous user as an example. One other suggestion from me would be Passer by. Community can be used if that is ok.

I have used Jon Skeet's answer to question Hidden Features of C# to illustrate the example.

Screenshot #1:

Clicking yes button

Screenshot #2:

Clicking no button


I once suggested to register these clicks, and turn them into real votes when the user reaches 15 rep.

I would tie this closer to the existing vote button. So if you indicated this answer was useful, the vote count (for you only) would be the real vote count plus one. If you reach 15 rep, the "fake" vote turns into a real vote.

  • Sounds good, but how would you register/track these votes? By IP? The first guy to set up an account from a large, corporate, NAT-protected IP could get credit for a lot of votes. Maybe okay for up-votes. Bad-news for down-votes. Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 10:48
  • 1
    @Brock Adams: The tracking would probably be cookie based, similar to how anonymous users are tracked now, no? I would not count downvotes (similar to how you can't downvote until you have 125 rep, or can't downvote comments). (I see a difference between an answer that was not helpful and one that really deserves a downvote)
    – Jan Fabry
    Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 11:36
  • 8
    not a bad idea, but only really possible once you hold at least an unregistered (cookie based) account at 1 rep. For true anons, who have yet to ask or answer anything, this would be extremely difficult. Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 11:46
  • 17
    @Jeff: I'm not sure I agree with the premise of a pending, convertible future vote (yet). Part of earning reputation is to defer abilities until you have experience to use them properly. New users are not necessarily voting for the "right reasons" that comes with experience. In the US we don't let minors vote until they have the experience and maturity to make such a decision. Likewise, we don't let 16-year olds cast "fake" votes convertible to real votes should the candidate run for re-election. In time, facts change, posts are edited, better answers added. Votes should be cast in real-time. Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 15:46

I suggest allowing feedback to count for votes — but only for purposes of the "hotness" calculation. There'd be no change to anyone's rep, but marking that you thought a question was helpful could bump it up on the hottest questions views.

The downside is that we'd need to guard against using this mechanism for spam by asking a question and then sending a bunch of anonymous feedback... but I don't think that would be a problem as a spam question on this view would be quickly spotted, closed, and deleted.


In Firefox, hovering over the “feedback” text causes some page elements to jump around by a pixel or so.

I'm not sure whether it's a browser issue or a site issue, but either way it ends up making this new feature quite frustrating.


I would go with 10 "this was helpful" feedbacks from 10 different people making one "true" upvote, coming from Community account.

Of course the number is flexible, 10 is just reasonable in my opinion.

Same for negative feedback: 10 "this was not helpful" feedbacks means 1 downvote.

I would also limit this to maximum of 5 votes total (up or down) to prevent abuse of the system.

  • 18
    Too easy to spam. An unscrupulous user, or group, could really game votes this way. It's not hard to setup, borrow or buy a network, or to use multiple proxies, or even just get a bunch of friends to coordinate. Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 8:43
  • Why can't we solve this by just requiring unique IP addresses? There are ways to game the system already, but I can't imagine people will be dedicated enough to do this for the +5 points they get for question votes. Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 8:59
  • @Cody: It's easy to use dozens or even thousands of IP addresses. (Although an IP check will filter a lot of shenanigans.) Also, see Jeff's post, "Will now see 'this question/answer was helpful'". This applies to answers too. Some people have hundreds of questions, as well. Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 9:10
  • 3
    voting is a rather different system. conflating them is very risky and has a lot of downsides. Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 9:14
  • 2
    @Brock - I don't think spamming votes is such a problem. If you have a group of (bored) people, you can ask/answer some questions (among the group), and easily score enough reputation to cast real votes. As long as anonymous votes count less, they don't worth the trouble.
    – Kobi
    Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 9:56
  • 1
    @Kobi: It's a lot easier when registration (not even an email) is not required. All it takes is a script to send thousands of votes, automatically. Many of us have, or could quickly, make such scripts. And this one would be easier than usual, since there are no CAPTCHAs or registration to deal with. Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 10:58
  • 1
    Thanks guys, @Brock - it's not really relevant as Jeff wish to keep the "anonymous feedback" separated from the voting system - while not everybody might agree, he has the final word and I can live with that. Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 11:43
  • @Kobi - see above comment as well - thanks! :) Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 11:43

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