An essential point raised in another StackExchange beta I participated in was that at launch a community pretty much sets the "level" of voting that occurs. For example, on some sites a good question or answer might frequently get 30+ votes, while on another site 20 might be considered outstanding. Once people have a certain level in their minds as representing a good or excellent question, they're much less likely to vote when the score already reflects their existing opinion of a question or answer's quality.

During the beta we have the chance as a community to, as Jeff Atwood recommends on the Stack Exchange blog, vote early and vote often. In so doing, we increase the effectiveness with which we distinguish between different questions, and also help to encourage participation because people who contribute something useful feel rewarded for doing so. Setting a "high" level of voting where good, great, and outstanding questions and answers receive a large number of points will produce great advantages for the community in the future.

With this in mind, I've decided to browse back through the full list of questions sorted by votes, and vote up all those questions and answers that are good, great, and outstanding; and I'd advise others to do the same. By creating a culture of frequent voting now, it will be far less of a chore to encourage the community to be active in voting later!

3 Answers 3


Good observation. I've been doing the same as best I can.

My voting rules are loosely like this:

  • If a question deserves my answer, it deserves my vote
  • If an answer is useful it gets an upvote, even if it is competing with mine
  • If someone takes the trouble to answer one of my questions, I visit their profile and trawl their other answers looking for upvote opportunities. This may even be across other SE sites.
  • If I downvote then I justify my reasoning, allow time for clarification edits and withdraw the downvote if appropriate
  • I perform regular question trawls looking for voting opportunities as part of widening my subject knowledge
  • 4
    I've been doing similar. It's a good plan.
    – Evil Spork
    Sep 4, 2011 at 8:10

Voting is indeed very important; it's important for there to be a means for the great, good, mediocre, and poor to be differentiated. Many people like to to simply upvote good answers, but it's important to also vote for questions and also to downvote when appropriate. Downvoting questions no longer even costs you rep!

Also note that you get a badge if you vote 30 times in a day. If you vote for lots of questions you can vote up to 40 times in a day, and that gets you another badge!

  • 1
    I believe that down voting still costs reputation. Only the first down vote is free.
    – nmat
    Sep 1, 2011 at 0:59
  • 2
    I'm pretty sure downvoting questions is free; answers still cost rep... Sep 1, 2011 at 2:37
  • You are right. My mistake.
    – nmat
    Sep 1, 2011 at 2:40
  • 1
    I agree that people should downvote more often. Especially on questions that are obviously trying to grab rep. Sep 1, 2011 at 4:26
  • 8
    @Artem meta-evaluations like "trying to grab rep" aren't really a good reason to downvote. It's far more important to evaluate whether the question will be useful to the internets at large. On stack exchange, "trying to grab rep" is considered a good thing. Don't let a competitive spirit obscure the overall purpose of the site: reputation only exists to serve that purpose in the first place! Sep 1, 2011 at 22:40
  • @eMansipater my bad, I meant as in quick questions that show no research insight (like require a simple google search) and are thus there just for rep and not because the users actually wants to know the answer. Those are the kind I tend to downvote. Sep 2, 2011 at 0:02
  • If the question is about public knowledge that remains stable in foreseeable future and hasn't previously been answered on our site, I don't really see a problem with adding a sought-after question-answer pair on the site.
    – Murch Mod
    Oct 19, 2017 at 10:25

I would additionally like to point out the cleansing effect of downvotes on questions:

If a question is more than 30 days old, and...

  • has -1 or lower score
  • has no answers
  • is not locked

it will be automatically deleted by a script that checks daily.

If you feel that we have too many low-quality questions that "do not show research-effort, are unclear, or not useful", save your fellow users some time and click "downvote" after reading the question. Downvoting on questions doesn't even cost you reputation.

While it is nice to leave an explanatory comment, it is at your own discretion to decide where such is deserved or not.

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