I've noticed a trend on Photo.SE where people rarely upvote posts even though they're keen to spend their time on a detailed answer. As an example, this post has 5 answers with only 3 upvotes and this question has 0 upvotes despite having 6 answers. I agree that the posts in question are not the best in the world - but hey, if it's worth answering, it's probably worth an upvote as well.

To borrow a quote from a related post on Meta.Travel.SE:

The number of up votes on a question should always be greater than or equal to the number of answers provided by the community.

Or perhaps things are different in the photographic community and I'm ignoring a different unwritten rule on Photo.SE? If so, please let me know.

  • That second question is sloppily written, too broad, and unclear. I have now downvoted (due to sloppy writing), and voted to close (unclear and too broad). Thanks for pointing that out. – Olin Lathrop Dec 25 '17 at 15:37
if it's worth answering, it's probably worth an upvote as well.

No. It is sometimes possible to write useful and interesting answers, sparked by a bad question. The second one you link to is a great example. The question itself is crap, and really should be closed. However, one of the answers points out some interesting things, although it's not the best written.

Personally, I probably wouldn't have spent time answering this bad question. In more borderline cases I might have written a answer, but then not felt the question was worthy of being upvoted.

I'm also not going to upvote any post that is so sloppy and disrespecting of the volunteers here to not bother capitalizing the first letter of each sentence or the word "I". Those two English rules are so fundamental and universal, there is no excuse for not following them. Anyone that knows enough English to post here at all must certainly know these rules.

  • Agree with everything... although if it's my answer that's not the best written happy to hear your comments to improve my answer! – Crazy Dino Jan 4 at 22:08

I don't know that I'd personally agree with that. We tend to allow and answer questions that are more contextually specific to a particular user. These kinds of questions are answerable and depending on what they are covering, they may be on topic, but that doesn't mean they are necessarily a particularly helpful question, just a valid one.

Voting for a question indicates it is useful, not simply that it is an ok fit for the site. Just because I feel like spending my time to help someone out of their problem that isn't likely to be particularly useful does not mean that the question is useful.

That said, I think you probably are correct that we don't upvote questions enough and should try to do a better job. But I'd strongly disagree that a post should have more upvotes than answers. The only time you shouldn't answer a question is if you are downvoting it (maybe) or voting to close it for a reason other than migration.

I disagree with the "policy" or guidance of this Meta question, if only because I feel any measurement of number of question upvotes vs. number of answers is a false metric.

Let's start with the guidance given to voters. The hover-over text for the upvote button is:

This questions shows research effort; it is useful and clear.

The hover-over text for the downvote button is:

This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful.

And from the Help Center's Why is voting important?:

Voting up a question or answer signals to the rest of the community that a post is interesting, well-researched, and useful, while voting down a post signals the opposite: that the post contains wrong information, is poorly researched, or fails to communicate information. The more that people vote on a post, the more certain future visitors can be of the quality of information contained within that post – not to mention that upvotes are a great way to thank the author of a good post for the time and effort put into writing it!

Now, just based on these guidances alone, I should probably be downvoting a lot more questions than I have so far, on the basis of "does not show any research effort". However, I realize that my judgment of peoples' internet search skills is probably skewed. For instance, we get a lot of questions where the answer is basically "Let me Google that for you" (LMGTFY), but without actually saying that. In cases like this, and in many others, the simple fact that an answer was given doesn't mean that the question is upvote-worthy, at least in my calculus.

(Having said the above, when it comes to personal practice, I mostly agree with you. I tend to upvote about 2/3 of questions I answer.)


If we were going to have a "policy" or guidance encouraging users to vote, I suggest the following instead: focus on earning the Electorate badge: Vote on 600 questions and 25% or more of total votes are on questions.

Now, I know a lot of people don't really care for badges, "internet points", and other similar meaningless digital clutter. But as a form of goal-based training, I think this one has a lot of benefit to the site. The process of obtaining the badge requires consistent effort, with only 30-40 votes per day. In doing so, and finding upvote-worthy questions, it forces you to go back through the history of Q&A's here. You become more familiar with the tone of the site, what kinds of questions get lots of love, what gets closed or downvoted, etc.

Additionally, I feel the process of seeking out questions to vote up helps to calibrate or discover the voter's own sense of what questions were upvote-worthy.

In short, chasing the Electorate badge made me a better, more knowledgable SE community member.

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