I was going through the stats, and it appears there are some long time users with substantial rep that don't vote, or vote very seldom. We all like rep. It gives us the privileges and badges that drive the site. If you take the time to answer or ask questions and enjoy the fruit of doing so, why don't you pass it on? Upvotes encourage new users (and old!) to enhance the site with more posts. IMHO, soaking up rep without passing it out seems counterproductive.

And kudos to those of you that pay it forward. Spreading the wealth brightens everybody's day.

Here are the numbers:

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    And no. I'm not asking for the sake of my rep count. I'm genuinely curious. There could be quite logical reasons for casting a low number of votes. I'm wondering what they might be. Apr 4, 2013 at 23:04
  • Rep is a zero sum game. The more votes I dole out, the less rep there is for me. Apr 5, 2013 at 4:26
  • Funny how everyone is only talking about upvotes in the answers....
    – user1027
    Apr 5, 2013 at 14:25
  • -1 coming up in 1 hour for not linking us up with the Data query :) Apr 5, 2013 at 15:43
  • @DVK LOL. I scrolled through the users page. Apr 5, 2013 at 15:51
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    @Keen - It seems as if Major Stackings is asking about upvoting in his question. Perhaps that's why downvoting isn't being discussed as much. Something has to be a real stinker for me to downvote -- I mean, it has to be really bad. Apr 5, 2013 at 23:11
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    Regarding the statistics added via the most recent edits... Martin Schröder should get a gold badge or something. 3701 votes at 154 reputation... talk about an unsung hero!
    – Beofett
    Apr 9, 2013 at 12:51
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    I'm not sure that "Total votes" is really very useful, since you'd expect users who have been around for longer to have cast more votes. I took a quick stab at producing something that compares total votes to number of days between joining the site and last visiting it: data.stackexchange.com/science%20fiction%20and%20fantasy/query/… Apr 9, 2013 at 15:29
  • That could be extended so that it has a better estimation of number of days they've been active, by looking at when they commented, voted, asked a question or answered a question, then comparing that to the total number of votes cast. I'll do that when I have time and remember to do so (maybe later today, maybe tomorrow, maybe never...) unless somebody else wants to do it instead. Apr 9, 2013 at 15:33
  • @Keen Perhaps because the question is implicitly about upvotes by way of handing out rep?
    – Izkata
    Apr 10, 2013 at 1:59
  • It's a fair question. Honestly, I am more likely to answer a question than to vote for one. I should probably be better about up-voting the questions I answer! Apr 11, 2013 at 18:10
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    If it's a reasonable question and gets me thinking and can be reasonably answered I will UP vote it. The question doesn't need to be a clever PhD level question to be worthy of an up vote. Isn't this site about curiosity? Also, it's not a zero-sum game here. I get 40 new votes added to my account each day to distribute as I see fit. I see no reason to miserly hold them back for only the most clever and profoundly written Q or A.
    – Morgan
    Apr 18, 2013 at 1:04

5 Answers 5


Well, as I mentioned to Keen earlier today in chat, for a very long time I thought we were restricted to two votes per question: either an up or down vote for 1) the question itself, and 2) the best answer, regardless of how many answers there were and if more than one answer was equally excellent. This obviously sounds like a huge FAIL, and it was -- but I truly didn't know you could vote on multiple answers to the same question. It hasn't been very long since I learned how to correctly vote. This is the main reason I have only cast 566 votes and I've been a member of SFF.se since November of 2011.

I mainly vote on Harry Potter questions and answers because they're the ones I feel most qualified to assess.

Sometimes I do vote on other kinds of questions if I understand the content well enough, for example Star Wars, Star Trek, SGA, Steampunk, and Lord of the Rings. If I don't know a question's source material well enough to determine whether or not the question is a good one, I'm not going to give it a vote, even if it appears excellent at face value.

I ask approximately as many questions as I answer; of course when asking a question you can't vote on your own question. So when I'm answering a question, I have to actively remind myself to vote on the question. I very rarely go back to a question once I'm done answering it, so sometimes I miss some really great answers from other users. This is something I'm working on improving, because I do want to be supportive of my fellow users, not indifferent toward them.

Interesting question!

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    See? I knew there were good reasons. :) Apr 5, 2013 at 0:03
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    sigh I swear, you are what would happen to Luna if she used StackExchange <g> Apr 5, 2013 at 15:41
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    @DVK - I knew it was only a matter of time before the site became infested with Nargles. ;) Apr 5, 2013 at 21:51

I don't pay close attention any more to how much other people vote (although I should check Gilles' counts to be sure I've still voted the most across all SE sites), but on every SE site I've been active on, I've felt that more voting was needed.

To me, voting is almost as important to SE as questions and answers. Having a rating (the net vote count) attached to questions and answers makes them a lot more valuable.

It's really easy to vote - much easier than answering, editing, or commenting - and I don't think people should worry so much about voting "correctly." e.g.

If I don't know a question's source material well enough to determine whether or not the question is a good one, I'm not going to give it a vote, even if it appears excellent at face value.

Again, it's the net result of bulk voting that's valuable, so in the long run if you cast the odd vote that's "wrong," it's not a big deal. In many cases, you can tell whether a question is good or not (is it clear? does it show some effort? is it useful?) even if you don't know the source material.

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    This. Lack of votes is one of the biggest reasons some beta sits languish in beta instead of graduating. Not only does the rating of questions and answers have significant implications for a site's health, but so does the associated transfer of reputation to new users. The stingier people are with their votes, the fewer users obtain enough reputation to unlock new privileges, and therefore there is less encouragement for new users to feel "part of the community".
    – Beofett
    Apr 8, 2013 at 12:52
  • I don't vote on questions I don't understand or know the source material for -- what would I be basing my vote on? Heck, Rondo's questions are clear, show (creative) effort, and have impeccable grammar. Should I be upvoting Rondo's questions because they're understandable and written reasonably well? I won't vote just for the sake of bulking up the site, but I will definitely vote sincerely where I can. Maybe it's not wrong to vote blindly, but I find it disingenuous. YMMV, of course. Apr 15, 2013 at 15:34
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    @aSlytherin There are some situations where I will upvote questions that are on materials I am not familiar with. If it is clear that it is a "real" question (based upon the wording, comments, and answers already posted), and it seems interesting, I may upvote. A good example of this type of question would be "suggested order" questions. For the most part, though, I agree that there's no real benefit to voting on questions that I don't feel qualified to judge.
    – Beofett
    Apr 15, 2013 at 16:07
  • Sorry, but if you're voting based on presentation rather than content, you're part of the problem, not the solution. There are already way too many very wrong answers across the SE sites that are highly upvoted because they look good, or are well-written. Then once the answer gets a couple upvotes, everyone else follows suit because they don't have proper understanding of the subject to realize the answer is wrong.
    – MichaelS
    Oct 11, 2016 at 2:09
  1. My tag ignore list is long. So there are many questions and answers that I don't even see. Many.
  2. I don't usually upvote questions unless I wished I'd asked the question. Sometimes I'll upvote to counter what I consider a misplaced downvote. But most of the time questions don't light a fire under me either way.

I very, very rarely upvote questions. These are the main reasons I would upvote them:

  • Hey, I wish I asked that!
    • This doesn't happen often, as I'm mostly in Star Trek questions and usually have an answer for the question.
  • While answering the question, I realize/notice something I didn't before, or come up with a new way to look at the universe the question is about.
    • For example, Stargate arc episodes I upvoted, because now I want to use that list and watch all of a single arc back-to-back. Never crossed my mind before.

Part of it is that I want try and up the quality of the questions here. What I think of as a really good question gets an upvote, but average/so-so/I'm-not-interested questions usually don't get one from me, even if they are fairly well-researched otherwise. (And note, I do say usually. On rare occasion they are very well-researched and will get my vote, even if I don't otherwise care for the question)

  • "I very, very rarely upvote questions" meanie :/ (lol, kidding)
    – RedCaio
    Mar 31, 2016 at 3:32

I am not sure that

We all like rep

Is true.

Everyone has different priorities. A little positive feed back is a good thing, but if you are only doing something because you want badges or rep, then you may not be working for the benefit of the community (hence review audits).


soaking up rep without passing it out seems counterproductive.

Sounds like the good ol boy, you scratch my back and I will scratch yours, wink, wink attitude.

IMHO Votes should indicate the perceived quality of the question, topic or answer, not the likelihood that someone will return the favor and raise your rep.

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    The phrase "Different strokes for different folks" can and does apply when it comes to voting. Some people scroll through the site passively and others actively take part. I just feel users are more likely to continue to contribute posts if they get a warm & fuzzy every now and then from their peers. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying vote up everything. It's just that since rep provides privileges that allow people to become SE caretakers, not voting up worthy posts hampers the site. Anyway. That's my view. Apr 13, 2013 at 2:47

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