I recently downvoted this highly upvoted answer to a currently very popular question. The answer was written well, and offered an interesting perspective, but I felt it was not very useful to the questioner who was looking for an answer more related to canon, and less related to imaginative world-buidling and whether or not 'parsec' means the same thing in a galaxy far, far away.

But I notice a lot of people, from the comments being made on the answer, upvoted it solely because the answer was funny, regardless of (and in spite of) the actual usefulness of the answer.

I don't mean to be a party pooper, but I don't think this is appropriate. Funny though the answer may be, it's now the highest-voted answer on the question, and doesn't really contribute that much to the actual question itself.

Should such upvotes be discouraged? Am I just being a big wet blanket? Or is the content of this answer actually fully relevant and therefore this meta question is just amounting to a big rant?

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    If the OP could provide any other example of confirmed "mistranslations" (aside from "parsecs"), I think it could be a decent answer. But as-is, it reads like a sarcastic response that should have been a comment.
    – phantom42
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 16:26
  • 9
    If an answer is amusing and accurate, then upvote it. If it's inaccurate, but attractively humorous and glib, then downvote it. A lot of people use humor naturally and there's nothing inherently wrong with that. You have the right to downvote, but a downvote should be given for inaccuracy, not the style in which the answer is delivered. I don't see a "No Humor!" rule as being productive. Or enforceable. In sum, let me just say ... GOT YOUR CONK! < / Peeves > ;) Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 17:17
  • @Slytherincess Agreed. Trust me, if this site didn't have at least a little humor about it, I wouldn't be hanging around here as much as I do. ;)
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 17:33
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    FWIW, there is an answer there, it's just low quality, with portions (like most of the last paragraph) being incorrect. It's not a fully joke answer, which I would delete without issue.
    – user1027
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 19:42
  • Whatever happened to "ask a silly question, get a silly answer?" I realize this stack exchange is all about giving serious answers to ridiculous questions, but I thought it was all supposed to be deadpan humor.
    – user14111
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 0:51
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    @user14111 I'm pretty certain that's never been the purpose of SE, Sci-fi or otherwise. Every question asked here is looking for a legitimate answer.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 0:58
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    Regardless of quality (answer or humour), the answer feels like it veers dangerously close to exactly the kind of forum-noise that SE was founded to be free from. Voting up answers like that on a regular basis will defeat the SE mission in the long run.
    – user36551
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 2:40
  • 3
    party pooper
    – user16696
    Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 16:43
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    @nothingisnecessary If you don't feel like you should earn additional rep from it, you could convert the answer to a community wiki.
    – phantom42
    Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 6:31

3 Answers 3


While Stack Exchange sites offer guidance for what we consider good questions and good answers, they very specifically do not have rules for what justifies up-votes or down-votes. It has always been policy, (AFAIK on every site) that you up-vote answers you "think are good", and that means whatever you want it to mean.

So, while you may be correct that the answer isn't doing much to answer the question, the community as a whole likes it, and that's all there is to it. You've done your part by downvoting it (and it may get some more via the meta effect), but otherwise...

In Short: no, you're not being a "wet blanket", because you are largely correct; but yes, this question is mostly just a rant.

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    Don't you mean the answer is mostly a rant (last paragraph)? Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 19:05
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    +1. The key to how to handle fun, soft, subjective, etc. questions is what the community wants. NOT what some theoretical, more "professional" community who might show up someday wants. If WE enjoy 10% fun, that's the right level. If WE find it distracting or problematic, then it's not. (I liked that answer.)
    – Jaydles
    Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 14:44

I was kind of on the fence on this one. Translation conventions aside, it is entirely possible that another culture could count differently. Maybe it's unlucky to sound off sequentially, for example. But yeah, it was posted as a joke, and I personally downvoted it as such.

  • 4
    And you're perfectly entitled to do so. The tone is clearly fatuous although it does contain a (tiny) element of a real answer.
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 16:46

Voting is subjective so we can't discourage upvotes. The best thing for you to do is downvote to discourage such "funny" answers.

As for the concern about the answer not being useful to the asker, that's for the asker to decide. The asker has the option to accept a different answer that is more helpful, and that answer would float to the top even if it isn't the highest voted answer.

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