A proposal for everyone: Let’s find good questions and answers and up-vote them!

Why? Let me copy a post by Scott Morrison on tex.stackexchange.com, because it is a good advice. (Actually I should have posted this much earlier, but they say better late than never.)

I'm a moderator from MathOverflow, and this "question" is actually unsolicited advice, based on our experience from the initial launch of MathOverflow.

We should encourage everyone to vote positively as often as possible!

Every Stack Exchange site will eventually end up with a different "base level" of voting --- that is, the expected number of upvotes for a question of a given level of excellence. (This effect occurs because people see a good question, but already with a certain number of votes, and think "oh, I would have upvoted this, but it already has enough".)

It's easy for us to affect this "base level" by encouraging high levels of upvoting now. We're setting the standards, and this really will have an effect.

(On MathOverflow, we were very active about this early on, specifically encouraging all the initial round of users to vote early and often. You can compare statistics, and see that the average vote total for a MathOverflow question is much higher than on any of the other SE 1.0 sites.)

In case it's not obvious: the rationale for wanting this base level to be high is that it provides better positive feedback to good contributors.

  • 3
    Good idea. I'll go do some scouring right now.
    – Boaz Yaniv
    Jun 6, 2011 at 21:19
  • 1
    The questions seem to get voted on a lot less than the answers these days. I'll try to work on that. (I just got my Suffrage badge)
    – oals
    Feb 23, 2015 at 8:37

3 Answers 3


For those who are interested, let me give another, more practical, reason why we should vote often, because I feel dishonest not stating this.

I have been participating the Theoretical Computer Science Stack Exchange since its public beta, and one of the problems which arose in early days of beta was that there were not enough users with high reputation score which have enough privileges. This made moderators’ jobs very hard because basically moderators were the only users that could vote to close questions or edit posts.

The same problem arose again when we got out of beta, because the reputation points required for privileges are much higher in non-beta SE sites than beta SE sites.

I suspect that the same problem will arise here if we do not think about it.

The solution to this was to vote often.

Of course, we should not up-vote random questions and answers without reading them just for the sake of increasing the number of high-rep users. The point is that we should not hesitate to up-vote good posts just because “they have enough up-votes.”

Remember, we can cast at least 30 votes per day, although the precise limit is a little complicated because of the recent change to the system.

And the fact that I remembered about posting this is not completely unrelated to the fact that I was nominated for a pro tem moderator. So this proposal is partly for my own interest in case that I will be chosen, although this proposal is independent of who will be moderators.

  • Right now there are too many tag wiki edit suggestions for me to approve in a day. Since there are only 6 users with enough privilege to approve wiki edits and no user with enough privilege to edit the wiki right away, this leaves us rather limited. And when we go out of beta, rep. minimums are going to jump even more. :( So now I see even more how much important it is in practice. We need to have as many high-rep users as possible when we go out of beta.
    – Boaz Yaniv
    Jun 13, 2011 at 20:20
  • @Boaz: I did not know that a user with 1,500 reputation points can approve suggested tag wiki edits even if he/she cannot edit tag wikis directly. Jun 13, 2011 at 20:50
  • Yeah, I've just realized it today too. I seem to be able to approve tag wiki edits with just one vote, but someone else need to vote on my edits. Well, it makes all edits pass two pairs of eyes, but it's still a bit strange.
    – Boaz Yaniv
    Jun 13, 2011 at 20:56

Tsuyoshi has posted an excellent explanation on why we all need to up-vote, so I'd just want to add another point, that is reputation is the currency of all SE sites.

Up-vote and down-vote are similar to all those "like" and "dislike" buttons in Facebook, YouTube etc, but with one notable difference: all up-votes and down-votes to questions and answers add up to the reputation points of the posters. Reputation points are synonymous to a person's worth within an SE site, as they are shown next to his/her name in almost all places (notable exception is in comments). Let's face it, that except for maybe some sincere people, reputation points from upvotes are one of the main reasons some people spend their precious time doing research and posting answers. People feel appreciated if their answers get up-voted, and get more motivated to contribute more. And conversely, little or no up-votes, or even down-votes demotivate people from contributing in the future. Surely we all want Japanese SE to stay active not only for the few days, but also throughout the private and public beta, and most importantly to get our site to graduate from beta. Being generous with up-votes is one the ways to keep all of us motivated and actively contributing to this site.

So let's vote often.

p/s: just to share how I decide to vote or not (not that I'm saying this is the right way though):

Upvote if:

  • answer correctly and thoroughly answers the question
  • answer shows lots of effort in doing research and finding reference
  • answer points out missing points and details in another answer
  • answer gives alternative point of views
  • question is fundamental yet important to beginners/learners
  • question points out issues/situations that people take for granted and rarely notice
  • question shows some extent of research has been done before posting it

Don't forget to vote!

In addition to the other great remarks mentioned here already, the Unix and Linux Meta has a good post explaining how voting can affect graduation from beta. Basically, if there aren't enough high-rep users (2k, 3k, possibly 10k) to help maintain the site, it'll hang around in beta until there are.

We've been pretty good about this so far, but there have been a few new waves of users joining, so make sure to keep spreading the word about voting.

  • I think at this moment our greatest worry that may prevent JLU from graduating is the low visit rate rather than the low count for 200+ users. If somehow we can attract more contributors I think the low 200+ issue can be fixed more easily ;)
    – Lukman
    Jul 19, 2011 at 13:42

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