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I gotta ask this question to my fellow Homebrewing peeps:

If you spend the time to make a good detailed answer to a question, why don't you upvote the question?

If it was worth answering, isn't it worth upvoting the main question, at least most of the time? I see again and again questions with four and five answers and two upvotes for the main question.

Am I missing something?

Why would you answer a question that isn't worth your upvote?

  • 1
    +1, this seems to happen a lot. I can't attempt to answer why but I think that people seem to underestimate the value of voting as metadata. There are gold & silver badges at stake! – Mark McDonald May 25 '11 at 23:34
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    It does seem to happen a lot. I'm not sure why. Heck, I generally upvote competing answers to mine that I like as well. – TinCoyote May 26 '11 at 0:38
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I think most people use votes to indicate that they were thinking the same thing, whether it be an answer or a question. By this definition, if you answered a question, why would you also be wondering about the answer? Upvotes aren't there to indicate "good job, way to answer/ask a question!", they're there to indicate the statement's popularity.

If a question has a lot of upvotes, it makes me think that a lot of people don't know the answer and were wondering the same thing.

If an answer has a lot of upvotes, it makes me think that a lot of people agree with the answer.

3

This problem is almost as old as the network itself. We've recently changed a number of things to encourage more voting on questions, as documented at

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/05/vote-for-this-question-or-the-kitten-gets-it/

I don't necessarily think answering a question obligates you to vote on it. However, I do worry that answerers forget that they even can or should vote on questions since they are so focused on answering -- and that's what our last round of changes was about.

Essentially, I just want to encourage users to remember that "questions need votes too!"

0

This seems to be a major failure of this system, and leads to a situation where new users can't get more reputation, which means that they can't participate more actively in the forums.

Maybe a question, by default, should get an upvote. If other users don't like it, they can always downvote it again.

update This still seems to be going on. If you don't upvote questions you answer what's the point of the whole reputation system? I suspect that there is a sort of "reputation fatigue" going on where after a certain level of rep., the novelty goes out of it. I can understand this, but by not upvoting questions all the newbies are seriously limited in participating in the forums. So, we're stuck with all the (wise old) fogies doing all the work!

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Why would you answer a question that isn't worth your upvote?

You can vote as you wish but it's most helpful if questions and answers that are useful and well written are voted up, that brings them to the attention of everyone ahead of Q&A's with fewer votes.

Questions that are useful to a very limited number of people, maybe only a couple of people (the asker and answerer), don't need to come up ahead of others.

Answers that took a lot of effort to research or that answer a difficult question ought to receive some reward. Answers that are incomplete, don't answer the question, or seem snarky, rude, or belittling shouldn't receive upvotes over better answers that might be forthcoming.

Someone might have spare time to answer a question that benefits a very few people or might be interested in storing their answer somewhere since they've had the problem too (and want a reminder). Despite their own interest they don't feel it warrants everyone's attention.

It's like asking: You've read the question and didn't answer, "If a question is worth reading, why isn't it worth voting on?". The effectiveness of these sites runs on voting as well as great questions and answers, if you don't have a question to ask or see one you can answer then voting is another way you can help.

From the Help Center:

  • Help Center > Privileges > vote up

    What is voting up?

    Voting up is how the community indicates which questions and answers are most useful and appropriate.

    When should I vote up?

    Whenever you encounter a question, answer or comment that you feel is especially useful, vote it up!

    You have a limited number of votes per day, so use them wisely.

    Follow that link for more information and to find out: "What happens when I vote up?".
     

  • Help Center > Privileges > vote down

    What is voting down?

    Voting down, also known as "casting downvotes", is how the community indicates which questions and answers are least useful. When should I vote down?

    Use your downvotes whenever you encounter an egregiously sloppy, no-effort-expended post, or an answer that is clearly and perhaps dangerously incorrect.

    You have a limited number of votes per day, and answer down-votes cost you a tiny bit of reputation on top of that; use them wisely.

    Follow that link for more information and to find out: "What happens when I vote down?".
     

  • Help Center > Asking

    What should I do when someone answers my question?

    Decide if the answer is helpful, and then...

    1. Vote on it (if you have earned the appropriate voting privilege). Vote up answers that are helpful and well-researched, and vote down answers that are not. Other users will also vote on answers to your question.

    2. Accept it. As the asker, you have a special privilege: you may accept the answer that you believe is the best solution to your problem.

     
    To accept an answer:

    • Choose one answer that you believe is the best solution to your problem.
    • To mark an answer as accepted, click on the check mark beside the answer to toggle it from greyed out to filled in.
    • You may change which answer is accepted, or simply un-accept the answer, at any time.

     
    Accepting an answer is not mandatory; do not feel compelled to accept the first answer you receive. Wait until you receive an answer that answers your question well.

Ideally everyone does the right thing and everything works as was expected, in practice it doesn't always work exactly that way; this is why we rely on the efforts of multiple people to answer but don't allow duplicate questions, similarly multiple votes tend to average out to the community consensus as to what is better (sometimes things that are clearly wrong but thought to be funny or an amusing take on something will also receive a lot of votes).

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