I've been on the StackExchange boards for quite some time now and it seems that people don't upvote other's answers anymore when browsing the site. At least from my experience.

Let's take this example. When I answered this rather simple question it had 3 views. It had 30 views and not a single viewer upvoted my answer although I think it basically answered the question with links to two related articles for more information.

In this other example there is a clear and simple answer that would - imho - deserve an upvote.

Note: It's not about that I demand reputation for that or anything, it's just an example. But an upvoted answer would at least get the question out of the "unanswered" tab.

So my question is: Shouldn't users be encouraged to upvote good information whenever they see it? At least that's what I like to do when I browse other topics, even if I don't understand much - a useful answer deserves votes, not just by the OP.

  • well, I always read the responses and upvote when they are good; the same for the question when it is interessant
    – kokbira
    Commented Apr 25, 2011 at 14:06
  • 1
    we also have a reminder we now display when registered users arrive via web search.. see the screenshot I added here meta.stackexchange.com/questions/89045/… Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 4:01
  • @Jeff Oh, that's nice, something similar had come to my mind before. Thanks for adding this and taking input from the community.
    – slhck
    Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 7:58
  • Why should they? What's the point? Why does it matter if an answer has 1 upvote, or 100? It seems the same as replying to an email with "me too." My point is that whatever "feature" it provides is not intuitive.
    – Tom
    Commented Jul 24, 2012 at 17:22
  • @Tom To help us filter out popular and useful content from the other stuff and reward users for participating and sharing good information. Does that not seem like a good feature to have? Plus, receiving reputation is, unfortunately, one of the main reasons for people participating here.
    – slhck
    Commented Jul 24, 2012 at 17:28
  • @slhck I'm not trying to say that it's not a valid feature. My only point is that the reason people don't use it is because it's use/purpose/benefit is not intuitive.
    – Tom
    Commented Jul 24, 2012 at 17:49
  • @Tom That's true… Stack Exchange are always trying to encourage people to vote though, but maybe they should be more clear about that then. FWIW, there are badges for voting a lot, e.g. suffrage, civic duty, electorate, sportsmanship, etc.
    – slhck
    Commented Jul 24, 2012 at 17:57

2 Answers 2


Understand that

  • 90% of traffic is from web searches

  • the way we calculate views is very strict by IP

  • it takes a minimum of 15 rep to cast any votes at all

So of those 30 views, 27 (90%) of them are statistically going to be from users who cannot vote even if they wanted to.

  • Wow the math adds up pretty well. Thanks Jeff! Commented Apr 24, 2011 at 21:08
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    I just noticed this phenomenon from "new" questions that couldn't really attract traffic from web searches. But I guess the 15 rep cap plays a part there too.
    – slhck
    Commented Apr 24, 2011 at 22:14
  • Interesting stats.
    – boehj
    Commented Apr 25, 2011 at 1:17
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    @slhck "new" questions do appear in web searches and so should attract traffic that way the same as any other. The SE network is quite aggressively scanned by search engines IIRC. Take a question from near the top of the new questions list (maybe something ~30mins old), shove something similar in to Google, and see what happens!
    – DMA57361
    Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 8:43

The two main reaons why people who read a question or answer and don't vote are:

  1. They shoot in from an external search like Google or Yahoo! and often do not have the reputation to upvote questions or answers that helped them solve their problem.

  2. They are already capable of voting, but not sure on the topic matter and do not want to cast a vote in an area they're not confident in or they're not able to test the validity of an answer.

  • Valid point with #2, but as for searches: As far as I've seen, most of the time this happens to questions that are relatively new (~4 hours) but still gather many views.
    – slhck
    Commented Apr 24, 2011 at 18:13
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    A number of times I've done a google search when researching to answer a question that's new, and google returns the question itself in the search results. We get indexed pretty rapidly.
    – Majenko
    Commented Apr 25, 2011 at 10:38
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    Case #3: People like me or @studiohack (can) run out of votes in roughly about an hour. I need to rate limit my voting :| ( or have number of votes allocated increased - but this is a rare case anyway)
    – Sathyajith Bhat Mod
    Commented Apr 25, 2011 at 15:49
  • @Sathya That's interesting, I didn't know about a cap for casting votes!
    – slhck
    Commented Apr 25, 2011 at 20:44
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    @slhck There's a Badge for that™
    – Sathyajith Bhat Mod
    Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 14:09
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    #2 is it for me. I never upvote things I'm largely uncertain about, even if they're great answers. (I won't be casting upvotes on Unix questions anytime soon.)
    – Shinrai
    Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 17:36

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