Ask Ubuntu, as any other site in the Stack Exchange sites network, works with the help of a rating system. Sometimes it's hard for people to understand the importance of a single vote but votes are the base for the site and in truth what makes it work.

Up and down voting has huge consequences on they way people view posts, it sorts users and improve the overall quality of the site. We should all be supplying votes as a first triage method for posts and that helps out the site sort out questions and helps editors focus more in great content or to transform really bad posts into acceptable ones.

Not all posts can be fixed and not all posts are great, but start using the sites up and down vote system to rate questions, please.

What I am looking for are the community's viewpoints on the above


Up voting

It is better to share than to receive

This is true, either talking about Christmas, Hanukkah, Buddha Day or something else it is a bigger pleasure to give away than to take. Don't be afraid to give rep on the site, just up vote good questions as you see them.

Either because of the content (sometimes is not well written, but contains all the necessary information) or because the little information it requested - as long as valid and relevant - was presented on a very good and detailed way, don't be afraid, press that up arrow and show your appreciation for the question.

Down voting

Voting down is not a crime! Use the site tools, the right tool for the right job

A down vote can be brutal. You can also think that there is no such thing as a dumb question / answer, that is not always the case. The amount of low quality posts we get is concerning in Ask Ubuntu.

We do, at all times, try to help the users and Ask Ubuntu works very good at it.

But there are some issues with questions on the site, those are mostly:

  • Bad formed questions with very high spelling errors, poor word choices, generally low quality
  • Users that did not bother to search at all for anything related to their questions
  • Questions that are not real questions (and generally off topic ones)
  • Users that are looking for Unicorn answers, ie: I want Unity to have unicorns cleaning the virus from my system, how do I do that?
  • Questions with no information what so ever useful to solve the issue in case

These questions are all over, if you look at the front page mainly 40% will fall into any of these categories.

This is a bit concerning, editors cannot take all of this work on their shoulders. Don't get me wrong, I love editing and I know every editor out there does it with pleasure but the user is responsible for the quality of the post he created at all times.

We should not be here to save the site from the bad boggy phantom of low quality questions, the site has tools for that. One of them is down voting. If you can't edit it, can't figure out what is being said, if there is not enough information on a question or the question is just all bad you should down vote it, no matter if the user has 1 of 100k rep.

I would, 100% of the times, like to see a question down voted, eventually flagged and closed than to see the amount of low quality posts you see around. We should be proud of the quality we bring to the site. Fail to do it does not help at all.

Clean up effort is working, start at the source!

At the moment Ask Ubuntu is going thru a massive cleanup effort that is working brilliantly, I cannot say more thanks to all users involved and praise the involvement of the site's moderators on that, but we can do it better and we can start earlier.

A bad question that is not fixed or updated by the user that gets downvoted will vanish from the site after some time and from what I can see in the flagged questions on the moderators' queue you see a lot of questions that if simply down voted a long time ago would not be there in the first place.

Start cleaning now, if it cannot be edited and fixed within reasonable parameters, if it does not belong here, if it shows low effort to create or no effort to supply information, if it's very confusing in a way that you cannot figure out what is being asked or what the user wants, downvote it.


Don't get me wrong, I am not saying I agree with revenge or competition down voting, that is just silly and will get you into trouble sooner than later.

I fear that even going forwards with a constant clean up effort is not enough, the burden of the share quantity over quality is simply enormous, editors are magicians with super powers not Gods. Bad quality questions take more time to solve than the time we focus on good content.

I guess I am trying to say here is that we should really prefer to see a bad started question be fixed and improved because of a down vote than to leave if lingering around for ages before someone decides it is a low quality question or that the user never replied to that 4 months old comment asking for more information.

I am simply asking you to stop being so judgmental on posts and leave your opinions about the effects of a down vote behind. Be objective, think of the possibilities, leave a comment and down vote if that is the correct thing to do! Ask Ubuntu should shine for the quality of it's contents and that is the responsibility of all of us. We cannot supply that if we are not using the tools available in the site.

Keep voting!

It is probably one of the most important things you do on the site, vote up for anything you like and agree, vote down for bad and incomplete posts. This is a great way of sorting things up and making sure that the posts quality is peer reviewed.

It is important and easy to do so. Whatever you read on the site, rank it!

No one should care that much for reputation anyway

Reputation gives you privileges around the site. It shows how much you are trusted. That is all. Does not make you a better person, does not make you less or more important. If your name is on a list and the person right below you gave a good answer the fact that if you upvote that content from him will make you drop a place should never be the reason not to vote!

No one looks at what place you are and if that is what matters most to you then you are looking at the site the wrong way. I like more editors and people that keep up and down voting that most of the people that are the week's best reputation ranked user. In fact, if you look at the users that are on the global reputation rank top, most of them are great editors, voters and content focused.

Don't worry about giving reputation away, worry about your content, other people's content and keep upvoting good content, it will come back, be patient, this is not a race.

  • Down voted questions are automatically closed? I haven't seen mention of that anywhere before. – andrewsomething Mar 9 '12 at 20:05
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    @andrewsomething Downvoted questions with no answers are deleted after a month. – jokerdino Mar 10 '12 at 5:02
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    Maybe you should put the plea for up-votes before the plea for down-votes. After all up-votes is the primary voting tool and we need more people up-voting good posts. There are lots of post that deserves more up-votes. – N.N. Mar 13 '12 at 15:16
  • @N.N. I really don't want people to be afraid of down voting, that is why it started out with the down vote part, I will keep it this way. I am happy if people vote and have an opinion over the posts (either answers or questions), does not matter in which direction. – Bruno Pereira Mar 14 '12 at 10:03
  • @BrunoPereira But that gives the wrong impression in how the system is designed. It is designed to control content quality mainly by up-votes. In that way down-votes does not have a stronger (or equal) standing to up-votes which that order implies. The examples you mentions sometimes indeed deserves downvotes but they can also be handled by editing, commenting and flagging. I think the problem of people not up-voting content that deserves it is greater than lack of down-votes. – N.N. Mar 14 '12 at 10:10
  • @N.N. makes sense, fixed. Your can be edited and fixed issue is already part of the post btw, I am not asking for serial down voters, only more opinion on the posts. – Bruno Pereira Mar 14 '12 at 10:19

This is a great post, but I'd like to add a point:

Please, add a comment telling why you downvoted a question, specially if the asker is low-rep, newbie.

I feel that there is nothing more discouraging for a new user that seeing his question (it's usually a question not an answer) downvoted to oblivion with no explanation.

We don't need a comment for each vote, if some other comment includes your reasons, as always, a +1 is enough.

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