Sometimes when I come across a question I like, I usually upvote it. When I com across a bad question, I leave a comment or edit it.

The thing is, do I really have to think before I upvote a question? Upvoting is good, but I am worried if I upvote too much something bad will happen.

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    You never downvote? You're actually helping to break the system if you don't. Commented May 20, 2012 at 10:57
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    @Chan-HoSuh You can see upvotes/downvotes in profiles. I'm a little offended that you think someone is breaking the system when you've only been on AU for 3 months. There many different styles of positive contribution, and I'd prefer someone making positive edits to someone who just downvotes in a particular ratio.
    – belacqua
    Commented May 20, 2012 at 17:41
  • Actually I only downvoted once, because the answer wasn't really good. Commented May 20, 2012 at 19:05
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    @belacqua I don't see how the length of time on AU invalidates my comment (which was based on what emersonhsieh said). I never said one should stick to a particular ratio, but definitely... if one never downvotes, that's missing a very important check/balance of the system. Commented May 20, 2012 at 19:53
  • @belacqua Understood. I'll remove my comment also. Commented May 21, 2012 at 20:43
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    Both downvoting, and helpful edits/comments, are beneficial to the site. Neither needs to be avoided. The only factor to consider is that a downvote costs one point of reputation, but that isn't much - just enough to stop random indiscriminate downvotes. Commented May 30, 2012 at 3:54
  • Voting is serious IMHO. See my answer below
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 16:34
  • I didn't hesitate to down vote spam of a special cream to make one larger in manhood. And I flagged it too. But when people are saying something wacky I don't down vote them just because I disagree or they have tons of typos or digressing... Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 23:21

7 Answers 7


Here's a fairly good treatment of the question (and related voting) from the Big Meta (meta.stackoverflow) : When Should I Vote? .

It covers the bases pretty well.

That being said, I think as long as you vote in good conscience, things will work themselves out in the system. (It's Stackexchange Karmic balancing!)

You can vote flexibly and playfully, but take it seriously. Your intention should ultimately align with the larger interests of the site or community. Not everyone is made in the same mold, has the same approach, or behaves identically -- but there are many models of good citizen, and many ways to provide a positive contribution.

Personally, (and subject to change) I don't downvote much. If I can improve (through editing) a question or an answer, I'll do that. If it's irremediably bad, I'll flag it. If it's technically wrong, or just bad advice, then I'll down-vote it. (Assuming I have votes left, which I don't.)

To the Great Sea of Askubuntu, we're just statistical motes. One user won't break the system, or bring Evil upon the site or her/his self.
If everyone is a dope, things will break. ("Dope Corollary" of Kantian Categorical Imperative.)

So: Don't be arbitrary, but in upvoting, you add reputation to the Great Reputation Bucket. It's hard to do harm this way.

  • +1 for invoking the Kantian Categorical Imperative. Good answer. Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 2:41

No, nothing bad will happen if you upvote a question. If the question is well-written and you feel it deserves an upvote, then don't hesitate to click the upvote button - there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

What makes a well-written question? Well, feel free to use your own criteria, but here are a couple of suggested questions you might ask yourself:

  • Does the question explain the problem in terms that are easy to understand?
  • Are plenty of technical details (logs, error messages, etc.) provided?

Voting is mainly for sorting content so that good content is sorted above bad content. Obviously, we want good content to be sorted above bad content, so if you vote for things you think are good, then all is good and you are helping the site. But if you are not serious and vote for whatever, even really bad posts, you are not helping the site. Also note that you do not want to trigger the serial voting alarm.


I for one take voting very seriously.

I upvote questions that I answer as clearly I found them interesting enough to answer them. Ideally they should meet the minimum guidelines. This might be after editing/obtaining the bare minimum information required to understand/answer the question.

Answers I typically test for functionality prior to voting unless I already know what the result of the proposed course of action will be. I will often downvote, edit or leave a comment on incomplete/inaccurate answers with an eye towards improving the site. If I find an answer that is non-functional or out of date I will normally leave a comment and if possible provide a correct answer.

IMHO This results in better quality overall.


Well, upvoting is just that: up voting.

If you have 3 candidates to choose from, and vote for 2 instead of 1, it just lowers the weight of your own vote, since, after all, it's only the relative numbers that make a difference when voting, not the absolute numbers.

Other than that, really, feel free to upvote whatever you feel should be upvoted...

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    Up-voting has other side-effects than just sorting of answers. It also gives reputation points - a form of gratitude - to the author - if you care about that sort of thing. So that is one reason why you might want to vote for all three answers out of three answers: when you think all three are worthy of reward. Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 6:47

All other answers say one common thing. up voting is not dangerous. If you feel that a question is useful, upvote it.


B for but, B for bounty!! When a question is under bounty, think a bit more before upvoting/downvoting its answers. Votes on question dont make any different difference, but two random upvotes may result in bounty being auto awarded.


It's your choice.

Everybody is free to upvote for any reason they like. It is your own personal choice. Since upvotes are free, there is no penalty for upvoting anything and there really isn't all that much harm, either (see below for exceptions). You may upvote if you think something is well-written, it's a good question, or you just find the topic interesting or think it should have more attention. You can use whichever reason you think is appropriate. You can give it as much or as little thought as you like, though of course we might suggest that you don't do it indiscriminately, or using a random number generator, or anything like that, and it might be a good idea to have some sort of beneficial, sensible reasons for how you upvote.

I upvote things when I think they are important - that they are good examples of questions or answers and they are what future visitors would benefit most from seeing. But that is my choice.

The only exception to the "however you like, it's your choice" rule is that you may not upvote in order to game or spam the system. That is, you cannot have multiple accounts and use them to upvote each other, or upvote everything your friend does simply because they are your friend. While this sort of gaming the system can be difficult to detect, this site uses various methods to detect what it calls "serial voting".

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