This is a reproduction of Scott Morrison's post on meta.tex.SE; I believe it is very much applicable to this community as well:

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 Answers 3


I think that we should revisit this voting question. At the moment, I think that votes are coming in slowly and infrequently.

  • $\begingroup$ yeah we do seem to have cycles - some times a question can receive loads of votes in a very short space of time, or vica versa. I try to vote up as many questions/answers as I can read (am allowed to) when I get the opportunity, but there are days when I forget >.< $\endgroup$
    – Luke
    Commented Sep 6, 2012 at 19:09

I feel that certain questions are upvoted just because most people found it interesting (or most easily understood with respect to technicalities). I don't think thats what should be a dominating criterion for an upvote. Answer to most of these "interesting" questions can be obtained by simply googling or checking wikipedia. Upvoting is for research effort and usefulness. I don't wish to pinpoint but several questions dont deserve the number of upvotes that they have..

Our Q&A have to get more analytical.


From my observations so far I'd say we have a pretty healthy voting behaviour. Good questions and answers usually get quite a few votes, and we have our share of double-digit upvoted posts.

If we continue in this manner we should have enough high reputation users that can perform the various moderation duties on this site in the future.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I just noticed an extremely stupid voting event. Please see this. No details in the question, no effort and not a significant scientific problem either. It has bloody +10 votes. There are Q/As with much more effort and content but are not upvoted. $\endgroup$
    Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 9:55
  • $\begingroup$ @WYSIWYG now 17 votes. $\endgroup$
    – J. Musser
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 2:43

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