Should a question be up-voted only when it shows research effort and/or is useful and clear? Is a question useful and clear if it's interesting?

Should a question be answered only when the question shows research effort and/or is useful and clear? Does the fact that a user answers a question imply that it is useful and clear?

Similarly, if a third user finds an answer useful and up-votes it, does it not follow that the question too is a useful one?

I ask because I find it decidedly odd to see some questions which have a number of answers (and thereby, a number of answerers), but a dismal number of question up-votes. Do these answerers not find the question interesting or useful and yet deign to provide an answer?

  • 1
    In short: Yes, sometimes I answer questions I don't find interesting. Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 20:18
  • @MattЭллен So, do you only up-vote the question if you find it interesting? Are the criteria of research effort, clarity and usefulness less relevant? Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 20:28
  • 1
    I vote up based on all of those criteria, as long as the balance is positive (if such a thing exists). I think most people just forget to vote on questions, because there is no ranking to influence as with answers. I regularly forget too. I vote down on a question only if it is low quality and the OP can reasonably be blamed. And I'm extra cautious with down-votes for new users. Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 20:37
  • If I find a question useful then I find it interesting. The other things all have a bearing. Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 20:51
  • 3
    Everyone votes for his own reasons, and everyone makes exceptions to their own rules. It is impossible to agree on an exact set of rules, and even if we did, there would be no way to enforce them. The system is specifically designed such that voting is completely anonymous and nobody has to explain themselves ever.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 21:50
  • @Cerberus Don't you want that Electorate gold badge? So shiny...
    – Zairja
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 2:34

1 Answer 1


I up-voted this question. I try to review most questions, and upvote them whenever they engage my curiosity and interest. I also up-vote them if they seem to pose a question that I think is clear and would be of interest to others, even if it is not my particular interest.

If I answer, I almost always up-vote a question. It has engaged me enough to spend some time to think of, or research a response. If I am just put off by the question because it is not well formed or thought out, but I still feel a need to comment, I comment rather than answer.

I rarely down-vote an answer and do not down-vote a question. If it is no good, let it die of inattention. On answers, I only down-vote when I think they are seriously misleading. I am much more likely to down-vote on the DIY site where an answer can be dangerous. I don't think the language (or its practitioners) is at great risk from an answer here that few or no members vote up.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .