This answer by Amzoti has had 15 upvotes as of now. I would like to understand what makes this answer so great. I think it's a fine answer and I'm not trying to pick on Amzoti in any way. I just came across this question by accident and it's a good example of the kind of voting I don't get.

Matrix Algebra Question (Linear Algebra)

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Upvoting is often a mixture of random factors, one of which is getting more attention for some reason. It can be expected that asking about Amzoti's answer on meta will transform it from "nice" to "good", I've just made my modest contribution to that. "Great" is +100, and I find that unlikely. $\endgroup$ Oct 6, 2013 at 23:46
  • 14
    $\begingroup$ If this happens to very high rated users, then don't worry, they have many friends on this site ready to upvote their answers. For instance, few months ago one of these users (rated > 100k) posted an answer consisting from one single word "Yes" and collected 4 upvotes in the next 10 minutes. $\endgroup$
    – user26857
    Oct 7, 2013 at 8:14
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    $\begingroup$ After your post two users decided to downvote that answer. This is what I don't get, really. $\endgroup$ Oct 8, 2013 at 3:47
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    $\begingroup$ @AndreySokolov: I can assure you that my posts do not generate a lot of upvotes. In fact, some answers that take me the most time to figure out and type up get no votes at all. I have seen other answers get many votes and there is no clear reason as to why. Trying to make sense of most of the community here will drive you mad! $\endgroup$
    – Amzoti
    Oct 8, 2013 at 5:37
  • $\begingroup$ I would second @Amzoti's remarks. $\endgroup$
    – copper.hat
    Oct 9, 2013 at 7:46
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    $\begingroup$ Here's what I think is a nice example. A few months ago I posted a fairly short, routine answer to a question about zeroes of quintic polynomials, and it got a few upvotes. Then everyone forgot about it, including me. Recently a crank came and posted a crank answer to the same question, which bumped the question to the front page. The crank answer got some downvotes and my answer got some more upvotes. Then the crank came back today and posted another cranky answer, and my answer got more upvotes, and now has an undeserved +13. To summarize the situation briefly: I was lucky. $\endgroup$
    – MJD
    Oct 10, 2013 at 21:13
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    $\begingroup$ I have noticed that I get more upvotes if I write an answer in the style of a mathematical textbook or research paper. And, on the other hand, I get fewer votes if I write in an informal or elementary or "chatty" style. Perhaps informal answers are seen as unprofessional, or lacking in rigor. I haven't done any real scientific analysis; this is just an impression. I find it annoying because some of my "sloppy" answers that just try to help with intuition are the ones I like the best. $\endgroup$
    – bubba
    Oct 12, 2013 at 5:31
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    $\begingroup$ It seems to me that the shorter the answer the more upvotes it gets. $\endgroup$
    – copper.hat
    Oct 23, 2013 at 7:23

1 Answer 1


The timeline of this "lucky" answer, in my local time.

  • Amzoti posts the answer: Sep 29 at 15:14.
  • Question asker deletes the question (and thus the answer): Sep 29 at 16:02. S/he was able to because nobody upvoted the answer by then.
  • Amzoti posts a meta thread Deleting questions with answers and no upvotes?: Sep 29 at 16:29
  • Three users, including a mod, undelete the question: Sep 29 at 16:53

Presumably, the existence of the meta thread resulted in additional traffic to the question, and in the unusually large number of votes (both on the answer and on robjohn's comment).

Conclusion: the number of upvotes is a function with many variables, not all of them mathematical.

Further conclusion: it would be better to have a meta thread "Requests for Undelete Votes", eliminating the need to create dedicated threads for such cases.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't get why people upvote this answer so much. $\endgroup$
    – user98130
    Oct 13, 2013 at 4:31
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    $\begingroup$ And I don't get why people upvote the comment above so much. $\endgroup$
    – Prism
    Oct 18, 2013 at 12:17
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    $\begingroup$ The upvoting frenzy has ended... sorry @Prism $\endgroup$ Oct 19, 2013 at 3:29

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