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I saw What is the largest prime number? asking what is the largest prime number, which got obvious answers like "there is no largest prime" and "well, the largest KNOWN prime is..." But the question was clearly phrased in a way that the OP thought there was some bound on all prime numbers. Probably the question is a duplicate of questions that ask for proofs of infinitude of primes and ask for the largest known prime, but that aside, what is the motivation for giving upvotes to such a question? It received a higher than median number (4 the last time I checked). All you have to do is google prime numbers and find out that they are infinite, and most people already know this fact anyway. So it doesn't seem like the question contributes anything worth up-voting much to the forum. Is there something I don't understand about the current culture of up-voting, like something about the majority of the users who are doing it?

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  • $\begingroup$ @user147263 I'm guessing there are clues in some questions, like maybe in the comments somebody asks "Why the upvotes?" and then somebody answers with an explanation. But I have nowhere near enough experience with questions yet to have encountered that. I was hoping somebody else did. Is that reasonable enough to convince you not to down-vote my meta question? lol. At least you explained your initial reasoning for voting, unlike these other mysterious voters that give more up-votes for asking what is the largest prime than other much more substantive questions. $\endgroup$ – user2566092 May 17 '14 at 20:15
  • $\begingroup$ Actually I'm going to go post a comments question about why the up-votes, and see if I get an answer. $\endgroup$ – user2566092 May 17 '14 at 20:18
  • $\begingroup$ It appears from the current "-3" status on my question that up-voting on MSE is a process that no one wants to guide or question. I find that sad, because votes give rep and they also matter when someone is scrolling for questions to look at. What if everybody used a random number generator to upvote? It would defeat the process. I feel like we should try to understand and guide up-votes, and the question I quoted is an example of the current system I'm trying to understand. I doubt anybody with high rep up-voted the question, so maybe the answer is that the site is dominated by low-rep users. $\endgroup$ – user2566092 May 17 '14 at 20:26
  • $\begingroup$ @user147263 I actually got an answer to my comments question, somebody said that on SO it appears that the masses tend to up-vote when they think "oh I wanted to know the answer to that too." So my current theory is that there are a large number of people on MSE that don't know the details about the infinitude of primes. I find that sad, but if every vote should be equal then I guess that's the way the voting has to go. I wish there was a way to identify "hard interesting questions" so the more mature users on the site could more easily find the questions they find interesting. $\endgroup$ – user2566092 May 17 '14 at 20:37
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    $\begingroup$ Your puzzlement is only natural. After a while, you will know for a fact that anything can get upvotes on MSE. Any question. Even answerable by clicking on the first google link? You bet. Any answer. Even dead wrong? Absolutely. Thus my advice would be (1) to take votes (and reputations) with a healthy dose of skepticism and (2) to move on. Good luck. $\endgroup$ – Did May 17 '14 at 21:53
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    $\begingroup$ I have gotten a fair number of upvotes. Downvotes too. Of course the upvotes are based on sober intelligent assessments. The downvotes, not so much. Of course. $\endgroup$ – André Nicolas May 18 '14 at 1:20
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    $\begingroup$ Downvoted. ${}{}{}$ $\endgroup$ – evil999man May 20 '14 at 9:36

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