Now I don't mean to be jealous or anything, but this question seems like it should be a comment. You can find the question here: Why is a rectangle a parallelogram, but a parallelogram is not a rectangle?

enter image description here

As you can see this answer is a question itself, and it vaguely explains the relationship between parallelograms and rectangles unlike most of the other answers. Even so, it has 24 up votes, that is the second most voted answer on my question. There are a wonderful amount of other questions which are by far better quality than this. I even tried flagging it, and selecting the option stating that it should be a comment instead. What should I do about this, and why would this even happen?

  • 8
    $\begingroup$ It points out an analogous logical situation in a much more real-world case; I really don't see why you characterize it as rude. Voting is strange - this question made it onto the hot network list, and so has anomalous voting. But still, trying to justify every voting pattern in existence is impossible. I think it's a fine (albeit brief) answer in its current state, and wouldn't flag it. $\endgroup$
    – user61527
    Jun 30, 2014 at 17:38
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @T.Bonger I characterized it as rude when it was at its previous version. It ended with a "What kind of question is this?", so I thought it was rude. $\endgroup$ Jun 30, 2014 at 17:42
  • $\begingroup$ I see, I didn't notice the revision history. Regardless, asking questions about voting on specific answers is usually not worthwhile. In this case, it most definitely is an answer to the question, so it probably shouldn't be flagged (although you could flag as "not an answer," and try your luck there). $\endgroup$
    – user61527
    Jun 30, 2014 at 17:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Maybe one other thing to point out is that in many cases the main goals of solutions are to teach the user, not just provide a fully worked solution. Teaching with rhetorical questions is of course a centuries-old technique. This isn't to say that every question is well-answered rhetorically, but when the question is a good fit, there's no reason not to do it! $\endgroup$
    – rschwieb
    Jun 30, 2014 at 19:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There's even a one-letter answer on MSE which (understandably) scored very high: sometimes less is enough, and brings a point home just right. $\endgroup$ Jun 30, 2014 at 19:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ what is the link, I want to upvote this answer? $\endgroup$
    – emcor
    Jun 30, 2014 at 20:19
  • $\begingroup$ How is this possibly getting so many down votes? $\endgroup$ Jun 30, 2014 at 20:37
  • $\begingroup$ Downvotes on meta simply mean disagreement; I'd expect some people disagree with the premise of the question. $\endgroup$
    – user61527
    Jun 30, 2014 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ @emcor If you read the original question, there's a link already there.... $\endgroup$
    – user61527
    Jun 30, 2014 at 21:06
  • $\begingroup$ @T.Bongers Oh, thanks for notifying me. $\endgroup$ Jun 30, 2014 at 21:12
  • $\begingroup$ @T.Bongers ah thx ;) math.stackexchange.com/a/851469/154094 $\endgroup$
    – emcor
    Jun 30, 2014 at 21:15
  • $\begingroup$ @gnometorule What's this one-letter answer? I want to see for myself. $\endgroup$
    – Joe Z.
    Jul 7, 2014 at 1:28
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeZ.: It's an answer by Did, saying only 'w' which describes the shape of a function satisfying what was asked. I don't have the link handy though, sorry, but this should allow you to track it down if you want to. $\endgroup$ Jul 7, 2014 at 1:30
  • $\begingroup$ How could such a rhetorical answer get so many up votes? - Is this a rhetorical question ? :-$)$ $\endgroup$
    – Lucian
    Jan 9, 2015 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ It is voted up because most people looking at it (a) see the answer to the question about cats and (b) see that your original question can be answered the same way. They therefore feel that it is a good answer, though it was evidently not good for you, unfortunately. $\endgroup$
    – PJTraill
    Dec 19, 2018 at 21:32

2 Answers 2


enter image description here

The internet is dominated by cats. Anything with cats pictures or involving cats gets lots of votes or likes. Sorry gotta go, my feline master demands my attention.

  • 11
    $\begingroup$ I had to paws for a moment before upvoting this answer. $\endgroup$
    – user61527
    Jun 30, 2014 at 23:06
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ This answer at MathOverflow currently has 100 votes. $\endgroup$
    – JRN
    Jul 1, 2014 at 1:03

How could such a rhetorical answer get so many up votes?

To answer a question with another question $($yet again$)$: how come that all those countless tricky integrals I've solved brought me no more than a few votes each, while a trivial answer to a simple question earned me a silver badge, by gaining over $50$ votes?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That is a good question, and I would expect your other answers to get more up votes instead. $\endgroup$ Jun 30, 2014 at 17:44
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ People vote up content that's easy to digest, especially when numerous votes are coming from outside MSE. $\endgroup$
    – user61527
    Jun 30, 2014 at 17:44
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Because it was on the hot-list, so it attracted votes from all over the SE network. When that happens, often the simplest answers get the highest votes, since they are more comprehensible to an average SE reader (mathematical layperson). $\endgroup$ Jun 30, 2014 at 17:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Precisely my point and thank you for spelling it out: It's all about circumstance and popularity, and rarely about any intrinsic value. $\endgroup$
    – Lucian
    Jun 30, 2014 at 18:00
  • $\begingroup$ Apart from that I think the answer is also very fitting to the answer and for the op, who, to be polite, probably isn't einstein. $\endgroup$
    – user60859
    Jun 30, 2014 at 19:02
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Voting is capricious: there is often little logical reason why some posts get more votes than others. As a general observation, the more technicality there is in an answer, the fewer people there are who can comment on it. $\endgroup$
    – robjohn Mod
    Jun 30, 2014 at 20:17

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