I hope this is the right place to post this question, apologies in advance, if not.

Would it be possible to adjust the reputation system so that answering a question would either [edit:] for example:

  • a) automatically applies an upvote to the question (presumably, if you think it's worth your time to answer, you think it was a sufficiently well-posed problem, deserving of attention) or -- at a minimum --
  • b) automatically prompts one to upvote (perhaps asking for a brief explanation if they opt-out, so that the asker can improve their question)?

It's frustrating to put a lot of time into reading all existing, related questions, then taking the time to phrase one's question as clearly as possible, only to receive comments and answers, but no upvotes (or many views, a few unrelated comments, and no votes either way).

I mean, I realize the point is getting answers to questions, so this isn't essential, but it can be discouraging, in terms of having a sense of progressing within the community.

Edit: the point of the post was not the specific solutions proposed -- there are surely a number of important considerations that would have to factor into any solution -- the main point was to underline the importance recognition of questions plays in terms of a member's progress within the community (including constructive feedback so individuals can learn to improve their questions).

This could include other possibilities like opt-in's for a reminder to vote or provide feedback when replying or answering (this could apply to a certain percentage -- set by users -- of replies / answers, or could be subject to other constraints (first $x$ posts per day / week / month; $y$ days per week / month etc).

It just seems clear that, currently, answers are more valued than questions (in terms of reputation), but we want to encourage good question asking, too.

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    $\begingroup$ If other users desired to comment or even answer the question, but did not upvote it, it is likely intentional. I think it makes sense to suggest upvoting if the answer-ers are new to the site, probably not necessary for all answer-ers. $\endgroup$ Jun 20, 2019 at 15:44
  • $\begingroup$ I understand that it may be intentional, but without any feedback, it doesn't help one understand what issues (if any) may exist, nor how to improve future questions. $\endgroup$
    – Rax Adaam
    Jun 20, 2019 at 16:00
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    $\begingroup$ Somewhat related: About not upvoted, answered questions. And also on Meta Stack Exchange: Why don't people upvote questions they answer? $\endgroup$ Jun 22, 2019 at 13:58

1 Answer 1


While I don't actually disagree with the sentiment in your question, I think an answer that points out what I see as the problems with your feature allows people to discuss better. So this is somewhat devil's advocacy and not outright opposition :)

For your point a), I think there are times when you might answer a question without thinking it's worth an upvote. For some, it's a case of thinking that the question needs to be closed (it's a PSQ or obviously homework, or is about a specific polynomial so that the answer has little lasting value to the site) but not wanting the asker to not get an answer. I think this happens to some extent with comments at the moment, where an answer, or most of the work for an answer is added as a comment in order to not punish the asker unnecessarily when knowing you're going to vote to close the question. For others I think it's possible to see an opportunity to give a much better answer than the question deserves in its current form, so answering it and then asking the OP to improve the question before it's upvoted can be appropriate.

For point b), that prompt is going to be really annoying in very short order. It will put people off answering because it's annoying to do something and then get nagged straight away. And having to provide a reason for not upvoting -- well, people keep proposing requiring a reason for downvoting and the same arguments apply here, in my view, with the primary being: how do you enforce honesty?

It is frustrating as you say; I agree. Stack Exchange have recently announced the retirement of the Tumbleweed badge for basically that reason( https://stackoverflow.blog/2019/06/18/adios-to-unfriendly-badges-ahoy-lifejacket-and-lifeboat/?cb=1 ), and I think a lot of people here probably have the Unsung Hero badge for answering questions and getting absolutely no thanks or notice for doing so. But the site is about altruism to some extent: people devote their time to answering questions because they feel they're making the world (or at least one small part of it) better in some small way. I think this feature will reduce the level of altruism people feel by making them feel as though they're being forced to do something they were previously volunteering for.

  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I had thought about it quite a bit, and knew that no solution would be perfect or simple, but even having an opt-in prompt, or being able to toggle the prompt on/off for a period of time, would be better than nothing. I might not want to provide feedback every time, but it's also important to remember that the feedback really can be helpful. I also appreciate the irony that neither the first answer-er, nor the first commenter upvoted this particular question :D Anyhow, I appreciate your sharing your thoughts & taking the time to reply. $\endgroup$
    – Rax Adaam
    Jun 20, 2019 at 16:03
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    $\begingroup$ @RaxAdaam I wondered if you'd comment on that; I forgot to mention it in my answer. I never upvote a question after I answer it because it feels like self-promotion and I'd prefer my answer to speak for itself. Here on Meta upvotes on feature requests tend to indicate agreement -- and I'm disagreeing :) $\endgroup$
    – postmortes
    Jun 20, 2019 at 16:07
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    $\begingroup$ For (a) it is a bad idea to answer a question that you deem to have no lasting values: if one of the answer got accepted, then the whole thread will not be auto-deleted and likely stay on MSE for a long period/forever. Try to answer in comment if you really think the questioner deserves the answer, or try to improve the question. $\endgroup$ Jun 20, 2019 at 17:03
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    $\begingroup$ Another reason why this would not be a good idea is that the easier to answer a question is, the more answers it gets, so the "votes" section would end up flooded with linear algebra and calculus questions which may not even be well posed. $\endgroup$
    – Yagger
    Jun 20, 2019 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Yagger - my suggestions were simply examples: I think any solution would have to be well thought-out, including addressing points like this. However, I don't think they are insurmountable (e.g. placing a limit on the automatic reputation accorded due to answers / replies). $\endgroup$
    – Rax Adaam
    Jun 20, 2019 at 19:04
  • $\begingroup$ @postmortes - re: not voting & self-promotion: fair enough, although that makes up-votiing questions about the voter and not the poster, which may defeat the pro-social objectives (meta-posts aside, if it is used for "polling"). But for clarification, do you disagree with the sample suggestions? My point was not that these specific solutions be implemented as is; rather, that it seems fairly common for questions to not be up-voted, even if they are well-posed, demonstrate effort, and have attracted answers or comments. It seems like you agreed with this. $\endgroup$
    – Rax Adaam
    Jun 20, 2019 at 19:09
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    $\begingroup$ I do think it's quite common for questions to get fewer upvotes than they deserve (even none at all) and some questions to get an astonishing number of upvotes. I spend a reasonable amount of time in the review queues when I'm on here and I sometimes feel bad about voting to close or delete a bad question when it's been upvoted but is awful. It would be interesting, I think, if some of the people who make a fuss about close and delete voting commented here on upvoting good questions :) $\endgroup$
    – postmortes
    Jun 20, 2019 at 19:26
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    $\begingroup$ To provide an additional use case: On a few occasions, I have answered a low-quality question for the specific reason that it has other answers which are, in my opinion, misleading or outright wrong. I also vote-to-close such questions, and typically don't provide an answer until after I have left comments for the other answerers, but if a question has incorrect answers and I think that I have a better answer, I'll give that answer to hedge against the possibility of the question not being closed and deleted. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Jun 20, 2019 at 20:18
  • $\begingroup$ I have Answered questions simply to get them put of the unanswered cue. Usually an answer in the comments already. $\endgroup$
    – user645636
    Jul 24, 2019 at 20:36

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