I have been on this site for almost one and half a year or so. Being a Mathematics enthusiast, I often post my questions, some of them went unanswered and some are responded well even by some highly experienced (with high reputations) members. But none of the answers posted against my questions receive much upvotes as for instance, the answer that received the highest upvotes till now is of @joriki which got 6 upvotes, given below in the link Graph isomorphism.

I believe that the quality of the answer is determined by the number of upvotes it receives. With this experience, I confess that the quality of an answer depends on the quality of the question. Else, why don't the answers posted against my questions receive only few upvotes?

  • 9
    $\begingroup$ "I believe that the quality of answer is determined by the number of up votes it receives." That's a false belief. Some very high quality answers receive very little attention, and some terrible answers receive plenty of votes. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 8:47
  • $\begingroup$ and people may stupidly take revenge against people, or not understand the answer, or find a flaw that was overlooked, etc. $\endgroup$
    – user645636
    Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 8:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Asaf Karagila That is exactly what i actually meant. Why some terrible answers receive high number of up votes as Roddy has pointed right $\endgroup$
    – gete
    Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 9:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @gete From what I've seen so far, answers which receive a lot of up votes are often for questions which are very popular. Until just a short while ago, my highest # of up votes (apart from an older deleted question) was $11$. However, when a quite basic question was put on the HNQL (Hot Network Question List), my answer, which was accepted & IMHO a reasonable one, but far from my best one, went from $2$ up votes to $33$ in about $2$ days. There are other even more amazing such examples as well. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 13:03
  • $\begingroup$ @gete One other issue that can be fairly important is timing. If I answer a question quickly, especially if I'm the first one, I quite often get more votes than other later answers, many times if they are posted soon afterwards, and even if they are, in my opinion, better answers. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 13:07
  • $\begingroup$ @John Omielan Thanks for sharing your opinion on the subject. $\endgroup$
    – gete
    Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 13:52
  • $\begingroup$ In fact, markup and margin will tell you that a post with 20% less time posted, but 25% more useful, should garner the same number of votes on average. $\endgroup$
    – user645636
    Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 14:08
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Based on my top-rated answers, I would suggest that a significant factor is views, which seems to be driven in part by other people posting less useful answers over the course of the first day or two. If someone is able to answer your question quickly and completely (because you wrote a good question!), your question will quickly drift off the home page and most people will never see it to upvote it. Moral of the story: never take rep personally. $\endgroup$
    – user694818
    Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 15:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Matthew I thought the moral of the story would be, never answer questions quickly and completely. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 23:11
  • $\begingroup$ I've said this a thousand times by now: solve the problem because the the act of solving it gives you joy. If it is rep that gives you joy instead, you will be forever disappointed. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Gordon
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 18:26

1 Answer 1


Votes would likely come from:

  • People knowing the topic as an interesting topic
  • People seeing usefulness of an answer
  • The answer, being not on a question showing no effort
  • The answer being new (as this puts the question back at the top of a search of recent questions).
  • The question being tagged in a certain way ( some may only follow one version of a tag).
  • The question being of interest to the wider community.
  • How many people follow the answer giver.
  • The answer being simpler than expected.
  • People not taking revenge
  • The answer being explained better
  • etc.

Largest multiple of $7$ lower than some $78$-digit number? is my highest answer to simply use math, for being math. My higher answers than this, don't really involve much deep math.

Visibility of the question matters, and that comes with quality or bounties usually, but it's not the only thing that affects it. If anything, a bounty on bad questions, is likely to get both answers and questions deleted; or heavily downvoted.

People have different areas of knowledge. I'm lucky that I learned set theory, honestly. They also have different areas of interest etc. not everyone here is an expert in a given area. Speed in answering can play a role, 20% less time on the question, needs a 25% faster vote rate, to get the same number of votes when checked.

In closing, it can, depend on what quality of a question it's posted to, but it's typically not the only reason for it.


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