On this question: What set is this?, a user posted a clearly incorrect answer. It almost immediately got an upvote even though I posted a comment very quickly proving that it was wrong. It seems fairly suspicious to me that a wrong answer got upvoted when it is generally so hard to get upvotes on correct answers. After another user posted a correct answer, he edited his to be correct and kept the upvote. Is this fair? Are users that have lots of reputation getting help from other users in getting more?

Clearly the user in question knows how to solve the problem, I am not trying to insinuate that he does not. It just seems so odd that his wrong answer was immediately upvoted and that there is nothing I can do to remove it since it was given by another user.

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    $\begingroup$ I disagree that it's hard to get an upvote on a correct answer. $\endgroup$ Commented May 8, 2020 at 13:02
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    $\begingroup$ @MattSamuel It is quite common that correct answers get no upvotes, or less upvotes than wrong ones. $\endgroup$
    – kludg
    Commented May 8, 2020 at 14:15
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    $\begingroup$ I have seen many right answers getting downvotes. @kludg $\endgroup$ Commented May 8, 2020 at 14:29
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    $\begingroup$ @Aryadeva I am interested in probabilities here, and fortunately the probability tag is not affected by downvoting right answers, but it is still affected by upvoting wrong answers. $\endgroup$
    – kludg
    Commented May 8, 2020 at 14:35
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    $\begingroup$ @Aryadeva - I occasionally downvote [spoonfeeding] answers to bad questions. $\endgroup$ Commented May 11, 2020 at 2:40
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    $\begingroup$ Let us all remember that upvotes and downvotes are cast by humans, and humans are very prone to mistakes. $\endgroup$
    – user307169
    Commented May 11, 2020 at 3:08
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    $\begingroup$ The general question is a good one for meta. Now, in the concrete case mentioned, what OP considers "clearly incorrect" was solved by adding two words to the answer, which the answerer did 13 minutes after being told, and two minutes before this question was asked in meta. No one was upvoting a "clearly wrong" answer. $\endgroup$ Commented May 13, 2020 at 15:23
  • $\begingroup$ I often see my (hopefully correct) answers get upvotes within seconds. I always assume someone was writing their own answer when mine was posted. $\endgroup$
    – Jack M
    Commented May 18, 2020 at 1:06

1 Answer 1


Unless the upvoter chooses to come and answer this question you're asking people here to read minds -- it's unlikely anyone can do that for you.

People upvote wrong answers for a variety of reasons: they don't realise the answer is wrong, they don't care because it's "an answer" to a homework question and they just want something to submit; they think the answer is actually right because they've misunderstood something else; even they're just upvoting things because they're badge hunting.

What you can do: you're the question asker, so you can refuse to give the green checkmark to the wrong answer. If you give it to a correct answer that sends a clear signal to people looking at the question that this is the answer you thought was correct.

You can also downvote the wrong answer. That is the way the site is supposed to work.

You can raise it as a wrong answer in chatrooms with lots of activity; other users of the site can then review it themselves and downvote if needed.

But you're not going to make yourself happy if you worry about other people getting reputation you think is undeserved. You can't change the way they, or the upvoters behave (in general); what you can change is how you react to it.

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    $\begingroup$ Yes, it happens a lot. My conjecture is that people are sort of awarding points for "trying". What bothers me about this phenomenon is not people getting undeserved rep points; the problem is that it makes the site less accurate. A naive (ok, maybe clueless) reader is going to assume the answers with more points are better... $\endgroup$ Commented May 8, 2020 at 14:21
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidC.Ullrich: Your concern is genuine. And I think this answer outlines the strategy to handle this problem : downvote and discuss in chatrooms. I don't know what a single user can do apart from that. $\endgroup$
    – Paramanand Singh Mod
    Commented May 10, 2020 at 8:58

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