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sometimes I ask a question which don't receive much attention (this may include because the question is quite obscure, and in 1 recent case, probably because I posted it in the morning in the UK when not much people are online to see it)

Someone spent an awful long time to solve it. (it was a very hard first year analysis question). I feel merely accepting the answer and giving it a +1, (in term of rep points) in no way justify how much work he has put in (and how clever the argument was) while some 'trivial' 1 minute answers to 'trivial questions' receives 20+ reps.

so i came up with this idea, i went around his posts, and upvoted 5 of his accepted/good answers, should I be doing that?

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    $\begingroup$ I go by my conscience/sense myself: if I understood and liked said user's other answers, only then do I upvote. BTW: don't do this too much, since the software can and will nullify excessive upvotes directed to a specific user. $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Apr 12 '13 at 13:30
  • $\begingroup$ @J.M. ah, no, not that many, thanks for the insight though. that was not expected out of this discussion... $\endgroup$ – Lost1 Apr 12 '13 at 13:33
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    $\begingroup$ As a corollary: you can choose to upvote said user's answers with a low amount of votes, but (in your own reading/opinion) are well-written and clear, instead of the user's blockbusters. $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Apr 12 '13 at 13:36
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    $\begingroup$ It would be better to reward in another way, e.g. a bounty, since if many users did as you propose then the votes on answers may no longer judge only the answer but, instead, extraneous factors such as the number of "outstanding" answers that the answerer has posted. This would make it difficult to interpret what votes signify (already a diffcult task, without such further factors thrown into the mix). $\endgroup$ – Math Gems Apr 12 '13 at 15:45
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    $\begingroup$ There are many questions and answers that I consider good that I have simply never had a chance to read. I see nothing wrong with looking through a few of someone's questions and answers, commenting and voting as I would normally if I'd seen them when they were at the top of the main list. The votes mean what they should. $\endgroup$ – robjohn Apr 12 '13 at 17:20
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    $\begingroup$ If you avoid excesses, I think this is fine. Do try to keep the votes meaningful, and try to only upvote answers that you can tell are good. The psychology of voting is so strange anyway that this won't distort it. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Apr 12 '13 at 20:49
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    $\begingroup$ If one isn't careful, it is very easy to introduce bias when casting "reward" upvotes; e.g. if one only looks at answers given by the reward-targeted author, then that is not fair to all other answerers. If one insists on giving such rewards, then I suggest one should strive to process all of the answers - in whatever way one normally process questions and answers. If, during this normal processing, the intended target receives a vote, then that is fine. But, if not, then one should not vote for some reason unrelated to the answer (such as a reward for some other superb answer). $\endgroup$ – Math Gems Apr 13 '13 at 0:22
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    $\begingroup$ I think if you are going to do this you should also look at the other answers to the questions. Read the whole thread as you normally would, and then dole out the rep. to the good answers... $\endgroup$ – user1729 Apr 15 '13 at 9:53
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I think it is absolutely OK to look at some of his answers and decide for yourself if they may deserve an upvote.

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    $\begingroup$ But don't do this for arbitrary answers. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Apr 12 '13 at 13:21
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila hence I did so for top answers. Okay I think this is a way of justifying my previous action. $\endgroup$ – Lost1 Apr 12 '13 at 13:23
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If someone gives an answer you learned a lot from, it's totally reasonable to think "oh I bet their other answers are nice, I'll go look at them." This may well lead to upvoting some of them. But you shouldn't do this in order to "thank" someone. Votes are primarily about indicating to future readers which questions and answers are good, not as a fair way of rewarding people for their work.

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    $\begingroup$ Further, the author would not even be able to appreciate the thank you, since they won't see who actually voted on those posts. $\endgroup$ – Douglas S. Stones Apr 12 '13 at 20:43
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Probably not.

If you want to thank someone for a specific answer, you can post a small bounty (say 50 points). This will also cause the question (and answer) to be visible for a while and may attract additional votes as well.

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You should always vote on the post, and not on the user. Going through a user's profile and upvoting stuff is the fastest way to get those votes invalidated automatically by the serial voting script.

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