In my quest to be helpful, answer questions, and earn reputation, I find myself ignoring questions with, say, 1 vote and 1 answer, even though the answer may be terrible, because I want to be the first answerer. I never go into questions that have been answered and up vote them.

I feel like I'm not the only one, and so dozens of questions come in, get answered, and pass away with relatively few votes, even though the questions and answers are well thought out. I would like to contribute more to MSE. Those of you who contribute a lot to MSE, how do you remind yourselves to up-vote? Do you set aside time at the beginning of your session to spread some love? Do you check through relatively minor questions with answers to make sure they're getting enough votes? Do you click on the tumbleweed badge to know where to look? How do you remember to be kind?

  • 10
    $\begingroup$ I like that you are intent on upvoting. It's important. I think what helps me the most is that I spend a lot of time just reading content, and I upvote content that I like. I'd also like to remind you that you have an additional 10 votes to be used on only questions each day. Sometimes, I upvote a question just because a user shows complete work (or in some other way writes a simply well-written question), regardless of whether or not I care about the question. And I don't think voting should be much more. Read things, upvote good things you see, downvote bad things. $\endgroup$
    – davidlowryduda Mod
    Apr 25, 2013 at 4:57
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Once upon a lower volume time, I took it upon myself to look at all questions that have been posted while I was offline, and then vote accordingly. It got to the point that I almost everyday had to give vote IOUs, since I very easily expended my allotment for the day. Now, with the increased volume, I think one could be forgiven for missing out on questions/answers that are top-notch, but have been buried in the cesspool of lower-quality questions. $\endgroup$ Apr 25, 2013 at 10:14
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I know for me, since I'm stil a student, i will go to the particular field i am studying (probability, abstract, etc) and fish around for questions that are on my level. I've been upvoting them because there are generally good insights that maybe I didn't get from class or the text. I also like to answer first so that I can get that reputation and stuff too, but for me the site is amazing in its ability to generate learning and gain insight into what is for most a very difficult field (Math as a whole..) Thanks for letting me share. $\endgroup$ Apr 26, 2013 at 4:11
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ If I see a topic that I find interesting, no matter how many votes/answers, I open it up to see what people are saying because I came here to learn, not to farm reputation. $\endgroup$
    – Justin
    Apr 26, 2013 at 23:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @gangqinlaohu, some of us come here to learn and to "farm reputation", or, at any rate, to teach. $\endgroup$ Apr 27, 2013 at 5:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I tend to hand out a lot more upvotes than I probably should. Partly because I feel guilty not being able to answer many questions so that is my way of giving back to the community, but also because I feel it is the best way to keep people coming back. Getting reputation is addicting... if I were to keep receiving it rather quickly I would come back to MSE quite often. $\endgroup$ May 6, 2013 at 1:53

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure how helpful this will be, because I've never had much trouble finding places to put my votes. I think about half my interest in se.math is in answering questions and half is in reading other people's questions and answers. So I spend a lot of time browsing through questions and opening the ones that seem interesting.

Often I see questions that seem to be in my areas of expertise but which I don't know how to solve; I open those and see what's going on, and usually upvote at least the question. Often I see questions that I do know how to solve, and open them even when they already have answers. Sometimes there are better answers than I would have given, and I upvote those. Sometimes it seems to me that the answers omit some important issue or miss some interesting approach, and then I write my own answer. Often these answers are quite successful even though they are later than other, upvoted answers.

Fairly often I see a question that is so interesting that I instantly stop to think about how to solve it. If I stop for more than a few seconds, I upvote the question.

I like mathematics, and reading about mathematics often makes me happy. Any question or answer that makes me happy will get an upvote. I rarely downvote.

I have a few tags marked as favorite tags, and I read through most of the questions that come along with those tags. The main one is . None of them are very high-volume, so following most of the questions is fun and not onerous.

I upvote any question that makes me pause and say "Oh, I've always wondered about that," or "Oh, I'd like to know the answer to that." Then I upvote the answers I find helpful or interesting.

If the question shows that the poster made an unusual effort to make it clear, I upvote it. For example, today someone asked a very simple question about a circle in a square. I would not normally upvote this, but they took the trouble to include a diagram in their question. I upvoted the question because of the diagram.

Often I open a question planning to post a certain answer in mind. If the answer is there already, I upvote the answer. If not, I write it up and post it.

I upvote any question that attracts a lot of dispute in the comments about what the correct answer is (for example), or that attracts a lot of wrong answers.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .