This question was upvoted by Tom Au with the remark, that he is upvoting as a kind of welcome payment.

Imho, this is an ab-usage of the voting system. Good questions and answers deserve upvotes, not new users. Next, somebody observes the lack of female users and starts upvoting posts because they origin from females.

People shall be attracted by good questions and answers, not by giving them some gifts.

If somebody voted me up, to "get me going", I beg to revoke these upvotes.

There is no indication, that somebody really needs this form of welcome present. Pretending so puts the so gifted person in the bad situation, that he feels he didn't deserve the vote for his question or answer; it can make him or her feel bad, and therefor produce the opposite effect of what it was meant for.

Neue Nutzer mit einem Begrüßungsgeld anzufixen halte ich für eine kontraproduktive Idee.

Gute Fragen und Antworten sollen hochgewertet werden - nicht Personen, die man ködern will.

Der nächste kommt auf die Idee hier wären zu wenig Frauen, und bewertet alle Fragen und Antworten von Frauen positiv, um diese anzulocken.

Sollte jmd. meine Fragen und Antworten hochgewertet haben, um mich bei Laune zu halten, so bitte ich diese Bewertungen umgehend zurückzuziehen. Das ist nicht der Zweck des Bewertungssystems.

Und nicht nur, dass man das Geschenk vergiftet, wenn dem Beschenkten gleichzeitig vermittelt, dass man nicht seine gute Frage/Antwort, sondern den Umstand dass er oder sie neu ist, gratifiziert - man erreicht so womöglich den gegenteiligen Effekt.

Es ist gar nicht gesagt, dass derartige Zuwendungen nötig sind, um jmd. an weiteren Besuchen zu interessieren - womöglich wirken sie gegenteilig, weil man dem anderen damit vermittelt, es nötig zu haben, und käuflich zu sein.

  • 4
    "Begrüßungsgeld", "anfixen", "einlullen", ... - ich bin mir nicht sicher, ob solcherlei aufgeladene Polemik Deiner Sache dienlich ist.
    – Jan
    May 7, 2012 at 14:11
  • @Jan: Welcher Sache? Eine Fragestellung zuzuspitzen? Ein Problem zu verdeutlichen? Oder mich allseits beliebt machen? May 7, 2012 at 14:14
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    Ich kenne Deine Beweggründe ("Deine Sache") nicht, aber ich fühle mich von der polemischen Art und Weise abgestoßen. Ich werde daher erstmal nicht antworten oder mitdiskutieren.
    – Jan
    May 7, 2012 at 14:17
  • @Jan: Ich habe die Polemik - aber nur teilweise - zurückgenommen. May 7, 2012 at 16:41
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    Of course we'd have to ask him but what makes you think Tom Au would not have given an upvote if the user hadn't been new? I really think you're making a mountain out of a molehill.
    – musiKk
    May 7, 2012 at 17:02
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    Because of the reason he gives for his upvote himself. Why should I mistrust that? May 7, 2012 at 17:10
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    +1 for get you going. No, seriously, I agree. I also thought that it is somehow misplaced, but didn't bother any more about it.
    – Em1
    May 8, 2012 at 8:16
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    Btw. ich denke, dass solcherlei Upvotes schon des Öfteren gemacht wurden, nur nie dazu erwähnt wurde.
    – Em1
    May 8, 2012 at 8:18
  • @Em1: Wenn keine Werbung dafür gemacht wird, weil nichts dazu gesagt wird, ist es auch nicht so schädlich. May 8, 2012 at 8:21
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    @userunknown Im weitesten Sinne ja, aber dennoch bleibt bestehen, dass eine nicht so gute Frage/Antwort unberechtigt viele Upvotes bekommt. Und dies stellt die Qualität dieser spezifischen Frage/Antwort in ein falsches Licht. Auch nicht so gut.
    – Em1
    May 8, 2012 at 8:23

4 Answers 4


After reading the other answers I want to add some thoughts further, but I'm going into another direction.

In general, I don't like the excessive up-votes on GLU. Of course, sometimes I got a gain of that, I wouldn't have as much as rep if it were differently. But there are a lot of answers that do have more up-votes than they really deserve, even mine.

Regarding "welcome up-votes". No, they don't have any profit for our site. My very first question on a stack exchange page (stack-overflow) got zero votes and just one (not helping) answer. My 2nd question even got no answer. From time to time, though, I ask question on stack-overflow. And as soon as I get a new question I will ask again. I don't care about voting me up, I just want to have an answer to my question.

And that's the most important point. Answer the questions. If I get good responds I feel welcome and will come back. New users, if they aren't active on other sides before, don't care about votes. They are not interested in. They even don't know about it or have an idea what it is good for. Or do you believe everyone reads through FAQ first, wait until they are familiar with their new environment and then ask a good question?

No, they have a question, they Google, they find GLU somehow, they ask. They want answers, no up-votes!

What I recommend: Handle it like you would do for high rep users:

  • Good question -> upvote
  • Low quality post -> improve
  • Bad question (beneath contempt) -> downvote, but comment if you're the first one or if you downvote for another reason than the one before.

And if you have a reply to the question then just answer or respond via comment, independent of good, low or bad question.

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    As I tried to explain to userunknown, how many votes a Q/A/comment "deserves" is unfortunately completely subjective! You will never find a common denominator here (too many users not reading meta, user having different education and background...). Besides you could argue that animating new users to more voting/joining the whole rep gamification thing is healthy for a community :) The small downsides of few inequitable upvotes to a newbie might be acceptable.
    – Hauser
    May 9, 2012 at 12:50
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    I'm not saying bomard every new user with welcome votes, but I will often give a newbie a upvote who looks interesting for the community (effort, view, critical thinking) although he made a average standard post I would normally not vote. Also many top rep anonym & real name user even more ask very few questions and are into the rep gamification thing. Gimme my rep! With the occurence of Likes, +1, Karma... this is pretty common thing now in the web. We care more about this than we confess, aren't we? ;) codinghorror.com/blog/2011/10/the-gamification.html
    – Hauser
    May 9, 2012 at 12:57

I was just on the Area 51 part of the site. This site was complimented with "Excellent" ratings for CORE users. That is, there was a sufficient core of "avid" users, who were giving each other a lot of very good answers to their questions, with just about every question being answered.

SE did castigate this site in two areas: Questions per day (2) "needs work," and visits per day (502) were BARELY above the "needs work" category (500). As good a job as this site has been doing taking care of established users, SE needs us to do a better job of attracting new ones. And badly.

I do not consider the question a "very good" one in the usual sense of the word. I DO, however, consider it a very good question for a "learner," i.e. a foreigner with low reputation, trying to "pick up" the language, and get started here. Once this person is more established, then standards can, and should, be raised. More to the point, it is my belief that SE wants us to attract more of these people so that it can obtain a critical mass for e.g. advertising purposes.

I was just on a site (Economics) that was closed down by SE for lack of traffic. While the danger is not as acute on GLU, I would hate to see the same thing happen here. Economics' site statistics for questions per day (1.4) and visits per day (223), are closer to THIS site's statistics in these two areas (see above), than I would like to see. Ultimately, there are trade-offs between the quality of the site, and actually HAVING a site, at least one that is free.

Perhaps if we moved to a paid version, we could do a better job of enforcing standards. But while we're here on someone else's "nickel" (American English), it might make sense to work toward achieving their objectives while (basically) pursuing our own.

When will our site graduate from beta?

  • I don't see evidence for the idea, that users are attracted by offering them reputation for being new. But if it was a fact, I would still vote against this behavior. But first I would like to see evidence. Then, I would expect a discussion on meta whether we want to change the reputation policy. If it was in the general interest of S&E, we should probably move this discussion to the general Meta site? I don't think it is in the interest of the owner, to lower the standards. And I don't believe that you can change your voting habits later. May 8, 2012 at 14:13
  • @userunknown: OK, I'll stop doing this for the time being until I get a clearer picture on how things stand. In (American) childrens' terms, I'm taking a "time out."
    – Tom Au
    May 8, 2012 at 14:15
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    @TomAu you did nothing "wrong" or "bad" here, see my answer, I hope "time out" doesnt mean you stop frequenting this site?!
    – Hauser
    May 8, 2012 at 16:19
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    @userunknown It makes a huge difference for the FIRST stackexchange account. Users can not even post comments without a minimum reputation. This is very unwelcoming. After the initial 100 rep hurdle, one can make further accounts elsewhere, and receive the first 100 for free. I find your reaction quite bemusing. May 31, 2012 at 10:06

In the end, the reason for which one casts a vote -- whether up or down -- is up the the user themselves. Any recommendations either way are just recommendations. Tom and anybody else upvoting reasonable newbie questions are clearly acting well within the limits of good behaviour, and to question it shows some kind of misunderstanding of the voting system on stackexchange.


Tom has made some good points regarding some sites that were closed recently. I've seen him & others & myself doing "welcome voting" on other smaller beta stackexchange sites too.


ELU 18k user 27 Q/day
GLU 1,5k user 2 Q/day (ELU is 10x bigger and therefore creates 10x stats)
JLU 1,3 user 5 Q/day

Honestly, looking at those numbers, this site does pretty well, we cannot achieve the same stats as ELU on a english website, additionally some of our questions require english which is not really attracting german teenagers. A english speaking japanese learner has more questions than a german learner. We seem to have a similar growth rate as ELU while other language betas do much worse than GLU.

I agree with you that some user here welcome new ones with some upvotes to average or worse Q&A they would normally not vote, to attract or not drive away new user. I have seen many 1 rep point user accounts on stackexchange with one poor Q or A, got one downvote, and were never seen again. Saving your downvote might be the better option here, welcome voting for effort is understandable. Voting serves mainly to put the best Q&A and user to the top. If the voting is equitable and necessary at the bottom range of the reputation and quality ladder is a useless debate, the best thing you can achieve with voting is filtering out bad content and put popular/good (not best) stuff to the top.

You could start now a neverending debate, for what reasons people vote distinct stuff. In the end I believe probably less than 10% of a stackexchange site read the meta section. So even if some people agree with you like in the comments, I really think trying to educate people towards "good" voting is a sisyphus act and not communicable. It's hard enough to animate people to vote at all looking at votes vs. views on a question.

There are some user privileges like comment everywhere, where I think "get somebody going" is understandable. I do this sometimes too on the smaller beta sites to attract new user. That's normal, user vote for user they want to stay in a community (Facebook liking :) ). I voted your main and meta questions sometimes mainly for your critical thinking, despite I did not always agree with your arguments (and I will not remove those votes befor you ask ;) ). I want competition between answers, many short and easy answers here get > 10 upvotes. I don't like this, but anyway you can't change it. Just look on ELU what Q&A get the most upvotes, often boring single-word-requests... Thats like requesting electors to choose the correct party, voting is no perfect system, but there is no better ;)

I agree with you that this site doesn't urgently need this kind of voting anymore. I wouldn't do this kind of voting on ELU (really enough regular users). And as far as I know the basic privileges reputation requirements stay the same, even if the higher privileges (editing posts etc. rise up with graduation of a site). Most of the basic privileges you earn anyway on any site with one 200+ account on stackexchange.

The best way on SE to see good Q&A and attract user is writing good Q&A (self-fulfilling prophecy), not trying to educate people towards "good" voting, which has mainly a filter function for the top-content. It's not suited for equitable and objective rep judgement of low rep users and will not lower the overall quality by welcome voting some newbies.

  • Oh, Mr. Hauser, I'm sorry, but I guess I will need 10 comments to answer all this, mostly off topic, stuff. From the Top! a) Sites were closed recently, where you and others played this welcome - voting? So it doesn't work - does it? Sites don't get closed because beginners didn't receive enough upvotes. The idea, that there is a distinction, is pure illusion and vulnerable to selective observation. You don't even know whether the people observed the downvote, nor do you have numbers of people visiting though downvoted, visited again while upvoted, and stood away though upvoted. ad 1) May 8, 2012 at 16:40
  • You don't have a numerical statistics, nor did you talk to this people, so you don't have qualitative data too. I have to repeat it: It is pure illusion. You believe in a correlation, but there is not even evidence for correlation. So that is no argument. That's my main point. Top 2: I guess people will revisit the site if they get a useful answer. Having a question should be the reason to visit, not to produce some visit stats, nor to earn some reputation. Teaching the users how to ask and answer is, beside sorting good things up, a second concern of voting. May 8, 2012 at 16:46
  • Top 3) I didn't start a neverending debate, for what reasons people vote distinct stuff. My topic is not to upvote questions because the user is new. Top 4) People who read meta are typically users who vote often, who comment often, and who read every question (as long as there are < 10q/d). So if somebody has influence, then people who discuss on meta. Such people can comment new questions and do so. Such people lead by example and spread the ideas how to act here. You don't need to pariticipate, but if we want to lead this site somehow, we do it with discussions in meta. May 8, 2012 at 16:51
  • Top 5) I don't use facebook, I don't know it, I don't like it. Discuss Facebook on Facebook. Top 6) Most upvoted answers, I observed myself, are often mediocre (more so on SE). They have to be short, to be at the first ones, and understandable, to receive upvotes by many. People don't vote up what they don't understand. It shouldn't be too trivial, but close to it, so that everybody says "Yes!" 'Wer nämlich mit H schreibt ist dämlich.' Everybody agrees. Hmpf. The 2$ whore pattern. But I don't agree that short answers are often bad. To the point, Mister, concentration, please! :) May 8, 2012 at 16:57
  • Top 7) see Top 2): I agree: Good questions and good answers shall attract new users. And - I add - good users, users writing good questions and answers. How do you get them? Vote their good stuff up. Only that. If you attract bullshit, you might get much bullshit, but it is bullshit. I don't say this question was bullshit, but seek for quality, not quantity. Quantity might follow quality. (End and over). May 8, 2012 at 17:02
  • @userunknown It's pointless to ask for numbers/statistics if pure experience (the upvotes of Toms comment in that specific question or driven away 1 rep user) here shows you that such voting is a behavioural pattern (kindness among those user) and neither doesn't harm nor push the quality of your site, there are several reasons why some sites were shut down, a single factor doesn't prevent anything. I just told you why user SOMETIMES welcome vote and it's pointless asking them for only objective voting here, as few read meta and a vote meets sometimes only "thanks for your effort".
    – Hauser
    May 8, 2012 at 18:56
  • Thats just facts. User also come here for earning rep codinghorror.com/blog/2011/10/the-gamification.html its called gamification and strongly linked to the quality of this site, this is undeniable. You are really making a mountain out of a molehill, if you think those rare welcome voting does damage a site or drives away experts. A user like you or Takkat will become 50 and more upvotes from me in the long run, a new user maybe 2-3 welcome votes overall (I do not welcome vote everyone!) if he is new to SE and its quality requirements (often earning some downvotes therefore).
    – Hauser
    May 8, 2012 at 18:57
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    If he shows no quality posts, he will not climb up the rep ladder. I really understand your concerns (I argued for downvotes being a common thing here too), but the size of SE is too big to give out voting guidelines and I dont see them causing substantial damage. How much user do you think welcome vote without leaving a comment like Tom(?). The vast majority on small beta sites. On SO the lack of voting on many localized questions is a bigger problem than some welcome votes. They tried to lead by example. I tend more towards a atmosphere were people vote too often than too less.
    – Hauser
    May 8, 2012 at 18:57
  • The amount of welcome votes vs. the rep of the elite users here is really neglible regarding your concerns imho
    – Hauser
    May 8, 2012 at 18:58
  • let us continue this discussion in chat May 8, 2012 at 19:58

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