Recently we can see more and more questions that do receive only few upvotes if any, despite them having upvoted answers.

Some answers to low voted questions are brilliant gems but they may be overlooked when the question itself is not highlighted by having corresponding high votes.

We should put more effort in voting not only on answers but also on questions. The SE network does encourage such upvoting on questions with several badges that can be earned by doing do:

  • Nice, good great question
  • Civic duty
  • Electorate
  • Suffrage
  • Vox populi

To increase the votes on questions we may consider the following

  • Show some respect to the questioner because any time we write an answer the question should have been useful.
  • Highly voted good answers can only be written on a useful question.
  • Whenever we look forward to an answer of a question we can not answer easily the question may deserve an upvote (the more upvotes a question has the more effort we should put in writing a good answer).
  • Please do not downvote an otherwise well written questions when we can not answer it (this sadly happened in the past).

What minimum requirements should a question have to be upvotable? How do we define a "useful" question? Should questions be edited if they have good answers but do not yet meet our criteria for being useful?

  • 1
    Note that there is the “Reversal” badge as well. Not every question that prompts good answers is itself good.
    – chirlu
    Aug 14, 2013 at 11:54
  • 1
    A poor question with good answers needs an edit, doesn't it?
    – Takkat
    Aug 14, 2013 at 11:59

3 Answers 3


As soon as you deem to answer a question, you should also upvote it,
well except for the rare cases of "Reversal", or if you have a trivial case of ask google

As a native speaker of german I consider some questions even higher than this, namely: questions that make me think about my own language, questions that require me to do some mental research (or even actually checking things up in the dictionary)

These always will get an upvote by me, given the case they are readable. If by any chance the question is written in an extremely confusing manner or showing no research effort whatsoever, I usually downvote and leave a comment, which I can change into an upvote, as soon as the question is edited ;)

Whenever I upvote one or more answers to a question, I usually upvote the question too. Why?

As soon as a question brings forth a good answer, the question has it's valid reason of existence and a proof of being a good question, namely a good answer

Well as soon as the question does not deserve an upvote, even though there is a good answer to it, the rule Takkat gave applies:

Where there is a good answer, there should be an upvotable question. if there is no such question: edit it.

This means:

An upvotable question is relatively easy to understand and read.
It should set a basis for a good answer

This also should be the minimum requirement for any question asked, because breaking down a problem to the understandable is the minimum to be done before asking a question.

And to make it readable is simple courtesy, that requires almost no effort (pressing return is not that hard...)

"useful" questions should relate to "realistic" cases of usage and not (theoretical) constructs that are obsolete in german language, or constructions that no one uses.

Sometimes a question may not be useful, but it is still a good question. In this case I think an edit is not necessary, but should be encouraged.

  • 1
    There are a lot of difficult questions which need further investigation before being answerable. Often I fail to answer questions appropriately. Sometimes I, though, try my level best. However, this does not justify an upvote for the question. If a question, for instance, shows lack of research I'm not willing to upvote at all. I don't support laziness. - If a questions is written lucidly (I don't complain about lack of knowledge of beginners but "i hat if ive trabble wit reeding") and shows clearly what's the problem, then and only then I'm willing to upvote.
    – Em1
    Oct 23, 2013 at 8:41
  • @Em1 i had implicitly excluded questions that would be closeworthy (no research effort, unsalvagable content problems etc.)
    – Vogel612
    Oct 23, 2013 at 8:59
  • 1
    Well, must have this point. What stuck in my mind after reading your answer, it felt like ~*in case it's not good yet because of minor issues then make it good by edit it*, but then I still don't like to upvote (but I'd like to upvote my edits^^)
    – Em1
    Oct 23, 2013 at 9:05
  • @Em1 why not? i think an experienced user as you are one, knows when his edits are worthy of upvoting ;)
    – Vogel612
    Oct 23, 2013 at 9:09
  • If - after an edit - a question was good (and that was the purpose of an edit, wasnt it?) I see absolutely no reason to not upvote it, if we wanted this question (or eventually our answer to this question too) to appear in the list of good questions.
    – Takkat
    Oct 24, 2013 at 8:52
  • @Takkat: It depends on how much work needed to be done to make it a good question, how much effort did the questioner put into it, how useful is it afterwards and how clear it was before/is it later. I've experienced situations, where I could correct some errors but parts of the question where still unclear. Sometimes people answer just all possible meanings of a question. If a correction is well done and creates a brilliant question out of trash, time will heal its score. I needn't honor it immediately. :) Oct 27, 2013 at 16:01

I do not agree with the notion that upvoting an answer should be semi-automatically coupled with upvoting the question, because “it prompted such a good answer”.

As an example, consider this question: Why is it "den zwei Autos" and not "die zwei Autos"? The only answer is by myself, and it is actually my second highest ranked answer at present (+14: 14 up, 0 down). The question, on the other hand, only has one upvote.

I guess the answer got upvoted because it is correct and to the point. I wouldn’t call it particularly interesting or insightful, though, and this is related to the question being on a very elementary level. There is no way (or need) to “fix” the question by an edit, other than to replace it with a completely different question. It is fine as it is; but why should it get a dozen upvotes?

  • At the time I asked this Meta question we had a dramatical drop in votes on questions. Some question had zero votes or even were downvoted despite them having good answers. I felt it was time to discuss this. It is definitely not my intention to propagate an auto-upvote on any question with upvoted answers but we should take care that voting will somehow reflect the overall usefulness of a Q & A thread. And, why don't we say "Good question, here's my answer"? Instead we often say "Such a boring question, but I'll answer it anyway".
    – Takkat
    Oct 29, 2013 at 7:30
  • @Takkat: "Overall usefulness" is your personal view, not an official category. There are questions to vote on and answers to vote on. If we say: "Such a boring question, but I'll answer it anyway" - well, maybe because it is a boring question. Oct 31, 2013 at 20:18
  • @userunknown: we are in beta, i.e. we do not yet have a fully elaborate FAQ. Meta and also this post here is meant to define our rules. It is here we can discuss matters. All Meta discussions will eventually lead to our own FAQ after we matured. Event then we can change this FAQ after a Meta discussion was resolved. This has nothing to do with my "personal" view it's what community is all about. Of course voting is and will always be subjective and should have no rules. But we can give a guidance, cant we?
    – Takkat
    Oct 31, 2013 at 20:29
  • @Takkat: Yes, we can. Unfortunately people tend to not read the FAQ, so it is pretty useless to define there something which differs from other SE-sites. On the other hand I'm not really interested in changing the voting guidelines. It should be clear, easy and straight forward. That's of course only my opinion. Nov 1, 2013 at 11:14

The question and suggestions are wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong. So entirely wrong!

There are three criterias for a question, which show up on hovering the up arrow:

  • shows research effort
  • is useful
  • and clear

which means, you can have three brilliant answers, but there hasn't been any research effort which is a different thing.

Similar, a question might be not very useful. I would say that a very specialized question is less useful than a more general question. For example a question might be, whether names ending with ~stein like Rubinstein, Einstein, Wallenstein and so on origin from somewhere with the meaning of stone. Pretty general and maybe useful. Only asking for Einstein is less useful, but at least it is a popular name. If somebody has an uncle called Waldstein and asks for that name, it is not very useful and would fit the somehow vanished bullet point "too specialized/localized" from the close-question dialog.

But there might be a specialist giving a good answer. If you want to vote on answers, vote on answers - it's simple as that. Play it straight forward and not around 3 corners.

People can search for questions by content and needn't search by upvotes. There are many good questions I'm not interested in. Vote them up like insane - I wouldn't read them (again).

The SE network does encourage such upvoting (my emphasis; uu) on questions ...

No, it encourages upvoted questions - the person responsible for such a question. Upvoting is encouraged too, but not as much as your list suggests.

Show some respect to the questioner

Show respect to the questioner in the chat. The voting is for voting on the question, not on the questioner. Don't abuse the voting system, especially not for welcome posts. In 2 months no visitor will recognize that a somehow bad question was upvoted to make the questioner feel good, except you abuse the comment system too, which makes it worse. The system should be fair and clear and communicate what is explicitly stated (see above).

Highly voted good answers can only be written on a useful question

It is just wrong. Beside the arguments already made, the answer could be upvoted because it is making some popular claims, which wouldn't be what the system is intended to be, but why should such an abuse automatically jump over to the question?

Whenever we look forward to an answer of a question we can not answer easily the question may deserve an upvote ...

Yes, or it might not be a clear question and deserve a downvote.

Please do not downvote an otherwise well written questions when we can not answer it (this sadly happened in the past).

How do you know this? Can you read minds or did you downvote yourself?

What minimum requirements should a question have to be upvotable? How do we define a "useful" question? Should questions be edited if they have good answers but do not yet meet our criteria for being useful?

Requirements: See above: Clear, useful and shows some effort. If all points are met: upvote. If some are met, weight them.

A question is useful if the chances are good, that more people will have the same question, if it raises interest. If I'm interested in a topic, I tend to vote it up (but the other points, preparation and clearness can prevent it). If I'm not interested, I tend not to vote it up. This way many votes will show high interest and usefulness, low votes less so. If I'm not interested, but I'm impressed by effort and clearness, I vote up though to encourage the style of asking.

Questions should always be edited if you can improve them without changing the intent of the author, useful or not. I already edited some questions to improve the clearness or the spelling but voted to close because of other reasons.

  • Just saying it again and again: there is more to voting than just the tiny little tooltip on hovering. Read help center and Meta if you need to find criteria.
    – Takkat
    Oct 27, 2013 at 18:50
  • 3
    Been there, done that. No indication to upvote a question for the answers. Oct 28, 2013 at 0:26

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