I have noted that several questions have answers and sometimes multiple answers but no votes either up or down. It seems to me that if a question is worth your time and effort it should also warrant a vote.

addendum: Since my original post several people have responded in a manner which leaves no doubt that it has inflamed them. That surely was not my intention, some responses came from someone whom I am sure have not answered any of my questions. I am not proposing that people vote on all questions, I certainly do not.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is my impression:

an up vote indicates that you feel the question is proper for the site, and a down vote is not.

If you take enough time to answer a question it seems evident to me that you feel it is cogent, otherwise why waste your time with an answer. And if you feel you are qualified to answer the question then you should be qualified to judge the value of that question.

I have always been under the impression that a comment was something that you felt the author needed to know but was less than an answer. for instance that the question did not properly fit the site, or as Fredsbend commented on one of my questions that it was so inflammatory that it had caused splits in Churches, and I immediately withdrew the question.

I for one take all answers and comments seriously, otherwise I would not bother to ask them. I know I ask a lot of questions, but these questions have occurred to me over a long time of studying the Bible.


2 Answers 2


[Insert compulsory "you can vote however you want" statement]

That being said. Voting is good for the site.

  • It helps users determine what the community thinks of a question.
  • It gives out reputation points. This eventually creates users that will perform necessary site functions, such as review tasks.
  • It encourages new users to return and participate again.

To be fair, not voting is a lesser form of downvoting. The question is not good, but it is also on-topic, so it is not worthy of a downvote. But people don't want to upvote it either.

If you are going to answer, I think it is a foolish strategy. If they gain a few rep points then they are more likely in a happy mood about it, therefore, more likely to upvote and select an answer. Further, some of the most basic site functions are excluded to new users. They can't even vote or comment on posts that aren't their own.

  • 1
    This pretty much covers my exact thought when I don't vote either way: "To be fair, not voting is a lesser form of downvoting. The question is not good, but it is also on-topic, so it is not worthy of a downvote. But people don't want to upvote it either." Nov 10, 2013 at 1:39
  • @ David Stratton For my part I would appreciate that you leave a comment to that effect, but that is just my preference others may not care for that.
    – BYE
    Nov 12, 2013 at 14:11

The 'title' text (tooltip/hover text) for a question upvote reads: "This question shows research effort; it is useful and clear." (For downvote: "This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful.")

Some questions show very little if any research effort, so an upvote is questionable, but a downvote might be seen as excessively discouraging new posters. Such questions are relatively easy to answer and a response provides a degree of positive feedback. If the question happens to fit one's personal knowledge base or interests, providing a somewhat extensive answer can be fun.

(I rarely do much research for any of my answers--some Bible verse look-ups, maybe one or two Google searches [often only using a Wikipedia page]. This means that I tend to answer questions that are highly speculative and/or "easy" [based on what I already know].)

Some inappropriate questions do not get closed quickly or downvoted but incite a response from the nature of the question. "Refute this" and "pastoral advice" questions might fit in this category. Even high reputation users have sometimes provided answers to questions that should be closed. If answers come to bad questions, it might be somewhat more understandable that they come to borderline questions as well.

Evaluating questions is also more difficult than evaluating answers, especially for questions one can answer easily. (To make matters more complex, one person's "Let Me Google That For You" is another's "I searched for an hour but found nothing helpful".) One might choose to provide a quick answer to a question that one is not really sure is useful. Being the first to vote on a question requires a little more confidence about the usefulness of a question than providing an answer.

The above is mostly speculation and may not address the question especially well. I myself find voting difficult, especially downvoting, and have some desire to be helpful, so I am likely not to vote on a question (which requires making a definitive decision on a subjective matter particularly one for which the standard is a group standard) that I am willing to answer.

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