I've participated in the sci-fi beta and my impression is that there were more votes (up & down) per question (and possibly per user) than here.

(If that is the case, perhaps there are more questions per user.)

But I don't have any data to know if my feeling is correct. The Area 51 data doesn't publish that.

Does anyone know how we're doing, relative to other betas, on the amount of votes?

I'm asking based on my assumption that voting is one of the engines to make a beta a success.

Vote Up for yes this is an issue, we are not voting enough.

Vote Down for no this is not an issue, we are voting enough.

  • 1
    Which way do we vote on this? Up for "yes" or up for "no"?
    – Caleb
    Commented Sep 4, 2011 at 21:15
  • Thanks, question edited. However, this invites subjective answering and ideally I'd like some data, if anyone has it. Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 4:46
  • 1
    @Caleb: That's the fundamental problem with voting on meta questions to indicate agreement/disagreement, rather than voting on answers.
    – Flimzy
    Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 5:36
  • Voting is, undeniably, critical to any SE site. However, by comparison to Database Administrators, we're doing great. :\ But, that's probably a bad comparison.
    – Richard
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 14:46
  • @Richard ahem you rang? ;) ~ Different audiences. You've got 250 registered users on meta right now, we have about twice that. By users we have about 5 times as many as you do. Our users care more about the substance of the Q, and less about the votes. However, we have one 10k+ user already, and several over 5k, so there's lots of voting happening, but we're also highly technical and not as open to wide ranging discussions. So ... it is what it is. ;) I would say your site appears to be doing well, but I'm not really active here so :\
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 18:04
  • Hey hey!! :D Yeah, I agree with all that you said. Also, this site is still early in the beta process, so we're getting a lot of activity right up front with the "simple" questions (what is sin?). Database Administrators is much more mature by comparison and it's much more targeted (for example, the latest on dba). I suspect that these have an impact on voting. So again, it's probably not a good comparison. ;)
    – Richard
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 18:14
  • 1
    ;) I concur. Curious where you pulled the idea for that comparison from, just because you're also on dba?
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 18:17

3 Answers 3


You're correct in that it is an indicator for your health as a Beta site, as the voting level tends to affect how many users you get at varying reputation levels. Without high reputation users, you do not have people who can police the community properly when you graduate.

The best way to get a general overview is to check out the overall reputation spread of your users. We don't give exacts on Area 51, but we do give a basic listing. For today's report:

Christianity (13 Days in Beta)

  • (currently 101 users with 200+ rep)
  • (currently 8 users with 2,000+ rep)
  • (currently 1 users with 3,000+ rep)

If you compare how Science Fiction and Fantasy is doing, at 237 days in beta:

Science Fiction And Fantasy (237 Days in Beta)

  • (currently 295 users with 200+ rep)
  • (currently 24 users with 2,000+ rep)
  • (currently 15 users with 3,000+ rep)

Stellar? No. Doing fairly well? Yes. Consider that at 13 days, the maximum reputation gain through votes alone is +2600 reputation. You have a user with 3000 reputation, with 7 more following at over 2000 reputation. You can't get that well without a combination of both participation and post quantity as well as votes that are being applied to them.


A handful of us are using our our voting quotas on a regular basis.

After that my observation is that there is a long tail of very low voting users. I see lots of users with more comments that votes, and a few with more questions and answers than votes.

In a sense I can understand the hesitation. One thing I don't think we have really developed is good quality guidelines, particularly for answers. Do you upvote a one-liner just because you agree with the view given? Do you downvote a long rambling one that covers too many bases from too many viewpoints? When does stating POV matter? These are things we're not all on the same page with yet and one way we could encourage more voting participation it to work these issues out and educate people about them.

  • 1
    "A handful of us are using our our voting quotas on a regular basis." Me! [raises hand] :P :D Commented Sep 4, 2011 at 21:08

Just don't fall into the trap that voting is as important as new questions (new good questions) and really really freaking good answers are. Focus more on those and less on voting. Don't ignore voting, just focus on those other two more.

  • This seems more like a comment rather than an answer. I want to know how we are doing in terms of voting. But thanks for dropping by here; I appreciate the feedback and comments above. Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 18:29
  • I agree it seemed more like a comment too, but really this is the answer to that question. I think you've been around the stacks enough to know this, and as pointed out above, the feeling is already pervasive on the site :\
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 19:59
  • If you care enough about the site you should be able to cast votes regularly as well as answer questions. Don't focus less on voting if you want a decent quality site.
    – going
    Commented Sep 7, 2011 at 5:16
  • @xiaoh I didn't say ignore voting, I said rather that the question should be focused on "are we asking enough good questions and are we giving enough really freaking good answers" and if you don't think that's the purpose of the beta, I can direct you to about six employees at SEI that will back this up. They want you to vote, yes, on everything that's good, yes, they even give you 40 votes per day if you vote on Qs enough, but the focus of the beat should be on the Qs and the accompanying As.
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Sep 7, 2011 at 14:11

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