Not signed in (Sign In)

Vanilla 1.1.9 is a product of Lussumo. More Information: Documentation, Community Support.


    When I see an answer that I think is okay, correct but not fabulously so, I have a tendency to upvote it if it has only a few votes – but not if it has lots of votes. Sort of an anti-bandwagon effect. Now I have noticed that when I myself write an answer that falls into this category, like a straightforward textbook answer to an easy question, it often collects a few points very rapidly, then upvotes stop coming. Which leads me to the conjecture that many others have a similar voting behaviour (strategy seems like too big a word) as I outlined initially. Am I right?


    I think you're absolutely right, but I don't think there's a lot that can be done about it except individually making an effort to do otherwise. One thing that I will point out is that because we (especially Scott) pushed hard for people to vote often in the early days of MO, our standards for how many votes are "only a few" are considerably higher than on other sites. According to the directory of SE sites, posts in the last week have gotten an average of 4.2 votes ... the next highest average is 2.7.


    The election got me thinking a bit more about the issue of people seeing the vote totals when they decide to vote. It occurs to me that we could simply hide vote counts with css. I don't think it would be very good permanently, but I'm really curious how voting habits would change. At some point, people suggested hiding reputation, but I was opposed to it because I think seeing reputation is useful. Seeing vote counts is useful too. If we hid them, answers would still be sorted by votes, so you'd know which ones are the best, but you wouldn't know which ones are awesome. But I think the experiment of hiding vote counts would be much more interesting than the one of hiding reputation, so I'm floating the idea.

    If you want to get an idea of what pages would look like to determine if it would be annoying, visit a page and type the following into the location bar:

    "I have a tendency to upvote it if it has only a few votes – but not if it has lots of votes"
    I don't agree that that is a bad thing. A question with 0 votes gets only few views, because people thing it is a bad question, so I think you should give it its first upvote even if it is only a somewhat interesting question. But if the question already have more upvotes than you think it deserves, there is no reason to upvote.

    @Anton: What is the location bar?

    @Sune: The location bar is that text field usually near the top of your browser in which you can type a web address and which otherwise shows the address of the present page. It is possible that it is hidden when you are not actively using it, depending on the setting of your preferences.

    It's interesting, at least as a thought experiment. My suspicion is that, if vote counts were hidden, the best and worst answers in each thread would have more extremely high/negative scores, and the answers in the middle would forever remain scored according to the order they were submitted.

    Also, I wonder what would have happened (if anything) if the scores were hidden on the moderator election thread. Would the difference between highest-scoring and lowest-scoring people increase or not?

    P.S. I agree with Sune, and I vote like him.
    Aren't we supposed to vote up a question when we personally thought it was interesting?
    I didn't realize that I should be analyzing how many votes a question objectively deserves.
    @Dror: I don't think "should" is the right word here. For me, there is a gray area between questions/answers that I don't care about, and those that I find very enlightening to me. In those cases, I vote or not depending on how much score I think it deserves (it's certainly very subjective rather than objective).