Why would someone take the trouble to answer a question and yet not vote up the question? I've seen this a few times recently. It's possible I saw these questions at exactly the wrong moment, but that seems unlikely somehow.

Let me be clear. I'm not complaining; I'm mainly curious as to why someone would answer a question that they didn't think was worth up voting.

  • good question. great answers
    – Bforce
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 20:09

3 Answers 3


Why should you always vote on a question ? I vote up questions that I believe are well composed and show own effort performed by the OP into researching his/her problem. But I don't consider that the same criteria for answering. I answer wherever I think I know the answer, regardless of how that question relates to my up-voting criteria.

For instance:

  1. Sometimes I'll modify someone's question, cleaning up the english, code and tags. I'll answer if I can, but I won't vote-up a question that was barely understandable or used wrong tags.
  2. Some questions are pure code and show little self effort (such as Apex Errors). I'll answer but rarely upvote.

I believe learning how to ask questions is a process that will both facilitate users getting help quicker, and making their questions more re-usable into the future, helping even more people. Consider that with the original question-answer 1 person is helped, but 100 more may be helped if they can easily find the questions through search engines. That is why i strongly believe in the stackexchange platform, and helping/guiding/editing questions into a cleaner form.

Sometimes that means not upvoting right away, untill people do it "right". Or down-voting in extreme cases. In the end I do end up giving a lot of votes to people.


I understand @SamualDeRycke's point of view.

However, if that's the case, when answering the questions you speak of, I'd encourage you to point those users to resources where they can learn to help themselves or suggest how they can improve their posts to get a more helpful response here on SF.SE. That might encourage those users to stick around, come back and become part of our community; perhaps even upvote your or someone else's answer along, with other posts they see.

It would truly be nice to see more answers accepted here on SFSE. I believe much of that is because we're not being a "friendly" sort of place where new users are being welcomed sufficiently to cause them to want to return.

I believe we could use a LOT more upvoting here in general to help foster more community. Similarly, comments made when downvoting would be equally beneficial to us and the users the OP is speaking of. I believe we alienate new users when we don't give them any acknowledgement or "credit" for having the courage to ask a question here on SFSE. It tends to give this place an air of being somewhat elitist instead of a friendly place that welcomes all who have an interest in learning more about SF who wish to follow the rules of our community.

Questions that may seem trivial to some here, can feel quite challenging to the total newbie. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of that when dealing with newer users. Having some "copy and paste verbage" along the lines as was suggested a few months ago by @crop1645 who used a wonderful gift for words when he said:

Example admonitions:

  • We're happy to help but you'll need to simplify your issue by removing unnecessary domain-specific details from your code sample
  • We're happy to help but could you please reword your problem statement to its essence using clear, declarative sentences?
  • This looks like an issue amenable to the use of system.debug statements - have you tried those?

I thought these ever so gently helped new users learn how to use the site. He had other commendable suggestions is his in his answer as well to the post How do we improve the signal to noise ratio?

The bottom line of what I want to say is that I believe in "positive reinforcement". Encourage people by rewarding them for making an effort and they'll want to do even better. My question for those who are reading this, is by us not upvoting at all a post we've taken the time to answer, are we encouraging those users to return, or are we silently sending them another message?? I say that particularly when the answer to their question gets upvoted, but their question never gets upvoted at all!

What are we silently saying to them when this happens? I hope you'll give that a thought...

  • 1
    Isn't that nearly the same as my answer ? Comment on how they can improve, and do vote when they do so. Commented Jun 10, 2014 at 21:28
  • 1
    I'm saying I think its in our best interests to encourage newbies by both commenting and also voting them up if they show at least some effort to ask questions according to our guidelines. If we don't, we're shooting ourselves in the foot by effectively discouraging them from becoming part of our community.
    – crmprogdev
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 0:10
  • Yes, I do agree with that. I guess I didn't make that as clear as you have in your answer. (you did get my upvote :P ) Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 6:09
  • I agree with your approach to upvoting (and voted for your answer), but I accepted Samuel's answer since he gave a thoughtful explanation of why someone might answer without upvoting. I agree that more upvoting and accepted answers would be good. Other SE sites seem more active that way, but size may be a factor.
    – Jagular
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 14:58
  • 2
    Having my answer "accepted" wasn't important to me. I'm simply pleased to see that my message was heard, understood and validated. Thank you both for your supportive comments.
    – crmprogdev
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 15:17

More disconcerting to me is the number of downvotes I've seen recently. I've answered questions that weren't perfect answers, but they were helpful and accurate and I've received a number of downvotes in the past month, more so than anytime in my history on SFSE.

They're just votes folks, quite easy to give away freely. If some answer is moderately helpful or a question reasonably asked, it's worth a vote. Fostering community is about encouraging participation and the veterans of this community need to do more to incentivize participation. Part of that incentive structure to help build community is being free with votes. I'm not saying award poorly asked questions but don't vote on something just because it's interesting to you, vote on something because it's a legitimate question, reasonably asked.

I think I get it, it takes a lot to impress veteran developers, stump them, and wow them with a response, but that should not be your criteria for voting.

  • 2
    You might want to turn your answer into a question in the meta area. It hasn't been here long, but it has votes. Personally, I think a down vote should be accompanied by a comment. How is one to improve if the only feedback received is a negative vote count?
    – Jagular
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 14:20
  • I completely agree with you on this and have both observed and experienced the same.
    – crmprogdev
    Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 13:07

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