This is a post that was made over on Tex.SE that I think we should all keep in mind.

"I'm a moderator from MathOverflow, and this "question" is actually unsolicited advice, based on our experience from the initial launch of MathOverflow.

We should encourage everyone to vote positively as often as possible!

Every Stack Exchange site will eventually end up with a different "base level" of voting --- that is, the expected number of upvotes for a question of a given level of excellence. (This effect occurs because people see a good question, but already with a certain number of votes, and think "oh, I would have upvoted this, but it already has enough".)

It's easy for us to affect this "base level" by encouraging high levels of upvoting now. We're setting the standards, and this really will have an effect.

In case it's not obvious: the rationale for wanting this base level to be high is that it provides better positive feedback to good contributors."


1 Answer 1


Downvote often, too.

Private beta is a time to shape the site. That means we need to promote good content by upvoting . . . and combat bad content by downvoting. Otherwise, it's easy to let standards slide and have answers and questions that would otherwise be downvoted into oblivion rise higher and higher. I've seen some terrible posts already, some of which have then been deleted.

In the same token, don't be too click-happy when it comes to upvoting. Vote early and vote often, but in moderation. A lot of us have written only a few posts and gotten more reputation than I would have expected. Be careful; upvoting too wildly can lead to just as many problems.

In private beta, reputation flows like water. Yeah, you lose 1 reputation point for downvoting an answer. But it's a drop in what could be a very large bucket.

The same points as above go for Literature Meta, but I certainly don't think we've had any problems here with voting so far.

As an unrelated note: Normally, I don't think that downvoters should be required to justify a downvote. However, I'll suggest that all downvoters leave a comment in some cases, so the post can be improved. We're all going to write flawed posts in some way, but we all need to learn to improve them. The same, actually, could hold for upvotes: Explain what you really liked about a post so people can do the same in the future.

  • Agreed. (And that's one thing which wouldn't be said on Tex.SE, since they have unusual policies about not downvoting much.)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jan 18, 2017 at 21:49

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