SE likes its sites to have a ratio of at least one question vote to three answer votes. The problem arises for me in that when I upvote a question, I tend to upvote most, if not all, the answers. (the reverse is not true.)

On most SE sites, there is an average of 2 to 2.5 answers per question. So I can upvote a question and two answers, and still have room for some "spare" answers. But IPS has an average of 4.5 answers per question. So if I upvote four answers per upvoted question, well you see the problem.

There are several alternatives, none of which are palatable 1) be more selective in upvoting answers 2) seek questions with few answers (and avoid questions with many). 3) Upvote a number of questions without upvoting answers. What should I do?

Or should SE be expected to relax its preference, because this site gets so many answers?

  • 7
    "SE likes its sites to have a ratio of at least one question vote to three answer votes." Citation needed. Also, what problem are you trying to solve here?
    – user288
    Aug 22, 2017 at 11:01
  • @Hamlet: You are allowed 40 votes a day, but only if at least 10 are question votes. If you have less than 10, your answer votes are capped at 30 for the day, so you don't reach 40. And the question is how do I follow the SE "guideline" with my dilemma and an average of 4.5 answer votes to questions. Or should we tell them that their guideline was more appropriate for a site with 2.5 answers per question, and lift the 30 answer vote cap to a higher number between 30 and 40?
    – Tom Au
    Aug 22, 2017 at 11:03
  • 2
    @TomAu Have you considered being less lenient with your voting?
    – JMac
    Aug 22, 2017 at 11:55
  • 4
    I don't think this is a major problem for the majority of users anyway; few people consistently use up all of their votes (only 12 users have ever done that so far). As Hamlet points out, there isn't really a preference from SE that you use your votes in a certain way; it's more just a 'bonus' to encourage voting on questions, particularly on more technical sites where many questions get no votes at all. Having some extra votes specifically for questions can help alleviate that.
    – Aurora0001
    Aug 22, 2017 at 11:55
  • 2
    Code Golf has 100,439 answers and 8,517 questions, the ratio of 11.8. Didn't prevent them from graduating.
    – user105
    Aug 22, 2017 at 15:29
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    I'm confused... according to your voting history, you've only voted 80 times total over the entire time you've used the site... all upvotes (this is publicly visible information, by the way). You don't even have the Suffrage badge for using 30 votes in a day, so you've never run out of votes. Can you explain why you think this is a "problem"?
    – Catija
    Aug 23, 2017 at 5:29
  • Well, part of it is also answer ratio. We get roughly 4.9? answers per question, unless many other sites, where that ratio might be closer to 1.5 to 2.5. Besides, question to answer ratios aren't that big of a deal. Just vote on content; don't vote to sustain a ratio.
    – Zizouz212
    Aug 24, 2017 at 19:06

3 Answers 3


"...this site gets so many answers … I tend to upvote all the answers"

Voting is used to sort the most insightful answers to the top. But if you highlight every passage on this site, then what's the point?

Interpersonal Skills was supposed to be a place for questions answered with an understanding of the underlying concepts, references, or at least some semblance of personal experience or expertise. But if everything written is considered particularly insightful and special, then nothing is. You're treating this like a general discussion forum.

I don't buy your central premise, but if I address your concerns verbatim, you don't need more voting; you need to be a lot more discriminating about what you accept as particularly insightful… and sort those posts to the top with your vote.

  • OK, on a "two answer" question, they tend to be both good or both bad. (one good and one bad seems to be the least frequent combination, even though it's 50-50 if it occurs "randomly.") On a multiple answer question, the quality varies a lot more.
    – Tom Au
    Aug 22, 2017 at 15:49
  • 1
    "Interpersonal Skills was supposed to be a place for questions that can be answered with an understanding of the underlying concepts, references, or at least some semblance of personal experience or expertise" There are so many Stack Exchange sites where the back it up rule is a formality that doesnt actually apply in practice. This site is one example of many. The most egregious is History, where on a good day people will cite Wikipedia. Its a little bit bizarre that Stack Exchange community managers extol the virtues of a back it up rule, but then ignore the fact that it isnt being enforced.
    – user288
    Aug 22, 2017 at 15:52
  • 3
    @Hamlet I'm not sure what you want the CMs to do. Delete half the answers on the site? The users here aren't enforcing it, either and they are the ones who should be.
    – Catija
    Aug 22, 2017 at 22:06
  • @Catija for a start, there could be better tools for enforcing a back it up rule. CMs could also use their soft power to encourage its importance. At the end of the day, this is their site; is it worthwhile to have a network where a third of the content is no better than yahoo answers?
    – user288
    Aug 23, 2017 at 1:04
  • 2
    @Hamlet Better tools - like what?
    – Catija
    Aug 23, 2017 at 2:08

Vote on a post solely based on its merits.

If a question shows research effort; is useful and clear, upvote it. Similarly, if an answer is useful, upvote it.

Do not upvote bad stuff. Do not go on a voting spree carelessly, for the sake of badges. It will "enable" undeserving users more privileges, and seeing many bad posts upvoted, more users will follow suit.

The number of answers or the users who answered should not influence your voting pattern.

You may revisit old questions and vote on them but only if they deserve it.

Regarding the Vox Populi badge, if that's what you're getting at, see Jeff Atwood ♦'s answer:

You can only achieve the full 40 votes in a day if at least 10 of those votes are for questions.

Your ability to vote stops once you vote for 30 answers. If you vote for 5 questions and then 30 answers, you cannot vote any more until the next day.

See also: Vote For This Question or The Kitten Gets It

  • Good questions tend to attract good answers. In my experience, it may be "all but one" (of five). The reverse is not true; sometimes lousy questions draw great answers.
    – Tom Au
    Aug 22, 2017 at 15:32
  • 1
    @TomAu if it's a bad question, vote down or close the question regardless of the quality of answers.
    – NVZ
    Aug 22, 2017 at 15:33

Under the circumstances you have described, the logical way to 'maintain a good question-to-answer vote ratio' would be to vote on questions more often and be selective in upvoting answers.

You can consider making yourself a policy of voting on at least 10 questions a day. That gives you up to 30 votes for answers which you can use judiciously while maintaining the 'ratio.'

What about downvotes? I sense that we are not casting enough downvotes here. That means good answers are highly upvoted; mediocre answers have a low score like 3, 2, or 1-- and even poor answers often don't reach much worse than 0, -1 or -2, which might even affect their automatic disappearance.

So remember also to downvote mediocre or bad questions and answers!

  • 1
    Just fyi; there's no automatic disappearance for answers. Answers can have as many downvotes as it can have upvotes. But in practice, either the community or a moderator deletes them to reduce clutter or to deal with flags.
    – NVZ
    Aug 23, 2017 at 15:35
  • Thanks for the clarification, @NVZ. Aug 23, 2017 at 21:33

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