I have been noticing more and more that users are answering questions that have no up-votes. The most recent occurrence is for the question found at Creating queries to select by attribute with arcpy. 4 users apparently found the question worthy of their time to post an answer but they did not value it enough to up-vote it. When this happens it creates the appearance that the answering users are trying to gain reputation from answering a seemingly useful question without giving any in return.

Is there a way that we can stop this from happening? Perhaps, if a user answers a question, they automatically up-vote it?

  • I have drafted a practically similar question several times before. I didn't post anything because ultimately the answerer cannot be forced to upvote the question they answer. This post on Meta is quite an interesting read: Why aren't people voting for questions? where it happens quite often in other SE sites. I still am surprised to see some excellent and in-depth answers to questions, which eloquently describe the problem with a clear evidence of attempting a solution, and yet no upvotes.
    – Joseph
    Nov 9, 2017 at 14:52
  • 2
    Particularly to new users, I think upvoting their questions may encourage them to stay with GIS:SE and help it grow. Anyway, have my upvote ;)
    – Joseph
    Nov 9, 2017 at 14:52
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    +1. Voting is one thing that powers Stack Exchange, it helps sorting content according to quality; it is also how we create 'money' (aka reputation) which will unlock privileges and will allow users to help curating the site. Whenever I have time to read a question I tend to act on it: by editing or voting (whatever the vote is: up, down, close, reopen, etc). If I answer a question, I will (almost) always upvote it, but I don't think it is a good idea to automatically implement upvotes, because people see voting differently (it is something personal). Nov 9, 2017 at 16:42
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    I answer many questions that I don't believe are worth upvoting. In fact I answer questions I have downvoted too (with a comment as to how to improve the question, as I try to do with all my downvotes). Being able to answer a question doesn't necessarily mean the question is good, well researched, or that the asker has actually put in any effort.
    – Midavalo Mod
    Nov 9, 2017 at 21:32

1 Answer 1


The upvote guidance on questions is:

This question shows research effort; it is useful and clear

It does not suggest that an upvote should, in any way, be related to whether the question receives any answers i.e. it is purely about how the question presents itself.

I am one of the most frequent upvoters on this site, and I am about 1.25 times as likely to vote on an answer as I am on a question.

I glance at the topic of most questions posted here. If the topic does not look like it is in the form of a question that appears to summarize the question's content succinctly, then I will often not open the question which means it misses getting an upvote from me.

Once I have opened a question, if I feel it needs editing, then I am unlikely to upvote it. A lot of questions fall into this category because they have hastily penned titles, distracting chit chat (greetings/thanks/signatures/etc), ask multiple questions, or are hard to decipher.

I think a lot of questions currently arrive in a far less than clear state, so my rule of thumb is that if I can glance over it and understand what they are asking, without wondering whether it might mean this or might mean that, then it is an instant upvote from me.

I will answer some questions that I have not upvoted, or have even downvoted, if I think the answer I am giving may have value to the site. For these I will sometimes go back to make the question clearer so that I can then upvote it.

I strongly support upvoting questions that show research effort, appear useful and are clearly written. I do this because these questions are likely to attract potential answerers to invest their volunteered efforts into providing clear and comprehensive answers. Clearly written Q&As make it easy for any later viewer to quickly see whether it is the same as the problem that brought them to the site, and they are then likely to get their answer instantly.

I would not like to see GIS SE become an "ask anything, any way you like" site where "there is no such thing as a bad question" and every question gets an upvote to encourage more low quality questions. Clear questions deserve their upvotes because they instantly give potential answerers a chance to start on an answer without having to expend additional volunteered effort making clarifying comments, waiting for responses, and/or editing before they are in a position to do that.

Perhaps, if a user answers a question, they automatically up-vote it?

The Meta SE community, including me, does not think that this would be a good idea - see Automatically upvote questions you answer - Unless you say otherwise

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