I'd like to see an increase of voting across the GIS SE community. I don't have any data that I can point to, only anecdotally. It seems the majority of posts only garner a handful of votes at best during the course of a day. I think this is a supportive approach to increasing participation across the board as an incentive for users engaging in posts during a day.

Edit - 05/27/2020

It's been several days since I last checked this question I posted, I have yet to select an answer as I'm more interested in the discussion that is ongoing which has been informative. One dialog I found helpful was this reminder from GIS SE or SE to vote, it was prominent and caught my attention as a good example of a possible action item that can help support the reminders to users to support their fellow peers

enter image description here

  • One feature (SE probably has this somewhere as a consideration?) may be helpful is allowing a user reading through questions to toggle in the current question view screen to other questions (tabs new, active etc...) versus having to click back on the questions list and choice another question
    – whyzar
    May 7, 2020 at 14:21
  • 1
    The place to look for an enhancement request like that is at the SE-wide Meta Stack Exchange.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    May 10, 2020 at 23:03
  • I just realized that I mistakenly thought that I received the above message in my most recent update from GIS SE, rather it was a screenshot from @MrXsquared below :)
    – whyzar
    Jun 3, 2020 at 1:51

6 Answers 6


When searching for programming questions on the web I often get Stackoverflow as first result. When viewing the questions and answers over there, I sometimes get a popup reminder "dont forget to vote if this answer or question was useful to you" (something like this). It is quite similar to this one: Remind new users to choose some answers?

enter image description here

So I finally found some (old) information on Meta SE: https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/89059/454427 Seems like this is already implemented on all SE sites, I just never see it here on GIS SE (probably due to rep?). However I think there have been some changes on this, since this post was written. If anyone has up to date information about this popup, please feel free to share it. Maybe adjusting parameters when this pops up could help increasing voting activity? Personally, when I try answers on SO it just takes some time before I know whether it was useful to me (simply because I am not a programmer), and sometimes I just forget to vote until I know. In such cases it was a useful reminder for me.


Traffic to the site has decreased since 23rd March 2020 due to the global impact of covid-19. (more people choosing video/conferencing over browsing?)

The trend is a slow rise, people working from home finding more time to visiting GIS.SE.

Stats over the year (votes/traffic) enter image description here

via mod tools (data is anomalised)


I help manage a different site (not StackExchange based) and I find it incredibly difficult to get any voting on questions. Most questions have zero votes. I think many reasons are the same as here.

I suspect that users find answers through searching, probably Google. Unless the search engine is sophisticated enough to sort by upvotes, then voting doesn't have a lot of worth. The top result matches more keywords, rather than having the most votes.

Plus we get many more hits than we have members. I believe that many users are not registered to the site, so can't upvote questions or answers.

That's my reasoning. I really don't know how to improve matters, but I'm open to suggestions too!


I too would "like to see an increase of voting across the GIS SE community" and I think the onus for this should not fall just upon those users who are already volunteering their time to answer questions.

Instead I think we need to also look at the poor quality of some questions asked, and the poor quality of some answers given, as being a reason for our users' reluctance to upvote them.

If I open a question and it states what the asker wants to do, describes what they have tried and where they are stuck, is in the form of a single question, includes no chit chat (e.g. greeting, signature, thanks), and is not a candidate for closure, then it will get an upvote from me.

If I view an answer and it answers a question (that is not a candidate for closure) in a useful way, without asking additional questions, then it will get an upvote from me.

From this answer to Do trilogy site votes influence external search engine results?, my understanding is that our voting can influence results of external search engines:

The search results are very likely influenced by votes.

The answers with more votes get promoted to the top of the page. Search engines usually put more weight on what they find closer to the beginning of a page rather then at the end of it.


Which types of questions do get much more than average participation/voting?

If we can identify these, maybe there is something on them (like a pattern) we can try help replicating to other questions.

One small set of those engaged questions are the ones which makes the Hot Network Question (HNQ) list. Of course, after they turn to be HNQ, participation on them increases rapidly, but to make it there in the first place, it was already higher than average.

GIS HNQ questions can be seen here (thanks Midavalo). Quickly analyzing them, I see some patterns:

  • posts mainly related to QGIS, but also
  • with code (reproducible example) and/or
  • screenshots.

Those are generally questions asked in hot subjects, but besides being well asked, aided with resources in the sense they are objectively understandable and answerable.

Hence, I think constructive feedback to help OPs improving their posts in all possible ways (whichever you think they are; code and screenshots are examples) can make a difference in increasing participation (voting is a consequence). Feedback through:

  • system (design, interface, custom messages, features, etc.),
  • meta. We could have more examples of how to ask posts per subject, like the one we have for in Writing code snippets to get quicker answers?. The tag is only 9.1% unanswered (way below average), which means among other things arcpy posts have engagement (including votes).
  • comments to OPs ('clarify that', 'add this', 'see link x', etc.).

The general idea is to continue 'giving the fish' (editing, reviewing, etc.), but at the same time making our best to try 'teaching how to fish' as well. And hopefully having more people joining the cause.


I have 15+ years experience in GIS and can't actually vote or comment because of not enough rep points on stackexchange. That limits my participation.

  • 3
    Unfortunately it has nothing to do with experience, it is more about activity
    – Taras
    May 11, 2020 at 8:40
  • 4
    But with such experience you will earn reputation quite quickly :) Just one or two good answers and you will have more privileges
    – MrXsquared
    May 11, 2020 at 9:42
  • 1
    Now you can. Welcome to GIS Stack Exchange, and also to GIS Meta SE. To get acquainted faster with how this site works take the quick tour and with a little bit of time, the help center. May 11, 2020 at 14:48
  • 5
    I have to agree with A. Mort. Not only is it too difficult to earn rep, many moderators are less than helpful when people come to GIS SE with legitimate questions only to have them shot down because of a far too strict adherence to a poor interpretation of question-asking standards. May 19, 2020 at 2:27
  • 5
    @ZacharyOrdo-GISP, earning 10k reputation is difficult, 1k is difficult. 15 points is very easy (it does not depend on asking or answering, it can be earned with edits). After OP posted here, he/she quickly got the up voting privilege, yet one week has passed and he/she did not cast one single vote. You see, reputation is not really a barrier; all it is necessary is some will. May 19, 2020 at 2:34
  • 3
    @AndreSilva Relative to earning higher numbers of points, yes, 15 points is easy. Relative to having never been a member of GIS SE in the first place, no it is not. Unfortunately, you have to recognize that this is simply not how people operate. If they have to gain X amount of points to prove their worth just to be able to participate, many people are going to assume it's just not worth their time and move on. "Ugh, I had to create an account, now they want me to do THIS too?" That's how people participate in the real world. You have to make initial participation as easy as possible. May 19, 2020 at 2:39
  • 3
    @ZacharyOrdo-GISP, if memory does not fail, the 15 rep barrier is to avoid people creating sock puppet accounts and voting for themselves. But really, we will agree to disagree; 15 rep is much more a matter of will than anything else to me. OP here is one example (got the privilege and did not vote; which is Ok, but still). May 19, 2020 at 3:42
  • 2
    I wanted to comment and ask a question on the below issue. I am still working on getting to 50points but I have long workdays which sometimes preclude me from finding time to vote/comment on here. By reading this, I learned edits can get points though :) gis.stackexchange.com/questions/280412/…
    – A. Mort
    May 19, 2020 at 4:23

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