The answer almost always has more up votes than the question, sometimes significantly so. I almost always scroll back up and up vote the question after up voting an answer (unless the question was terrible). Apparently others do not do this. It seems like it would help users' searches if questions were up voted in proportion to their accepted answer since it is the question up votes that are seen when searching.

I'm not sure how to make this a question... Basically my question is, shouldn't we be up voting questions that are valid for this SE?

Edit: I guess the answer up votes are also visible in searches, but still...

  • That is an excellent question! May 11, 2015 at 19:05
  • It was a pain in the ass on mobile, but MSE similar (@snowman): meta.stackexchange.com/q/9508/261014 May 13, 2015 at 14:32
  • Upvoting an answer helps other people find the best answer. Questions are found primarily based on title and keywords.
    – Muhd
    Apr 25, 2017 at 4:19

4 Answers 4


Thats part of the realized behavior of people...

There's a badge (Electorate) to try to encourage people to vote on questions more. There's also the way votes themselves work (related) (if you use your votes on questions, you get more of them).

So why? I suspect its part of the 'up vote for effort' nature that happens. If you put in work, you are likely to get up voted just because its well written and lengthy. That's just my observation. Most of the time, answers require more effort to be put in them and thus the answer gets an up vote for that effort. I'm not saying this is good nor bad - just a theory of why votes happen to fall the way they do.

Yes, votes on posts do help with the relevancy of related questions on the side and search results.

Trying to guess how people are going to vote or trying to get the community to vote in some way or another is often met with opposition and intentional data fowling ("this post was down voted? I'll up vote it! Why was this post up voted? I'll down vote it!").

I chalk it up to 'its one of those emerged social behaviors on the site that the devs have tried to channel to get more votes on questions but it still doesn't work too well.

Related on MSE: Why aren't people voting for questions?

  • Good answers are like a natural consequence of good questions. May 11, 2015 at 19:05

I think this is subjective and opinion-based, because people vote their own ways.

Personally, I find more answers that are constructive and useful than questions. I will upvote anything that deserves it in my opinion. More often than not, that "thing" is an answer.

I did upvote this meta question, although it does not affect reputation. I searched and could not find a similar question, and it was thought-provoking.

The bigger question is "how do we encourage more upvotes on questions?" To that end I am making an effort to edit questions that could be useful and interesting but currently are not.

  • But, you would not have the chance to upvote a useful answer if it weren't for the not-good question to exist in first place! May 11, 2015 at 19:06

IANAP(I am not a psychologist), but I think this is driven by perceived value.

Questions may not have as high a perceived value, because on their own, they don't accomplish much. When you are looking for help, how much would you value a question with no answer? It doesn't help that 10 other people have the same problem, but it sure does help all 10 of us when one person provides a constructive answer. Hence, more value in the answer.

Also, from an external view, it appears (and may be true) that the answerer has done more work. They took the time to understand the problem, figured out a solution and documented it. All the questioner did was post their problem. ;)

  • I would note that good (great) questions are valuable in themselves, that is, after having read it I have already learned something I may not have know before. Just an Observation.
    – Martin Ba
    May 7, 2015 at 18:27
  • Absolutely. There have been questions that inspired me to dig deeper, independent of the quality of the answers. But I think there are fewer of those than answers of the same caliber.
    – cdkMoose
    May 7, 2015 at 18:37

While questions are in many ways more valuable than answers, answers are:

  1. More immediately valuable—they provide a solution to a problem after all.
  2. More easily identifiable as valuable—that immediate value is easier to see.
  3. Teaches more quickly. Questions may be the bigger teachers in life, but answers are more often going to teach you something new in the space of a minute.
  4. More likely to contain something one sees as a flash of brilliance, and amusing aside, a note of historical interest, or something else that makes it stand out from the crowd.

The last is something that one sees particularly in the very high scoring answers. Sometimes in those questions that score very highly too.

After the initial couple of days, an answer is also much more likely to provide an answer to someone coming along with a similar question, while the question just restates what they would have written themselves. As such some answers may earn many votes. My highest-scoring answer on any SE site is this one on SO which is not particularly clever or insightful, but it keeps getting up-votes and I presume this is because people keep finding the little nugget of information it contains when they need that very nugget.

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