It looks like a lot of people here vote on questions not based on the question formulation itself, but based on the answers that are given. That means they do not vote until they see the answers, then they vote.

Is this correct?

If yes - how is this behaviour justified?

What I would think - question is estimated on the formulation itself - how clear is it? does it shows research effort? (These are the criterions you see when you put mouse over voting-arrows). Otherwise how would user, who ask (and who doesn't know the answer) can estimate what is good question and what is not?

  • $\begingroup$ Can you cite an example where this happened? $\endgroup$
    – user20
    Jun 12, 2014 at 7:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Emrakul, no. I do not have any "evidence".:) Therefore I ask "Is it correct?", so people can tell "Yes, I do it". If nobody tells this the other part of the question can be answer as hypothetical - "If it is true, is there a good reason for this?" $\endgroup$
    – klm123
    Jun 12, 2014 at 7:21

3 Answers 3


It is correct?

That's... not a question that can really be answered. People can use their votes however they want. Votes are anonymous, and there's no rules specifying what you can and can't vote on (except for serial voting on a specific user).

Read the text that pops up when you hover over the upvote arrow:

This question shows research effort; it is useful and clear

If a question gets good answers, that could possibly imply that it is clear, and that could imply that it was useful in that it had good answers.

Now, am I explicitly encouraging this type of voting? No; in fact, I would discourage it. But the point is: You can't tell people how to vote. You can tell people how they should vote, but ultimately, it's their personal decisions and their opinions on how they want to vote.


While I can understand your hesitancy in rewarding users for less than stellar posts, keep in mind that the voting questions also influences which threads get seen the most.

If a mediocre question ends up generating great content, your first inclination should be to clean up the question to make it shine. If the answers make for a great reading experience overall, you certainly want to highlight that for all your incoming visitors to see. You do that by up-voting the question.

The end goal of all this voting is to help assure that folks who happen upon your site have a great end-user experience. Don't let your distaste for few stray points detract from the site experience overall.

You want your best stuff rising to the top — questions and answers.


@Emrakul, no. I do not have any "evidence".:) Therefore I ask "Is it correct?", so people can tell "Yes, I do it". If nobody tells this the other part of the question can be answer as hypothetical - "If it is true, is there a good reason for this?"

(Quoting a comment by the OP)

Yes, I do this.

An example would be Suicide Mystery (since deleted):


Someone either jumped or fell to their death from a multistory buidling. The detective in charge went into each room facing the dead body and looked out of the window. After having done this, it was ruled a suicide. Why?


He found an unlocked window.

Note that the answer was accepted as being the correct answer, which probably means it was the answer the OP had in mind when asking the question.

I find the accepted answer a bad answer (finding an opened window still doesn't rule out murder, or an accident), but I can't fault the answerer for that, since it was the answer the OP wanted. So I don't punish the answerer, but I do punish the OP for asking a bad question.

†: There's a better answer possible and there's also a better alternative question — finding a window locked from the outside (as far as that's possible) and ruling it a suicide, or only finding locked windows and ruling it a homicide.

This stack is unique in a way, as it's the only stack where questions are asked where the OP knows the answer, but does not give it as they want others to figure it out. Usually, when the OP knows the answer, they self-answer to spread knowledge. On CodeGolf, challenges are issued, but usually there is no single correct answer that the OP already has. This stack is unique in that respect.

I consider the answer a part of the question. But the answer isn't given by the OP, it is revealed by accepting an answer (or commenting on answers that they're in the right direction). So I'm only able to vote on questions like these after learning the full question through the answers.

  • $\begingroup$ Even though you bolded it, I missed the who doesn't know the answer, while my answer mostly applies to questions where the OP does know. $\endgroup$
    – SQB
    Oct 17, 2014 at 9:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think this answer is spot-on. Puzzling is unique because it's not always obvious that a question is too broad (or whatever) until the "correct" answer is given. If we want lateral-thinking puzzles to have one objectively correct answer, we need to know what that answer is! $\endgroup$ Oct 17, 2014 at 14:33
  • $\begingroup$ I totally agree. That uniqueness is having many interesting effects which are difficult for some to come to terms with $\endgroup$
    – d'alar'cop
    Nov 3, 2014 at 13:26

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .