(This is by Joseph Wright but he’s having difficulty logging in to the blog so I’m posting it for him.)
Voting up, voting down
Voting is an important part of how StackExchange works.
Voting for answers means that good answers are easier to identify, which is
vital when you don’t know the best way to do something! Voting for
questions is also important, as it helps to sort out the good questions
from those that are less clear. When you are searching for help, what
you want is to know that you are reading the right questions and getting
the right answers.
Now, we have some very clever people answering questions, and they
deservedly get a lot of upvotes. It’s always tempted to vote for answers
from the ‘celebrities’ because of who they are, or because there are
already lots of upvotes, but content should always be the key. So it’s
vital to read the answer (or question) before voting up.
Of course, not every question or answer is great. Many are simply
middling: they don’t deserve an upvote, but also don’t deserve a
downvote. On TeX-sx, we’ve been pretty cautious about downvoting
material, in the main. Apart from spam, downvoting should only be used
very sparingly. That’s particularly true when voting on something from
a new user: posting a good first question is hard, and so some helpful
comments are usually what is needed.
Our regular graphical artist and interviewer Paulo Cereda created a ‘flowchart for downvoting’.
Of course, being prescriptive is not the idea here: it’s a reminder to
think before you vote.
So, vote early, vote often, but vote carefully.