I have this habit; whenever I see a new user post a "low quality" answer to a question, I tend to upvote it.

When I say "low quality" answers, I mean answers that aren't particularly helpful, or don't exactly attempt to answer the question entirely. These answers aren't blatantly incorrect...they are, in fact, oversimplified and are often very short. (Take for example the second answer to this post...not wrong but not very detailed either).

I do this because I feel it would encourage new users to remain on Chem.SE and contribute further.

My question: How does the community view my actions in this regard? Should I continue doing this?

[Yes, I know my right to cast votes here is...well...purely my right, and it doesn't require any "sanction" from other users. But does my frequent upvoting of "low-quality" answers convey the wrong idea to new users? Should I, perhaps, alter or altogether stop my actions?]

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ You're just one vote, and I can't imagine that there's a big difference psychologically between a '-7' and a '-6.' I think a comment indicating where there is a problem or editing the question is more useful. Then you're either helping the user to accrue more up votes or helping them to understand how to not get so many down votes next time. What's really discouraging is when you get down voted a lot many times in a row... $\endgroup$
    – Zhe
    Commented May 26, 2017 at 13:07
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Zhe I think there's a significant difference between a '0' and a '+1' ;) $\endgroup$ Commented May 26, 2017 at 15:31
  • $\begingroup$ Fair point. Though if the question is bad, it's only a matter of time before the +1 becomes a -6... $\endgroup$
    – Zhe
    Commented May 26, 2017 at 15:51
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I guess that I would prefer that in addition to an upvote (should you choose), you might point out easy ways to improve on a so-so answer. Ultimately, if the answer really isn't good or useful, it should not be upvoted. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Commented May 26, 2017 at 17:17
  • $\begingroup$ Ugh. I'm doing a very bad job at reading today. Unfortunately, answers are hard to improve unless you learn more chemistry. I don't have a good answer for this... $\endgroup$
    – Zhe
    Commented May 26, 2017 at 17:43
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Confessions: I've done the same, for the reasons you've described. Also, I actually think DVs without really good reason is more common with new users' questions. I've seen a lot of very basic but reasonable questions that get DVs for reasons I don't understand (yes, it is their right to DV). Sometimes an experienced user will comment "Why the DV's?", etc. Ivan is one whom I've seen do this a lot. Anyway, I do tend to UV acceptable, if borderline, questions by new users, and answers too, though less frequently, for the sake of encouragement. Sorry for the slight tangent from your question. $\endgroup$
    – airhuff
    Commented May 26, 2017 at 18:12
  • $\begingroup$ @air That pretty much sums up what I've been seeing on newbie posts too, they get waaaay to easily dowvoted. It's only when someone with high enough rep (and time to spare) actually reads the question and then voices his opinion on the excessive downvotes accumulated...that's when people really begin to take the question seriously. P.S- Where you around when this question was posted: chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/62934/…. The question had like, a '-7'...until Loong posted that awesome answer :D $\endgroup$ Commented May 27, 2017 at 6:36
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I think correction suggesting comments are far better than downvoting! But if someone become more adamant or overconfident with their answers, then downvotes can be cast! $\endgroup$
    – chail10
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 15:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @chail10 I absolutely agree. Here are a few overconfident users with wrong answers. They have been downvoted to oblivion already, but have a read at their comments. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 12:05

1 Answer 1


How does the community view my actions in this regard? Should I continue doing this?

As you have brought up at the end of your answer, you are well within your rights to do this.

However, consider that most people have the answers sorted by votes within the UI, such that if everyone did this, the "bad" answers would bubble up to the top. This is not desirable.

I tend to care less about an individual's feelings when it comes to having well-curated content for future users of the site, but I do agree that there is a need to retain users. Without guidance, though, as was brought up in the comments, you are only encouraging these users to post bad content to get reputation points.


You must log in to answer this question.

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