This is a question that I remember was brought up on another site (I think it was the late Digital Preservation site, but I could be wrong about that part), and which I think is worth considering early on.

Basically, early voting patterns can have a large influence on whether the site ends up with lots of voting, or little voting.

Do we want Worldbuilding SE to be a high-voting site?

I would say that there are few things more frustrating than spending time to research and type out an answer in particular (but the same goes also for questions) and receive just a few measly upvotes in return for that effort, so personally I would want to establish early on that posts are voted on fairly heavily. (In the name of symmetry including downvotes, should those be appropriate.)

Note that lots of voting going on also means that it will be in some ways easier to reach any given reputation threshold, which may need to be considered in the light of reputation requirements for various privileges.


4 Answers 4


The system doesn't work if people don't vote.

Voting is literally The Thing that allows Stack Exchange to work. Good answers are brought to the top, singled out in some cases. Seeing that the next answer has nearly-as-many votes means you shouldn't stop with the first answer, and in other cases where you see a steep drop-off in voting (at least for older answers) may indicate that you can stop where you are. Remember, Stack Exchange is built around answering questions for all future purposes, as well as for the initial person asking it. Part of that means, at some point, saying "you've gotten the meat out of this topic; there may be some more useful ideas, but you have read the things that this community thinks are best."

(Regulars, of course, should endeavor to read all of the answers, so that voting actually happens, and also for the sake of late answers.)

Downvotes are also important! Sometimes answers have problems, sometimes questions have problems. One of the most important things for a new Stack Exchange site is attracting experts. The number one thing that turns off experts is noise. If someone has a lot of experience, and takes a look at our front-page, we want them to immediately think "That is an interesting question," or "Oooh, I was just struggling with that, let me share my knowledge," not "Wow, ok. What a bunch of amateurs. Seriously, 10 upvotes? Did any thought go into that?"

The system is intentionally skewed, in answerers' favor. Answers are worth more, downvoting an answer costs you rep but not for questions, and so on. People come here looking for answers, not questions. People ask solid questions here because we can provide answers. So don't be afraid to tell someone to rework a question, or to put in some effort.

And yes, of course, reward effort where it's given.


Yes vote lots.

Voting is important on all SE Sites.

Basically Vote often, vote early, vote up and down. Especially in the beta it helps to sink the crud and raise the cream.


We have a nice feature here on SE now: the list of hot questions in the right column. The more answers and more upvotes on answers, the higher the chance the question will get there. And the more questions will get there, the more attention we will get from the rest of the SE community. So I'm glad that worldbuilding seems to be a site with lots of answers and lots of upvoting.

Btw. this is the main reason why RPG.SE is my most visited site recently (not counting programming sites which I need for work) - its community has habit of answering and voting a lot, so you can almost always see some of their questions in the hot question list, and I often follow some of these links.


The SE voting system works relatively well on StackOverflow, where there are technical programming questions, and tons of expert users.

Even there it's sometimes highly silly/unfair. example: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/1789945/how-can-i-check-if-one-string-contains-another-substring?rq=1 - a basic but fundamental question, with a useful simple answer. The question has 3022 votes, and the answer has 4687 votes. Writing good answers to other questions might take years or decades to get so much reputation.

On WorldBuilding, and other sister sites with creative subjects, subjective answers, and fewer rabid viewers, it's much less accurate at giving credit where due, or attention to interesting questions.

As you observe, the Hot Questions seem to drive 90+% of the attention, often the fastest answers get a mob of votes, and later answers are largely ignored, much more than quality is indicated by votes. And there is not much time after a question is asked before there is already an upvoted answer or two at the top, and readers don't read down low enough to see or vote on the later ones.

One fix might be to not show votes, or not sort by votes/accepted, for a couple of days after a question is asked.

Another that probably won't be done, would be to have people vote on what they think a question's rating should be, and have the votes averaged. So rating wouldn't best be attained by getting heaps of people to think one answer was best. But I don't have a full proposal for that, I'm not interested in the mega-debate that would ensue, and if someone at SE is interested in reprogramming such a thing, they'll do it. So, just mentioning it.

What some people do do though, to human engineer a little of this, is to go look at older questions, check the low-voted answers and upvote the good ones, and NOT vote for good answers that already have plenty of up-votes. There aren't many people doing this, though.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm honestly not really sure what the point of your answer is, particularly in the context of this question. Aside from that we settled this very early on, what specific style of voting are you proposing? $\endgroup$
    – user
    May 10, 2015 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ Also, that may have been an oversight, but this site is as much a part of Stack Exchange as the Role-playing Games and Philosophy SEs. Maybe you actually meant Stack Overflow? $\endgroup$
    – user
    May 10, 2015 at 19:25
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I meant StackOverflow in regards to the programming subsite. Editing... $\endgroup$
    – Dronz
    May 11, 2015 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling Oh, sorry, you're right. I thought you were talking about relative to other questions, not overall vote volume. However, compared to other sites, it seems to me that Worldbuilding is one of the higher-voting ones already. Maybe though I just have relatively more to say here than on others. Voters seem much stingier to me on StackExchange, History, Physics, Gaming.... $\endgroup$
    – Dronz
    May 11, 2015 at 15:59

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