Upvote mechanism does not always work on this site.

I often see great answers with zero votes that are unaccepted.

This is what tends happens:

  1. Spend significant amount of time adding an answer
  2. In comments OP explains what they don’t understand
  3. Comments or answer is updated, investing more time
  4. OP may start arguing and does not even engage with new concepts, this is something like Dunning-Kruger effect
  5. The answerer patiently replies
  6. This goes back and forth and is never resolved
  7. Everything fizzles out without any recognition or upvotes

My latest example,


Now, this might not be widespread, it might just happen that I’m interested in topics that attract said people, and that get little traffic.

My questions to everyone are:

  1. How can we make sure correct and great answers are rewarded rather than getting nothing?
  2. Is this a problem you encounter?
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The problem of certain questions/answers not getting a lot of traffic is an old one (see also this). $\endgroup$
    – Anyon
    Feb 25, 2021 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ I probably spent too much of my working life modelling radiative heat transfer, but IMO (1) the question is basically trivial (though it deserves an answer) and (2) the OP seems intent on making the situation more complicated for no obvious reason - maybe they are trying to invent a "free energy" device? $\endgroup$
    – alephzero
    Feb 26, 2021 at 0:28
  • $\begingroup$ FWIW, this phenomenon is known as chameleon question on Stack Exchange... $\endgroup$
    – Andrew T.
    Mar 7, 2021 at 4:33
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know if this is something that other sites do, or that would work for them, but on Code Golf SE every year there's a "Best of 20xx" post where people can vote on the best questions/answers in certain categories, often including underappreciated answers $\endgroup$ Mar 8, 2021 at 18:29

1 Answer 1


There seems to be conflation of two issues here. One is suggested in the title: how to bring attention to a good answer that hasn't gotten enough attention. The other is the issue of working really hard on an answer to a question where the OP is just not on board with your answer for whatever reason. These are not necessarily the same thing, and I would argue that they are mainly different since the quality of an answer doesn't depend on the reaction the OP has to it.

The example you give goes to your own answer where it looks like the second case happened somewhat. Maybe you think your answer is also a "hidden gem", but this looks more like a complaint about the OP not treating your answer the way you think it deserves to be treated rather than a general concern of great answers going unnoticed.

Nevertheless, let's treat both parts separately for future readers.

How can we make sure correct and great answers are rewarded rather than getting nothing?

You can always put a bounty on the post to draw attention to an answer you think is really good that needs more attention.

Is this a problem you encounter?

Not really. If my answer addresses the main post then I tend to leave it as is. If I sense that the OP is being difficult then I just move on, and I'll ask them to post a new question addressing their other concerns if they are different enough. Yes, we should be helpful to the OP, but we should also keep in mind that these questions and answers are for any future readers. If the OP is changing goal posts in the comments of your answer, then that doesn't help anyone because you will end up answering more questions that are not in the main post.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That’s very much for the advice and perspective! I did not think about putting a bounty. I would do this if the question was as good as it could be, so that is certainly an option in some cases. But other than that, it seems that there is not much that can be done to promote hidden gems. I think it is just related to traffic; there are so many questions and physics is so specialised, that most questions/answer get few views. $\endgroup$
    – boyfarrell
    Feb 24, 2021 at 16:17
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @boyfarrell This is true; a question about Newtonian mechanics or ones that hit the HNQ are going to get way more views than other specialized questions. I think at that point it is more of a matter of being content with what you post. I have dumped a lot of time into answers that only get a few upvotes, and I have quickly written up single-paragraph answers that explode due to the HNQ. Just keep making quality posts and put as much effort as you think is worth it for what you want to say. Thanks for the discussion :) $\endgroup$ Feb 24, 2021 at 16:28

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