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We all can agree that our FAQ is far from being satisfactory. However, I think it's our responsibility as a community to improve the FAQ or create a similar resource to address some issues which will begin to have an noticeable impact on the site.

Thanks to this question posted by Marek, one of those issues is that possibly new users don't know what kind of answers or questions deserve upvotes or downvotes and under which conditions is appropriate to do so.

Why is that important? Well, we have seen an increase of questions and answers, however, some people have noticed that bad answers are being upvoted in a way that defeats the whole purpose of having a rating system. Presumably, experienced users don't exacerbate this problem. Therefore, we need to let new users know when is acceptable to upvote or downvote in such a way that the quality of the site doesn't suffer.

What rules should we follow regarding this issue?.

Ultimately, I expect that a notice for this post or an updated FAQ will appear on the main site from time to time in the same way that chat sessions are announced.

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In case you're wondering what kind of draconian rules I'd like to see imposed, one rule could be stated as:

  • Do not downvote or upvote in case you're not sure about the quality of the answer or question.
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Why don't you have a lower limit on the number of up votes a person can make, at least until they have a higher reputation?

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  • $\begingroup$ @Carl: We don't have the possibility to change the inner workings of Stack Exchange sites. Even if we could change it, that's not really the problem because a person can't upvote twice a single post. The problem is having a lot of people upvoting when the post doesn't deserve it. $\endgroup$ – Robert Smith Jan 20 '11 at 4:18
  • $\begingroup$ There is an upper limit of how many votes any individual can cast in one day. See the SE faqs for details. $\endgroup$ – Deepak Vaid Jan 20 '11 at 13:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Robert where a question or answer does or does not "deserve" is an inherently ambiguous question. No one individual or entity can be put in charge of making such judgements. That is the whole point behind having an anonymous voting system. Physics are no more immune than any other group from irrational beliefs, ideologies and obsessions. The best way to deal with that is to let people vote. As a rule of thumb, democratic systems do not end up favoring extreme lines of thought. So "let the system work"! $\endgroup$ – Deepak Vaid Jan 20 '11 at 13:06
  • $\begingroup$ @space_cadet: That's not true. A person upvotes a bad answer and other people influenced by that upvote, also upvote. "Physicist are no more immune than any other group from irrational [behaviors]". By 'bad answer' I mean one that is demonstrably wrong. $\endgroup$ – Robert Smith Jan 20 '11 at 15:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Robert - yes, and the same reasoning applies to down-votes and their cascading effects. The difference is that down-votes and up-votes do not have the same "chemical potential", i.e. it is much easier to down-vote that to up-vote. The latter requires a minimum of thought and consideration and the former requires nothing more than a bad mood. It is always far easier to be hot-tempered and impulsive than to be cool and contemplative. So those who down-vote on impulse or without giving any reason help bring out the worst instincts in others. $\endgroup$ – Deepak Vaid Jan 20 '11 at 17:05
  • $\begingroup$ @space_cadet: I agree that downvoting and upvoting are different in nature, but I disagree in your conclusion. Upvoting has no negative consequences (I have yet to see a discussion about an upvote). On the other hand, downvoting has negative consequences; it is not infrequent that the person whose post was downvoted wants an explanation of the downvote). Anyway, I don't think this is the problem with certain answers which are being upvoted nor your appreciation of the upvote-downvote issue. $\endgroup$ – Robert Smith Jan 20 '11 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ Did you mean upper limt? $\endgroup$ – Abhimanyu Pallavi Sudhir Jul 27 '13 at 9:38

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