Friday, August 20, 2010

Voting and StackOverflow

While watching TV in the evening or waiting for compiles at work to finish I often spend my time browsing and answering questions on StackOverflow.

Today I got my first “Nice Answer” badge, meaning you got 10+ votes on an answer. My answer was on a rather non-important question: Which operator is faster: ?: or &&

The question is irrelevant in day to day work, and that’s what I wrote in my answer. Readability is more important than which piece of code is faster. At least for things which are already super fast.

What I find interesting is that answers on questions like these get the most votes. Harder, difficult questions, tend to get fewer votes.

So why is this? My only explanation is that topics/questions which many people understand get more votes as more people read the question. If the question is outside your programming skills, you can’t value the answers, and most likely will not spend time understanding it, so you won’t vote on it (if you ever decided to read the question at all).

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you and it's a sad thing it works like that. Another typical SO behavior is to upvote all of Jon Skeet's answers because, well, he's Jon Skeet. It'd be better if every question was worth something like 10-30 points and then the user's point reward would be based on the ratio of thumbs up/down for their answer on that specific question. The user who gets the "checkmark" would automatically get 10-30 points no matter how many thumbs down he or she received on her answer. This would prevent people from spamming the F5 button searching for ridiculously easy questions to answer as quickly as possible and then maybe edit the answer to make it look like they actually spent a lot of effort answering it.

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