Is this fair, morally right, or acceptable? By really old I mean at least a month or two old.

  • Okay. I was just thinking that some people purposefully go through other peoples questions and answers and rate all if them with downvote. Because this does happen.
    – U4iK_HaZe
    Sep 15, 2011 at 10:41
  • We have automated tools that spot this kind of behaviour, if you know of this occuring let us know and we can, and frequently do, act on it very seriously. We had a bunch of work collegues voting each others posts up, an email fixed the problem and they now add a lot to the site.
    – Chopper3
    Sep 15, 2011 at 10:57
  • Yes, it happens. If someone attracts enough attention due to poor posts people are likely to see what else they've posted. Does this surprise you? Sep 15, 2011 at 12:07
  • In addition to what Chopper said, it doesn't take all that many votes (up or down) to trip the automated bots.
    – Chris S
    Sep 15, 2011 at 13:37
  • I'm not sure offhand if I've ever downvoted any of your questions and answers on the main site. I have to say that whenever I've read your questions there does appear to be a wildly inconsistent nature to the quality of your answers. I can see why others have downvoted you on some answers even though I don't feel the need to "pile on" and add to the downvotes myself. Perhaps some of your questions are getting downvoted because they're getting the votes they deserve.
    – Rob Moir
    Sep 15, 2011 at 17:16
  • Really, U4ik - you should know how comments/answers work by now... Sep 20, 2011 at 0:59
  • @mark -And I say the same with: that comment was totally unconstructive. Eh? Well have a good one.
    – U4iK_HaZe
    Sep 20, 2011 at 1:13
  • @MarkHenderson It took me a few months to figure out the Q/A nature of the site here. It's unlike anything else on the web, especially in the IT realm.
    – Wesley
    Sep 20, 2011 at 2:34
  • @wesley That is very true. Now my question is this: what came first, stackX or OSQA? Is that a cheap knockoff of this or is this based off of that? They are strikingly similar.
    – U4iK_HaZe
    Sep 20, 2011 at 3:34
  • @U4iK_HaZe My understanding is that OSQA is one of many FOSS remakes of the Stack Exchange software. It's not necessarily a cheap knockoff; just a FOSS alternative to using the proprietary StackExchange network.
    – Wesley
    Sep 20, 2011 at 4:25

6 Answers 6


People are perfectly entitled to use their votes however they like, it's something of a democracy - if there's an answer you don't like then do as you please, I routinely up-vote really old questions and answers.

That said I'm always wary of users who focus too much on personal rep or that of others, this is a Question and Answer site, not a rep-building site. Sure I take interest in my own rep when I'm near certain milestones (8192, 10k, 16384, 32768 :) ) but otherwise it's my belief that it's the Q's and A's that matter, rep is just a byproduct.


A month or two isn't really old. The first questions on the site are from April 2009. A good answer is good if it's 10 minutes old or 2 years+ old, the same goes for bad/poor answers.


Because I only ever view the front page I only see a small percentage of questions when they are first posted. When I see questions, together with any answers already posted, pushed back into my sight I treat them no differently than if they were freshly posted. Why should I?

In regards to your choice of words:

  • SF, and Stack Exchange in general, is "fair" only in the sense that by and large voting is done honestly.
  • Morality is a very personal thing and yours and mine will very likely differ.
  • Why on Earth would you imagine that it might not be acceptable?

Your tone and even the question itself suggests to me that you feel slighted by someone (possibly even myself) having downvoted some of your "old" posts. If that's the case maybe it's time you started reading what you're writing and make an effort to improve it. Just like upvotes, downvotes are generally earned.


I don't see any reason why you shouldnt, if the answer is incorrect. People read "really old questions" when searching the site, either directly or via google.


Generally I would say only downvote a question if it's a lousy question. The same holds true for answers, and is regardless of age.

Sometimes I will troll through the "unanswered" old questions in tags I have a particular interest in (to see if I can answer them, or if they've been answered but nobody upvoted the answer, or any number of other things). I vote on those questions/answers the same way I would if they were new.


It's fair, morally right, and acceptable. Depending on how you look at SF or any other SE site, you're quite likely to come across old questions (bumped by Community, listed as Related to a current question, browsing a particular tag, looking at someone's asked or answered list, and so on). In many cases, if it was a good question or answer a month or a year ago, it's still good now and there's no reason not to vote. That said, if I'm reading something more than a few months old and it's already got upvotes or downvotes that I agree with, I won't necessarily bother to add my own.

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