(Start rant)

Looked at a question today about seatbelts.. It had 0 upvotes, but already had garnered three answers! Surely if you feel it's worth answering, you should give it an upvote too.

Does anyone specifically not upvote a question that they answer, and if so, why - I'm curious.

(end rant)

I know I've likely done this too in the past at some point, but it was especially glaring in this instance.

Otherwise, a reminder to share the love - upvote good questions and answers, and consider downvoting bad questions and answers too (although maybe not for brand new users - we don't want to scare them off).

(end of original article)

Update 4 March 2016

This article needs a bump and Mark gave permission to do so. So please consider Gayot's Postulate...

The number of up votes on a question should always be greater than or equal to the number of answers provided by the community.

Of course the net score on a question can be negative, but this postulate considers up votes only.

So if you answer a question, it is a well-received practice to up vote it.

If you see a question where Gayot's Postulate has failed, consider up voting it to maintain balance in the force. Remember that up votes inject both good karma and good luck into your day, and down votes will turn you into a sad old curmudgeon.

Finally, if you observe that this article needs bumping, you can edit it, add your stuff, delete my stuff, or whatever.

Note: Gayot's Postulate is not to be confused with Gayot's Law, which says...

Rep begats rep.


  • 2
    Irony - both answers claiming an upvote, but only one occurred, on a topic about upvoting ;)
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 10:50
  • 2
    There is a Reversal badge ('Provide an answer of +20 score to a question of -5 score'), so obviously TPTB do not believe your thesis. Commented Mar 5, 2016 at 11:08
  • 2
    Just a little grammar nitpick: begat its the past tense of beget, and the third person singular of beget is begets.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 9, 2016 at 20:49
  • 2
    @phoog I didn't make the law ;)
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 7:44
  • 4
    @Gayot-Fow you've been called on your law ;)
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 7:45
  • 2
    @MarkMayo, it's actually 'Skitt's Law' (RIP the dear friend died last year), lawfaqs.net/2016/02/28/what-is-the-law-of-skitt but I take your point. Gayot's Law is an undeniable force. Gayot's Postulate is more dubious :(
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 9:32

5 Answers 5


Actually, and this isn't the case for this example, there are questions where I have answered but downvoted the question. Not often, but it does happen.

Sometimes a question will be terribly written, or have bad generalisations. The ideal scenario here is to edit and clean it up and then answer, but occasionally there is no time, or it may require information you don't have, so an option is to leave an answer, downvote the question and leave a comment advising the OP what is required.

If they improve the question, I have then upvoted.


I've been meaning to post these exact sentences for a while now. Thank you Mark. Of course upvoting a question you answered is the right way to go. Simply because by answering it you deemed it worthy of your time.

Personally I always upvote the questions I answer. Usually I do that right after answering, so that the OP gets both the reputation and an indirect alert that something happened on their question. Incidentally this is what I just did with your current question.


I posted one of the answers to that question, and I didn't upvote largely because I got distracted both answering the question and after that with various other questions the answer made me think of (basically about the physics of turbulence, which I'm still not sure I fully grasp). My bad.

I did upvote the question after I saw your comment. However, is it really that good a question. Sure it's interesting and something many people have wondered, but the answer is literally a Google search away (although we're now the top hit for it).

It's an OK question, but it could be better. In particular it implies other questions that are more interesting (and are answered by MeNoTalk in that thread) such as when pilots or crew might choose to leave the seatbelt sign on even if there's not turbulence.

Overall I guess it's interesting enough to deserve an up-vote, and it'll probably be a popular question over time. I guess my point is that -- as others have said -- there are questions you can answer that don't necessarily deserve an automatic upvote. On reflection this is probably not the case here.

  • 2
    Indeed, not every question deserves one, it just struck me as really odd that that one especially had three answers (including some upvotes) and none for the question. I didn't intend to pick one out entirely, but I keep noticing it recently, thus the 'rant' ;)
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 2:54

I personally am a person that is tough on upvoting questions, and answers.

I only upvote questions if they ask something interesting, worth asking. If they are very badly written, I would not upvote either (and edit it until I feel like upvoting). But what matters to me is mostly the topic.

For the question you mention, I upvoted it because it is part of the questions everyone wonders about and never asks. So I believe it is worth upvotes.

On the other hand, there was a question yesterday on whether someone can use some amex points to buy a Eurostar ticket (the train name was not even spelled right). In this case, the opinion I have is that the person did not try anything. As far as I know, these programs have one entry point, either an online or paper catalog. So either it is in your catalog, or it is not. So I answered (because it was obvious to answer) but did not upvote it. I discovered later that this topic is worth questions and even some blog post, as Gagravarr wrote. I still did not upvote because of the lack of research, and the little interest I still believe it has. It is not either worth downvoting or closing.

I am nicer on answers, and I upvote any well written answer (bonus with a source), or even any answer that brings something more than a comment.

So maybe I should be nicer, but I believe in general upvoting means the question is well written, or brings up something interesting. It may be answerable and not worth upvoting.

  • 5
    Using them to punish or reward people or express personal preferences regarding the topic is not really what votes should be about, IMO.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Mar 26, 2015 at 14:52
  • @Relaxed I agree it is debatable, you can downvote my answer (after all votes are to express your opinion).
    – Vince
    Commented Mar 26, 2015 at 14:59

I have been researching question scores (vis-a-vis tags) using scripts initially fleshed out by contributors here.

I don't know why the seatbelt question didn't attract upvotes, but overall I think the upvote/downvote performance on TSE is pretty good. But having said that, the acceptance ratio is absolute toilet.

At any rate, your idea is a good one. Taken as read, will comply.

Update 29 April 2015

If the person has included the refusal formulae in their question about visa-refusal, it very massively improves the quality of the question. Also it is extremely helpful in converging duplicate questions (if not outright avoiding them in the first instance). There's only about 15 'canonical' reasons, and they all tie back to the formulae. Quality questions get higher hits in search engines and encourage would-be questioners by setting a great example. So upvote!

Over a period of time you will start to see people citing the same formulae. There's only about 15 of them in the manual.

The more formulae, the faster the site will converge to 'canonical' answers and more and more questions will get flagged as duplicates. So upvote the question when you see it. Even if you don't understand the text you can take comfort in knowing that it helps convergence.

  • 5
    Acceptance ratio - from meta.SE you'd almost think it was a redundant feature. I tend to go through my old questions every couple of months and accept, but I did like it when they used to show the % accept on your profile :/
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 8:08

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