# If a question is good enough for you to answer, should you up vote it?

Following on from the recent question about upvoting (or the lack of it), here is a specific example where I'm not sure what we 'should' be doing with regards to upvoting. I provided a short answer to this question, but didn't upvote because it isn't a great question for the reasons Cardinal points out in a comment. None the less I hoped my quick answer might be useful.

To me, upvoting a question says 'this is a good question worth reading' which I don't think is true in this case. However I've taken the time (admittedly a very short time) to provide an answer. Is that inconsistent? By providing an answer am I encouraging poor questions? In my view this isn't worthy of a downvote, just not an upvote. Thoughts?

• Just to be complete, an upvote is defined as denoting that "This questions shows research effort; it is useful and clear." Oct 8 '12 at 23:31
• Where is that written? I have tried to find a clear definition (i.e. in the FAQ) with no success. Oct 8 '12 at 23:34
• Hover over the upvote/downvote button. The hover text provides guidance on what +1/-1 really mean. :) Oct 8 '12 at 23:35
• Ah ha! Thanks for that. I guess tool tips probably end up getting read more than the FAQ anyway. Oct 9 '12 at 0:34
• Regardless of your question, in that particular case it sounds to me this question is just a duplicate of earlier questions asking for references on mastering ML techniques (e.g., stats.stackexchange.com/q/18973/930; stats.stackexchange.com/q/26044/930). As such, I would recommend looking for the best duplicate and let the community decide.
– chl
Oct 9 '12 at 10:57

+1, great question. I'll admit that I often don't really know what it means for a question to be a really good question. I mean, it's clear what a really good answer is (e.g., they are, 'clear, authoritative, correct, definitive, well-illustrated, linked to appropriate references, at most lightly edited, and even..."pretty"'). You can just recognize a really good answer when you see it.

But what is a good question? At first blush it would seem that questions can't be good, because by definition, if you are asking a question, you don't understand something, and it doesn't seem clear how you go about not understanding something particularly well.

I think I have voted up $100$ questions and $119$ answers.