Voting on Stack Exchange: What it is and why it matters.

The first 4 months of the Stack Exchange proposal for Building Performance Analysis and Simulation have mostly been a success! The group has grown rapidly to over 140 followers who have posted 62 example questions thus far! In case you didn’t catch my last post on this site, we’re very excited at the prospect of how positively this site can empower the building simulation domain.

We’re almost to the goal of achieving the 40 questions with 10 votes or more, however there seems to be quite a few new users unfamiliar with the concept of ‘voting’ in Q&A forums. This is resulting in numerous new ‘followers’ only visiting the site and not taking the next step in interaction — Voting — which really provides the most value on the site. Due to this fact, I have created a short explanation of how to improve the proposal and help push us into the next phase.

As you can see, we need our new followers to focus on the Example Questions. The point of this phase is to go through and ‘upvote’ to indicate whether a question is something that is asked quite often in our domain (and thus a good question type for this site) or is something that you think is interesting and should be looked into by the community.

It is easy to click on the up arrow to show that the question is relevant and useful in our domain. Down-voting gives you the voice to show that a question is not part of the domain, is written very poorly, or is inappropriate. Our proposal has suffered from a few waves of down-votes on many questions – this is fair and constructive if the down-voter leaves a comment as to why they think it is a bad question. If there is systematic malicious down-voting then Stack Exchange has an algorithm which protects against voter fraud.

Voting is important because it allows users to curate the very best questions and answers in the platform. It rewards active users who have community-valued knowledge and are concise and accurate in their answers.

Reputation points are crucial in motivating contributions and developing leaders within the community. Stack Overflow is a testament to the effectiveness of this approach and many people use their account stats on their resumé and in job searches.

Now you know the why and how of Stack Exchange voting - let’s get out there and make this site work!