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When I was commenting on the RAW meta question, I started to document how I vote on answers. Here is mine.

  • I always up vote an answer if they answer the question, even if I think the answer is from my PoV wrong.

  • I leave an answer zero, if I think the answer does not answer the question.

  • I don't normally down vote an answer unless I think it is spam, offensive or so way off mark to be close to the edge in some way.

I tend not to let what I think of the way an answer is written, its System, or Individual that wrote it influence my vote.

I normally try to leave a question for a few weeks before blessing an answer. Sometimes it is not worth it as the answer you have is the only one you will get and I will closed them very quickly.

If I have no answer or I think no answer is worthy I will added my own and then Bless it. I don't think answer as part of the main question are the correct thing to do.

If I think and answer is close enough I will bless that answer then may be add my answer to document my PoV, which may not be everyone else (hence I don't bless it).

Anyway that is what I do. I hope it helps. May be other have better strategy and would like to comment?

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    \$\begingroup\$ It's worth noting that the system is set up so that different voting strategies are OK and even expected. At the end of the day, someone with a "worse" voting strategy than someone else still only gets one vote per post. The reasons why people vote will get "averaged" out until the votes reflect the "average" voting strategy. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 18 '11 at 17:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ How does one 'bless' an answer? \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Oct 21 '13 at 3:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ The English language is such a wonderful thing. In this case it means Select it. \$\endgroup\$ – David Allan Finch Oct 21 '13 at 10:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ This came up in the close-vote review queue. Considering it, I don't think this kind of question is in line with what meta is for. The value that this might have would be put to better use in a question asking about whether there are rules or policy on how to vote, etc. That value is muddied in this question because it's canvassing opinions (from potentially every user!) and leaves the "answer" as to what that means up to each reader to interpret. Put another way: I can't cite this meta for anything anywhere, but I wish I could. :) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 10 '14 at 22:28
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I upvote if I consider that the answer contributes significantly to the question, leave alone if I don't think so, downvote if the answer doesn't answer the question, and flag as appropriate if I consider that the answer is spam/offensive/etc. I think that's what the flagging and voting system are for.

EDIT did you read What does voting really signify?

Aside, and re: "blessing answers", are you programming in Perl?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Agree. Upvotes are for active good, not just coming to the table. The point is for cream to rise to the top and crap to sink to the bottom. If all semicoherent answers have the same number of votes it defeats that purpose. Spam/offensive/trolling/offtopic are flaggable/vote to delete. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - Justice for Monica Feb 18 '11 at 13:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, good edit - I took the opportunity to expand on the lead answer in the "What does voting really signify" q. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - Justice for Monica Feb 18 '11 at 15:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was expecting to see another question when I typed in the Question. But I will now read it. Yes I am programming in Perl, but the question is are all user arrays? \$\endgroup\$ – David Allan Finch Feb 18 '11 at 16:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @David Why is the platypus? \$\endgroup\$ – Adriano Varoli Piazza Feb 18 '11 at 18:58
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If the question is still unanswered:

  • Upvote only if I think the answer is an excellent answer to the question, and I'm sure it's correct (upvoting an answer removes the question from the unanswered list).

My own questions:

  • Pass out rep to everyone who gave a reasonable attempt at answering, AFTER an acceptable answer has been found.

Otherwise:

  • Upvote the top one to two answers, if I think they're pretty good. Occasionally upvote incomplete answers that provide a useful bit of information.

In all cases:

  • I rarely downvote, due to the hassle. Mostly that's reserved for experienced users doing a handful of obnoxious things that I consider harmful.

  • Flag for answers that should be comments, and for spam.

Accepting:

  • I usually accept an answer (either my own or an existing one) once the question has fallen off both the front page and the unanswered list.

Questions:

  • I upvote questions aggressively. Especially for new users. Although lately I've tended to become pickier about what I vote for, particularly in the 4e category.
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Answers

downvotes

Any of these

  • If the answer has gross factual errors
  • If the answer has serious misrepresentations
  • if the answer doesn't address the question

upvotes

all of these:

  • if the answer is factually accurate
  • if I substantially agree with the answer
  • Answer is worded well

Questions

downvote

any of these

  • question is unanswerble due to wording
  • question puts poor light on RPG's

upvote

must be all of these:

  • game is not D&D 4E
  • game is not D&D 3.X
  • worded clearly

And any of these:

  • Answer is not inherently obvious
  • game is a personal favorite
  • game is out of print and unsupported by publisher
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  • \$\begingroup\$ This sounds like you vote up or down on most answers you see: I guess I misunderstand? I like the game is out of print and unsupported by publisher criterion. \$\endgroup\$ – Alticamelus Feb 25 '11 at 14:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, I don't down or up vote answers as much as might be implied. In the last week, I remember clearly that I've downvoted 4 answers, and removed one when it was corrected to answer the question. The other three were all for factual errors. I might have downvoted a few more, but they don't come to mind. \$\endgroup\$ – aramis Mar 10 '11 at 10:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why not upvotes for 3.x/4e? \$\endgroup\$ – migo Mar 17 '11 at 1:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @migo Because, as the 500-pound gorilla in the room, D&D is not going to need the upvotes to be visible. \$\endgroup\$ – aramis Mar 18 '11 at 2:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, I see. That does have some practicality to it. \$\endgroup\$ – migo Mar 18 '11 at 10:26
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For Questions

I upvote if I want to see the question answered.

I don't vote if I don't find the question interesting.

I don't vote if the question is unclear. Instead I leave a comment.

I downvote if I want to see the question deleted.

I flag if I want to see a question closed or give it special moderator attention (negative or positive: I flagged a question that I wanted a mod to reopen before I found out about reopen votes. The question was also reopened and the flag marked helpful so this may be an acceptable use of flags).

I flag if I want the question deleted and I think that declining to do so would be sufficient grounds for a meta-post about moderator quality. These kinds of flags are reserved for questions that aren't questions, are obscene or profane, are racist or sexist in a manner that is patently insulting and overtly offensive, etc. I haven't actually given one of these yet.

For Answers

I upvote only if:

  • if the answer is the right answer or close enough to it that a novice reading the answer carefully would be lead in the right direction

OR

    • the answer is a right answer, no single answer can exist because the question is bad

    AND

    • the answer incidentally touches on something I think is valuable for RPGs in general and not generally understood.

AND

  • the answer is sufficiently well writen that, regardless of its actual content, a novice reading it would not reasonably be lead in a wrong direction.

AND

  • the answer does not meet any of my criteria for downvoting

AND

    • The answer was the first such answer provided chronologically and no fundamentally better answers have been provided

    OR

    • the answer makes a case for itself against older correct answers successfully.

I don't vote if:

  • I am not sufficiently an expert to determine if the answer is the right answer

OR

  • The answer is a little unclear, instead I leave a comment.

OR

  • The answer is extremely and obviously wrong, but does not state the implication that indicates to me it is this wrong. Instead, I leave a comment asking if that implication was intended

I downvote if:

  • The answer is wrong

OR

  • The answer is very unclear

OR

  • The answer is very poorly written

OR

  • The answer is misleading, such that it supports any one of the numerous commonly accepted fallacious beliefs in the RPG community

OR

  • I find the answer offensive

OR

    • The answer includes a statement like "But no GM would ever allow that" and I have allowed 'that' (pretty much all cases in which this statement is used).

    AND

    • The answer does not make such a statement as a parenthetical intended to deter downvoting by persons who hate on our playstyle.

    AND

    • The answer does not make such a statement as a mild expression of the answerer's playstle bias taking up no more than one line of a answer composing at least two paragraphs.

OR

  • The answer is a change-of-frame answer that is anything but incredibly well done.

OR

  • The answer is immoral or advocates immoral behavior

OR

  • The answer advocates something which lessens the value of an RPG as a form of art.

I flag if:

  • the answer is so exceptionally low quality I can't keep myself from doing this, despite the fact I know the flag will be declined.

  • moderator attention is needed/desired for some reason.

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