MATLAB Answers

Jan Simon

Useful strategy to vote questions and answers

Asked by Jan Simon
on 1 Apr 2011
Latest activity Edited by Jan Simon
on 28 Jan 2017

I think an increased number of votes would be valuable for MATLAB Answers and a more or less common strategy for voting would be helpful.

When should we vote questions and answers to improve the use and usability of this forum?


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3 Answers

Answer by Andrew Newell
on 2 Apr 2011
 Accepted Answer

I think there is no need for a common approach to this, although there might be some good in sharing our views. If we all voted the same way, all answers would have either no votes or a lot of them! But if we think votes are useful, we should vote whenever we read a question or answer and think it is useful. If Paulo wants to boycott the process, that's fine too.


I won't bother you guys while you vote on every thing that comes up, have fun!

I agree: Let's voting *useful* questions and answers.

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Answer by Walter Roberson
on 1 Apr 2011

I have not seen anything indicating that the intention was to get a list of the 500 most "important" questions and solutions. On the contrary: the impression I have is that the intention is that this act as a long-term knowledgebase, with the votes acting as guidance towards "best practices". The idea of it being the 500 "most important" is in contradiction to portions of a Mathworks document I was sent.

I myself do not vote very often. With over 4000 Questions and over 6000 Answers and over 9000 Comments, with the rate of new Questions or Answers (or comments) now exceeding 50 overnight (UTC-6 timezone), I don't have time to vote up answers and perhaps even remove my vote from answers as better ones became available. Perhaps if I were concentrating my efforts on particular topics of expertise, but I read (skim) over 90% of everything and think about or actively work on a wide variety of questions. Voting regularly on as much as practical becomes too much overhead for me.

When I do vote, I usually vote for Answers (or Questions) that involve techniques or faculties that would be likely to stretch the knowledge of a "competent" user. "Advanced MATLAB". For example, the perfect Answer to a Question about removing zeros from a vector is still likely to be uninteresting to anyone who knows logical indexing or "nonzeros".

Forums such as this one are bound to attract a large number of beginner questions, and, Yes, a large number of "doit4me" questions. Any consideration of voting strategies needs to take these factors in to account. The "best" structure for those who have not even read Getting Started is going to be different than the best structure for those in search of more complex information, which is going to be different yet from the best structure to guide students through homework assignments.


Thanks for this helpful answer. I think my "most important" and your "best practices" mean exactly the same, therefore I do not see the contradiction.
I understand, that you do not vote answers frequently (you simply cannot vote the most answers, because they are yours). Voting a question, if you find it "interesting" during you answer it, might be helpful for the community.
Most of all I've been attracted by this sentence in Helen's mail: "Are you tired of answering the same question over and over again?" Can we reach this by voting?

Only 1 in 4 of the Answers are mine ;-)

That's a better hitting percentage than our weatherman.

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Answer by Paulo Silva
on 1 Apr 2011

Another question about votes?! why are you and others begging for votes every day?! I may seem to be rude or impolite but c'mon why the vote paranoia?! there are too many unanswered questions, please stop hunting and begging for votes! thanks


@Walter: Of course it is part of the discussion. I just asked Paulo not to confuse the topics "hunting for reputation points" and "improving the quality of the forum by voting". I asked for voting strategies to improve the usability of the forum, mentioned that the reputation number is less helpful, and Paulo speaks about the race for points. These are different topics.

I have not seen any evidence that this system was set up to be able to select the best 500 questions.

What I _have_ seen is explicit statements from the people responsible for the system that this system is for "Users helping users".

You are absolutely right: This intention was never mentioned by any TMW employee, nor anywhere else. I have used the magic term "500 best questions" as an arbitrary example of what voting might be useful for.
The intention of TMW was to create a knowledge base, which is more useful than CSSM - do you agree? All I want to know is: how can we use voting to increase the quality? And with "quality" I mean the difference between "users helping users" and "long-term knowledegebase" on one side, and "tired of answering the same question over and over again" on the other.

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