I'm not really complaining about this phenomenon, as I've certainly benefited from it on a few occasions now, but...

It seems to me that a question in the form "I can't be bothered to read my copy of the rules. Does card x work in way y, or not?", which is answered inside of five seconds by a passing diehard ("It certainly does, as it clearly says on P13 - I've c&p'd the relevant paragraph here") will before long earn the answerer an easy three figures of reputation, as everyone else who looks at the question goes into an upvote-clicking frenzy.

Far be it from me to say there is no value to an objectively correct answer! But I'm wondering if I'm approaching things in the wrong way. Here's how I do things. If I ask a question and I get a brief, but obviously correct answer, I bestow upon that answer a green tick. If I get an answer that goes above and beyond, is interesting, or makes me laugh, I may also upvote.

If I see a correct answer, I don't auto-upvote it (unless there's some controversy in the answers, and a wrong answer is in danger of gaining supremacy!). Should I? I guess it's valid to say that an answer that's correct looks more obviously correct if it's been upvoted a dozen times, which could reduce confusion.

At the risk of a glib analogy, suppose on the Mathematics stack exchange someone asks "What is the answer to 1 + 1?" Within three seconds someone has answered "2". Should this earn ten thousand points of reputation over the years because it's (under most reasonable circumstances) correct, while the person who cracked Fermat's Last Theorem only earns a few points, because no one has the time to wade through the hundreds of pages of proofs that made up their answer.

My philosophy is this: upvote more questions that aren't basic and more answers that aren't obvious. That green tick is reward enough for people (like me, quite often) who are just on the site all the time with nothing better to do, and who can find the appropriate paragraph in a rulebook! Or have I got the wrong end of the Stack entirely?

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    I've been very surprised that there are some "Your answer is on page X" answers that have gotten 10-15 votes -- IMHO, they really don't warrant more than a few votes. I guess they get upvoted because they're fairly easy to validate, as in "Let me crack out my copy of the rules - yup, there it is". It probably isn't good to hear a mod say this, but I've been fairly stingy with my votes lately for the reasons you've listed -- I'm waiting for good answers. There was an AWESOME answer in the History of Fluxx, though, that deserves far more upvotes. – LittleBobbyTables - Au Revoir Feb 3 '11 at 2:55
  • @LittleBobby - agreed about that answer, it was clear that he really put some effort in, above and beyond the minimum required to "get the points"! – thesunneversets Feb 3 '11 at 2:58

The statement in your title is not correct. That will link you to everything with 15+ votes

I categorize them as follows (based on their question):

  • Recommendation 17
  • Strategy 7
  • House rules 1
  • Directly from rulebook 4
  • Deeper Rules 1
  • Other 10

That gives us 4/40 high scoring answers that come directly from the rulebook. 10%. FYI, 3 of those 4 come from one question about how to calculate the longest road in Catan. Would you categorize those 40 answers significantly differently than I have?

I think your concern of someone getting 10,000 rep from one quick answer is way overblown. Stackoverflow has a mere 10 answers with 1000 votes. Every single one is Community Wiki (IE - haven't given anyone any rep for some time). They're getting around 150k answers/month and I think it's safe to say we aren't going to get there for a while. :)

This is a site for questions and answers.

Our FAQ states that "You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face."

We should encourage rules questions that legitimately stymie people regardless of whether the answer is written directly in the rulebook.

Boardgame rulebooks are not usually known for their clarity and ease of use! I think it's safe to say that most of us have spent more than one occasion pouring through a rulebook for the 4th time looking for an answer that you know you read before but can no longer locate.

This site should be a welcome alternative to those searches! It is very demeaning to say those people "can't be bothered to read my copy of the rules".

This site needs to be better than BoardGameGeek at answering questions

To have a short, succinct, properly cited answer to a question is also worthy of praise. This site is a welcome alternative to the previous best choice of going to Boardgamegeek. We should not be discouraging knowledgable people "who can find the appropriate paragraph in a rulebook" and are "just on the site all the time with nothing better to do"

I won't tell you how to vote, but I think your assumption that these questions are "stupid" and "obvious" is wrong, and not at all helpful to the growth of this site.

That catan road question is one of the more popular search terms for people to use to find this site. Do you want to consign people to BoardGameGeek to read 5 threads? Let's give them a clear, best answer here on B&CG!

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  • truly fantastic answer, but one caveat to bear in mind: meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/197/… – Jeff Atwood Feb 3 '11 at 9:08
  • Thanks @Jeff, I tried to address that concern with my "legitimately stymie" note above. I'm happy to help out most anyone who has an "easy" problem or two. On the other hand, if someone kept asking such questions without learning from our citations (that implicitly demonstrate that searching online rulebooks is an efficient means to answer questions) then I would be more OK with addressing that problem. – Pat Ludwig Feb 3 '11 at 15:33
  • I don't think the questions are stupid! I think the upvoting of simple answers just to say "I agree" is questionable. Yes, sometimes it's hard to find the answer to a rules question even after a couple of passes through a rulebook (some games have very complex rulebooks). But when the answer comes within two minutes of the question being posted, I have a hard time believing it's worthy of 10 upvotes. I should stress that I'm only saying this because my answers to (what to me are) very simple to answer Dominion rules questions are pretty much my highest rated answers! – thesunneversets Feb 3 '11 at 17:39
  • (Back from walking the dog...) I don't want to diminish the value of what you (and sometimes I) do in providing speedy, accurate answers on rules points that have been making people scratch their heads. I guess I'm looking for clarification on how I should be upvoting. Do I upvote any answer that I agree 100% is correct? Or one that I think went above and beyond the call of duty in some way? Do I upvote all questions that people should know the answer to, if they don't already? Or just especially insightful or hard ones? If you and Bobby (vaguely) disagree... is there any party line? – thesunneversets Feb 3 '11 at 18:03
  • @the - I apologize if I misunderstood your question. The last paragraph contains your philosophy, "upvote more questions that aren't stupid and more answers that aren't obvious." To me, that reads that the questions are stupid. – Pat Ludwig Feb 3 '11 at 18:19
  • @the - as for what upvotes mean. The tooltips are the only "party line" useful and clear for questions and useful for answers. What that means for each person is up to them to decide and I'm not going to tell anyone how they should vote on any particular question. What does concern me, is that if everyone took your approach and voted less than once/day then nobody would have much reputation and the most useful answers would have a much harder time standing out. – Pat Ludwig Feb 3 '11 at 18:26
  • @Pat - logic is on your side, I think. I've slapped myself on the wrist and changed it to "more questions that aren't basic", which is hopefully less inflammatory! As for the second bit: maybe I should upvote more? I guess I'm worried that upvoting almost everything might be as bad as upvoting almost nothing, in terms of getting good answers to stand out? I do try to upvote lots of answers that I think are sweet, I promise! – thesunneversets Feb 3 '11 at 18:35
  • @the - vote what is useful to you. I really don't want to tell any one person how to vote. Vote the answer down if you find it not useful. What my answer was more directed to was that I took your question to be asking other people to not vote for answers that they found useful just because you felt that the question and/or answer was too simplistic. Again, if you choose not to vote in those situations, that's cool. Trying to implement a policy to that effect or even discourage other voters, not so cool (IMHO) – Pat Ludwig Feb 3 '11 at 18:58
  • Okay, the "useful" tag clarifies things a lot. I don't have to vote for something just because it's right if (I think) it's obvious, or should be obvious to other people. But I will definitely be voting for questions that I don't know (and would like to know) the answers to, and answers that increase my knowledge and understanding of boardgames, probably more than I was. Upvote early and often! – thesunneversets Feb 3 '11 at 19:10

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