Something I have noticed over the years is that interesting, and difficult, questions do not get upvotes. My biggest slew of upvote points was for answering an insanely easy question about voltages and resistors, and the question itself was trivial schoolwork related with lots of upvotes.

I doubt there is any way to fix this even if the will existed, but has it been considered?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps this is more "unintentionally-biased towards newcomers." I bet 99.5% of people whom experiment with electronics, do not pursue it. They find it too challenging, so end up in some other (completely unrelated) field. Hence, tons of beginner questions. \$\endgroup\$
    – rdtsc
    Nov 18 '21 at 15:47
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ 'Difficult questions' are lost within the haystack of beginner questions lacking attention and views. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mitu Raj
    Nov 18 '21 at 17:25
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ If I see a really advanced looking question, I have no idea if is actually properly formed or incomprehensible. \$\endgroup\$
    – DKNguyen
    Nov 19 '21 at 17:27
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I agree that easier questions get more upvotes than advanced and usually more specialized questions. I think there is a psychological reason behind it which I observe in my own behavior: I click questions more often when I believe I can give an answer to it. Thus I will read and vote on those more often. Easy questions cause this chain of events for more users than do hard questions, regardless of how well the question is phrased or illustrated. \$\endgroup\$
    – tobalt
    Nov 20 '21 at 12:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ The only remedy I see is abandoning reputation scores for answers..But of course this will remove most contributor motivation and lead to the death of the site. In general, voting (especially on questions) should be more incentivized: maybe by granting a small reputation score for voting. \$\endgroup\$
    – tobalt
    Nov 20 '21 at 12:20
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with what the OP states. there has been several times where the "popular vote" was to close a question on the basis of not being focused, yet those in that field knew exactly what is being asked, with the correct terminology. Highest "upvotes" is still from "what is a sinewave"... \$\endgroup\$
    – JonRB
    Nov 20 '21 at 22:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Highly related, maybe even dupe even though it is worded the other way around: Why boring questions have so much attention? \$\endgroup\$
    – dim
    Nov 22 '21 at 8:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @dim Maybe I should post a question: How do resistors work? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 22 '21 at 9:45
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @DirkBruere If your aim is to farm rep, you can try. I have a suggestion, though: make sure the question can be framed as interesting enough for highly qualified users. "How do resistor work?" is an excellent bait because unexperienced people will see that and say "yes, how do they work?" then click, and high-experience users will see that and say "what is this stupid question anyway?", then click too. Now, if you can make experienced users change their mind about the question as they read it, because it's not that dumb, you'll reach Hot Network Questions, and you'll be overwhelmed by rep. \$\endgroup\$
    – dim
    Nov 22 '21 at 11:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Easier questions are read by a bigger audience and get more votes. It's the same for all SE sites. On SO you'll for example get the most votes by far if you answer beginner questions about the mainstream programming languages. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lundin
    Nov 25 '21 at 10:18

I think difficult questions are more likely to asked by more experienced people, and are much more likely to be quite narrowly focused. The question itself may be difficult to understand.

There are millions upon millions of "beginners" doing a 1st year course in physics or engineering who would love someone to give them the answer to yet another voltage divider question. These questions probably get more views, and then hit the HNQ and get even more views.

The pool of users "qualified" to vote on an in depth answer to a specialist question is correspondingly smaller as well. There are plenty of topics I have no clue about, and I wouldn't recognise a good answer from a completely incorrect one. It seems inappropriate to vote either way on those ones.

I'm in the same boat - lots of upvotes for things which seem obvious but of much more general interest. I say bank the votes, after all you are helping a lot of people and that's really the point (right?). Then enjoy answering/asking more interesting questions.


There are many things that affect the voting on a question. This is dependent on the interest in the question and many factors affect this. Sometimes it's the amount of people that actually look at the question (or the people that are actually around to see the question as this varies from day to day).

There isn't a good way to fix this other than to remind the community that they should vote when possible and take the time to upvote good questions.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ While answering easy questions is the easiest way to earn reputation fast, it is part of this problem that a large fraction of people never even bothers to look at questions that sound difficult. Most fixes to this would bring quite a change to the essence of stack exchange, e.g. there could be reputation for voting or there could be a "difficulty" setting to questions that scales reputation, but the problem is how to determine this difficulty index. \$\endgroup\$
    – tobalt
    Nov 20 '21 at 13:50

Difficult questions (that have a more limited audience) just don't pay the SE bills as much as trivial questions (that have a much wider audience) hence, SE may not care as much about bigger and more important questions that the great unwashed will never likely comprehend.

OK, so traffic pays the bills and that traffic migrates towards the dumb-stuff. It's therefore not in SE's interest to award a greater rep score when answering difficult questions (just in case the great unwashed start to turn away from this site due to perceptions of elitism).

But, on the other hand, it might naturally turn SE into yet another website for banal questions. Is there a danger here? I think there is and, I think that the balance has gone a little too far in favouring the hobbyist/school-kid mentality. If I rant on about making sure your supplier has a good quality system, the hobby "buy it from ebay" brigade will just fall-over giggling.

More fool them of course.

But, where exactly to draw the line?


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .