The title doesn't really do my question justice, as I can't seem to find the right words to use.

I occasionally find myself reading through older questions or viewing peoples questions/answers that they have provided. If I'm in a decent mood and I see a question with maybe 9 Votes or 24 votes, I'll be like here is a gift and upvote them, giving them the appropriate badge, without even really caring whether I like the question/answer.

Is this just bad practice or damaging to the site?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 31 down vote accepted

Yes, blindly voting is potentially damaging to the site.

Upvoting (and downvoting) without taking into account posts' merits is a bad thing. Voting affects rep and rep is what grants privileges. By voting, you are essentially giving/taking some amount of power on this site. We reward helpful contributions by granting the user more power.

If you want to grant people badges, that's fine. Just make sure the posts you do this for are deserving of them.

Note: This is the exact reason why pity upvoting is damaging to the site.

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holy fine print. –  Paralytic Dec 19 '12 at 16:07
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I'd say yes, upvoting an answer without taking the time to read it is bad practice and could be damaging. We have had times where WRONG answers have been highly upvoted, and it takes a lot of work to undo this. Badges aren't important enough that we should be trying to give them to people at the expense of the site's quality.

If you read the answer and it really is good, then by all means give them another upvote!

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I had a feeling this was the case, ill just have to make sure it's atleast a good question/answer first @OrigamiRobot –  Paralytic Dec 19 '12 at 16:02
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Any upvote should be justified solely on the merits of that post and its usefulness to the community at large. It should not be based on the poster, the poster's rep, the post's current score, other answers on the post, the comments on the post, your history with the poster, the tags on the post, or anything other than the merits of the post.

But any reason is a good reason to read the post to decide if it's worth upvoting or not. It is a not bad practice to consider upvoting a post because it is on the threshold of a badge. So if you see a post at 99, that's as good of a reason as any to give the post a read. After all, if 99 people thought it was good, maybe you'll learn something from it! But if you upvote it without analyzing it, or allow its current score to convince you to upvote it when you otherwise wouldn't have, then you are doing both the user and the community a disservice.

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