If a question provokes your answer, it's at least Derekh Eretz (good manners) and Hakarat HaTov (gratitude) to vote on the original question. Does any halachic reason obligate you to upvote (or downvote) the question you answer?

The background and site policy discussion is redirected to The Derekh Eretz badge on meta.

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    I can't decide whether this is a meta question (talking about the questions/answers/voting - i.e. site usage), or a "main" question (talking about the reason/obligation/etc). Either way; while I generally agree, sometimes a question can be very vague, forcing a "it is very hard to understand the question, but if you mean {x} then {y}" response - and if the person asking the question doesn't come back to clarify the question (or respond to additional prompts for context etc), then maybe the asker hasn't met their part of the bargain...? – Marc Gravell Dec 8 '11 at 13:42
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    I think the second paragraph should be extracted into a stand-alone question (if it's serious) and the rest should be moved over to meta. – Seth J Dec 8 '11 at 14:50
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    Is this a ploy to get a highly voted question? – Ariel Allon Dec 8 '11 at 14:59
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    @SethJ As a compromise measure , I've reorganized and retitled the question to distinguish between the meta section as background and the main question as question. It would probably be appropriate, ultimately, to indeed ask a parallel meta question using this question as supporting data. – Isaac Moses Dec 8 '11 at 15:37
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    should go to Meta – SRKX Dec 10 '11 at 14:26

There is no reason it would be obligatory to upvote a question just because you answered it. As Ariel K stated, the answerer is generally helping out the asker anyway. A stronger case could be made for the asker to show Hakarath HaTov to every answerer by upvoting every answer, but that would also be weak. Not every answer is a good one, just as not every question is a good one. Even if one were to try to argue that it is universally accepted in online etiquette that one who answers a question in an online forum such as this upvotes the question, I hardly think that universal online etiquette rises to the level of Dina DeMalchutha Dina, either.


Some questions, such as this one, may have an obvious answer, which the answer-er may decide to write. In addition, some questions may be based on faulty premises. For example, it seems on this SE site, questions are frequently upvoted, so this question might not have much basis. By answering a question, one doesn't necessarily imply that "it shows research effort, is useful or clear". </Meta>

Obviously there's no halachik reason to obligate upvoting any question or answer, since its not a significant enough action. If the question was actually good, it may be a nice gesture to acknowledge that. However, it doesn't cross into the realm of "hakaras hatov" since normally it's the answer-er who is helping the questioner. One could always write and answer one's own question anyways. (Unless the question has an obvious answer ;)

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    (This Q&A should probably be moved to meta.) – Ariel K Dec 8 '11 at 16:17

If the question is interesting enough to answer, it deserves an up vote. If you feel the answer is obvious or if you don't like the question why waste your time answering it!

In terms of Halacha, showing respect to the questioner is of utmost importance, to answer in a rude way of to not take note that the question is good is to show disrespect and that is against Halacha.

  • +1 Many Gedolim demonstrate respect publicly to all people, sometimes risking their own reputation, who turn simple questions into profound lessons. What do they know that we're missing here? Kal v'Chomer we should show private respect (e.g. an upvote) to those who provide us an opportunity to share our knowledge and receive "reputation" as a reward. – David P. Hochman Dec 12 '11 at 2:43
  • @DavidP.Hochman, upvotes demonstrate approval of the content at hand, which is a step beyond respect for the person involved. – Isaac Moses Dec 12 '11 at 18:33
  • @DavidP.Hochman, I agree with Isaac. Why do you equate upvoting with showing respect? Someone may ask a question that is obvious or not particularly well explained or not sourced or with assumptions that are not clear. I might not upvote it, and in fact I may downvote it, but I can still respect the questioner. If I want, I can show my respect by commenting with suggestions of how to possibly improve the question, or answering with why I think the question is obviously not a question. – jake Dec 12 '11 at 23:04
  • @jake upvote != approval != respect. Rather, upvote == useful ... useful to demonstrate approval, encouragement, gratitude, respect, thanks, entertainment, and to give points. I asked a practical Halakha question about Derekh Eretz and Hakarat HaTov, and received 2 ad hominem comments (still posted), 2 disrespectful & irrelevant answers (upvoted), and 4 votes to close. Moving the meta elements to the meta site accelerated the negativity. It's all rather discouraging and time-consuming. – David P. Hochman Dec 13 '11 at 4:00
  • @DavidP.Hochman, Yes, upvotes are given to demonstrate approval and encouragement; that is, if I approve of the question/answer and want to encourage more similarly good questions/answers, I should upvote. However, if I disapprove for whatever reason, I should either downvote or at least not vote. Why should I encourage inferior content on this site? If you feel that the answers given to you were disrespectful and/or irrelevant, then why did you upvote them? Better practice would be to comment underneath with why you think the answer is irrelevant and toned disrespectfully. – jake Dec 13 '11 at 15:16

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