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Often, in an attempt to help people with chat-questions (questions that can not be answered without troubleshooting many, many steps and without asking many questions to the point where doing it in comments becomes unreasonable), I will have long conversations in chat with people. After many days we may actually find a solution.

After spending a lot of time and eventually finding a solution, some users want to "repay me". Coincidentally (or not), I sometimes receive a bunch of upvotes on 3 or 4 old questions.

This also sometimes occurs after answering a normal question and getting a "THANK YOU SO MUCH! You are a life saver!".

Additionally, sometimes this occurs visa-versa, someone helped me a lot in chat or in one of my questions and I would like to "repay" them this way.

Obviously, I would not upvote bad answers I would just take the time to read their answers and upvote if they are good.

Is looking through someones Q&A with the intention of upvoting good ones in order to "repay" them for help bad practice/not allowed?


Feel free to edit.


Update to include a bit more explanation:

"Each answer should be voted on because of the content" One may be voting due to content, but may have the opportunity due to the person posting. (If I don't see a post I can't upvote it therefore by specifically looking at a specific persons posts they will naturally get more upvotes).

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In general, not at all. Each answer should be voted on because of the content of the specific answer - and not because of the person posting.

The bounty system is designed to transfer many votes at once. Voting on answers also carries far more numerical rep than voting on questions.

I would say if you find yourself doing more than three to five votes at a time for one person - be sure to look around and reward others as well for good content.

  • 4
    "Each answer should be voted on because of the content" One may be voting due to content, but may have the opportunity due to the person posting. (If I don't see a post I can't upvote it therefore by specifically looking at a specific persons posts they will naturally get more upvotes). – JBis Jul 26 '18 at 18:41
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    @JBis Totally - I know there are people that put in answers I will almost certainly upvote. I just try not to do 20 votes in a day to them even when they deserve it – bmike Jul 26 '18 at 20:43
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Another aspect apart from "thanks through many votes is not how this is supposed to work":

Is it ok to “thank” someone by upvoting many of their questions?
Is looking through someones Q&A with the intention of upvoting good ones in order to "repay" them for help bad practice/not allowed?

Well, from my personal opinion and experience, if you want to explore and learn great stuff at an almost random pattern – that is: not guided by the homepage or searching for your personal pet questions via the site-search – then going by this authority/person-page method is a nice way to do that.

But that brings you into awkward and contradiction territory regarding voting.

On the one hand you are officially told to vote early, often and as much as you can, totally at your discretion. Whether up or down, that is your prerogative alone.
In theory that means you might go through one users posts list, see 30 great posts and 5 fantastic posts and consequently you should upvote 35 times.

In practice, "stalking" one users' posts and voting on all or most of the content you find in this manner will be considered serial voting or voting fraud. That means not only is that behaviour not recommended, it will be also allowed to occur at the time you do this, but since this is system-wide forbidden via technical design, nobody benefits from this in the end at all. At a certain hour once per day a script goes through the database and reverses all of these votes considered "serial" by an undisclosed formula.

As this algorithm is undisclosed, a compromise might perhaps read: you should not vote more than 3-5 times in a row on posts from one and the same user in a short amount of time. As discerning good posts from bad ones also takes time, that should really read, go through a user's posting list only 3-5 times at a time.
Most importantly, this answer is constructed from the legitimate point of increased chances of finding god content from some very knowledgeable users. But it's still more important to disregard the user completely when judging the content or deciding to vote. Only the quality of the content should inform your decision to vote and in which direction.

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Is it ok to “thank” someone by upvoting many of their questions?

No. This practice is contrary to the overall objective of StackExchange in general:

Voting is central to our model of providing quality questions and answers; it is how …

  • ...good content rises to the top
  • ...incorrect content falls to the bottom
  • ...users who consistently provide useful content accrue reputation and are granted more privileges on the site

By voting on questions/answers for the sake of the person rather than the value of the content causes the content to be artificially promoted/demoted.

Voting up a question or answer signals to the rest of the community that a post is interesting, well-researched, and useful, while voting down a post signals the opposite: that the post contains wrong information, is poorly researched, or fails to communicate information. The more that people vote on a post, the more certain future visitors can be of the quality of information contained within that post – not to mention that upvotes are a great way to thank the author of a good post for the time and effort put into writing it!

  • Please see my comment for under @bmikes answer. – JBis Jul 27 '18 at 18:34
  • @JBis - that's relevant, how? – Allan Jul 27 '18 at 18:38
  • "By voting on questions/answers for the sake of the person rather than the value of the content causes the content to be artificially promoted/demoted." One may be voting due to content, but may have the opportunity due to the person posting. (If I don't see a post I can't upvote it therefore by specifically looking at a specific persons posts they will naturally get more upvotes). – JBis Jul 27 '18 at 18:39
  • Repeating what you said, doesn't clarify it. – Allan Jul 27 '18 at 19:14
  • I'm not sure how to clarify. Your reasoning was that it would be voting for the person not the content. I explained how you are actually voting for the content. – JBis Jul 27 '18 at 19:16
  • It's not my reasoning. What you posted is how you justify your voting methodology. I'm addressing your question, "Is it ok to “thank” someone by upvoting many of their questions?" directly. – Allan Jul 27 '18 at 19:20
  • Fair enough.... – JBis Jul 27 '18 at 19:22
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I've noticed several times that I got three or more upvotes the same day.

Not a "thank you" because it has happened when I haven't posted anything recently.

My hypothesis is that someone was looking for a topic, found an answer or question I had created some time ago, and decided to look at some of my other answers or questions.

  • I have done and received that before too. Same idea. – JBis Aug 1 '18 at 4:36

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