I'm tagging this as "discussion", not as a feature request, because I am quite agnostic about whether it's a good idea.

That said: My subjective impression is that lately a lot of very bad/off-topic questions are picking up an upvote or two shortly after they're posted, after which they generally attract a slew of downvotes and are quickly closed. This has become common enough that although I had no specific examples in mind when I started typing this, it took me only a moment to find one here. I'm not sure what motivates those upvotes, but I'd be willing to bet it's not an honest appraisal of the questions.

I can imagine that if this phenomenon continues to grow, it could become a significant problem. So maybe it's worth thinking about how we'd address that problem.

One "solution" is to impose a reputation cost for upvotes on questions. I feel confident that would be a terrible idea.

So here's a variant: Extract a reputation cost for upvotes on only those questions that quickly receive a lot of downvotes and/or are quickly closed.

I don't think this is anything that requires immediate attention, but it looks to me like it might require attention in the future. And I'm not sure this is the right way to address it, but I thought it might be worth seeing what others think.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure what you mean by "extract", and by "reputation cost" you mean the voter's or the OP? In any case I don't understand the suggestion (though I agree with the setup, having in mind that a closed question can immediately be voted to deletion if its score is $\le -3$). Also you might need the feature-request meta-tag to have your suggestion taken in consideration by moderators. $\endgroup$ – YCor Mar 19 at 7:16
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    $\begingroup$ I am not sure how you distinguish between these upvotes, and ones made in good faith by those of us who think it is still OK for researchers to ask questions that may seem basic to those in the know. $\endgroup$ – Yemon Choi Mar 19 at 11:57
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    $\begingroup$ @YemonChoi : I think if you look at the example I linked to, you will agree that this is not an upvote made in good faith on a question that seems basic only to a proper subset of mathematicians engaged in research. $\endgroup$ – Steven Landsburg Mar 19 at 14:45
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    $\begingroup$ I agree, but that was my point: we need case-by-case judgements, I don't see a way to automate this $\endgroup$ – Yemon Choi Mar 19 at 15:01
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    $\begingroup$ @YemonChoi : I had indeed managed to miss your point. Thanks for clarifying. $\endgroup$ – Steven Landsburg Mar 19 at 15:46
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    $\begingroup$ Several people quickly downvoting to reverse an incorrect upvote is exactly how the system is supposed to function. I don't see what the problem is. $\endgroup$ – Noah Snyder Mar 19 at 16:40
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    $\begingroup$ @NoahSnyder: It looks like a small number of people are making it a habit to upvote unambiguously off-topic questions. It looks to me like these people are motivated by an intent to disrupt. (I say this because I can't imagine any other motivation, but of course that might just be a failure of my imagination). If we get to the point where that small number of people grows to, say, 20, then I think they can be pretty disruptive --- there will be substantial amounts of time in which a lot of terrible questions have high net scores. I'm trying to imagine what we might do if that happens. $\endgroup$ – Steven Landsburg Mar 19 at 18:39

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