Most of the shadows in this life are caused by standing in one's own sunshine. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Question #92088 posted on 03/24/2019 1:24 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

So I've been reading the Board for awhile but just made an account today. Now that I can upvote the writers' comments, and since I sometimes read stuff from the archives, I'm curious to know how the upvoting system works on here. I didn't find an answer to this in the archives, so a few questions:

1) Is it weird to upvote a comment from a retired writer who posted their answer years ago? i.e. Will anyone know I upvoted for them? I would liken it to the unspoken rule of thumb that you *generally* don't like/comment on a facebook friend's random photo from 5 years ago because it's weird and they'll know you've been stalking them.

2) Are you current writers notified when someone gives you an upvote?

3) Do upvotes have any purpose besides indicating the most popular questions and showing which answer people liked the most in a group of answers (and popularity contests of course)?

Thanks, and I'm sorry if this kind of question has already been answered and I just didn't find it.

- I'll come up with a good alias eventually...


Dear Aziraphale,

Man, I wish we got notifications about upvotes. Except, now that I think about that for one second longer, I'm really glad we don't, cause the absence of notifications would just be plain depressing. 

When I was a new writer, I kept obsessive tallies on precisely how many upvotes each of my answers had. I no longer do that, but I think that stems from simply not being as involved on the Board as I used to be (gone are my days of writing 20+ answers per week for months on end). The point of me saying this, is that depending on the personal tabs a writer keeps on their answers, there's a possibility they could know if you voted for their answer. The probability of that is extremely low.

Finally, upvotes serve the purpose of feeding our egos. I can honestly say it brings me happiness when people vote for an answer I poured time and effort into. Even for the answers I didn't pour time and effort into, seeing those thumbs still feels good.



Dear Alas,

Anathema gave a good rundown, I just wanted to jump on and say that for the first few months I was obsessive about how many upvotes I got. It's kind of embarrassing actually... But, it feels really nice to get some green thumbs up when you've worked hard on an answer. So even though I'm not the obsessive newbie I once was, I still appreciate getting some upvotes.




Dear you,

Our upvote system came around as a result of Board 5.0, I think, and since their initial introduction they've basically become less-and-less used. I don't actually have many statistics on Board readership then vs. now, much less comparative percentage of registered users who are logged in, but don't let those concepts stop you from upvoting, or better yet, sending us a Board email! Our email addresses can be found here or along the blue sidebar in the 'About Us' page. Clicking on our aliases at the bottom of an answer also yields a similar result.

To quote Eirene in Board Question #64861,

It's really hard to beat a heartfelt, personal thank-you, or even just a personal email discussing something we wrote that you found interesting. I guess unless you spend a lot of time on the reader forum, it's more unusual than you'd think to get any kind of personal feedback from our readers. Most of us would love to discuss anything we've written with other Board enthusiasts, which is why a lot of us give our Board emails in our bios on the About Us page.

Speaking personally, the small handful of thank-you notes I've gotten from readers have made my day, every single time. I love remembering that the time I spend with the Board is maybe actually helping another human being sometimes, and that I'm not just sending words out into the ether here.

So readers: if a particular answer or writer really helped you out, we'd love, love, love to hear it from you! The little green thumbs are fun, but at least for me, they're no substitute for an actual person telling me I was able to help them a little.


--Ardilla Feroz


Dear Good Alias,

All this being said, I think it would be fine to upvote really old answers. The writer won't get a notification but if you like it, I say go ahead.

-Quixotic Kid, a newbie who still checks upvotes religiously


Dear you,

I don't think that's weird at all. I like that about the archive format. We have no idea who voted and we don't get notifications (as already stated). But I kind of still watch upvotes to know what writing styles work for people. So if there's something you'd like to see more of, upvote that thing. 

But yeah, it's basically an appreciation/ego thing, but seriously so rewarding when I've worked hard on an answer. 

Also please don't worry too much about asking repeat questions! Like, we are pretty busy but it's really not so bad. We might have new writers, and your exact question usually has some new element. 

Welcome aBOARD! *aack ahem oof* Sorry. Pun stuck in my throat. Now that you're here, bring me science and dating questionsthey are my lifeblood. 


posted on 03/24/2019 4:57 p.m.
From a reader's perspective, I enjoy running across an ancient Q&amp;A, posted well before the time of green thumbs, and seeing an upvote. It's akin to a lonely traveler lost in a vast uninhabited land finding an Instant Pot and celebrating that humanity yet exists, and has even recently been here!<br>-C.S.<br>(it was that or the thrill of passing a headstone of one of your previous Oregon Trail parties)

Editor's note: this isn't the kind of "correction" we usually post, but it so happens I completely agree.