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I can see why you would need 15 rep to upvote, and more to downvote. I do know that handing out upvotes to everything from a particular user, no matter how much you like them or how good a particular question or answer from them was, is considered an abuse of the system and will get the votes deleted. It's more obvious how downvotes can be abused. And the main purpose of this site is to ask and answer questions.

That being said, I do like to give credit where it is due, and give especially new users the rep they deserve for good questions and answers. But at some point, I wonder if going around sprinkling upvotes like candy indiscriminately, even to deserving answers, if already handsomely rewarded, would be going too far. I guess I don't like cheap upvotes to marginally deserving answers of mine either, and they can mask what I'm doing right to earn the upvotes.

The most glaring example of this potential altruistic "abuse" would be someone with barely 15 rep jumping on the chance to upvote, if altruistically to help others like themself along who are happy to have so much as 15 rep (each upvote to a question gets them 5/14 and an answer 5/7 of the way there!) and forgetting about asking and answering questions of their own (perhaps out of shyness from a few early downvotes.)

At what point do the angels that hand out upvotes and reputation, however deservingly, go off the deep end into sin by overdoing their gifts?

6

In short? When you run out of votes for the day. (see this meta post for details: What are the limits on how I can cast, change, and retract votes?).

If you serially upvote one person too much, the system will notice and reverse it (and this may result in a suspension for you as it is seen as a misuse of the system).

At the end of the day, other than that, it doesn't matter. People are free to use their votes however they like. Trying to police that is just an exercise in futility - everyone's got their own ideas on what is worth voting on, and having that freedom is the entire point of the system as designed.

  • Thanks for pointing me to the 30-40 vote per day limit. Now it seems much more fair and objective. I was talking about sprinkling around said votes indiscriminately by user, and for "good" QA. At any rate, that's 50 rep for 10 Q-votes and up to 300 rep for 30 QA-votes that each user with 15 or more rep can hand out per day without cost to their own rep! – GuitarHeroAndDancer9001 May 30 at 20:11
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    Judging "indiscriminately" isn't for us to do. People vote for all sorts of reasons, and that's their right to do so. – Ash May 30 at 20:27
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As Ash mentioned, there's a limit to the number of upvotes that can be given in one day. So the total amount of "damage" is limited on a daily basis.

Theoretically, even if there's someone giving out an upvote on all the "bad" posts, there's plenty of other users who will recognize the post as low quality and will downvote to counteract it. And even if that wasn't the case, the community has the ability to vote to close questions that are off-topic, regardless of how many votes they have. So in the end, it's not really a big deal.

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