Every couple of weeks someone makes a meta post about voting and how if everyone just does "X" the proposal will benifit and move forward. Seems like a great idea, so why do the posts get down voted?

An example with current vote standing https://area51.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/21891 (-3)

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    I think we should flag any question says "give your vote" in any proposal as a dupe of this
    – Ooker
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 14:12
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    James, please stop linking people to this and telling them that it's bad to tell people to upvote questions. I see you've taken this as some kind of mission, but it's not a constructive one. As JohnB and Jason C both explain below, there is real value in explaining to people that upvotes are crucial to getting sites launched, and as long is it's done in tandem with telling people that upvoting good questions is the right thing to do, then it's fine.
    – 410 gone
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 3:25
  • @EnergyNumbers This post was written 5 years ago, Area 51 has changed a lot since then. WIth the current model, I agree it can add value to help people understand the process of voting. But there are also ways of telling people to vote that are not appropriate. Both good and bad ways are described below. Commented May 22, 2019 at 12:07
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    @JamesJenkins given that, perhaps you'd like to update your own answer below; and when you link to it, rather than continuing to advise people that "it's bad to tell people to upvote questions", instead say "it's good to tell people to upvote good questions".
    – 410 gone
    Commented May 27, 2019 at 2:42

5 Answers 5


I think announcements like these can have value. Most people probably aren't going to read the FAQ, but are more likely to see those discussion posts because they're front and center.

Area 51 is, by the admission of a few SO staff members, not an ideal solution for the new site proposal process. It's run using a modified and outdated version of the SE Q&A engine. Maybe we'll get a new and improved platform some time in the distant future, but at this point in time it's all we have.

I have admittedly downvoted these questions in the past if they are particularly pointless. I consider this question to be absolute noise; the proposal had gathered 186 190 191 192 195 196 197 followers thus far, it didn't need that question to find the remaining 14 10 9 8 5 4 3.

In this related question, a user mentioned they "don't feel like it's a discussion question. It seems more like an announcement", but I've never seen a promotional post like that closed by SE staff. This isn't a Stack Exchange Q&A site, nor is it (soley) a meta discussion site. Please don't police it like it is one.

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    I humbly agree with this. I think that the purpose of a question, and the proposal state in which it has been asked are important. I think this makes the most sense by far.
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 0:25
  • @Zizouz212, I had a thread too (10k+ only, unfortunately) which got removed by RemoveDeadQuestions just because some random guy decides to downvote the question to -1.
    – Pacerier
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 19:28

Couple of issues. First of all, I notice the OP often links to this meta post in response to downvotes on posts of the following form:

Hey guys, everybody use all your votes to vote up every question less than 10 so that we can advance!

Here's the reality: Posts giving advice on how to advance the proposal do not get downvoted. Posts advising to game the system and upvote example questions regardless of their quality get downvoted.

The title of this meta post is rather loaded.

When you see a post like that get downvoted, it's not because it was giving helpful advice. It's because it was giving bad advice.

Upvote good questions. Downvote bad ones. The question score requirements exist to ensure that a site has a good foundation. If you cannot naturally collect enough good questions to meet the requirements then you do not have the basis for a healthy site, and you are doing your site a disservice. Instead, if you cannot advance, you should restart the proposal, fixing the problems from the previous failed proposal. This is how you get a healthy site.

We know everybody really really really really wants their favorite proposal to succeed, but the reality is this can't always happen and that's OK. Try and try again. But don't fake it. Telling people to fake it is what gets you the downvotes.


It is hard to find good examples of why these kind of questions are not helpfull because, when a proposal fails before reaching Beta, all of the related questions are deleted along with the proposal.

There is a lot more to a successfull proposal then getting through the phases and reaching beta launch.

The Commitment phase requires 200 followers, half of whom have "200+ rep on any other site" from a purely logistical perspective in only take 80 people to get the 40 questions with 10 votes needed for Definition phase. Your 100 experienced SE users should not have difficulty figuring out what needs to happen, so there no added value in asking or telling people how to vote.

You have one year to complete the Definition phase, if you move through it with the minimum of 80 people, then you only have 12 months to attract the other 120 people you will need to complete the Commitment, this puts the proposal at a disadvantage. see 1 year in Definition + 1 year in Commitment

So what happens when you do manage to use a meta post to move a proposal forward. Here is an example that worked well Have you used all 5 of your votes? it may have helped the site get to Beta Launch which we can see was closed after 17 days in Beta.

If the proposal has what it takes to become a successful site, there is no need to "help" people figure out how to move it forward.

If there is a need to help the current group of supporters figure out how to move the proposal forward, the proposal does not yet have the group of people needed for a successful Beta launch. If they follow your "guidance" all you have done is help speed the demise of the proposal.

So what can you do? Other then encouraging people from outside of Area 51 to join the proposal, you need to encourage people new to SE to get familiar with Stack Exchange. The requirement for 100 people with "200+ rep on any other site" is there for a reason, it is one of the most important criteria in a site/proposals success.

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    I have written something simular to this about a dozen times but it keeps getting deleted when the proposal fails, so I made a post that is not related to a specific proposal so I can link to it instead of witting it again and again. Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 15:02

Whilst after reading the above I agree there is little justification for such posts we do need to bear in mind this site is aimed, at least partially, at people that do not currently use SE and are therefore unfamiliar with the way it operates.

I would like to see a clear link displayed on each post taking the user to the FAQ OR better still a brief summary of the process with a link to the FAQ (a very small 'Help' button with a link to a slightly obscurely named 'Help Centre' is not that obvious).

The fact that you can get a large number of followers with relatively few votes does tend to prove that the process to getting a forum approved is not obvious.

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    This is the biggest concern that I have for many proposals. Especially with non-information technology proposals (other than programming, the SE Traditional focus), it's hard to garner support within SE. Therefore, you need to go to people outside, many who are unfamiliar with the system. Area 51 sucks for new people: it's not clear how to do anything.
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 1:11

The fact that you can get a large number of followers with relatively few votes does tend to prove that the process to getting a forum approved is not obvious

This is precisely the problem. When a new proposal hits, it's often for a community of people who have never used this system/site. All they see is the main proposal page and think "Gee, I signed up - now where's the forum?" without realizing that new questions and votes are needed as well. The little info box in the upper right doesn't exactly shout out at you.

I get that everyone wants people to RTFM, but this "Don't do that - there's an FAQ, you twit" kind of response isn't helpful. That's precisely the kind of behavior that's giving SO a bad rep to start with.

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