If I see an answer that seems well-researched, but I do not have domain expertise to verify its correctness, should I upvote the answer?

It is possible that an answer seems well-researched, cites sources, but is still wrong, and we don't want to upvote wrong answers. But if I only vote on answers where I know the answer is correct, I might vote relatively rarely. What would be the correct course of action?


2 Answers 2


No. The purpose of up-voting answers is to provide a form of peer review that only an expert community can provide to verify its content. If you don't know the information to be correct and well presented, you should not be voting at all.

One of the problems this site is designed to solve is the misinformation (and hard to find correct information) on the Internet. There is a lot of misinformation being passed off as fact (especially in the area of pop science) and if this site is simply propagating incorrect information, there is little purpose to continue. We're not voting for the prettiest post or the slickness of the presentation. Please don't vote solely on the basis of what you find pleasing to the eye or being "persuaded" that they probably know what they're talking about. Every poorly-consider vote is incrementally damaging to the integrity of this site.

  • $\begingroup$ Here. Here. Same applies to down voting. $\endgroup$
    – kwknowles
    Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 14:54

Robert has a point in theory, because up-votes are designed to maintain the quality and accuracy of SE sites, and this purpose will not be served if wrong answers are continually up-voted.

That said, this will no doubt deter experts in very specialized fields, because if people only up-voted what they already knew, no one (or very few) will have the qualifications to up-vote their specialized responses. It will also deter people from answering difficult questions that they believe only they might know the answer to here on SE.

What we can do however when we read an answer we are interested in, is check whether that answer aligns with valid references. Clearly absolute truth is impossible to come by, and many answers considered correct even by experts will in fact be proven to be wrong later. Therefore what we are really interested in whether an answer agrees with current knowledge, and that is whether the answer can be verified with current valid references.

Therefore if you have observed an answer to be well researched and contain credible references, and those references support what the answer is saying, then by all means I would encourage you to up-vote or accept that answer.


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