The question about whether or not to continue pinning accepted answers at the top of the answers list is closing soon and it's a very tight race. In fact, it's even closer than it looks.

Right now, according to the votes everyone can see, maintaining the status quo is winning 17 to 16 over change. But if you look at the breakdown of up and down votes, it's [+19 -2] for status quo, and [+20 -4] for change, which means according to the upvotes only, change is winning 20-19.

Which way will it be counted?

If we count downvotes towards the total, then I can either upvote the option I want, or upvote the option I want and downvote the option I don't want, thereby cancelling out someone else's vote. And six people have done this already.

Should we all rush to cast our second vote and do an awareness campaign to get everyone else to do so? As it stands, this would result in a final vote of -1 for status quo, and +1 for change. Most voters won't realize that they can also downvote their "dispreferred" option for double effect, so some people's votes will be represented doubly. All of that seems ridiculous.

Assuming nobody downvoted without upvoting too --I think a fair assumption-- the number of upvotes represents the actual number of people who want each option, and the number of downvotes means nothing and should be discarded.

So, I propose that if we're currently intending to count based on net votes, that we change to only count upvotes. And whatever the final case, it should state clearly in very visible font in the question either that the apparent vote doesn't reflect the true vote and only privileged users can see the true vote count, OR that downvotes count as much as upvotes and everyone should vote twice.

  • 1
    how would you know how those six people have voted?
    – ilkkachu
    Oct 28, 2021 at 16:34
  • @ilkkachu Users with a sufficient amount of reputation can see the raw votes for an answer by clicking on the total score for that question.
    – nick012000
    Oct 30, 2021 at 1:16
  • @nick012000, how would you know who gave those votes?
    – ilkkachu
    Oct 30, 2021 at 9:12
  • @ilkkachu Nobody knows who. However, we can infer that the people who downvoted also upvoted. And the point is moot because all the answers are already in the initial post on that question which I didn't bother to read to the end.
    – gotube Mod
    Oct 31, 2021 at 3:32
  • @gotube, there's a difference between "six people have done this" and "I assume six people have done this".
    – ilkkachu
    Oct 31, 2021 at 11:10

1 Answer 1


The post says

  1. upvote the answer representing your choice (downvotes will not count)

The reason for this 'rule' is that while most users with a minimal amount of participation are able to upvote, but not all of them are able to downvote. It's quite common in polls across Stack Exchange. Unfortunately, it's also quite common that not all users read all the way until the bottom... I am happy with the amount of participation and it clearly shows we are rather divided on this issue; a few votes one way or the other probably won't matter.

When I look at the original announcement on Meta Stack Exchange, which says

We are going to collect feedback before the end of September 19th.

I can only think the company suspected it would be a clear preference for the Stack Overflow behaviour (stop pinning the accepted answer) on all but a few 'special' sites in network (Puzzling, Code Golf) where the reverse would be true.

Anyway, our divided stance on this matter has led the company to decide to keep the status quo and the accepted answer remains pinned on English Language Learners:

Thanks to everyone for the feedback. Seeing that some sites do not want to unpin the accepted answer, we decided to move forward with the status quo and not to change the default behaviour on existing sites.

  • Maybe we can use the downvotes as a tiebreaker if it winds up with both options tied? At the moment, they're both on 20 upvotes.
    – nick012000
    Oct 30, 2021 at 1:20
  • @nick012000 or let one person who could not vote (me, I created those answers) decide? :P Seriously, the goal of the poll is to check people's stances on this matter, not to force a majority decision. We wouldn't even be in a position to demand the company to adhere to our decision...
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Oct 30, 2021 at 7:22

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