It seems more and more people are spamming the comment area with a

"+1 for [what you just said that I agree with]"

Is this proper form? If not, could we add an explicit description of not to do this?

  • 7
    To put it simply (and as politely as I can): on average, people are of average intelligence. People like to be heard, and possibly to focus their approval on the one specific part. Or maybe they are hoping to share in the bear greatness of a particularly shining statement by simple repetition, thus granting them too the reflected moonglow of assumed greatness.
    – AviD Mod
    Aug 11, 2014 at 20:02
  • 32
    Btw, +1 for explicit description.
    – AviD Mod
    Aug 11, 2014 at 20:03
  • 1
    Hey @AviD - I totally stole your excellent comment +1 1111 !! 1
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Aug 12, 2014 at 9:15
  • 4
    @AviD you are right, and all of you are smart asses! (+1 for being a smart-ass) Aug 13, 2014 at 17:59
  • I think they don't have constructive comments at hand and they are too deeply addict to the like buttons. As they don't find it, they try to recreate it their own way.
    – dan
    Aug 14, 2014 at 9:17
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    A +1 is the opposite of a -1, where the downvoter explains the criticism. If we encourage downvoters to explain their reasoning, then the same logic should be applied to upvoters as they praise. Aug 15, 2014 at 18:01
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    @AviD I do not see how a link to that comic is polite. You're still saying that the people who do this aren't as intelligent than the rest of us. That's no better than "people are stupid." Furthermore, you also assume selfishness, saying people do it just do it for attention and glory. Why can't people be drawing attention to a part of an answer for good reasons? Why can't they be trying to make the site better? If knowing why you were downvoted is useful, why isn't knowing why you were upvoted?
    – trlkly
    Aug 16, 2014 at 9:35
  • 1
    @AviD I disagree. It's basically a feedback for the writer: knowing which parts of a long post are better than the rest may help him.
    – o0'.
    Aug 16, 2014 at 21:30
  • Lohoris - well, if it is just feedback for the writer, then as a mod cleaning up, I'd still want to delete it. They'll get the message, and I can keep the comment threads clear.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Aug 18, 2014 at 18:41
  • 2
    ...which brings me to the question: Why do people upvote +1 for [what you just said that I agree with] comments? Aug 19, 2014 at 5:45

5 Answers 5


AviD explains the reason very well:

To put it simply (and as politely as I can): on average, people are of average intelligence. People like to be heard, and possibly to focus their approval on the one specific part. Or maybe they are hoping to share in the bear greatness of a particularly shining statement by simple repetition, thus granting them too the reflected moonglow of assumed greatness.

More importantly, what can we do about it?

  • flag it for moderator attention and we'll remove it

Nice and simple. You don't need to add a comment letting them know it is unnecessary. Mods do delete comments that are obsolete, too chatty, spam, nonsense etc when we see them, but you can help us see them by flagging.

From the canonical meta post, Comments are:

Comments are temporary "Post-It" notes left on a question or answer. You should not expect them to be around forever: Once a clarification has been made, an edit added to the post to include new information, or the issue in the comment is otherwise resolved, it is subject to deletion. In reality, many obsolete or chatty comments remain untouched due to the high volume of comments posted, but this does not mean that they can't or shouldn't be deleted in the future.

  • 8
    +1 for my own moonglow on you.
    – AviD Mod
    Aug 12, 2014 at 9:20
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    +1 Can I get some moonglow? I need all the help I can get. My moonglow mojo is severely lacking. sad panda
    – k1DBLITZ
    Aug 12, 2014 at 20:51
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    Why is it inappropriate to leave a comment explaining your reason for upvoting a question or answer? For example, if someone has clearly spent a lot of time on an illustration that (in a question) clearly expresses the problem in a way that anyone knowledgeable in the field can quickly determine what's wrong and give a good answer, I think it's useful to mention this as the reason for the +1; it provides positive feedback to the person who did it, and encourages new site users to make similar efforts. Is someone really claiming that commenting like this is wrong/spam? Aug 15, 2014 at 17:27
  • 8
    I agree with @R.. and think that constructive feedback is beneficial and makes S.E. work better. In a particular verbose question, or answer, +1 comments may daw speed readers attention to a valuable detail they may miss. Aug 15, 2014 at 17:58
  • Can we have S.E. programmers detect when a +1 is typed in, and instead of deleting the comment, tell them to upvote the question or provide explicit feedback on a notable comment? Aug 15, 2014 at 18:00
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    I was disappointed in Avid's comment, but at least it was just a comment. The people who can tell you why they do something are the people who do it. Jumping to conclusions that they do it out of selfishness or ignorance is extremely counterproductive. You do not know that the people performing the action is helpful to the site as a whole.
    – trlkly
    Aug 16, 2014 at 9:11
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    R - the upvote itself means that the post was good (in the opinion of the voter) and a downvote means the opposite. Comments on Stack Exchange are only supposed to be for clarification of points, and are ephemeral. That is by design of the site - the aim is to have questions and answers. While there is a place for useful comments, generally they just add noise. And even the useful comments should be rolled up into posts.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Aug 16, 2014 at 9:56
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    Chris - I'm not sure if you added this comment to the wrong post. There is nothing insulting in my answer at all - reading it as such is strange. It is mildly sarcastic, yes, and pretty cynical too, but not insulting.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Aug 18, 2014 at 18:37
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    -1 for "flag it for moderator attention and we'll remove it." I've received these comments and find them helpful in learning how to improve my SE posts. It's a natural part of the community and serves a separate purpose from upvoting. Upvoting says something is good, +1 comments tell us why something is good. Making a blanket rule to mod them away is non-constructive. Aug 19, 2014 at 18:06
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    I also disagree with your comment that "Comments on Stack Exchange are only supposed to be for clarification of points, and are ephemeral." SE sites encourage users to explain why something was downvoted. That isn't really a clarification of points; it's an evaluation of the content of the post. Unless you think those comments are not fitting the design of the site, I think you're missing an important role of the comments. Aug 19, 2014 at 18:14
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    CullenJ - nope. Please read the canonical post here: meta.stackexchange.com/a/19757/154443
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Aug 19, 2014 at 19:29
  • @RoryAlsop I disagree that +1 comments are inappropriate, when they are made in such a way to add usefully to a discussion. They do serve a distinct purpose, apart from regular voting, to explicitly state what part(s) of the post the commenter agrees with. It may even be the case that the commenter only agrees with those parts of the post, and the rest is in fact rubbish but the overall value nets to a +1. It might also be that the commenter wants to expand upon or correct a particular portion of the post, and "+1 for ... but/and ..." is a colloquial way of doing so.
    – Iszi
    Aug 22, 2014 at 15:26
  • 1
    Essentially, what I'm saying is that a +1 comment shouldn't be flagged/removed just for being a +1 comment. However, it is definitely within the SE philosophy to remove them when they're only saying "+1" and adding little to no additional or useful information to the discussion.
    – Iszi
    Aug 22, 2014 at 15:28
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    @RoryAlsop Thanks for the link; I understand your point a lot more clearly now. This helps me better understand how to use StackExchange sites, so it's much appreciated. Aug 22, 2014 at 16:10

It's a vital part of the system, just like posting "-1" comments. The point is to let people know what part of their answer was especially good, to encourage those parts of the answer in the future, both in the answers and others. Remove them, and you will decrease the quality of answers, as people will have to guess what parts of the answers were particularly good

Chances are, if something has been around since the beginning of Stack Exchange, it has a purpose that arguably helps Stack Exchange. Maybe it doesn't actually help, but you can't figure that out until you actually figure out the reasons people do it, and have a broad discussion about the pros and cons. A priori assuming selfishness or ignorance is not helpful.

I personally see no reason that knowing why you were downvoted is useful, but knowing why you were upvoted would not be. I know I've learned a lot from it.

  • 3
    I do this exactly, for parts of the answer that I then quote. One example: I just did this on softwarerecs.SE because someone recommended an Android app and explicitly mentioned as a plus that the app does not require excessive permissions. I consider the misuse of app permissions a major issue, so anyone including this in his answer forwards this important conversation IMO
    – user13695
    Aug 17, 2014 at 16:12
  • Sometimes people include multiple points in their answer, but you really only agree with a portion, or you want to encourage a particularly interesting point that was raised. [you can read my comment as either a critique or a complement, but if I started with "+1" you know my intent]
    – schroeder Mod
    Aug 25, 2014 at 15:17

I would agree that this is something that should not be done if you have nothing to say but "I agree." However, I frequently find questions with a top answer that has received dozens of +1's because it was the first answer worthy of a +1, and so during the period when it was favored as a "hot question" without an accepted an answer, people who got to it just a little too late to answer themselves discovered it and decided to +1 it and move on because they didn't have much to add.

But sometimes those answers, while correct and according to the guides and all, are merely "good enough." There may be other answers that are truly superior, or do a better job of leading the questioner to the path of understanding. Sometimes other answers do just as good of a job but additionally they tackle important issues raised in the question that the top answer for some reason didn't respond to. And sometimes there's a morass of answers that are pretty good, and then one jumps out at me as really good for a particular reason.

In occasions like this, I leave a "+1 [because]" comment because I believe that it's possible other intelligent and knowledgeable judges, busy as their type are known to be, just missed this answer when they passed through. As I apply my vote to the answer, I simply want to explain why I believe this answer merited it when there were other answers that seemed to be receiving much more favor. Or I thought the answerer did a good job and wanted to encourage him to continue offering what he can to the community. Maybe others did damn well, but I only have so many upvotes to give in a day. Perhaps it received negative votes from others who didn't explain why, or were unnecessarily harsh, and I thought I could help the answerer improve his offering.

I don't see how these kinds of circumstances don't warrant a comment upon upvoting just like it's important to leave a comment when you downvote to give the author an opportunity to improve his answer, or at the very least do better in the future. When you downvote and take away someone's rep, they deserve to know why (assuming someone else hasn't already told them). On rare occasions, the answerer you're rewarding and/or the answerers you passed over deserve to know why, too.

  • 2
    I think I understand your jest -a +1 because... can be used to draw attention to a particularly notable element, but TBH while the site is community moderated it is not supposed to be a facebook system of community 'likes' each answer should in theory be read carefully and only voted up/down based on considered thought (that is to say that if your +1 because comment actually convinced someone to vote it up, they did not do their due diligence in reading/understanding the post in the first place. Aug 15, 2014 at 12:26

We upvote answers to show our approval of an answer. We put "+1 for.." in the comments to show our approval of a specific point the poster had made. It is the very same concept, and therefore one very native to the SA behavioral patterns.

When I personally post such a comment, I like to believe that I am helping to improve future answers, and helping readers focus on what I believe important in the answer, therefore improving quality of information on the SA network.


I use +1 in comments when:

  1. I upvoted on the question, and
  2. had a relevant comment that adds to the discussion.

I often find great answers that I agree with and want to make some comment on them. E.g., this comment to an answer saying "To protect against padding oracles, you want to make sure that your application does not return a different error when the padding is wrong", where I wanted to mention that if valid padding took different processing time than invalid padding, this could be exploited (even if the error message is the same) and should count as a "different error".

Saying +1 indicates that I agree with your answer and gives the context for my comment. Otherwise, the comment that could be interpreted as a minor correction/pedantic point could be seen as being argumentative like I'm trying to say they are wrong (when they aren't wrong) or forgot/weren't aware of something important, versus just I felt like mentioning something related (though it isn't important enough to warrant another answer).

Tone is hard to convey on the internet, and a +1/-1 helps convey tone in a brief comment.


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