Honestly I got one of the best answers I have gotten on the site on this question

Should galvanized steel pipe be used as a tub spout?

I had installed tubs for years using galvanized and doing it in brass is A LOT different. No stinky tub smell. It is a requirement for anything I do now.

How can 10k people view it with 2 upvotes for the answer. It is sad and might prove a bit of a flaw in the system (where you go on some stacks and there are 10 upvotes for an answer that is really poor or even wrong).

  • 1
    I believe also it might be because some (probably most) users don't really care much about voting if they're just here to find an answer to their own problem. I'm not sure if views only count from registered members or if Google searches are also included, but it's likely that many see the answer, learn from it, and carry on throughout their day without a care for who posted it..
    – TFK
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 14:09
  • Meta.SE: Why aren't people voting for questions?
    – Mazura
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 3:29
  • Why would someone vote up questions? Also, SE is really good at SEO and gets a lot of viewers from search engines. That generates views but not upvotes, because unregistered guests can't upvote. Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 4:03
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    At least Home Improvement isn't one of the stacks infested with hordes of anonymous downvoters. They'll wait two years, and then bingo, You're down 8 or 10 or two, or whatever a downvote costs you on a particular stack. No reason ever given, just random death from on high. With regard to galve steel piping, I looked at the thread, thought, "why would anyone ever do that?" and never returned. Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 3:58
  • Now it has 5 (at least at the time of writing this comment)
    – GingerHead
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 17:42
  • I assume it's because most people who view it aren't members of "diy.stackexchange.com" so can't upvote it...they're just "lay" consumers, as it were, not site members :)
    – rogerdpack
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 3:24
  • I have 11 zero score accepted answers on diy.se <horn-toot> ;p It's not that hard (to get the tenacious badge) on a site where one +1 means yea this checks out... next.
    – Mazura
    Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 3:22

3 Answers 3


Voting seems to be a bit different on this site (diy), as most of the users are not experts. This is especially true with plumbing, HVAC, and electrical questions. It seems that a majority of the community doesn't really know what the right answer is, and so does not vote.

"Common knowledge" type questions seem to get more votes, since you don't have to be an expert in a field to recognize a good answer.

As an example, my two top voted answers require little to no expert knowledge to understand.

What is the purpose of these holes on my wire stripper?

Is there an easy way to measure the height of a tree?

I wouldn't personally consider either of these as one of my best answers, but they generated a lot of votes. Which I attribute to the fact that neither requires expert knowledge to understand.

The voting patterns on this site have perplexed me as well.

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    +1 :) It comes down to members voting what they know and viewing what they want to learn. Also, with the cross over from the computer side of SE, electrical questions tend to have a lot of Q&A here (and I'd assume voting). Much less so on topics like plumbing. Wouldn't be surprised if 95% of the membership here hasn't even replaced a tub spout.
    – BMitch Mod
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 22:35
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    p.s. If you want to spend a lot of time, for a very small amount of reputation reward. Answer HVAC questions, especially troubleshooting why furnace/A\C is not working.
    – Tester101
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 14:19
  • First I was surprised that the question got 10k views as I thought it was pretty specific. I upvoted it... So that means a good answer to a an upvote ratio is 10k to 1. I agree on the HVAC questions and I answer foundation questions with the same payoff but I thought this question hit the extreme because the title of the question is pretty obscure (IMO) and the payoff ridiculously low.
    – DMoore
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 15:47
  • When it comes to views, I'm completely in the dark. I've been baffled as to why some questions get lots of views, and others don't. It may have to do with which questions get scraped, and which sites scrape them.
    – Tester101
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 16:02
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    @BMitch - You might be right on the tub spout - nobody knows what the hell I am talking about at the big boxes when I am looking for something. What is funny is that the day after I posted this I had my son take pictures of a potential house. Which included a tub with rust stains... The plumber who does work for me (in his 70s) and I think only me - look s at the picture says "Why did we ever use galvanized pipes?" I don't think anyone even mentioned the term galvanized to me in years... meta life
    – DMoore
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 5:18
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    @Tester101 - I run a different/modified version of SE on internal knowledge base. Everyone is a member or you can't even access it (SSO)... If we see 1000 views and 5 upvotes it would get flagged for review as the answer accepted might not be that good. I wonder if SE has thought of or discussed adding a "uptick" for non-registered users. So that they can vote up or give thanks to an answer or question? No points but might prove to be useful in determining impact.
    – DMoore
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 5:22
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    I read a lot of questions that I find interesting but have no expertise in. I tend not to upvote unless I am fairly certain that the answer is correct.
    – bib
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 16:55

Considering it's two years old (and being "well received" it's no longer bumped as often I think), so my guess would be people from Google, trying to figure out how to get a tub spout to sit flat against the wall, when it's a double ended threaded fitting. They were probably looking for what length to get, and what material it should be. And WHY.

My old building in Chicago is fed from the street with a lead pipe, that goes into galvanized, which turns into copper at some point. I'd choose a tub spout stub material for its appropriate dielectric properties; you're not supposed to be drinking hot water anyway.

So, sure, if everything is brass or copper, there's no reason to stick an anode at the end of it; use brass or copper.

The accepted answer basically says all of this, but doesn't really get into why or why not to use galvanized.

Imagine if the question was my old building paragraph. Ending with, can I use galvanized here? The answer would be it doesn't really matter. No one up votes it doesn't really matter. They just go oh and head to the store. People in the know will go duh and those who aren't don't vote.

Should you use galvanized: no. Can you: yes. (ok, great. Now what? Why?) You seem to be caught up on how this reduces some smell (I was unaware of this phenomenon outside of a closed system). Perhaps a better title would be, Why does my tub water stink? or (unload the question by asking) What should I use to connect a tub spout? The post has a lot of prominent keywords, but the context is somewhat obscure.

Should is a yes or no question, a failure to ask why. If why was implied you let the answer get away without explaining it. The word dielectric (or the science behind them) makes no appearance on that page: no up votes from me. A "longer term connection" doesn't cut it. Also, legionnaires disease? or whatever those other reasons are why you shouldn't be drinking your hot water...

What should I use to connect a tub spout? basically is the title, and it has as many votes as I'd expect it to. Why does my tub water stink? might have shot though the roof however, depending on how prevalent this problem is. My water just reeks of chlorine; nothing I can do about that.


The main issue is people who are long time members aren't voting ... for anything. We've been seeing this issue on Mechanics.SE for a long time. Recently a few things have changed which brought on more voting. The main thing over there is, Jon Ericson brought it to our attention we are getting poised to become a real site, but we don't have enough of a middle class to have a decent election.

DIY.SE is a lot like Mechanics.SE in a very pertinent respect. Unlike the programming or IT sites on SE, there are a lot of users who come onto the site looking for one time help. They have no intent of sticking around after they get an answer (and sometimes don't stick around to get an answer). They post their question, get their answer, and leave. This mainly happens for two reasons: 1) there is no incentive to stay; 2) they have no investment in the site. You cannot expect these people to vote on your answers ... ever. Who will vote on those answers then? The only ones who will are those who have been here and continue to come back.

What does that leave you with? It means that those who are here regularly need to vote, which it appears is not happening. Everyone can place up to 40 votes in a single day. Every users here has had the ability since the beginning of the year to vote up to 1520 times, yet the highest voter on the site only has 323 votes on the year. That is only utilizing 21.25% of their voting potential ... and that's the highest voting individual!!

In order to change what's happening on DIY, everyone needs to take the initiative and start voting. Don't act like a vote for someone else's post is going to cause you harm, because it's not. Are you so stringent in what you think is a good answer that you don't need to vote at all?

I personally use a guide to voting something to the effect of:

  • Upvote an answer or question if it has some redeeming value - Does it add value to the site?
  • Leave a question or answer alone if it doesn't bring anything or it may have some moderate issues.
  • Downvote a question or answer if it is so egregious it shouldn't even be entertained.

To emphasize my point ... on Mechanics.SE I have recorded 5,406 votes, with only 22 of those being down.

The issue being described is systemic. You cannot blame those who only come to get their questions answered, though you can remind them to upvote and check the answer as being just that. You may be able get some of them to stick around, but right now you aren't giving them any incentive to do so. By making an effort to reward people for their hard efforts, whether it's a question or an answer, you give them incentive to stick around and become a productive member of the DIY.SE society. Give people a reason to stay. Give them a reason to vote. Give them a reason to enjoy.

Jon Ericson left us one other tidbit. He showed us this post which I believe says a lot about the subject:

Vote Early; Vote Often

There is also Jeff Atwood's take on the subject:

Vote Early; Vote Often

Another person from Mechanics.SE left this post over on Gardening.SE which seems to be having the same issue as DIY. His review of the situation there could shed light on what's going on here. It is well written and a good read

I wish DIY all the luck in the world. You have less to worry about than does Mechanics.SE because you are a graduated site. Hopefully it will all work out in the end.

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