There are two ways to earn votes—both are designed to reward users for contributing to SoundOff's success.
SoundOff depends on answers people want to listen to. The people who post great answers are rewarded with influence over future questions. The hope is that those who answer well can help select questions that lead to more great answers.
A set number of votes are split among the users that answer each day's question. Likes may not be perfect, but we use them as the broadest measure of answer quality.
To determine the share of votes awarded to each user, we count the total number of likes that each answer has 48 hours after the question was asked. Then, we take the square root of each one divided by the sum of all the square roots:
We use square roots because we believe the platform benefits most from a broad base of users selecting good questions and answering them—great answers are great in part because of their context in relation to other answers. This method allows us to strike a balance between rewarding answer quality and rewarding participation.
Users can like a question's answers anytime, but we only count the likes received in the first 48 hours because answers have the greatest benefit to SoundOff during this period. The time limit also helps ensure that rewards are administered quickly.
Great questions attract great answers, and great answers attract new users, which in turn makes SoundOff more valuable. Votes are indicators of interest. When lots of people vote for a question, it indicates widespread interest in that question, so we reward the person who asked it to encourage them to keep asking great questions.
A set number of votes are split among the users who propose questions each day. We determine question quality by counting the number of users who voted for it.
Each day, the winning question and some number of expiring questions are removed from the question proposal queue. To determine the share of votes awarded to each user, we take all of the expiring questions that were not sweetened, count the total number of users who cast votes for any of the valid questions, and reward the proposer of each question with the share of voters that their proposal won.
We exclude sweetened questions to reward only the questions that won votes organically. This limits money's influence on the system, by allowing a proposer to rent votes once, but not to use sweetening as a way to earn additional votes permanently through the reward process.
We allot question rewards based on number of voters instead of number of votes to avoid a loop where the rich get richer. This helps to constantly redistribute votes to a broad base of users, which we believe will help preserve SoundOff's long-term value.