A forum idealist would probably expect that a person who is given a good answer to their question might click that button to indicate that it was indeed a good answer. And from my observation, it is sometimes used in that way.
But I also often see it in this context: the poster finally gets it and posts something like "Finally I got it, thanks for all the help", and people will click the button on that post indicating (I suppose) that they are happy that the poster finally got it.
In other words it's like the Facebook "Like" button, you can use it to signal that something makes you happy in some way. At least I suppose that's how it works there, I'm not on Facebook so I have no observations to base that on.
Dennis Deems wrote:What is the point of giving a thumbs-up to a question?
Giving a thumbs-up to a question would generally be strange; giving a thumbs-up to an answer makes sense to me in the two ways Matthew mentioned.
We recently added a "sort by Likes" (which is how we call the thumbs-up feature) to the search page - so posts that got a lot of thumbs-up would be listed before those that got few or none. The search results page also shows how many thumbs-up a post got, allowing folks to check out at better-liked posts first.
Dennis Deems wrote:
I wasn't asking about a button. I was asking why someone would give thumbs-up to a question.
1) If someone thought the question was interesting
2) If someone thought, oh wow! I never thought about it from this angle
3) If someone thought, man, this is exactly what I was thinking. I am glad someone asked this question, this is going to help me too!