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When this stack exchange started, we voted early and often. Halfway decent questions got 3-5 votes, good ones 8-10, and excellent ones 15 or more. Nowadays it's rare for me to see a question with 5 votes on it. What's happened? There are clearly more active users than this, so why aren't you voting?

I know that recent publicity has flooded us with a lot of low-quality questions that generally produce a feeling of "meh." But this is not the only issue here. Take a look at this question by makerofthings7:

How does Chaum style e-cash work? (all the Wiki links are broken)

It's a good, interesting question that was clearly researched ahead of time, and I know you all saw it because makerofthings7 even posted a bounty on it so it has been sitting in the "featured" area for 3 days! Yet as of right now there is exactly one other vote on it besides mine. We can do better.

The other thing I'm seeing a lot of are questions that have several answers but no votes, which doesn't make any sense at all. If it's worth taking the time to answer, it's definitely worth one single extra click to vote on it! And if the question is genuinely so "meh" that you can't bring yourself to upvote it despite the fact that you we believed some kind of answer was possible, then instead of answering it edit it to something you would actually consider a good question, and upvote that!

On the other side of things, if it's not worth an edit, not worth an upvote, and not worth an answer, downvote with a comment. The addition of the comment can prevent a meh-poster from feeling unfairly "punished" and it might motivate them to edit the question themselves if you actually give them an idea of how to fix it. Downvotes help people, not hurt them.

If you still need encouragement, consider this--the electorate badge is one of the easiest gold badges to earn and so far only 6 people have done it. Just think about it.....shiny. If you're on the site anyways, might as well turn a few easy clicks into a nice bright yellow circle. Don't you wish you were a gold-badger?

Share your tips and feedback below.

p.s. Lohoris, none of this applies to you. You're awesome.

Edit: One more thing

I also want to remind people that you can upvote while voting to close as duplicate. Sometimes you'll run across someone who has phrased something really clearly but just didn't recognise or understand how another question gave them what they needed until someone else pointed it out. It's worth rewarding these people's participation in the site, especially if you want to drown out the meh-questions in the future. Just because a question turns out not to be needed doesn't mean that the person wasn't making an effective contribution--good phrasing on a duplicate question helps our search engine visitors find the content they are looking for, and that's worth rewarding.

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    This gives an idea of the issue as well (Note the use of the word "extreme"...): screencloud.net/v/yF1F – Steven Roose May 14 '13 at 19:07
  • I'm perpelexed as to who gives a care about upvotes. They aren't convertible into money. Why is lack of upvotes a problem? Lack of good answers, ... now that's a problem. – Stephen Gornick May 14 '13 at 21:52
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    Well, upvotes encourage new users to join the community. F.e. I see a lot of complete new SE users with 1 rep, who aren't even able to vote or comment. They need a mere 3 question upvotes to gain this privilege. It's hard to get started in SE (goofygrin.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/…), so it's a good custom to help others getting started. – Steven Roose May 14 '13 at 23:21
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    Oh lol I noticed just now, thanks ^^ – o0'. May 21 '13 at 20:56
  • Here is an example of a great on topic question and answer, they should get several upvotes: bitcoin.stackexchange.com/q/8250/1878 – Christopher Jul 8 '13 at 2:53
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New users can't vote up questions, but they can ask questions. Thus, when the ratio of nonvoting:voting users increases you will see a decrease in votes. With more new users, questions drop off the front page faster. Total views should stay relatively constant versus number of users. However, views by voting members will decrease.

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I'm looking at site stats right now - ignoring the first 30 days or so of the private beta (just because all our Q/A/Vote stats were all over the place then) we have consistently maintained an average of 4 to 6 upvotes per question and right now we're sitting at about 4.5.

Given that, mathematically, we have maintained the same proportion of upvotes per question as we always have it seems likely that what's really happened is that the populace of the site has shifted and upvotes are going to questions you might consider less deserving or in fairness probably aren't even looking at.

Questions about Chaum style e-cash are great for the hardcore among us, but the variety of questions we've seen lately tend to be simpler in nature and given that they now make up a majority of questions it's probably a fair guess that the majority of our users are finding more value in those questions than more technical fare.

In short, the number of upvotes hasn't changed, their distribution has - and in direct response to the will of a free market to the desires of consumers, too. How very Bitcoinian of us.

That said, I'm going to go upvote some good questions now and I encourage you all to do the same.

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