Recently, I've noticed a lot of questions that follow every recommendation we give as a community, as in:
- They show preliminary research effort
- They are not careless in (however much) grammar (the asker already understands)
- They focus on a single issue
- They explain what aspects of the situation the asker currently understands
- They point as specifically as possible to what is not understood
- They provide sufficient context for others to understand the nature of the issue
And yet, these questions go un-voted-for! It's my opinion that this should change.
I'm guessing this comes down to either different upvoting criteria or lack of interest. In this post, I'd like to offer encouragement against the latter and open the floor for discussion on the former.
Encouragement (against voting apathy):
There are a lot of reasons that more voting helps everyone. Here are some:
1. Guidance and support for new users
Upvoting helps new users—especially the user who is asking the question—understand what makes a good question
Upvoting gives new users reputation points, each of which means more at lower levels, and all of which provide encouragement for someone to come back and keep participating
2. Establish a spectrum of quality
Despite availability of (and frequent reference to) documentation of best practices, it can be a big mystery to someone who is new to the site—especially someone who is new to the Stack Exchange network—what efforts are worthwhile in making their questions more appreciated. More upvoting in general means that there will be a wider variety of question scores, which will in turn provide a more easily intuited, quantified sense of which questions are a good fit for this site.
I think upvoting encourages participation, but even if you don't agree with that there remains the fact that any voting (up or down) is, itself, participation, and that statistic helps the site appear active—which it is!
Discussion (of what should be upvoted):
Certainly, voting is subjective (and should be), but my observations have led me to believe it's possible that people have really different ideas about what should be voted up.
Personally, my main criterion for upvoting is whether or not the question is appropriate for ELL in subject matter and clarity. If it's answerable and apt, +1.
Are there people who only upvote questions that they also have? That seems like a good reason to vote for a question, but it seems to me that it should not be the only reason.
I'm interested in hearing from as many members of this community as possible on the following:
What kinds of things inspire you to upvote a question?
What stops you from upvoting a question?
Do you agree that more upvoting in general would be helpful?
Do you plan on being freer with your upvotes in the future?
Of course, please feel free to go “off script” if you wish to address an aspect I've overlooked.