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In the current quarter (1st April 2019 to today), according to the Users page, the voting statistics is like this (this excludes those who've cast 10 votes or less):

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In this same duration (excluding today) there have been 300 posts i.e. 300 questions and answers (excluding deleted posts). So it seems most of our users cast their votes on less than 5% of all posts! Similarly, the close vote rate has also dropped drastically. Only 1 question was pushed to the Close Votes review queue in the last 30 days i.e. only 1 user cast a non-moderator close vote in the last 30 days (this data is only available to admins).

If I recall correctly (and judging from the feed in chat), there have been at around 10 off-topic/broad/low-quality questions which I had to close single-handedly, in the past 1 month. This isn't a good sign. Moderators are not supposed to be the only ones doing the review tasks!

Now let's get to the burning question: why don't you vote often? The generic answers supposedly are:

  1. "I'm just a casual reader and I don't find the majority of the questions/answers interesting enough to vote on."

  2. "I avoid voting on questions/answers which I don't understand or do not have the time to read through."

  3. "My bar for voting is high; I feel it's unnecessary to vote unless the post is exemplary or outstanding."

or some combination of the above. I believe these are not really good reasons. You see, ours is still a beta site and for it to grow and graduate we not only need to create content but also assess it and show some form of appreciation to those who take their time to write fairly great questions and answers here. As for point 2, I'd suggest that you start voting even for questions/answers which are well-written, even if you do not have the time to fully read and understand them; the pros far outweigh the cons. Well-written questions and answers (especially answers) take considerable time and effort to produce, and receiving almost nothing in return can be truly discouraging.

I'm not saying that you should only upvote; downvotes and close votes are also as important, in order to weed out the bad content. Stack Exchange runs on the philosophy that good answers are voted and rise to the top and low-quality content is pushed down. So if we're not voting, we as a community are failing that goal! I strongly recommend reading KRyan's answer on this topic.

Moreover, note that the more you vote the more Google and other search engines will pick up our posts i.e. Google specifically optimizes for those Stack Exchange pages which have a large number of votes and views (as they're indicative of the general quality of content on the site) cf. Why is voting important?. Furthermore, a higher vote count on average helps to push questions to the Hot Network Questions (HNQ) list more often, making a site more visible network-wide. And greater visibility implies we'll have a higher chance of being noticed by professionals and academicians in this field. That is really important for our long-term sustainability. We're still pretty low on the number of subject matter experts and that's kinda concerning.

All in all, please start voting more often! If you want to discuss something regarding this or share your opinions and views, you're welcome to do so in form of comments or answers.

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    $\begingroup$ Yes - I'd add that, while it's great and useful etc. to have more up/down-voting (and we want more of this), it's essential that we have more close flagging and voting if we want to grow as a site (and so, we really must have more of this) $\endgroup$ – Mithrandir24601 May 18 at 16:25
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for this post. I will add an answer to this later/tomorrow. Just saying for your information. $\endgroup$ – MEE was the missing bracket May 22 at 19:05
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    $\begingroup$ I asked a question on a more established site and was immediately downvoted twice. I deleted the question and moved on, and was turned away from asking other questions at that site. I do check that site every now and then, and although it's heavily trafficked, there are not a lot of votes. On QCSE, I find that almost any question/answer that someone put a reasonable amount of effort into is upvoted at least once- I think by Sanchayan! I think upvotes drive upvotes and downvotes drive downvotes. If people see that a question has been up/downvoted, they may be motivated to do the same. $\endgroup$ – Mark S Jun 11 at 23:34
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I agree that there is a general trend of people not upvoting often enough.

On the one hand, I guess many users are just passersby, usually asking some question and sometimes giving some answer, and are not regular visitors. It makes sense that most of these people do not upvote much: they might not be very familiar with the stackexchange system, or simply they might not care enough about the site or think that their upvote is particularly important. This is fine and pretty much unavoidable (or at least unactionable from our side).

On the other hand, there are also many regular contributors that still don't seem to be voting much at all. While deciding how to vote is of course up to each individual, I would just like to remark that upvoting, in my opinion, should not be meant as some sort of "reward" to be given to exceptional answers (which is what bounties are for).

Personally, I ask myself a very simple question to decide whether I should upvote a question or answer: do I believe that this question/answer should be on this site? It's not really about the quality of the post, but more about indicating whether I think that this post is a good fit for the site. How good the post actually is will still be reflected in the upvotes, because a more useful post will be found by more people which will therefore hopefully vote it up more.

Consequently, I believe that upvotes should be given generously and without too much overthinking. On a practical level, this also encourages participation to the site, as many people like to see that their post was appreciated by others, and will therefore be more likely to stick around more when this happens.

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