Now that we have graduated out of beta status, the rep requirement levels have bumped up to that of a normal site. This is expected, and a good thing. However, our users' rep levels are not high enough to self-police the community without moderator action. The root of this is caused by a low level of voting from the community. 75% of questions have 4 or less votes. 75% of answers have 2 or less votes.

Why is it important to vote on both questions and answers, and what are these votes supposed to mean?

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how did you calculate these stats? –  Robert S Ciaccio Dec 11 '10 at 3:28
    
@calavera, I ran some queries on the data dump. –  Rebecca Chernoff Dec 11 '10 at 3:35
    
so the beta sites really aren't accessible for query at odata.stackexchange.com? –  Robert S Ciaccio Dec 11 '10 at 3:42
    
@calavera, correct. A site gets added to the data dump after it graduates. –  Rebecca Chernoff Dec 11 '10 at 3:43
    
ok. thanks much for the quick responses! –  Robert S Ciaccio Dec 11 '10 at 3:44
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2 Answers

Voting is the currency of our site. Each day, we get 30 votes to spend. It is important that users (myself included!) try and use up these votes each day. Without votes, we don't have reputation. Without reputation, the community cannot police itself. See the FAQ for information on the reputation levels.

Why should you vote on questions?

The more votes a question has, the more exposure it gets via the question and tag listing pages. Questions with a higher score indicate that it is quality content. We should strive for this quality content.

When should you vote up a question?

  • It is well-written
  • It is clear
  • It is interesting
  • It is useful
  • You have the same question

When should you vote down a question?

  • It cannot be answered
  • It is unclear
  • It contains no effort by the author

Why should you vote on answers?

Voting on answers helps make sure that the most correct answer will float to the top and be the first answer presented to users. Obviously this is what we want. We don't want incorrect or poorly written answers to be the first thing people see. This doesn't put the site in a good light.

When should you vote up an answer?

  • It is correct
  • It is well-written
  • It helps you (accept the answer if it is your question)

When should you vote down an answer?

  • It is wrong
  • It is misleading
  • It doesn't answer the question

Notes on downvoting:

When downvoting, it is helpful to also leave a comment explaining your downvote. This provides an opportunity for the author to improve his/her post in which case you can later reverse your vote.

Don't take a downvote personally - as it costs the voter reputation it means that there is something seriously wrong with the the post. Take the time to revise the post, check your facts and references you used in your answer. If the downvoter has left a comment you can politely ask them to check over the revision by using the @username convention in another comment.

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We now have a "top voters" tab on the user page and.. indeed, there is not much voting in this community :(

http://webapps.stackexchange.com/users?tab=voters&filter=month

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