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Let's begin this post with some facts. From the site analytics, which is viewable to any user with 5000 or more reputation points, we can see that, from 1st to 27th August, the total number of posts in our main site has been of 89. But this month we have only 6 voters, that is, only 6 users have voted more than 10 times this month (this includes up and downvotes).

Edit: It's been said in comments that this can be due to a seasonal reason related to holidays. However, I can assure you I have observed a similar behaviour in the previous months. Maybe we had 7 voters instead of 6, but not more.

This implies that posts are generally receiving few votes. In my opinion, this is an important problem. Well, this is my personal opinion: it could be that other users of this community think that's OK: I would like to know what do you think.

In my personal view, one of its consequences is that askers (and also people who use our site to learn or to search information) are sometimes unable to distinguish good answers from the ones that are not so good. It could be that, according to the community, it's not that way and that answers are generally receiving the number of votes they really deserve. I really don't know what the community thinks, so I would like to know your opinion about that.

I re-post an extract from this answer of another Stack Exchange Meta site, which has achieved a large consensus by the community of such site. I personally find it relevant:

The system doesn't work if people don't vote.

Voting is literally The Thing that allows Stack Exchange to work. Good answers are brought to the top, singled out in some cases. Seeing that the next answer has nearly-as-many votes means you shouldn't stop with the first answer, and in other cases where you see a steep drop-off in voting (at least for older answers) may indicate that you can stop where you are. Remember, Stack Exchange is built around answering questions for all future purposes, as well as for the initial person asking it. Part of that means, at some point, saying "you've gotten the meat out of this topic; there may be some more useful ideas, but you have read the things that this community thinks are best."

Well, I believe most SE sites work that way (at least the ones that are considered to be "healthy") and I wonder: is this also the way our site is working?

For all this, I have decided to open a discussion to invite our community to find some good reasons which can motivate us to vote questions and answers.

Even if we think that the number of votes that posts are receiving are generally OK, I believe that having such a list of ideas may be helpful to all us so as to vote more consciously. And even if the reasons to vote questions and answers are very clear to some of us, I believe to have a list of such reasons which has achieved the consensus of the Italian.SE community may be useful for future reference.

Let me remark that I believe that a post with very few or no votes doesn't necessarily implies that is unuseful or uninteresting to other people. Some of the questions of mine which have achieved the famous question badge (more than 10,000 views) have only 1 or 2 votes and a quite significant amount of the ones with the notable question badge (more than 2,500 views) have 1 or 0 votes. I would recommend users not to stop writing posts just because they are receiving very few or no votes. I had to convince myself of this, otherwise I would have stopped writing answers. And about questions: is it really such a problem asking about something that interests few other people in the world?

Last but not least: thanks a lot to everyone for supporting this community and please keep voting!

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    For this specific site, I think it comes down the fact that there are very few regular active users who don't necessary agree on what is a good or bad answer. Plus I understand that here downvotes are generally frowned upon so those who want to express a negative vote probably abstain from doing so. – Hachi Aug 28 at 15:33
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    @Hachi: It's not a problem not to always agree on what is a good or a bad answer. I don't agree on the fact that downvotes are generally frowned upon in this site: my question is about trying to find good reasons to vote posts, both up and down. I can assure you we are having a relatively high amount of downvotes on this site (this can be easily checked by any user who has access to the site analytics) and, in my opinion, this is not a problem at all. The problem is when the reason of a high amount of these downvotes cannot be understood by users or it's not explained constructively. – Charo Aug 28 at 16:11
  • It seems to me that there are more than 6 users who visit this site at least from time to time, so I would like to see if we are able to find some reasons which can motivate the community to vote a little more frequently or, at least, to keep voting as usual, but to do it more consciously. Lots of SE sites have had this kind of discussion on their Meta sites. This is a related Meta post. – Charo Aug 28 at 16:11
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    I think the real question here is how to find ways to motivate users to vote. We all know perfectly well what an "upvote" or a "downvote" mean. – Federico Poloni Sep 1 at 15:28
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    I find many questions that appear here are uninteresting. What are, in your view, examples of high-quality questions and answers that received too few votes, among those 89 posts? – Federico Poloni Sep 1 at 15:30
  • @FedericoPoloni: To be sincere, at present I'm more concerned about voting answers than questions, for the reason I've explained. The number of votes questions are generally receiving doesn't seem so bad to me. – Charo Sep 1 at 15:34
  • @Charo If a question is not interesting, many times I don't even open it to look at the answers. :) – Federico Poloni Sep 1 at 15:45
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    Anyway, could you provide examples of high-quality answers that did not receive enough votes currently? In my view the null hypothesis here is that there are few votes because there is little upvote-worthy content. – Federico Poloni Sep 1 at 15:47
  • @FedericoPoloni: To give you an example of anwser: some days ago, I asked this question and I received lots of comments below the question (some of them are now cancelled) and below the answer in order to convince me that the answer to my doubt was what is explained in egreg's post. I was totally convinced of this, but the vote count of the anwser is 0! It's the first time in my life that I have accepted an anwser with a vote count of 0. Maybe it's not the best answer of Italian.SE, I don't know, but I was convinced that its contents was correct. – Charo Sep 1 at 15:47
  • @Charo Thanks -- I agree that it seems OK, if only a little confusing (is "dovuto e meritato" a necessary condition or not?). The main reason I did not consider that answer, personally, is because I did not open the question (see above). – Federico Poloni Sep 1 at 15:53
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    To be fair, low August participation may have a strong season component, as this is the time of the year when most people tend to interact less on the internet because of vacations and the like. – Easymode44 Sep 1 at 16:01
  • Yes, @Easymode44, but we had more than 90 posts in August, so participation wasn't so low (taking into account we are a small site). It's the number of regular voters that is very low and it is also very low in other months. See this other Meta discussion, which was written at the end of October 2018 and mentioned there were only 5 regular voters. – Charo Sep 1 at 16:09
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    In my personal case, I always upvote an answer which effectively answers the original question, but I open few questions because I'm more interested in pragmatic questions (specially of the informal language) than etymology or interpretation of literary excerpts. – Alan Evangelista Sep 1 at 19:36
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    @AlanEvangelista: I would also like to see this kind of questions more frequently. I asked this question, but it seemed to me that it was judged to be not very interesting and even not well posed. And the only answer it has was upvoted only by me, so I believe it's not so good. I was considering the possibility of asking some more questions as those, but then I was under the impression that they were not well received, so finally I didn't. – Charo Sep 1 at 19:49
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    And I made this proposal, @AlanEvangelista, but, as you can see, it was not well received. Another example of question about a colloquial expression that confirms my impression that this kind of questions are not well received. (You can see the progression in time: each question is received worse than the previous one.). So, I would like to see much more questions about informal expressions, but my impression at present is that this community doesn't like this kind of questions very much. – Charo Sep 1 at 20:33
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I re-post from this question on another language SE Meta site some reasons to vote that seem good ideas to me and then try to add something else.

It's important to vote for the following reasons:

  • It draws attention to good quality questions and removes attention from poor ones.
  • It encourages participation in the site. New users who receive plenty of votes are more likely to feel part of the community and participate.
  • It eases the burden of site moderation. Because the more votes someone receives the more privileges they gain. This allows others to help with closing, editing, etc.

What are some good reasons to vote up a question:

  • The question has benefited myself and/or is likely to benefit others in the community.
  • In most cases if you think the question is worthwhile to answer it should be worthwhile to vote up.
  • The question is "a good one", it is thought provoking and will provide good quality answers.

In addition to all this, it seems to me that voting answers is essential so as good answers can be distinguished from the ones that are not so good. (As I have said in the question, at present, I feel this is not always happening, but this is my personal view).

Finally, a personal suggestion in case someone decides to start voting a little more frequently as a result of this discussion: it seems to me that it may be a good idea to have a look to some answers from the (recent or not so recent) past and see if some of them deserve a vote from you. If you think this is not so a good idea, well this is not the most important thing of this post. (I can even cancel this last paragraph of this post if some people think is not a good suggestion because the main purpose of this Meta question is to achieve a list of reasons to vote that the community agrees are good ideas. Please, let me know about this in your comments.)

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    I would also add Up-voting is the Stack Exchange way to say thank you to the users who provided answers that helped you, but I am not sure it would help increasing the up-votes. This answer explains exactly why voting is necessary in Stack Exchange sites and how the sites benefits from votes. I guess the problem is that users aren't used to how Stack Exchange sites work. – kiamlaluno Sep 12 at 18:40
  • Yes, @kiamlaluno, this can be part of the problem. I think that, if we have an answer here on the Meta site which achieves a large consensus by the community, maybe we could use it for future reference, trying to explain this to users from time to time. – Charo Sep 12 at 18:51

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