13
$\begingroup$

Why is voting activity so low? I am surprised by the low number of votes my questions and answers get. Is this a reflection of the quality of my content or an artifact of this forum?

| |
$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ (+1) I think this is partly a reflection of the low-voting activity of the site. In addition, the amount of votes one gets depends on many things: the quality of the answer, how popular the question is, how popular you are, how popular the topic is ... $\endgroup$ – user10525 Sep 27 '12 at 10:43
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I have noticed that. I wonder are people from academic background less likely to give an upvote than those from an industrial? I would be willing to bwt that is the case! $\endgroup$ – BGreene Sep 27 '12 at 11:07
  • 10
    $\begingroup$ Actually the voting behaviour is very mysterious. Some people throw upvotes to the right, left and centre (I hit myself with this comment); others are very meticulous, giving upvotes only to very high-quality questions/answers; and some others believe that only Terence Tao could post an answer that deserves their upvote. The idea is trying to come up with good answers and not worring too much about reputation but I admit this is extremely difficult. $\endgroup$ – user10525 Sep 27 '12 at 12:20
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ FYI here is the average "score" (upvotes - downvotes) for questions and answers on the site (PostTypeID 1 are questions and 2 are answers). $\endgroup$ – Andy W Sep 27 '12 at 12:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Possibly of interest is this thread. $\endgroup$ – Macro Sep 27 '12 at 13:19
  • $\begingroup$ Regarding @Procrastinator 's point and this question in general, the guidelines for rating questions up or down are not very specific and leave a good deal to the discretion of the voter. $\endgroup$ – Peter Flom Sep 29 '12 at 19:25
  • $\begingroup$ I agree that there needs to be clearer guidance about when to give out up votes (I think downvotes are more self explanatory). I certainly don't upvote enough myself. $\endgroup$ – Bogdanovist Oct 2 '12 at 21:30
13
$\begingroup$

I think that except for the minority of the people who really answer questions (and have a fabulous rep of 100+), most users think of themselves as statistically illiterate, and not being able to distinguish a good question from a bad question. Or simply don't look beyond the question they just asked and got answered.

All in all, this isn't a very large community, to begin with. There's probably 20 really active people that really do something on the site. Besides, not all of the questions would be that interesting; I personally pass by most of the questions because I don't seem to have much to say on them (or rather that the time I would have to spend to find a good answer way exceeds the expected the satisfaction of the +20 rep I could get from it). On those that I do open, I upvote may be a half, and upvote good answers. So if 20 is a right number of active users, and other active users behave like me (which would be terrible), then votes from the active users should follow a Poisson with the rate of 2 or 3. Plus some random upvotes from irregular users.

That's the sad demographics of this site. If I were teaching a consulting class, I would make gaining a rep of 1000 a requirement for getting a passing grade, and be serious about it. Ah well.

| |
$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ (+1) Some weekly voting statistics can be found here. $\endgroup$ – user10525 Oct 5 '12 at 10:20
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It would be nice if we could get those statistics in some easily readable form. But it does look like a bimodal distribution. $\endgroup$ – Peter Flom Oct 5 '12 at 10:31
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ +1 The fact that 2 to 4 upvotes can be expected for an answer is very sad. Take the recent example with the great answer by David J Harris. Votes should go through the roof for the idea but a meager +5. This led me to reduce my answering activity. So unless I'm bored or there is a really enthralling question, I rather pass. $\endgroup$ – Momo Oct 5 '12 at 18:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think that's very unfortunate, @Momo, I've noticed that your answers are typically very good, & it sounds like we'll be getting less of them. I do think StasK is right that much of this is due simply to the fact that this is a very small community. Ironically, if you become less active, we'll just become even smaller. $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Oct 5 '12 at 20:22
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @gung, that's very nice of you to say. To be fair though I never been the most active answerer anyway and I doubt my answers would add any knowledge that guys like you wouldn't do much better. I still like it here, so I will remain part of this nice community if I can. I'll vote and comment more, that's all. $\endgroup$ – Momo Oct 8 '12 at 11:34
7
$\begingroup$

One explaining factor might be that many question here are either long or complicated for those unfamilliar with the field. Thus many questions are read in details only by a few and mostly skimmed by the majority of users. For my part, I am always reluctant to vote for a question or answer I feel I have not really understood.

| |
$\endgroup$

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .