This is an almost exact duplicate of this question, which did not receive any answer. I find the fact that this problem is the same as 5 years ago very odd.

I participate in this stack for more or less a year and I notice a very little recourse to upvotes. There are many questions that are well formatted (for instance, proper species identification questions) which are not upvoted at all. Sometimes, even questions with answers are not upvoted - see this one with an answer from Remi.b and this one that has two answers and only one upvote, which is mine. I really do not understand this behaviour - either the question is bad, and as such it is not answered, downvoted etc, or it is good and as such it deserves an upvote, and when possible an answer.

I find that this lack of reward through upvotes is one of the causes of the poor participation of users to this site.

Why is that? Do you agree with my analysis?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I can only speak for myself, but so-called reputation is not the major motivator for my participation here. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Aug 6, 2018 at 8:13
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @canadianer well, as a 14k-rep user you already have access to all the major mod privileges. I see that much more participation is necessary in this site than in other stacks to get access to the same privileges. $\endgroup$ Aug 6, 2018 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ Indeed @canadianer is a rock on this site and has participated for a long time here and has answered 280+ questions, about 10 times as much as you, nearly spot on the difference in rep between them and you :) Having said that, I think about half of my rep has come in from hot questions. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD Mod
    Oct 8, 2018 at 20:59
  • $\begingroup$ @AliceD I'm not challenging at all the participation of canadianer, and I agree with you on their role in this site. This does not change my observation: on the 47 first questions I can see on my mobile, 12 have one or even two answers and no upvote, which means 25% of the questions were deemed good enough to be answered but not good enough to receive an upvote. In my opinion, reputation is there to measure people engagement AND to encourage them to engage more. So, why are there so many questions with no upvotes here? $\endgroup$ Oct 8, 2018 at 21:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Alice Just for a quick comparison, number of questions with 0 votes/1+ answers in other sites now: Bioinformatics 6, Academia 9 (1 on hold), Beer wine and spirits 3, ELU 10, History 1, Medical sciences 2, Music practice and theory 7, Politics 3 (1 on hold), Seasoned advice 7 (1 on hold), The great outdoor 1 (1 closed). I tried to not pick informatics-related sites, which I expect to have a much higher user volume than Bio.SE. $\endgroup$ Oct 8, 2018 at 21:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I certainly agree people should vote more, also downvoting is done hesitantly. I'm promoting voting for years. It doesn't really work here somehow, Note that scientific stacks have the disadvantage that often simple questions have one answer. That repels other users from writing another answer. In turn this reduces visibility and voting. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD Mod
    Oct 10, 2018 at 5:40
  • $\begingroup$ @AliceD that's not only a matter of visibility: these questions were visible for the person that answered. A single upvote means that a new user can comment and better interact with the site. Shouldn't we encourage people to upvote the questions they answer? I'm not including "you're wrong and that's why" kinds of answers. $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2018 at 9:39
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @LinuxBlanket - this is a recurring matter in meta Bio and also on meta proper. I don't think we can readily change the behavior of people. The link is from a Bio meta question, itself linking to meta proper. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD Mod
    Oct 10, 2018 at 11:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Alice thank you for the link! Very useful! $\endgroup$ Oct 11, 2018 at 22:12
  • $\begingroup$ I'd actually argue we have the opposite problem -- many good answers receive too few upvotes. Low-vote questions w/ high-vote answers are usually sub-par questions. I often don't upvote a question (e.g., species ID) b/c it doesn't follow the guidelines for writing a good question, and I don't want to vote itm up as a tolerable example. Alternatively (though less frequently) I won't upvote a question simply because it has no apparent utility outside answering the OP. To be honest, if such a question actually follows the good-question guidelines, I usually "award" the effort with an upvote.. $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2019 at 19:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ As for voting overall: < 20 users have voted > 2000 times, 38 people on Bio.Se have voted at least 1000 times, and less than 300 users have even voted 100 times. That's out of 36,000 users!!! In other words, very few people are voting at all on a regular basis. Unfortunately, your post is essentially preaching to the choir b/c most of those top-voting users are the very same users that ever visit meta. I don't think any of us would disagree that we have a voting problem (both up/down). However, you can't change casual folks passing through simply seeking 1 answer and not engaging further.. $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2019 at 19:09


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