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Recently, meta has seen an uprising of questions related to downvotes/toxicity of the community etc. There are posts mentioning behaviour towards younger users, random downvotes etc.

But I have seen none (if there is, please correct me) talking about another index of this toxicity: the low amount of upvotes on questions.

I've been using MSE for quite a considerable time. I sincerely didn't see much change on the downvote behaviour, and downvotes are given a big highlight in discussion. However, upvoting seems to have decreased a lot in the recent times. I've been making this experience in the recent weeks: I go to the front page and scroll down all questions. Sometimes, $80\%$ of the questions are not voted at all. Some questions have $3$ answers and are not voted. I think this may be an interesting phenomenon to consider.

Therefore, I have two objectives with this post:

  1. Could someone come up with the statistics that would prove/disprove my assertion that upvotes have considerably diminished?
  2. If that is the case, why do you think this is happening?

And one of the points I wish to make is: whenever people seem to complain about the behaviour, they touch the downvotes. They may touch the upvotes-issue, but the focus is always on downvotes. However, I think that low spread of upvotes has its consequences. To ask a question and not receive attention makes people less inclining to ask. They will ask only if they have a "perfect" question in some sense. Meanwhile, people not acquainted to the site will ask away anyway, since they do not care. And then we end up having more chance of a flood of bad questions, since we do not encourage enough the good ones


OBS: The title of the question is intended to be dual to this one, which was poorly received.

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  • $\begingroup$ Please do not pad titles with MathJax. There are specific tags on meta; please use them. $\endgroup$ – quid Sep 25 '16 at 15:49
  • $\begingroup$ Over a year up-votes decreased by about 10% at about constant number of new questions. $\endgroup$ – quid Sep 25 '16 at 15:51
  • $\begingroup$ @quid Sorry, will remember next time. Hmm... that seems (intuitively) a low number. Is that a high value, in terms of sheer quantity? Or even relatively speaking, comparing to other years? $\endgroup$ – Aloizio Macedo Sep 25 '16 at 15:54
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    $\begingroup$ Actually having looked close the number of questions is also a bit lower. The total number (vote decrease) is about 2k per week. It doesn't account for Q&A split though. It's the global number of votes. I'll see if I can find better data. $\endgroup$ – quid Sep 25 '16 at 15:55
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    $\begingroup$ The numbers of up- and down-votes can be checked in site analytics and several users have created queries for some other stats, see here or here. If you search a bit, you will probably find a few more similar posts. For example, you might have a look at questions tagged statistics+voting and similar reasonable combinations of tags. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Sep 25 '16 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Is there any statistic concerning the "spread" of upvotes? $\endgroup$ – Aloizio Macedo Sep 25 '16 at 16:45
  • $\begingroup$ I am not sure what you mean by spread. But probably a natural thing to do would be to look at other posts about voting stats (there is at least 10 posts here on meta concerned with various stats about upvotes and downvotes, see my previous comment) to see whether some of them contains the information you are interested in. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Sep 25 '16 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ By spread I mean the fact that a question may have 40 upvotes while 20 other questions may have 0. I saw your links, and only this, this, this and this questions touch the issue I mention, with only the latter directly so. $\endgroup$ – Aloizio Macedo Sep 25 '16 at 16:56
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    $\begingroup$ One of the points I wish to make is: whenever people seem to complain about the behaviour, they touch the downvotes. They may touch the upvotes-issue, but the focus is always on downvotes. However, I think that low spread of upvotes has its consequences. To ask a question and not receive attention makes people less inclining to ask. They will ask only if they have a "perfect" question in some sense. Meanwhile, people not acquainted to the site will ask away anyway, since they do not care. And then we have the flood of bad questions we do, since we do not encourage enough the good ones. $\endgroup$ – Aloizio Macedo Sep 25 '16 at 17:01
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    $\begingroup$ Re: Outdated links. Several of the questions you mention describe the stats at the time of the post, but the SEDE query which was used the get the stats is also linked there. So you can get more recent stats simply by running those queries with the parameters of your choice. (Although you will not see upvotes and downvotes on the site analytics page, since it is shown only to 25K+ users.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Sep 25 '16 at 17:03
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    $\begingroup$ I guess that the different behavior in the past month might be caused by the fact, that many older heavily downvoted posts get deleted and do not appear in the stats. (A minor factor might also be that recent posts had shorter time to gain upvotes.) This was also discussed in the previous post. BTW if you wish to clean-up these comments a bit, feel free to ping me in chat. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Sep 25 '16 at 17:25
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    $\begingroup$ I've noticed that many questions don't receive upvotes I think they deserve too. I try to upvote questions often and would love to have this emphasized. $\endgroup$ – abnry Sep 26 '16 at 0:30
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    $\begingroup$ Also, from days of yore, meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/662/vote-early-vote-often $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Sep 26 '16 at 2:25
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    $\begingroup$ Relevant is math.stackexchange.com/a/1942237. Does it really deserve 200+ upvotes for its content, which is not even completely correct (mismatching units)? You know the reason it has gotten so many upvotes, which is a significant flaw in the SE reputation model, but there is nothing SE wants to do about it. $\endgroup$ – user21820 Sep 29 '16 at 16:20
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    $\begingroup$ @imranfat: Some newcomers are genuinely not aware of the possibility of accepting answers. Sometimes an answer that might seem good to many of us with more experience just isn’t helpful to the beginner who asked the question. And of course some are simply thoughtless. (And sometimes they come back several years later and accept an answer: I’ve had that happen several times in the last few months.) $\endgroup$ – Brian M. Scott Oct 2 '16 at 4:39
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I fully agree we should vote (both up and down) far more.

On the topic of upvoting questions...hey, it's free! And very few people will complain! So upvote away!

I have a suggestion/recommendation I want to throw out there and as always upvote/downvote me for agree/disagree.

If you see a question that is above your level, even if you do not understand it, if it looks stylistically well written, I recommend you upvote it.

There are so many fantastic questions that are on advanced topics that receive little attention. I always upvote questions I might not understand, but look well written.

By upvoting you are not saying that "this is correct", you are just saying "this is roughly the type of question we should be encouraging".

The worst case scenario is that you upvote a question that is bad for subtle reasons. However you can reward and encourage not obviously bad questions. I think it's a pretty fair trade off.

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    $\begingroup$ Agreed, i upvote based on quality and presentation for the reason of encouraging more, i downvote for the opposite reason. $\endgroup$ – Zelos Malum Oct 7 '16 at 13:21
  • $\begingroup$ In this answer 2 objectives of OP has not been answer. $\endgroup$ – Fawad Oct 8 '16 at 9:07
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    $\begingroup$ "it looks stylistically well written, I recommend you upvote it" $\implies +1$ $\endgroup$ – GNUSupporter 8964民主女神 地下教會 Feb 22 '17 at 16:14

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