For past few days I feel as if upvoting an answer and "answer accepting" (the green tick) has really gone down.

I saw many questions with multiple answers with lot of explanation and none of the answers were upvoted, all the answers were with zero vote.

This is discouraging as it takes lot of effort to type the answers (at least for me) and then there is no incentive!

Is this really happening or is it just me who feels that?

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    $\begingroup$ IIRC this correlates with the beginning of a new academic year. Newcomer askers learning the ropes. $\endgroup$ Sep 17 '17 at 17:14
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    $\begingroup$ Several years ago a "vital" statistics known as acceptance rate of each asker was publically available. This resulted in something that could be described as peer pressure. Not without ill side effects. $\endgroup$ Sep 17 '17 at 17:14
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    $\begingroup$ Leave them this comment. $\endgroup$ Sep 17 '17 at 20:43
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    $\begingroup$ I'm glad you asked this question. I felt the same thing too this weekend, but I wasn't sure it was real. $\endgroup$ Sep 17 '17 at 22:59
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    $\begingroup$ @JyrkiLahtonen, it's still publicly available with a bit of work. $\endgroup$
    – user307169
    Sep 18 '17 at 18:46
  • $\begingroup$ data.stackexchange.com/math/query/87290/… seems that there is some decline over the years in reputation per question/answer but it is much weaker then i personally would have thought $\endgroup$
    – tired
    Sep 23 '17 at 13:02
  • $\begingroup$ @tired, thanks for the numbers and graph, it is difficult to assume why it is declining, if the number of new users (with initial enthusiasm) joining is very large compared to the number of users leaving (inactive) the site then the reputation should stay up and generally sites grow, so users joining >> users inactive which suggests that the new crowd just don't care about the voting because if everyone cared about voting then the reputation should have attained a mean/average value $\endgroup$
    – Vikram
    Sep 23 '17 at 14:44

Is this really happening or is it just me who feels that?

In relative terms, yes, this effect is real. However, it is not that users stopped voting. In absolute terms more votes are cast. The issue is that the increase in votes is not as strong as the increase in posts.

It is a recurring theme that towards the beginning of September as courses restart after a longer break in many parts of the world there is an increase in questions and an influx of new users.

That is to say, the effect you notice is real, but it is should be more a seasonal fluctuation, than a general trend.

Some data (25k+ users can find this and much more under /site-anlytics, link at the bottom of the tool-tab in review-page):

Week  | Aug 21 |  Aug 28 |  Sep 4 |  Sep 11 | Sep 18 
Posts |  7431  |   7688  |   8773 |   9131  | 10056   
Votes | 16588  |  17099  |  17864 |  18495  | 18201

The latest update removes the artifact in week Sep 11 and confirms the commentary above. The next week shows some actual decline relative to the previous week but it is small and the count is higher than in the weeks before. It is worth noting though that in the week of Sep 11 more dv were cast. The upvotes are pretty constant over the last three listed week around 15800.

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    $\begingroup$ I could add some 'hard data' if needed; but I'd prefer to wait until tomorrow to have the data for this entire week too. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Sep 17 '17 at 17:20
  • $\begingroup$ The data was updated earlier today. $\endgroup$
    – Mithical
    Sep 17 '17 at 17:22
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    $\begingroup$ Thanx, I didn't know about the starting of courses, data would be interesting $\endgroup$
    – Vikram
    Sep 17 '17 at 17:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Mithrandir I am not sure what source of data you have in mind. I am talking about the site analytics data. While it is updated daily at the moment the weekly view stops at week of Monday, September 4th. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Sep 17 '17 at 17:26
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    $\begingroup$ @quid - ah, I thought you meant data.stackexchange.com - which has a time on it that it was updated (which currently shows 10 hours ago). $\endgroup$
    – Mithical
    Sep 17 '17 at 17:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Vikram I added some data. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Sep 18 '17 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ Is there any way to tell if “quality” posts are being up-voted at the same rate? $\endgroup$ Sep 18 '17 at 22:47
  • $\begingroup$ @ChaseRyanTaylor a first problem with this is to have a workable definition of "quality" posts. I'd suppose the effect is not felt evenly over everything but it'll be hard to quantify easily. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Sep 18 '17 at 23:18
  • $\begingroup$ @quid Makes sense. I left "quality" intentionally vague, but I was meaning questions that have at least +1, no flags, from reputable users… $\endgroup$ Sep 18 '17 at 23:20
  • $\begingroup$ @ChaseRyanTaylor using the stackexchange data explorer somebody with some SQL skills and some time could do a lot. I am afraid I lack at least the first of these two. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Sep 18 '17 at 23:24
  • $\begingroup$ @quid Ah, oh well ¯_(ツ)_/¯ $\endgroup$ Sep 18 '17 at 23:25
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    $\begingroup$ @quid, thank you for the numbers $\endgroup$
    – Vikram
    Sep 19 '17 at 3:28

The phenomenon you inquire about is really happening, independently of the increase of the number of participants and independently of seasonal effects.
Here are three accepted answers I gave, accompanied by their date and number of upvotes:

https://math.stackexchange.com/a/63206/3217 $\;$ (2011, accepted, 52 upvotes ) https://math.stackexchange.com/a/98124/3217 $\;$(2012, accepted, 54 upvotes) https://math.stackexchange.com/a/122826/3217 $\;$ (2012, accepted, 47 upvotes)

And here are three answers I gave in 2017 with the corresponding data:

https://math.stackexchange.com/a/2365941/3217 $\;$ (accepted, no other answer, zero upvote) https://math.stackexchange.com/a/2357656/3217 $\;$ (not accepted, no other answer, zero upvote) https://math.stackexchange.com/a/2245700/3217 $\;$ (not accepted no other answer, zero upvote)

My answer to this other 2017 question
was accepted (by the OP who kindly called it "elegant and clear"), but the question was then closed (which might partially explain the zero upvotes) under the absurd pretext that it was "unclear", while it actually is crystal clear for anybody with a minimal competence in algebraic geometry.

The crucial point is that the 2017 answers were, from my point of view, at least as difficult and technical as those in 2011 and 2012, and the absence of answers from other users tends to confirm that these recent questions were not especially easy to answer.
I don't intend at all to quit this wonderful site of ours, but the absence of thanks or acknowledgment from the OP, and the lack of comments by other users will inexorably lead me to leave an answer only when I feel that I might, for some reason, need it as a reference.

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    $\begingroup$ " but the question was then closed " I believe this is another big problem. Some people invest a lot of energy in closing and deleting questions for reasons that may not shared among the community leading to a clear erasure of other people's work. $\endgroup$
    – Surb
    Oct 1 '17 at 19:31
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    $\begingroup$ Dear @Surb, you are absolutely right. I didn't want to address that problem because the OP didn't exactly ask about it, and also because it would be very difficult for me to remain polite while talking about those §%&@# closers :-) $\endgroup$ Oct 1 '17 at 19:35
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    $\begingroup$ It makes sense to not address the problem here (would be out of scope). Anyway, I unfortunately (and sadly) don't believe anymore that it can be addressed at all... $\endgroup$
    – Surb
    Oct 1 '17 at 19:46
  • $\begingroup$ @GeorgesElencwajg Zero upvotes is much better than downvotes from frustrated people. This is one of the main reason for I stopped answering. (In the last days I've changed my mind and posted answers to some unanswered questions. I got zero votes and zero comments, so I changed it back.) $\endgroup$
    – user26857
    Oct 1 '17 at 22:03
  • $\begingroup$ @user26857: yes, downvotes are a very sad development. $\endgroup$ Oct 1 '17 at 22:13
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    $\begingroup$ @GeorgesElencwajg, I am not an expert but I think this must be happening :- From your links I assume that most of the questions/confusions that a student faces while studying the subject for the first time are already answered/cleared for the topics that you choose to answer, for ex. algebraic geometry., so a new student chooses not to ask. These are those students who are studying high level topics, so the person asking the question can be thought of having mathematical maturity as well as having common sense of not to fool around asking vague/random/same question. $\endgroup$
    – Vikram
    Oct 2 '17 at 7:13
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    $\begingroup$ @GeorgesElencwajg, No matter where you go you will always find bad guys, the good ones will keep quiet and listen to you but the bad ones won’t listen to you and will shout at you, to encourage myself I always tell myself that the latter group is just 10 to 15%. Mahatma Gandhi said – “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” $\endgroup$
    – Vikram
    Oct 2 '17 at 7:15
  • $\begingroup$ Nice thoughts, dear @Vikram: thank you for sharing them. $\endgroup$ Oct 2 '17 at 7:40
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    $\begingroup$ @GeorgesElencwajg,Pls note that I am trying to come up with different theories to explain myself the lack of upvoting and I forgot to thank you for sharing your own experience with actual examples; if this trend continues then people/experts like you will contribute less and we will see low quality posts which will make MSE just another site $\endgroup$
    – Vikram
    Oct 2 '17 at 10:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Surb "Some people invest a lot of energy in closing and deleting questions for reasons that may not shared among the community leading to a clear erasure of other people's work." That's why you have the power to spend your time shaping this site into your vision. While it is true that some things happen "for reasons that may not [be] share among the community", if the community does nothing, then it shows you do not care enough about what you believe in, which I think is part of the problem. $\endgroup$ Oct 4 '17 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ Kinda reminds me of something I learned in politics: popular votes count, but the minority deserves to have an impact as well, depending on how convicted they are to their beliefs. $\endgroup$ Oct 4 '17 at 19:11

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