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This has been a pretty common theme amongst new StackExchange sites (e.g. same question on CrossValidated), based on something that started on the Tex site. In order for us to:

  1. Graduate out of Beta
  2. Build a sufficient user community

It's very important that we all vote as often as we can. The original post:

I'm a moderator from MathOverflow, and this "question" is actually unsolicited advice, based on our experience from the initial launch of MathOverflow.

We should encourage everyone to vote positively as often as possible!

Every Stack Exchange site will eventually end up with a different "base level" of voting --- that is, the expected number of upvotes for a question of a given level of excellence. (This effect occurs because people see a good question, but already with a certain number of votes, and think "oh, I would have upvoted this, but it already has enough".)

It's easy for us to affect this "base level" by encouraging high levels of upvoting now. We're setting the standards, and this really will have an effect.

(On MathOverflow, we were very active about this early on, specifically encouraging all the initial round of users to vote early and often. You can compare statistics, and see that the average vote total for a MathOverflow question is much higher than on any of the other SE 1.0 sites.)

In case it's not obvious: the rationale for wanting this base level to be high is that it provides better positive feedback to good contributors.

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 - Applied :-) $\endgroup$ – Karol J. Piczak Feb 1 '11 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Karol Nicely done, sir. Now go forth and vote broadly. $\endgroup$ – Shane Feb 1 '11 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ what about down voting? is the suggestion to "vote often" or to "up-vote often"? $\endgroup$ – 4myle Feb 1 '11 at 20:51
  • $\begingroup$ @allen Good question. I would lean towards "up-vote often" because down-voting has the opposite effect of what we're trying to achieve here (i.e. it can drive people from the site early on). In my view, no vote is a sufficiently strong bad signal at this point. $\endgroup$ – Shane Feb 1 '11 at 20:52
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Just to add another point to this. People are allowed 30 votes in a day, and the site gives out a badge to those who vote that many times.

So far, I'm the only one who has received it. Would love to see more names there!

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We should also encourage accepting answers. If a response looks the right one, mark it as such. We don't need the early adopters to have a fat 0% acceptance rate.

(This applies to the main site, not to meta.)

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I really think we need a second round of encouraging voting. Only 4 users have earned civic duty (I myself am getting there, slowly but surely). I have gone back over many questions and upvoted even those posted long before I discovered the site, and every once in a while when I have time I look through some more Qs and As for unsung heroes.

Perhaps this would also solve the problem of not enough bounties. People may be reluctant to give up rep when it is so difficult to earn. In my experience browsing a few other sites, including some with lower user bases than ours, it is much easier to gain reputation both from asking good questions and giving good answers than it is here. There seems to still be a general reluctance on the part of most of our users to click the "up" button.

Likewise, we would probably get better policing in terms of down votes if up votes for your own posts were easier to earn.

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