I am personally voting on many questions and answers as I think giving away some repuation is important on a page like this with so few active users (of course, only if I think the question/answer has some quality).

I see others are not .. I was wondering what your opinions are, should one vote only on exemplary answers and well researched questions, or should we try to give away some reputation to get some privileges into the community even if we think the post could be better?

  • This is a good question I've been pondering myself. I'm hoping some experienced users can comment. – Eric S Jan 16 '17 at 2:54
  • Click on users, there are almost no "experienced users". George White hasn't been here in over a year. – DonQuiKong Jan 16 '17 at 6:30
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    Well, experienced might also pertain to users who are active on other SE sites. – Eric S Jan 16 '17 at 14:57

From Why is voting important?:

Voting up a question or answer signals to the rest of the community that a post is interesting, well-researched, and useful, while voting down a post signals the opposite: that the post contains wrong information, is poorly researched, or fails to communicate information.

Rightly or wrongly, this is generally the approach I take. Sadly, I feel there are relatively few questions and answers that meet these criteria (largely due, I think, to the low user base)—I fear I wouldn't even upvote many of my own answers, since they often don't meet the criteria.

I am somewhat averse to upvoting a question or an answer as encouragement, or for privileges, or for any reason other than the question or answer is "interesting, well-researched, and useful". This is sort of a moral hazard argument: if we upvote low quality contributions, what is the motivation for users to spend time on higher quality contributions?

  • I am d'accord that upvoting bad answers is the wrong motivation. But we have many questions that are “easy“ or show total lack of knowledge about patents. We can either decide to ignore/downvote/close these or explain the basics again and again. This cannot be done well-researched etc. As it's more of a basic work kind. But if we don't get done upvotes out to these questions, how can we gather enough users to give the really good answers the number of upvotes they deserve? That's my concern on this, we are so few voting people that we need to compensate a little (imho). – DonQuiKong Jan 16 '17 at 14:24
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    What I find frustrating is down votes without comment. I posted a perfectly accurate and complete answer to a poor question and received a down vote. I guess the idea is I shouldn't encourage bad questions by providing answers, but I still think the reasoning should have been provided. I wish SE encouraged a comment on down votes as it does for edits. – Eric S Jan 16 '17 at 15:00
  • You might want to check this meta.stackexchange.com/questions/133552/… . Though that wasn't the sole reason I downvoted the answer, it was because I was pretty sure that OP wanted to know how to buy that product (question title) and you gave him the adress of the attorneys without even explaining what that is. I felt like that would just encourage op spamming them to ask about the production of some random stuff. You are right though, I should have commented on that. – DonQuiKong Jan 16 '17 at 19:56

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