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On a (SE) site I participate (along with other non-SE sites), I currently face the problem that users don't vote as much as I would like them to.

If they see content, they usually click it, read it and go straight to the next topic, not voting if the read content is good or bad. I want to encourage it so new users find more useful answers more quickly.

Right now, most questions idle at a vote count of 5 or below this so every question seems equally good. This seems to be the case, but it clearly isn't. As an expert on my topic, I vote on the questions that show effort and research. Others experts do this aswell. Yet, the "ordinary user" just drives by looking for the question he can answer not caring for the rest. This makes the search of high value questions and answers really hard.

I myself often don't vote on some particular sites because I'm not a real expert on the topic and I don't want to vote down content that actually is well-tailored for the site. I know that other members and users on my sites feel the same. I just don't feel educated enough to vote on specific content.

How can I encourage my users to vote more often? What can I do against the mentioned attitude towards voting?

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For SE, the best bet is to talk about the problem on Meta. While people understand that voting exists, they often do not understand the importance of voting or what it is meant to indicate. Having a discussion to clarify this to the community and make sure people are applying voting in a consistent manner can be a significant boon.

For non-SE sites, you can take a similar approach, though it may have to be on the main site itself if they don't have something like meta available for such a discussion.

Either way, the primary thing is to make sure you communicate to your users the importance of voting and why they should do it. If they can see how it impacts themselves and the quality of content on the site, then they are far more likely to invest the time in considering which posts to vote on.

  • Do you have a suggestion to fight the mentioned behaviour? I like your approach of communication but I'm still not sure how to handle the mentioned behaviour. – Zerotime Jul 6 '15 at 8:14
  • Which? The attitude of not voting of they can't judge the validity of the answer or the value of the question? Personally, I'd argue that is working as intended. Voting is only really valuable if it brings good content to the top. Having users that read but don't vote because they don't know enough if preferable to haphazard and random voting. – AJ Henderson Jul 6 '15 at 13:45

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