One thing we can do to make the site more inviting for new questioners is to up-vote their questions. I try to make a point of up-voting any question that's well-posed, in-line with our FAQ and generally sufficiently interest for me to read the whole thing. This is in spite of the fact that I generally don't know or don't have time to research the answers.

This was a well-documented issue on Stackoverflow back in the day.


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This is a reproduction of Scott Morrison's post on meta.tex.SE; I believe it is very much applicable to this community as well. Scott wrote a post encouraging voting. I think this is a big issue because rep is the basis of our "economy", encourages (good) user activity, sorts out our content and makes the site look active. In particular Question Votes make the site look more active.

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.

Don't upvote bad content (downvote/edit/suggest how to fix it instead) but make sure you remember to vote, especially for questions; if you learned something from an answer on a question, the question's probably worth an upvote too so others can find the good information. Remember even if an answer is at +20, no one will know there's a great answer if they see the question is only at +1!

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