11

I guess during the private beta, this was asked: Not Much Voting Going On
And I feel its still the same thing right now.

A crude estimate from here tells me that only 4 users are above 1vote/day. And the year's vote score tells me that again only 4 users are above 1vote/day.
I am new here and I asked a question and it got many answers. I got 3 votes on my question but sadly, the net total votes on all the answers was just 1 (before I voted them).

Is voting over here less as compared to other beta sites?

One possible reason could be the low number of questions asked.

What can be done about this?

7

Possible reasons for low voting

In addition to the low-traffic factor that Neil Fein's answer brings up, the subjectivity of questions and answers may also impact voting. On the one hand, voters may upvote any answer that sounds good (i.e., subjectivity might increase voting); on the other hand, some voters may tend to refrain from upvoting an answer which is insufficiently argued, especially if the answer is not already affirmed by another user.

More objective questions (e.g., questions about grammar or a specific style guide) are probably less broadly and intensely interesting (fewer views and fewer votes).

Because of the frequently subjective nature of questions for Writers.SE and the problem of localization (e.g., critiques are off-topic), as Neil Fein's answer states, good questions are hard to write. Less good questions not only tend to generate less good answers but also detract from interest in the answers.

Possible treatments

Encourage editing existing posts

Making good edits to existing posts, especially to questions, would not only increase the level of activity on the main page (which is probably significant for retaining interest) but also increase the quality of posts.

As a community of writers, editing for clarity, conciseness, and audience (e.g., increasing the "good question/answer" nature as appropriate to a Stack Exchange site) should be things we do well.

If encouraging editing seems especially important, it may be appropriate to develop an ethos that accepts making more substantial changes than other Stack Exchange sites generally accept.

Increase traffic of enfranchised users

Mentioning Writers in comments and chat at other sites — when appropriate — can bring more experienced Stack Exchange users to Writers. For example, English Language & Usage sometimes gets questions that are more appropriate for writers (the reverse may be more common); posting a comment mentioning Writers would not only inform the one asking the question (who may not automatically be enfranchised at Writers via association bonus) but also viewers more generally.

(I answered a hot ELU question and when I mentioned Writers, the one asking the question responded "Thanks, I didn't know about Writers. My question would probably have been even more on topic there than here." One anecdote is not data, but I suspect a number of ELU users that would also be interested in asking questions at Writers is higher than at other sites. Science Fiction and Worldbuilders are also likely sites with likely greater interest in using Writers.)

Asking (and providing good answers to) questions of interest to Stack Exchange users would also be helpful in attracting experienced users. Currently questions on Writers seem to be heavily biased toward fiction. Questions about how to write good Stack Exchange questions might actually be on-topic for Writers (rather than a Meta site)! Questions on technical documentation would seem likely to draw interest from Programmers and Stack Overflow (two significant Stack Exchange sites) and some notification in their chat rooms might be appropriate both to draw attention and answers from experienced writers of technical documentation.

Science writing is another topic that seems less represented on Writers than it could be. Science-oriented Stack Exchange sites are somewhat common.

Questions about blogging, web forums, and even wikis would probably be more attractive to Stack Exchange users than to Web users generally, but these subjects seem to be somewhat underrepresented.

Encourage voting

This is perhaps the most difficult way to increase voting. With relatively low activity, the badges that encourage voting are weaker incentives (not that they are especially strong incentives anyway). Low activity by users (and generally lower enthusiasm) probably correlates with low voting. Those making more posts may be more likely to vote on posts (if only from a sense of doing unto others).

I suspect that improving the quality of posts would also encourage voting more generally. Not only may a decent answer to a great question be more likely to be upvoted and upvoting of such answers encourage relative upvoting of good answers, but there may also be a residual inclination across different questions and a short-term habit of voting. Posts can be improved by good editing and good comments (that motivate editing by the original author) as well as by posting better than existing answers.

  • "Some voters may tend to refrain from upvoting an answer which is insufficiently argued." Also, if some answers are quite wrong, people don't like to downvote without upvoting something else. So they do nothing and move on if there is no clear answer yet. – Guido Jorg May 12 '15 at 22:56
  • 1
    @GuidoJorg "people don't like to downvote without upvoting something else." I'll disagree with you there, primarily because I am very judicious about DVs (26 out of 3159 cast in four years). I don't DV unless it's really wrong, and it doesn't matter if there are any upvotes in the same question. – Lauren Ipsum May 16 '15 at 1:41
5

At first I thought the low voting here could be simply because Writers is a low-activity, low-traffic site. However, looking at the site stats, there has been a slow increase in many kinds of site activity - page views, new users - but voting has been relatively static. So the low voter turnout isn't only because this is a quiet corner of the internet.

The only way to increase voting that I know of is to periodically remind users to vote when they feel a question or an answer are useful or well-written, and to increase site traffic in general. Writers has been in beta since the end of 2010, so I think this will never be a very high-traffic site.

It's hard to write a good question, and that's probably why many sites have problems with voting participation, particularly on questions. We need to remind users to vote! Periodic threads like this are a good start, but bringing up voting in chat and in comments could also help.

  • Is there a way to distinguish views from registered users (i.e., those who can vote) and others who are just looking for answers? An increase in traffic does not necessarily mean an increase in voter (non-voting) participation. With an accumulation of questions and more awareness of the site, the number of views by the non-enfranchised may increase. There may also be a greater number of casual enfranchised users; I suspect that less enthusiastic users are likely to vote less often. It is not clear if the ratio of Autobiographer:Enthusiast:Fanatic badges (4.3k:77:27) is informative. – Paul A. Clayton May 12 '15 at 18:48
  • A quickish comparison to Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, English Language & Usage, and Programmers indicates that Writers may have a slightly lower proportion of Fanatics (normalized to Enthusiasts, 160.9 : 2.852 for Writers, 85.47 : 3.205:1 for EE, 175.5 : 3.192 for CS, 143.0 : 3.104 ELU, 164.3 : 4.245 for Programmers; should have calculated % of registered users). – Paul A. Clayton May 12 '15 at 18:53
  • I also feel that most of the input you see is someone pointing out what is wrong with the question or answer. rather than an attempt to answer or add to an answer. Also, i may be missing something here, but why is voting that necessary? Sure it helps people feel like they are playing a game and winning achievements, but ultimately it is people prerogative if they vote or not. – Bob May 19 '15 at 21:27
1

I think it is a good thing, in some sites you get gunned down for asking a different Q than the accepted norm, which in turn chases away many beginners.

Since voting is anonymous there is a human tendency to down vote much more than up vote.

(in spite of the -1, in some site the DVs seems to be mainly done by members with several Ks of rep. granted this is probably due to being annoyed with not following "proper" Q format or not backing up trivial answers with reams of non-wiki references as if one was writing a scholarly paper)

Also, in my case I try not DV any one with less than 100 rep. as a survivor of brutal DVs at my beginning on other sites, I know how discouraging it can be.

-2

I vote on Stackoverflow if a question was helpful to me. Most questions here are not helpful to me. Why would I want to upvote them?

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