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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 reputation 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 (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.

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  • voting isn't always up-voting. – Artem Kaznatcheev Apr 25 '12 at 19:52
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    @ArtemKaznatcheev the post doesn't imply that, but I don't think we've had a problem in discouraging bad content, just encouraging more good content – Ben Brocka Apr 25 '12 at 20:29
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    ... and encouraging good content keeps people coming back to the site. It shouldn't be our only motivator, but rep is a reward. – Chuck Sherrington Apr 25 '12 at 23:46
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It would be ideal if people voted even earlier and even more often on Meta. It's critical for the community itself to be able to gauge the opinion on things, and it's equally critical for the administrators and overseers to have access to these data as well. Abstaining from voting is always your right, but decisions can be made from vote counts, and making decisions about the site ideally requires input and general support.

From the faq:

What does voting mean here?

Voting here works a bit differently from the main site. On Meta, voting is often used to express agreement or disagreement, not to point out a lack of quality or helpfulness. Please don't be concerned if you receive downvotes – members of the community may simply disagree with your bug, feature request, support issue, or the nature of the discussion.

So, vote early and often, and express your agreement and disagreement (with this or any other question or answer on Meta) with your votes.

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    Yes, meta voting and meta participation is also very important – Ben Brocka May 27 '12 at 2:45

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