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This is an observation based on mine and others' experiences across Stack Exchange.

We should vote positively as often as possible! Also, we should encourage others to do the same!

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.

The rationale for wanting the base level to be high is:

  • It provides better positive feedback to good contributors.
  • This generates more reputation in the system, allowing more users to contribute in more ways as they gain privileges across the site.
  • More reputation also means there is more rep to go around i.e. bounties. These are very good for the site in general, as bounties lead to the generation of even better content.

However, this does not mean that you simply upvote everything you see.

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    And an important 4th point is that it would help raise the chances of the beta to succeed, as the current number of site users with high reputation is still very low. – jfpoilpret Mar 15 '14 at 7:29
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    I was just wondering about the same topic yesterday. Although generally (on other SE sites), I only vote for questions and answers that I find relevant and useful to ME, I decided to broaden my view and upvote what I judge relevant or useful to someone else. – jfpoilpret Mar 15 '14 at 7:31
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    @jfpoilpret - I went through the same thought process and ended up at the same conclusion. So, I think the broader interpretation is the correct one - upvote the questions and answers that are good quality and belong in your site. Then you are encouraging people to keep up the good work. – Ricardo Mar 20 '14 at 3:53

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