I've seen in several places on MSO that people believe there is too much upvoting on questions (such as Neil Butterworth's comment on this question). Why do people believe this? I understand the problem with sympathy upvotes, but this seems to be another issue. What's going on?
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Basically, there's two schools of thought.
One is shown by Koper's comment above - just be merely existing, a question is a Good Thing and is therefore worthy of a reputation gain by the OP.
Another is that a question is not necessarily a big contribution to the site in a sense that it's a LOT easier to ask questions than to answer them, and as such asking questions is compensated (reputation-wise) entirely non-commensurate compared with answering them ( in real life, an equivalent logic would be "yes, people who serve Big Macs provide invaluable service to MacDonalds customers, and without them MacDonlds would not exist - but the work is so simple that anyone can do it and thus is not worth more than mimium wage"). E.g. it's far easier to gain rep points by asking loads of obvious questions (the usual example is just copy/pasting questions from some textbook), which basically deflates the worth of reputation of people who put in the effort to answer the questions.
Anther factor in the second school of thought is that simple/dumb/obvious/Google-me type questions, precisely due to their obviousness, get up-voted a lot more than well-thought-out ones, because for any person who puts efforts into questions there's 100s of people who are too lazy to do so, yet both get rewarded the same.
Just to be clear, proponents of the second school of though don't object to upvoting good questions - just to the fact that as the system currently works, it is NOT geared towards up-voting good questions, and explicitly geared against asking good questions (and, due to abovementioned rep inflation, implicitly discourages answering with good answers, at least on the margin).
The Electorate badge rewards voting on questions as well as answers (or, for people who have voted a whole lot on answers, questions rather than answers). Granted that it doesn't have to be upvotes, we lose a small amount of rep for downvotes, and it feels nicer to upvote than downvote.
I agree in general that questions are less valuable than answers, but discouraging upvoting them is not, apparently, the solution. Perhaps question upvotes should get less rep than answer upvotes.
Because a badge was created to encourage upvoting on questions since people were upvoting answers way more.
Because they have a very strict set of beliefs as to when a question should be upvoted and the OP rewarded for their contribution to SO.
There may be very many reasons they've chosen to not only limit their upvotes, but chide others who upvote for other reasons, and I don't know that there's a good reason to speculate on why they feel this way.
As for me, I upvote
The other extreme is that some people only upvote a question if it is a shining beacon - a monumental and substantial addition to the SO knowledgebase.
But it doesn't matter. Feel free to ignore people who suggest that you vote according to their patterns and beliefs, if you like.
Some history might throw a little light on the subject.
Way back in the misty depths of the beta, there were relatively few users, and most of them were experts of one grade or another (except me, of course, I was just faking it).
In that environment basic questions were not very common (remember that Joel posted the How do I move the turtle in LOGO? to emphasize that basic questions are OK), and were rarely upvoted. Instead it seemed to me that questions were being upvoted if they exposed or emphasized things that were not common knowledge among that well informed crowd or if they addressed problems that plagued these good programmers (or if there were technically meaningless fluff, but that is a different lesson).
So it was hard to get a lot of points on real questions, and we got used to that.
Anyway, it is easier now to do well with questions, and that just seems wrong to people who got the feel of the site back in the medieval period.
A second contributing factor is a class of users who ask an endless stream of questions without any obvious purpose, nor any willingness or ability to learn from the answers; nor any sign that they will ever mature as programmers. These questions are often badly posed, based on misunderstandings, or attempting to use the wrong tools the wrong way: questions that take care, effort, and time to answer. Now we could try ignoring these guys, but real beginners often ask questions that have the same problems and will really benefit from a good answer to them; so ignoring questions that look like there were emitted by question-pumps reduces the true utility of the sites and harms the people they could most help. This makes us (or at least me) resentful and suspicious of people who generate the bulk of their reputation from questions.