I came here to ask "how can we encourage people to upvote questions?".
In the space where I ask and answer (wxpython) there is nine times out of 10 that I come here (daily) a first page of questions with zero or 1 answer, and the only upvoter on any of those questions is me.
I read here at meta a lot of questions about "how can we encourage upvoting?", and many of these are voted down due to people not liking the proposed solution/
But one key point emerges: we collectively don't appear to have a good handle on why upvoting of questions is there. Or at least, I can't get a clear answer on that which is consistent with the way that it works.
So - what is the purpose of having questions be upvoted?
Just to be clear: I understand what an upvote means. It means "I think this is a good question".
What I'm not clear on is what is the purpose of this facility in SO? What is it intended to achieve for the site?
I want to be clear on this, before I think too much about the real thing that was concerning me, which was how to encourage people to vote in this way.
Edit: reponding to "possible duplicate of 'why should I upvote?'", I view this question as different. That question was "what are the guidelines for upvoting". My question is "what are the effects that SO wants to achieve with upvoting".
It was observed in comments that the answer to this question is self-evident. I don't agree. Possible answers are:
1) To encourage good questions
2) To provide users with a means of getting reputation
3) To make good questions more visible
4) To alert people to not bother looking at bad questions
5) To support decision making algorithms behind the scenes.
I am interested to know what out of these are the primary reasons for making it possible to vote for questions. What does the SO community view as important objectives. Because depending one which of these is important, the means by which we would choose to encourage people to upvote questions might be different.
My own observation is that there is no real problem with people downvoting questions - they do this, and achieve objective 4 already.
However, at least in the space of questions where I participate, upvoting good questions is rare, which is what makes this question pertinent.