This may sound like an odd question, but this is what I have the most trouble understanding on Stack Overflow (and other Stack Exchange sites). What is the correct way to upvote? Should I upvote every question I find interesting or should I do it sparingly. Could some of the more experienced users give a short list of their mental checkboxes they go through before upvoting?
Your votes are for you to use as you see fit. If you think a post deserves an upvote, give it one. You'll only run into trouble if you find a particular person and make it a point to find their posts and upvote multiple of their posts. That's "serial voting" and will get your votes reversed.
For me, I generally consider these things:
- Is it well-crafted, with good spelling and grammar? At the very least, has the author put effort into making it readable?
- Is it interesting to me?
- Would someone else find it interesting?
- For answers, is it an actual solution?
But, really, once you spend a little time on the site you'll start finding posts that you'll think deserve an upvote. Follow your gut.
You should only upvote a post that seems to be of high-quality or at least decent-quality. When I look at a post in SO or any site I think of this within about 10 seconds:
Does it asks a answerable, and reasonable question?
Is effort to solve shown?
Are all parts necessary to help solve problem in question?
Is it well-constructed?
Does it follow all the rules on how to ask a question (the basic and important ones)?
Does it even answer the question?
Is it simple enough for everyone to be able to use?
Will it possible for it to help future users?
Is it an answer?
Does it follow the main rules on how to properly answer a question?
There are probably more ways on when to upvote a question or post, but this is a short summary of what I and probably many others do to see of the post deserves an upvote or not. Of course, the Help Center should help! When you vote, do what you want to do, not what we want to do. Go with your gut and mind when voting!