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I don't have an exact solution to offer, but as a longstanding low reputation user I find it frustrating and discouraging that I have to wait for someone to upvote my questions before I can be involved. I understand the need for a system that encourages civil and constructive contributions, but there is not enough activity to let my questions get noticed.

One bad answer from another user finally got me the privilege to post this request, and it's the third goal that's encouraged on this site. Only to then find that someone found it in themselves to spitefully downvote my question on the same day. I don't see people finding it in themselves to give a friendly upvote to questions, thus blocking me out of the ability to contribute more to this community.

At the very least, I think vetted users need some encouragement to mentor those of us at reputation under 15 into getting that first 15. Let us have a rep for showing productive clarification in the comments, maybe? Give a goal or extra rep to upvote questions of low reputation users who ask valid questions?

Every benefit I've gotten from this network so far has been from questions that were common enough to have their merged duplicates rise to the top of a Google search. Asking a question here feels like pulling teeth. It doesn't seem to matter if it's valid or useful. If it's nuanced, it's hopeless to get an answer or an upvote.

marked as duplicate by gnat, πάντα ῥεῖ, Robert Longson, Mureinik, PolyGeo discussion Mar 20 at 10:11

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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In my modest opinion, there should not be anything new to add more reputation for users. There should just be a change in the mind of some users, to know when to accept and upvote, and also downvote (with its justification. But downvotes are necessary).

I have discussed here on Meta several times about the difficulty I see in some people upvoting questions. But thanks to the discussion with a lot of users, I have reached several conclusions, with which I will also refer to your question:

  • There are lots of ways to contribute to the community. The first 15 rep can be achieved by editing 7 questions (2 rep per question + 1 initial). And editing is also a contribution. Editing helps questions be more understandable, which also contributes to having a better answer as the question is clearer. I enjoy editing because in that way, even if I do not have the knowledge to answer a question, I am helping users with more knowledge, to answer a clearer question, and I do not make them waste their time in editing that question! It's all a contribution, or as in my country we say: "everyone puts their grain of sand" in the community.
  • Upvotes vary in communities: I have also talked about this on Meta. On, for example, Japanese Exchange, the upvote system (the users who vote I mean) have a very different thinking than those on SO. This might be because of the amount of questions/answers(?), which I do not know. But any question with effort and research, gets upvoted, because your contribution to the community is nice! But you should not get flustered. You have made a question to get an answer and to help future users with a problem similar to yours. If you answer something, it can happen that it does not get upvotes nor acceptance, but it is the correct answer. Don't get flustered. You have contributed to the community. That answer helped the user (he might have forgotten to upvote it/accept it), and the answer will help other users in the future!
  • Long term contribution: I have seen that the older the question is, usually, the more upvotes and interaction it has. More answers with more upvotes each answer. And I find it logical. The more the questions there are, the more people they have reached. I sometimes find myself searching for a problem, and getting to an answer from 4 years ago. Was it useful? I upvote it.
  • Other kinds of contribution: By not getting flustered, you'll feel more comfortable in the community. You'll make better questions, better answers, and you'll edit more. And once you can review, you will review if you have the time and find it appealing. I myself like reviewing even though I've got some bans for bad reviewing. I keep learning from my mistakes to make my reviews better, and that implies, make my contributions better.

So in my opinion, you should not get flustered. This does not only happen to you (low rep user). I asked a question to a user that was in the moderation election phase (really high rep user), and asked him exactly that: what was he going to do about people not upvoting.

His answer was clear: he could not change the mind of everyone, but he always upvoted if something was useful, showed research, etc, and sometimes even added "Even though I do not know the answer, this question was useful and showed effort, so I upvoted it!", and he encouraged me to do the same. He also made answers or questions that did not have any upvotes, and that could not be changed. The change had to come from him (from you, from me).

  • Thank you for this. You'd get an upvote from me, but whatever. (freakin 15 rep). Ill stick to just edits from now on. It's not really a matter of letting it fluster or not. It's irritating because it's designed in an irritating fashion. The community culture doesn't seem to help with that irritating factor. This site could easily be spun to have the same protections and yet be motivating and supportive instead of this. That's what I was getting at. It's not the number that has to be reached. It's the steep hill of criticism (not all valid criticism) to get there. – Philosophist Mar 20 at 8:15
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    I must tell you that not in all Exchange communities. I sometimes go to questions to edit them, and also look if they are good questions, show effort, etc, to upvote them, comment on them or downvote them. Downvoting takes 1 rep from you. But it is also necessary to downvote! And little by little, contribute to the community! @Philosophist – M.K Mar 20 at 8:34
  • I just changed up the post entirely so that it is a clear specific feature request. I still appreciate your answer, but I guess you might want to update it. – Philosophist Mar 20 at 8:58
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    @Philosophist users shouldn't completely change their questions when it invalidates an answer posted by someone who spent some time investing in it. The answer is not a one liner. I think it is still relevant though, and helpful to "you" and to others who share the same grievances as you. – Mari-Lou A Mar 20 at 9:11
  • @Mari-LouA What am I supposed to do to avoid further lost reputation for this post? Why contribute anything right now when I know this clear unaddressed flaw of the site will cause me to lose it, even if I change my mind and agree with others "My question sucked, Sorry I wasted your time."? – Philosophist Mar 20 at 15:06
  • As I said in my answer, don't get flustered! People will forget about this question in a day or two. You won't get any more downvotes. You'd have learnt and improve future contributions in any community, so you will get your rep up. @Philosophist . You can still make good questions, and good answers – M.K Mar 20 at 15:18
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    @Philosophist Also, keep in mind that reputation losses below 1 are waived. So you have nothing to lose or gain from this post. Additionally, posts below -8 are removed from the homepage and not likely to be seen. – Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog Mar 20 at 15:23

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