I feel it's better to put more effort into encouraging users to selectively upvote worthwhile questions. Make them stand out on the front page. Draw attention to good, effortful questions.
In my opinion, Skeptics.SE is the best example of this. If you ask a good question at Skeptics.SE, you're going to be flooded with upvotes! And the front page is filled with good questions.
Many sites have issues getting worthwhile questions upvoted:
On the massive sites, there are way too many questions to vote on them all. This is very clear at Stack Overflow and Math.SE. An effortful post is unlikely to be appreciated, so why bother putting in effort?
I'm absolutely on board that we should Reward the Question Askers, but I believe changing +5 to +10 is "meh". Increasing an arbitrary number is not encouraging (you could change it to +1000 and it won't feel any more rewarding): it's the fact that someone has upvoted. The fact that a human being has upvoted my post makes me feel like they've recognized the time and effort I spent writing it. It makes me want to write good questions again and again ("hmm... that question was well received, I guess I'll keep doing that").
Please vote more! Upvote what you want to see more of, and downvote what you want to see less of. It works! Let's follow the lead of Skeptics.SE, to see how selective voting can make such a huge difference.
Voting encourages voting. Let's jump-start the chain reaction at the vote-sparse sites, and get users to feel like voting is normal site behavior.
Upvoting influences users. We can use upvotes to get users to think "I should keep doing that" (for one's own upvotes) or "how do I make my post like that?" (when observing other posts being upvoted).
Back in 2010, Jeff Atwood in Vote Early, Vote Often wrote:
Voting is so important that we belatedly realized we may not be doing enough to encourage new users to vote. But we’re trying to change that.
In my mind, voters are still vastly underappreciated. Of course, we need vote selectively (upvote good posts, downvote poor) for it to work. So finally to my question...
How can we appreciate and encourage voters?
Some brainstorming (I have nothing radical in mind; just reminders to voters that we appreciate their time spent on the valuable task of selectively upvoting and downvoting):
It would be nice to have a site-wide Stack Exchange blog post that says "thank you" to the voters. (No changes, just a simple thank you.)
Perhaps some minor reward after every 100 votes at each site (e.g. +10 reputation). Not enough to encourage pointless votes, but enough to say "thank you". Or perhaps even simply a message in the Achievements box which says "thank you".
I don't know if these are good ideas, but I'm hoping the community can come up with better ones.
There's other questions about this, e.g. What is our reward for voting? What is the metric for voting? (10 years old), Are people too miserly with up votes? (10 years old), How to encourage voting on questions (10 years old), Should there be more incentive to upvote? (8 years old), How about a new badge for people who vote a lot? (8 years old), and Encourage people to "Pay it forward" (6 years old). None of them feel all that relevant to today's situation.
Failing to vote for questions was considered a serious problem for Stack Overflow: Why aren't people voting for questions? (11 years old; +879/-13). People used to care about this a lot; and at that time:
Stack Overflow, 11 years ago: Quoting from the above meta post:
- about 49% of questions have score of 0 or 1.
- another 21% of questions have a score of 2.
Stack Overflow, today: From this data explorer query:
- about 46% of questions have score of 0.
- about 22% of questions have a score of 1.
- about 10% of questions have a score of 2.
Well, hmm. That seems a pretty solid reason to, at the very least, revisit this topic.
Please note How to encourage more voting? We have the answer (8 years old) is not a serious question, but a response to an April Fools Day joke involving unicorns. A serious version that proposes an animation when voting is Animation to encourage voting (8 years old).