I've been wondering for a while if the number of upvotes on answers is declining - and from my stats that appears to be the case.
I just checked my recent history and while the number of accepted answers I'm getting is staying fairly consistent - the upvotes on answers I'm getting have collapsed. My stats are here. Since I joined I've answered 167 questions - with 30 answers being accepted by the OP. So usually 1 in 5 or 6 answers is accepted.
For the last 25 answers I've made 6 were made the accepted answer by the OP, with four of those accepted answers receiving no upvotes. The last 25 answers have attracted 12 upvotes in total.
A year ago when I first started on SO my first 25 answers yielded 4 accepted answers and 26 upvotes.
So at the moment I am getting half the upvotes I was getting a year ago, but more of my answers are being accepted. Generally scanning the questions coming in also suggests that there are fewer upvotes on answers - even if upvotes on questions look healthy.
In my case this could be a blip - but it feels like a general decline over time. I guess proof would be good!
Has anyone done any analysis recently on the SO database to see if upvotes on answers are generally on the decline?
Also I wonder if the Electorate Gold badge has adjusted behaviour as of the 12 gold badges it is probably the easiest to get without having to answer a bunch of questions - and it encourages voting on questions (to the possible detriment of voting on answers). Does anyone else think that this badge actively discourages people from upvoting answers?
I've made a comment below regarding civic duty and electorate - I think that the users with the civic duty badge are the heart and soul of the site. Those 7000 people (obviously some will be inactive) will do most of the scrounging around looking for questions to answer, upvoting or downvoting where appropriate and generally being good citizens. They are the sergeants of this site (with the exception of the 10k+ officer class users) - I think that the behaviour of this group has been changed, they are the kind of users who notice the new badges and I bet that many are NOTICEABLY chasing the electorate badge.
A gold badge for voting? A bad pattern IMHO.