Let me say first that I am fairly new here (about 3 weeks) and absolutely love Stack Overflow. At first I let some of the negative attitudes get to me a little, left a few snarky comments, but that phase has passed. I see the tremendous value for this site in the long run and sincerely do want to help make it a better place.
I find myself going for the downvote very frequently -- currently about 35% of my votes are downvotes. I even make an extra effort to upvote good content to offset this a bit, so the number should probably be more like 60%. I always try to leave constructive comments and try to help out the confused ones who are really trying.
I truly can't tell if it is just me, or if these folks deserve it. I don't know if you guys noticed, but there are a lot of really bad questions being posted, and a lot of people trying to pass off things like "use jQuery", "use Firebug", and "use Google" as good answers (and getting upvotes!). I even saw someone copy/paste my "What does Firebug say?" comment as an answer and get 3 votes within moments. Sometimes
This answer is unclear or not useful just doesn't do it justice.
I feel like some of the people just drive me nuts, but then again I feel this way IRL :) Am I being too harsh, or is it really that bad on SO? Has there recently been a surge of new users, and the quality of content is degrading, or was it like this in the "good old days"? Have I perhaps misunderstood the expected behavior on Stack Overflow -- should I just ignore these crappy questions and answers rather than downvote them?