While searching for similar topics I found several discussions which mainly discuss whether or not to down vote in a particular situation. Typically, I agree with the accepted answers. It seems that (to some extent) meta users agree on when to down vote.
However, there are few suggestions on how to encourage down voting. Many state down voting is important, since it is part of the mechanism to bring good quality posts to the top. But in practice, I feel down voting isn't promoted enough.
Lack of downvoting
A concrete example: What popular "best practices" are not always best, and why?
At the time of writing, this answer got 28 up votes and 6 down votes, placing it somewhere in the middle of all the answers. There is a comment critizing the answer which has 68 up votes! This means at least 68 people saw a problem with the answer, but only 6 cared to downvote it. Why? Unfortunately, this means some of the answers underneath get less attention, even though some of them are more useful if you ask me.
Public image of a downvote
Down votes are bad ... or so you are led to believe when being active on almost any SE site. Is it possible that only the select few that spend their time on meta sites actually understand the down voting system properly? More than not, the person being down voted experiences this as an insult, rather than a motivation to improve/correct their answer. Or, to see it as a simple difference in opinion.
Take the following answer (which I down voted) as an example: Simplify a loop This user already has 44.9k reputation on SO, but makes statements as:
I don't say that everybody needs to actually like my solution, but I think nothing is wrong with it and the downvote is bullshit.
And again, your solution with a loop var and range checks and inc doesn't look nice to me. But I would never downvote it.
Is it a mere coincidence that he isn't active on any meta site?