I've been reasonably active on biostar for ~5months and overall the experience has been great. But, one minor disappointment is how few votes people tend to give out. There are tons of good questions and answers with just 1 vote. It seems some very small number of dedicated moderator types are probably checking out most questions/answers and giving a vote if they like the post. But, run-of-the-mill users are not voting much? One way to encourage more voting could be some additional badges. Currently there is only a silver badge (Civic Duty) for voting a whopping 300 times. By the time a user gets to 300 votes they've probably stopped paying any attention to badges. But, when users are in the honeymoon phase, and still gleefully trying to earn badges, perhaps a bronze badge for 50 votes, then silver for 100 and gold for 300 (or some similar scheme) would encourage the voting habit?
I agree with you, I believe we should do something to encourage people to become active users (voting, commenting, favoring, answering, ...) and this is one step towards it :-)
We might also have a look at Badges and see if we can lower the thresholds on some of them (I believe some might even be unreachable in the near future) and/or clarify some of them. The idea being that some silver/gold badges could be earned earlier to encourage active participation. Here are some examples:
==>very few questions can reach the 1k, 2.5k and 5k views...
Cleanup -- First rollback
==> what is a rollback?
Mortarboard -- Hit the daily reputation cap for the first time
==> what is the daily reputation cap?
Reversal -- Provided answer of +20 score to a question of -5 score
==> I don't see how this would be possible in the current state of voting frequency
Populist -- Provided an answer that outscored an accepted answer with 10 votes by 2x
==>same as above
As a side note, I believe the 'Badges' are a little buggy and not being rewarded each time they should (but this is already reported as a github issue: https://github.com/ialbert/biostar-central/issues/153).
For the cool names, as "1 vote = Supporter", I propose keeping that scheme (possibly, then, changing the "300 votes" from "Civic Duty" to something else). Here are my current thoughts (I'm not a native english speaker, so these might sound awkward but the idea is there):
- 1 vote: Supporter
- 50 votes: Backer
- 100 votes: Booster
- 200 votes: Admirer
- 300 votes: Cheerleader
Question: How to people feel about negative votes? After spending some time here I believe that an answer should not have a vote value below 0. I would argue that a zero vote is adequate to show that an answer is poorly crafted. Answering a question takes time and that effort should not have a negative value. Also many senior biostar members already +1 vote to cancel out -1. I am not suggesting getting rid of down voting, just set the lower limit to zero.