I have a small problem. It is not with the site (although it is related to it), it is not with the regular community of the site (although it is with the community as a whole), and it bothers me for quite a time. I decided to write about it today, here, because it affected me personally this time, to a great extent.
There is a problem with the platform of the site, at least for me. This problem is made by the users, but it is still connected to the platform. We people, when we read questions and answers, vote for them up or down. We use it in order to ensure that the best answers are the ones at the top. That the answers will be better, due to the granting of reputation which unlocks more and more advantages, but all of this builds on a simple premise- everyone will vote.
I'm an avid voter. Whenever I visit the site and read the questions and the answers, I vote for them if they're good. I comment on them if they can be improved. I review many a posts, whether answers or questions, and try my best to ensure that the best answers will be up fronted, and will be more and more common.
Sadly, not everyone is like that. Today, though, I've witnessed a different thing. One of the answerers on this question wrote that
You have two excellent and verbose answers to your question…
Yet, he didn't vote for any of them. While one of the answers he mentions is mine, not this is the problem. I'm not looking for more votes. Furthermore, I'm not that interested in the reputation race either. I do believe that this is a problem due to mainly a single reason. Having encountered it myself, I think that I'm in a position to state how I feel, hoping to express the voice of likeminded people.
I've put a lot of effort in this answer. I've worked an entire hour on it, which is quite a time. Yet it is buried beneath answers that at least some of them are worse in their level. Due to the platform of the site, people don't go to read the answer, because if it hadn't garnered those up votes, it isn't that good. As such is the case, it remains buried under less good answers. This makes me question the effort I put and bestowed upon this answer. Because if it doesn't receive the attention it deserves, something is amiss. So I start to think for myself "is it really worth putting this much effort into my activity in the site?" And I'm not sure that the answer will keep being positive. This will result in either of two cases, with one being leaving the site and the other being putting less effort in the answers. I don't think that either one of the answers is good.
So I'm putting it here, asking if I'm the only one who feels this, but also if there is some way to solve it, some way to encourage users to vote on other questions and answers. Maybe granting extra reputation for voting is the answer? Because I truly believe that this problem makes the platform fall apart.
Thanks in advance.
A few clarifications
As I've read the comments and the answer, there are a few clarifications that I think are needed.
Firstly, I'm not looking for or asking or even attacking those who don't read long answers. I don't have a problem with them. I don't always read long answers either, so no problem there.
Secondly, I don't look for and I'm not interested in solutions for the example I've given. It made me come and write about it here, that's all.
But, because it was already brought by mxyzplk, if I'll quote the reason to up vote from the help center: Voting up a question or answer signals to the rest of the community that a post is interesting, well-researched, and useful. This doesn't say that one should agree with the question, but that the answer will be good. It is no secret that we don't agree with everything that others write here. But it is also no secret that the goal here, and the reason that I'm drawn to here, is that we try and strive to make the best answers possible, that we want complete and working answers and not some kinds of conversations between the questioner and the answerer.
And here is my problem in a nutshell. He did read the answer, and he did think that it was well researched and maybe even interesting. He even went all the way to say that it was excellent even though not from the angle that he is looking for. But he didn't vote, or commented as to how it can be improved or anything of the like. And this is even more problematic, and deserves the attention not because I didn't get upvoted or downvoted or whatever. It is written here because he voted once in 4 months, and for a question. And he is not the only one. Voting is not mandatory, true, but the system, the platform, everything in here is based around voting. And if the voting system falls, and I'm pretty sure that this is not the only example (I've seen others, just didn't ran to tell about them so I'm bad too), the goal will be out there, running free, without us coming to achieve it.
And as a side-note, I agree that voting is not a like-button. I do believe that it is a sign that an answer is interesting, well researched and logical to one extent or the other. Am I the only one? Or in the minority camp? Because if so, maybe the problem is with the explanation of the voting role…