What drives people to upvote or downvote content? I'm looking for the je-ne-sais-quoi quality on successful voting systems and I just can't put my finger on. Let's look at three examples:
I think the voting works very well on any Stack Exchange site. Useful questions and answers always get more votes.
There is a tremendous amount of voting traffic here. It's easy to find the funniest or most clever comment by looking at the vote count.
Hardly anyone votes here. And if you're lucky enough to find a post with some upvotes, you'll be hard-pressed to find it of any use. I don't have a definite answer on why the voting sucks so much on SimplyShredded. Maybe it's because the UI is not that good. They split the upvote number with the downvote number. This forces users to do some math to calculate the total worth of a post. Could this be enough of a UI flaw to make people abandon voting?
I thought Stack Exchange had a successful voting system because the size of their voting buttons and the vote count are much bigger compared to other sites. It would be hard for users to ignore such a big feature. But Reddit contradicts this. Their voting buttons are very small and their vote count is faint shade of gray.
Stack Exchange uses reputation as a form of currency. You're given rep points when you do good work. You get stripped of rep points when you misbehave. Your reputation points are placed next to your name wherever you post. Since everyone's rep points are so public, you're careful on how you act and how you dole out points to others. This may be a reason why voting on Stack Exchange works. Again, Reddit contradicts this. Reddit does not display a user's rep points next to their name. It only displays the points of individual comments. There's much less incentive to create good content to garner votes or help other people by voting on there content. So why is Reddit's voting system still functional?