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Two days ago I asked our community if anyone thinks they know why or how this happened: We've never had such a long string of unanswered questions before, what might be the reason it happened recently?

But since then, things have only gotten worse, and regardless of why/how this happened, we need to do something about it before we slip and fall into a state where users get discouraged from asking questions because in their experience, nothing gets answered. If people stop asking questions here, we no longer have a Q/A site, and all this work we've put into the site in the last 13 months will turn out to be for nothing (in the grand scheme of things).

This is becoming urgent, as we really need to keep our list of unanswered questions below 50 if we want them to fit on one page (and therefore be easily found), and below 70 if we want to remain at 90% answered.

Please don't hesitate to upvote other people's answers!!! I see people on this site that have answered more questions than the number of votes they've casted! What's the point in putting so much energy and time into answering questions if the site is going to fade in popularity and become nothing? There are Meta posts on other sites which encourage upvoting answers not because they are masterpieces, but because they are something that you believe belongs on the site. I was not going to go digging up such Meta posts (since I didn't know exactly where they were), but I decided to go and find at least one example:

I would just like to remark that upvoting, in my opinion, should not be meant as some sort of "reward" to be given to exceptional answers (which is what bounties are for).

Personally, I ask myself a very simple question to decide whether I should upvote a question or answer: do I believe that this question/answer should be on this site? It's not really about the quality of the post, but more about indicating whether I think that this post is a good fit for the site. How good the post actually is will still be reflected in the upvotes, because a more useful post will be found by more people which will therefore hopefully vote it up more.

Consequently, I believe that upvotes should be given generously and without too much overthinking. On a practical level, this also encourages participation to the site, as many people like to see that their post was appreciated by others, and will therefore be more likely to stick around more when this happens.

Also if you see comments that could be answers, notify the users: Answering In Comments and Pseudoanswers.

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It seems to me that a great deal of initial questions are going to a "community list like" answer. This will work against Q vs. A ratios.

I know that your take on this is that it reduces rep for new users which may be off-putting.

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