I'm getting a feeling that the SP SE community is somehow greedy for the upvotes. In fact, I'm afraid it always was that way except maybe for the time of Beta :(
Well, one would say it is a normal process:
- There is some competition happening, at least for the top 10 positions. Quite naturally, you don't want to upvote your competitor, well maybe unless his answer is brilliant to the point of perfection (and some people - won't do it even then).
- If you don't know much about question, you don't upvote because you think that the solution may be wrong. And in 99% cases, you won't test the solution unless you're the one who asked the question.
- If a question is already marked as accepted, what is a point to waste your time even reading it? Thus, accepted questions are much less likely to receive further upvotes.
But, on the other hand, it's obvious that scarcety of upvotes affects the community. Some people leave because of that. Myself as example. Some people might do better if they knew that their efforts will be appreciated.
I bet that many people here don't write good elaborate answers or test their code just because it DOESN'T PAY OFF. My estimation is that you can write at least 10 small google-it-for-me-like answers during the time necessary to explore in depth and describe one single solution thoroughly. And even 5 small answers will most likely receive about 2 times more points than single elaborate one. I gathered this statistics from my own answers.
I would argue that people who honestly spend a lot of time working on an answer (and you can see easily when it is the case), DESERVE at least a 1-2 upvotes, even if their solution is not the correct one.
I think it is good for the community, because such people are more likely to leave if they don't receive upvotes, and also at the same time such people are very vital to raise quality of the site.
I think the correctness of solution is anyway a vague matter. Accepted answers may be useless for majority of people because of any number of reasons. Non-accepted answer may help hundreds who came by it via Google.
I think, that at least we who are active in meta, could make things a little better for those people who sacrifice their time and efforts to help other people, not even really getting anything in return. Just by upvoting for the efforts. Not overwhelmingly, but let's say one upvote per an answer that really shows effort - seems to be well-deserved.
What do you think?