Before going into the question, I'll address two of your comments under the question and answers because I feel they show your thinking:
@user you say that you hold yourselves to a higher standard here, and yet, the first question I attempted to answer (because it had a bounty), had a completely wrong top answer. The top rated answer, with 5 up-votes, was completely wrong.
You say it was wrong. But I went through it and I see nothing wrong about that answer (then at +5, now at +8-1 votes). I see it as a valid suggestion.
- Not worth of +5? Perhaps.
- Worthy of downvote? No way, in my opinion.
- Could be improved? Yes (also in my opinion).
- Could there be a better answer? Most probably.
You might be correct (and me wrong) or I might be correct (and you wrong). Who decides what's correct and what's wrong?
The next highest rated answer only had 1.
So (1) the person answering the question didn't realize his answer was wrong and
Only if you are right.
(2) Five people didn't know it was wrong, despite someone writing in the comments it was wrong,
Again, only if you are right.
and the person asking the question saying that he tried the idea and it didn't work.
Yes, the guy asking the question replied that the idea did not help much - or not at all. Still, the suggestion didn't hurt performance.
Now, for the technical matter, a NCI index can be useful and preferred by the optimizer if it's less wide than the CI and it covers the query. The numerous comments in that question and in here (by Aaron Bertrand, Brent Ozar and others) agree with that. Not with you.
So, consider the possibility that what you claimed there and here is wrong. And that would make all your following results wrong, too. Everyone does mistakes. (Or makes mistakes. "does mistakes" is a mistake, I guess, but I'll leave it there to prove my point ;)
For myself, I'm pretty sure I'll find many mistakes if I go through my answers on the site (DBA.SE and SO). A good thing about the structure and design of the SE network is that it is easy to edit your own posts (and others' posts, too) any time you like. Which make it easy - if one finds a mistake - to suggest an edit or just correct it. Even years later.
Now for the actual questions:
I have only tried answering questions here for a few days. But I am troubled by the mechanics of the site. So far I've answered 36 questions. Of those 2 were accepted as the correct answer, 7 have received up-votes but were not accepted as the correct answer, 23 have received no votes and 4 have received down votes.
First of all, why have the vast majority received no votes?
That's expected, more or less for a site like DBA.SE that doesn't have so much traffic as the main SO site. The number of votes a question gets depends on many things but one for sure is the number of views it has received and that number can only go up through time. Days, weeks, years later, and the questions and answers will have been viewed many more times and more votes should be expected. There are of course many other factors, like exposure (a question that was tweeted or reached the HNQ may see high number of views and votes in a short time), popularity of tags (a "Mongo" tagged question may be more popular than a "SQLite", no matter how useful or not it is), the day of the week (a question posted Tuesday will probably get some answers faster than one posted on Saturday), etc ...
In most cases they are the only answer to a question. The person posting the original question never returned to mark it as the correct answer, and no one else returned to the question to up-vote my answer.
Apart from the reasons in the previous paragraph, the answer is obvious. The few people that read the question and the answer did not think it was worthy of a vote (up or down).
Second, why would any of my answers receive a down-vote? I am a DBA with 17 years of experience, and I only answer questions where I know the exact correct answer. And yet four of my answers have been down-voted with either no comments, or no comments that imply it is a bad answer.
The answer is again obvious. (or thought it is incorrect / unhelpful / irrelevant. We really don't know how anyone votes.). That's all there is to it. It doesn't matter if you are a DBA for a 100 years or not. The vote is for the answer, not for the person answering. I have downvoted answers I didn't like or thought they were wrong. I remember one of them towards an answer by a highly paid consultant, who attends SQL Server meetings as a speaker. I thought - and still think - his answer was wrong. He hasn't deleted it yet, despite being at -3. I guess he thinks it's a correct answer. I don't know, he might even be right about that.
Who decides what's correct and what's wrong?
I read over the down-voted answers and in every case it was the correct answer, just like all the rest.
Consider again the possibility that you have made a mistake. We all do. Go through your answers and double check. They might not be so clear. Try to improve them anyway. If they are good, they'll eventually get upvotes. You only have to wait. Again, if an answer has several downvotes, reconsider the possibility that it is actually wrong. Or unhelpful for the particular question. Or irrelevant. Or perhaps the wording looks insulting. In any case, we can always edit and improve our answers. Or delete them.
Third, why is no one able to satisfactorily answer the questions I've asked? I've asked 3 so far. Two received no responses. The one that received answers didn't receive any until I put a bounty on it.
Perhaps they are hard, I don't know (haven't read them yet). I suppose they must be hard for someone with 17 years as a DBA not be able to answer them by himself. Give the site some time and they will be answered.
Further, neither of the answers is correct, yet each received 2 up-votes.
Who decides what's correct and what's wrong?
The reputation scoring system seems like a great way to get people to answer questions, yet it seems fundamentally broken in practice. There is no-incentive for people on the site to up-vote and accept correct answers.
I will agree there is no incentive for users to vote. But when I see an half-interesting question, I'll give my vote. Also in most questions that I have answered. (My logic is that if a question is interesting enough to spend 10 minutes on answering, I think I should give it a vote.)
And although you are complaining, you have only cast 8 votes yourself! I know it's only been a week you joined, but have you found only 8 posts (questions or answers) worthy of voting?
But about this - which seems to be your main question:
incentive to up-vote and accept correct answers?
I'll say it once more: Who decides what's correct and what's wrong?
The user who votes decides. That's the logic of the SE sites. The voter/user decides what he likes or not, what is correct and what is wrong. And in the long run, this has shown to be working just right:
Good, interesting questions and accurate, detailed answers get a lot of (up) votes while ill-researched questions and inaccurate, clumsy, not well explained or just plain wrong answers don't get many votes and are usually downvoted.
Interesting/correct posts gets a lot of +1 (and has less chances of -1). Uninteresting/not well written posts receive little attention (up or down). Bad/factually wrong/spam posts receive lots of -1 (and rarely some +1).
In essence the system relies on statistics and the sanity of the voter. We rely on that most users are sane and on that a sane user will vote sanely - at least most of the time. Statistics take care of the rest. Lets say that we could miraculously (by some oracle) measure what is good/correct and what's not and calculate the accuracy of voting and say that this accuracy was 70%. The overall result on the relevance of a post's correctness and its votes would be more than 70%, closer to 100%. It would tend to go closer to 100%, the more votes it gets.
Which means that the system is not working 100% but towards 100%. Given enough time, good posts rise and bad posts go down. You can occasionally see a dead-wrong answer at +5 (or higher if it hits the HNQ) but that is very rare. And it only takes one to notice a mistake and then either comment (which can lead to people reversing their votes) or fix the question/answer.
The only part of your question that I agree (although seems a bit weird coming from you since you have only voted 8 times! Have you found only 8 posts worthy enough to vote on?) is that we have questions and answers that don't get enough votes. I completely agree. The site could benefit from more voters.
My suggestions are (1) to vote more:
- Find a post (question or answer) that you find interesting or helpful and upvote.
- Find a post that is inaccurate or beyond any help and downvote.
- and (2) to edit:
- Find a post that can be improved and edit it.
And apparently a 50 bounty is not enough to get decent answers to complex questions, and I can't figure out how to raise the bounty to 100.
You can add another bounty, after this has been awarded (or has expired).
Is there any way to fix this?
I think the majority doesn't find the system broken. It may not be working correctly 100% (again: who decides ...?) but doesn't need fixing.