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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? 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.

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. I read over the down-voted answers and in every case it was the correct answer, just like all the rest.

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. Further, neither of the answers is correct, yet each received 2 up-votes.

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. 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.

Is there any way to fix this?

Update. Aha, I've found a perfect example for this Why shouldn't we allow NULLs?

My answer is factually accurate, complete, concise, objective, born out by real world data, and includes sample code to show people how to find columns in their current data model that allow NULLs but do not have any actual NULLs. And yet it sits at -7.

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    I think 'reputation mechanics' has been working for a long time in this way. All we have un-voted answers, unaccepted answers, and down-voted answers even if its are correct. Hey, carry on...or do you deserve more than others? – McNets Feb 16 '17 at 16:30
  • Are you saying it is okay because the mechanics are broken for everyone? I don't feel that is a strong argument. – Matthew Sontum Feb 16 '17 at 16:32
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    So you want everyone in the community to behave exactly as you deem would be perfect, and to follow all of your answers and up-vote all of them, and agree with everything you say? – Aaron Bertrand Feb 16 '17 at 17:03
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    To be perfectly clear, you have said some things that I disagree with (for example you recently said something like a clustered index seek is always better than a non-clustered index seek, which is not universally true). Not enough to down-vote, but if you expect everyone in a community to have the exact same quality thresholds and for every question to only possibly have exactly one correct answer, I think you are looking for a community of robots or clones, not one of peers. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 16 '17 at 17:05
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    You've been here a few days, so I totally get that you might have had different expectations and haven't had enough experience yet to understand how it works, or why you should appreciate that we aren't a bunch of lemmings with the exact same mindset as you on every single sentence. For what it's worth, I've been contributing here for years, have posted nearly 2,000 answers, and I have dozens of answers with no up-votes (or net 0 votes). At some point you may realize that meaningless points you can't trade in for prizes are not the most important facet of participation here. Or you may not. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 16 '17 at 17:09
  • My main issue with the mechanics is that 2/3rds of all of the answers I've posted have no activity (no up or down votes), and 2/3rds of the questions I've asked have no answers. It just feels like people aren't using the up/down votes and aren't answering complex questions. – Matthew Sontum Feb 16 '17 at 17:14
  • But now I'm curious why you think that a clustered index seek isn't always better than a non-clustered index seek. Because in my experience seeks are always better than scans, and clustered index usage is better than non-clustered index usage. – Matthew Sontum Feb 16 '17 at 17:16
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    SELECT name FROM dbo.Employees WHERE name = 'bob'; - accessing a non-clustered index on name will either be cheaper or the exact same cost as accessing the clustered index, depending on how many columns are in the non-clustered index. I can't think of a scenario where a seek into a clustered index would be cheaper than a seek into a non-clustered index, which is usually skinnier by definition. And with scans the difference is even more pronounced - scanning a clustered index is reading the whole table whereas scanning a non-clustered index is usually less & often substantially less. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 16 '17 at 17:19
  • Perhaps that is phrased wrong. If there is a non-clustered index that is appropriate, the query analyzer will use it. If the clustered index is best, it will use that. If the clustered index is best it means that the data is already organized in physical storage in a way that supports the query. Hence why clustered index seeks are always >= non-clustered index seeks. – Matthew Sontum Feb 16 '17 at 17:22
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    To your last point about the bounty, you can't change the bounty amount until the current bounty period has ended. At that point, you can place another bounty on the question. – Taryn Feb 16 '17 at 17:25
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    I still don't agree. In fact usually if SQL Server is faced with a coin flip between a clustered index and a non-clustered index, it will choose the non-clustered index. This is getting off-topic here, but maybe you could point to an example where a clustered index is demonstrably better than a covering non-clustered index (obviously if an NCI doesn't have the columns needed by the query, it's not likely to be a better choice, but I can produce example where NCI seek or scan + lookup is better than CI). – Aaron Bertrand Feb 16 '17 at 17:25
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    The only justified complaint I see in this question is the voting. Yes, there seems to be some lack of voting (up or down) in dba.se. Some people vote a lot and many people vote too few times. But I find it odd that you complain about that, having casted only 8 votes yourself ;) – ypercubeᵀᴹ Feb 16 '17 at 19:08
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    You are a member of a site that sees roughly 50 new questions per day. A new question from a day old got 25 views, let's say 1 view every hour. Only a minute percentage of those viewers also vote. I think you're doing fine, only your expectations needs some adjustment. If you plan on a high productivity and a possible high ROI consider the sql related tags on Stack Overflow. They get much more views and with that potential votes. Roughly 1500 upvotes per week. – rene Feb 16 '17 at 20:09
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    To be clear: How to find something you haven't proven to be a problem does not make it a problem (nor does it make providing that code useful, worthy of magical up-votes, etc). Your answer provides only anecdotal hand-waving that the NULLs in that one scenario you had at work that one time were the actual problem. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 24 '17 at 22:15
  • NULLs are a very serious problem in SQL Server. I'm not sure what database platform you've been working in where they are not. In SQL Server 2012 and above you can mark NULLable columns as SPARSE, but it is still better to avoid them altogether if you can. I still declare nullable columns from time to time, but they are for things like MiddleName, where I don't expect to collect the data for every person, and don't want to force a null-string. – Matthew Sontum Feb 24 '17 at 22:35
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For balance, I agree with the op says, in spirit. I'm also 2017's third-highest ranked user on the network. There is a culture on DBA.SE that is clearly not encouraging votes.

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I don't think you could as easily attack the integrity of my questions and answers, if you want to give a shot -- have at it. That seems to be the method we're using to address the OP.

UI not being friendly

As far as fixing the problem, there are lots of UI changes that could produce a positive impact. And, it's always fair to ask those questions. Unfortunately, the whole StackExchange network is somewhat conservative.

Acceptance without Upvotes

To humor some ideas at a solution and UI intersection, it's unfortunate that marking an answer as accepted requires extra work to upvote the answer. It should require extra work to accept an answer without an upvote. Is it by intent that the upvote was excluded when the answer was accepted? The UI gives me no direction but intuition me to believe that lethargy is to blame. If there is any ambiguity about whether or not the person answering deserved the upvote, it should err on the side of the person answering having endeavored and performed socially necessary work.

Answering without Upvotes

The same can be said for those that answer a question without upvoting. I've done this myself a few times. I think in very few times was it ever intentional. I have to scroll up to the top of the page to upvote the question? Where is my "Submit Answer and Up Vote Question" button? Minor thing, perhaps? Would it help and be an improvement. I certainly think so.

Explicit notification and voluntary migration from StackOverflow

When a question on StackOverflow is tagged 'postgresql' and/or 'sql', why not take the time to tell users about the site tailored to the domain of the question? Out of all of the missing features in the UI, this seems most awkward in omission.

Redefining the Scope of the DBA.SE

There are two sides of the story. For the purposes of this, I'm gleefully ignoring the other side which includes legacy and a desire to have an exclusive and insular community. I don't see any merit in it whatsoever and I'm not the one to pretend to be impartial when describing it.

DBA.SE is defined as "for database professionals".

Database Administrators is a question and answer site for database professionals.

And, the FAQ excludes "Basic SQL"

That, by necessity, leads to confusion as to what belongs on here. It raises the entry barrier. Questions from StackOverflow aren't migrated automatically because of these two points. In my ideal world, any question tagged with solely a db-server, or a db-server and sql, from StackOverflow would be automatically migrated to dba.se. We can't do that because of these two technicalities. Cross-posting problems, a division of expertise, and an ambiguous and needlessly subjective scope pose a constant obstacle to growth and network prosperity.

If this was clarified we'd have more young blood, more questions, and a larger audience to judge the value of the contributions to our site.

Improvements in Moderation

There is a very sizable problem with the moderation on DBA.SE. But, I'm not sure if bringing this up here will result in my permanent ban from the community. You can read about this here..

I do intend to run in the next moderator election.

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    That seems to be the method we're using to address the OP. Well, his whole question seems to be based around the premise that his "correct" answers are better than the votes they're getting. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 16 '17 at 19:57
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    it's unfortunate that marking an answer as accepted requires extra work to upvote the answer. The reason for this is simple: An OP posts a question, and two great answers are posted. To not be like MSDN, only one answer can be chosen as the accepted answer (little can be more confusing than a question that has multiple best answers). Therefore a user then has the ability to give 15 points to one, and 10 to the other, instead of being forced to give 25 to one, and still only 10 to the other. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 16 '17 at 20:33
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    I mean, these things have been discussed, you should do some research. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 16 '17 at 20:33
  • @AaronBertrand I'm not saying there is not a reason to withhold an upvote from a chosen answer. I am saying that from my experience on the site, the majority of time those omissions are made it's because of apathy or lethargy. Look at your own record which provides 7 examples. Only two of those examples have other answers. And in every example you should been upvoted for that contribution by the OP. – Evan Carroll Feb 16 '17 at 20:39
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    you may have also forgotten that up-voting has a min rep requirement. Do you think it's ever possible that a new user posting their first question has accepted an answer but didn't have enough rep to also up-vote? And either hasn't done anything else on the site to get more rep, or simply forgot to go back and up-vote later? Again, this stuff has been discussed over and over again. The meta sites are rich with all kinds of discussions that can give you insight. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 16 '17 at 20:41
  • Sure, should a user be able to accept an answer without upvoting an answer on their same question? I think not. What qualifies them for one and not the other? – Evan Carroll Feb 16 '17 at 20:44
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    Another thing that has led to blind accepts of possibly bad answers in the past (and with no accompanying up-vote) is that the accept rate used to be posted under the user's profile card on the question, and it led to plenty of "accept rate shaming" and even refusal to answer questions. The accept rate display was taken away. Again, these discussions have happened over and over again. Stop asking me about them and use the search thingy up at the top of the page. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 16 '17 at 20:46
  • I'm not asking to stigmatize anyone because of their desire to do their own thing, or not do something. I'm merely proposing a set of actions which I find more intuitive, and encouraging of the behavior of the site that I would like to see that would remedy the problem of stagnation and inactivity, which I agree are problems. – Evan Carroll Feb 16 '17 at 20:48
  • Of course they are different. "This solved my problem" is different from "this is a good answer." Plenty of people unwittingly choose a bad answer to solve their problem. Or wittingly (deadline, lack of patience, etc.). – Aaron Bertrand Feb 16 '17 at 20:48
  • Sure, and again, I'm not saying what has to be done. You seem to like your strawman. A bad answer that is still the best answer may or may not be worthy of an upvote with acceptance. But if it doesn't, that should be explicit and not tacit. Thanks for choosing this answer, to encourage participation on the site would you like to up vote it [YES], [NO]. The choice is solely yours. Etc., putting gas in my car is voluntary. I own it. It doesn't need gas to be of use. It has an A/C and radio. All the same, it has a gas light and buzzer too. I like those features. – Evan Carroll Feb 16 '17 at 20:52
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    I routinely only accept answers. I don't upvote them if I accept them. What's the problem with that? – ErikE Feb 16 '17 at 21:31
  • It's just less useful. It does less to encourage participation than accepting with an upvote would otherwise do. It's not about coercing a behavior. It's about making it easier to do that which would have a positive effect on the community. To make lethargy and apathy work in favor of encouraging participation and not the other way around. – Evan Carroll Feb 16 '17 at 21:40
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    "…from StackOverflow would be automatically migrated to dba.se…" god or bad, that is not going to happen, because it is not what the community at SO want – Jack Douglas Feb 22 '17 at 23:16
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I'm going to give you some public tough love, but only since you asked.

Your answers aren't actually all that good.

Take this one: Will DB session terminate when client close DB connection

The answers you posted don't actually answer his questions. They're good information, yes, but they're not answering the questions.

If you want to earn points, consider reading highly voted answers and think about the depth to which they go. Folks get really detailed if they want to earn points.

For example, in that linked question, the person asked what happens if people don't close their connection. You could talk about worker thread exhaustion, schema stability locks from a nolock query blocking an index rebuild job, etc.

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    He asked, "What is the impact if database statements are not close?" You told him to commit or roll back. That doesn't answer the question of what is the impact. – Brent Ozar Feb 16 '17 at 17:26
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    @Matthew Sorry, but you don't get to decide whether your answer to someone else's question is "correct." You may be confusing peer Q & A with self-gratifying blogging. You also don't get to dictate how other people use the site. I've had answers accepted after years of no activity. Have some patience, grab a snack, and move into this gradually instead of immediately declaring that this site is all broken because it doesn't meet your particular expectations. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 16 '17 at 17:36
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    @MatthewSontum The thing you should remember on these sites is while you are answering the question asked, you're also answering it for anyone with the exact same problem. If the asker doesn't accept, then you shouldn't worry about it. You should focus on posting the best possible answer to the question and if other people (outside of the asker) find your answer helpful, they will upvote it as they see fit. – Taryn Feb 16 '17 at 17:38
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    (1) 17 years of experience doesn't make you factually correct about everything (this is why I pointed out explicitly why I disagree with you that clustered index is always better than nci). (2) You know there is a reputation minimum on up-votes, right? (3) Many people hold out far longer than 3 days before accepting. They may see a good answer but don't want to discourage later, better ones. (4) This site is about helping users. Reputation is a motivator, but so what? Would you rather have the satisfaction of knowing you helped someone, or stupid, worthless unicorn Internet points? – Aaron Bertrand Feb 16 '17 at 17:45
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    @MatthewSontum You seem to be greatly underestimating the experience, intelligence, and knowledge of the people participating on dba.stackexchange. Number of years is not an impressive credential compared to actual displayed knowledge and reputation earned in the community through hard work and repeated exposure. – ErikE Feb 16 '17 at 17:54
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    I probably can't change your perception by telling you that none of that matches my experience. At all. When I Google for technical problems I almost always get Stack Overflow or this site in the top results. And I will always come here first before ever going to MSDN because of their post layout, the fact that there can be multiple accepted answers, and simply because the answers there are almost always very simple and not actually answers at all, just stab in the dark theories. We hold our answers here to much higher quality bar. Period. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 16 '17 at 18:01
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    "Completely wrong" according to who? Can you actually provide a reference instead of hand-waving? Also, just to be clear: a higher standard means overall, in general, on average, etc. It doesn't mean every single question and answer will be perfect. We are a bunch of humans, after all. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 16 '17 at 18:07
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    And as for 40K rep, I was talking about this site, where you have posted your rant. Here is the user list ordered by rep. Stack Overflow is part of the network, but it is a different, independent site, with orders of magnitude more volume. I dare you to post this exact question on their meta site - and in fact I was tempted to move this there - I think you'll quickly see how even these two sites within this network differ. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 16 '17 at 18:31
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    @Matthew No. The clustered index is NOT always going to be the fastest. How many times have I said this on this page alone? – Aaron Bertrand Feb 16 '17 at 18:32
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    @Matthew So, you don't think I/O has any influence on response time? Haven't seen that scenario once, in 17 years? Anyway, we're not talking about cowboy coding environments where you've let developers create all the indexes the missing indexes portion of an execution plan has told them to. We're talking about your assertion that a skinnier non-clustered index can't possibly out-perform a clustered index. Don't change the rules now, this is just getting fun! – Aaron Bertrand Feb 22 '17 at 1:32
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    I previously worked at an e-commerce company (generally top 500 in terms of overall web traffic in the US), and we had a handful of examples where a non-clustered covering index far out-performed a clustered index with the same keys. When you're counting response times in ms, a 3x performance gain from 1 sec to 300 ms is massive. – AMtwo Feb 22 '17 at 1:51
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    In nearly every company I've worked at, IO is the narrowest bottleneck, so reductions in IO are the primary driver for performance. If your non-clustered index is (for example) 1/3 the width of the clustered index, you could see up to a 3x performance increase, just by reducing the IO. In the same example, you can keep 3x more rows in cache, reducing physical IOs if that data is queried frequently. – AMtwo Feb 22 '17 at 1:57
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    You might try looking at some of the most upvoted accepted answers on DBA.SE for examples of good answers. Here's a query to find those: data.stackexchange.com/dba/query/631218/… This question in particular has an accepted answer which is comprehensive & useful to both the OP & future users. dba.stackexchange.com/questions/29829/… – AMtwo Feb 22 '17 at 4:17
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    @MatthewSontum please understand that this is only my personal opinion, but the answer to 165011 isn't what I would upvote either. It says things like "to know for sure", "looks off", "I've never attempted", and "I think". What you posted would be a great comment - but not an upvote-worthy answer. When I don't have proven, definitive answers, I leave comments - you might want to try that approach instead. – Brent Ozar Feb 22 '17 at 12:10
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    @MatthewSontum and as I posted earlier, if you prefer MSDN, you should go there. I don't understand why you're still here other than purposely trolling folks. This will be my last interaction with you. Best of luck on your learning journey. – Brent Ozar Feb 23 '17 at 2:56
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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.

OK.

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.

  • I've double-checked the answers that received down-votes, none were wrong. I suggested that someone use extended events and Audits instead of a server logon trigger (that wasn't working). I suggested someone use SQL Server as a database engine. In another I explained the limitations of SSD drives. In the final one I explained why INSERT Tablename SELECT is better than SELECT INTO, and how WITH SCHEMABINDING can improve function performance. No wrong answers. Even if people declined to up-vote them there was no explanation for the down-votes. – Matthew Sontum Feb 16 '17 at 20:48
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    @Matthew Just like on any other forum, anyone can up-vote or down-vote for any reason they like. Maybe they don't like your avatar or recognize you from a road rage incident last week. I'm not saying that's right, but it's totally possible and there is absolutely nothing anyone can do about it. But you should also lose this entitled notion that your answer is "best" or even "correct" just because you think it is. You've already been proven wrong in casual comments right here on this page. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 16 '17 at 20:52
  • @AaronBertrand What to do about it would be to force people to explain their down-votes. As someone who claims to be up on the Stack Overflow Meta, you must realize how serious a problem not requiring an explanation on down-votes is. Any user can easily take away all the reputation points from any other user. I could go right now to every answer you've given and vote all of them down just to be spiteful. – Matthew Sontum Feb 16 '17 at 20:58
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    @MatthewSontum that wouldn't work. I have - for example - 50K on dba.se How many days would you need to be voting down to take my rep away? Even if the counter-measures for serial voting didn't exist? – ypercubeᵀᴹ Feb 16 '17 at 21:01
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    @Matthew No, you couldn't. But FWIW, early in my time here I had the same opinion, that down-votes should be explained. And in fact I did explain my down-votes. Until I started getting trolled, stalked, and harassed by recipients of those down-votes. As you'll see if you actually read any of the related discussions on meta, while explaining down-votes might have benefits in some scenarios, the cost is more. Please, again, you've been here a few days. Learn how the site works before attacking it. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 16 '17 at 21:01
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At some point there were 2 other answers, one of which I thought was pretty good and was going to accept. I'm not sure what happened to those answers. So since I know the answers I guess I'm going to write them down:

1) The majority of answers that I wrote that currently have 0 votes no one has voted on, up or down. The majority of questions which I've answered have had no up or down votes for any answers after my answer, and no additional answers since I answered. So the most likely cause of no up/down votes is that there was no activity on the questions.

2) The down-votes I have received for my answers are because people didn't like the answers. The majority of my down-votes have been for endorsing SQL Server/Oracle as good RDBMSes over Postgres/MySQL. They were on questions where people expressed frustration at Postgres/MySQL and I stick by my answers. The majority of remaining down votes are on questions like this (philosophic/meta ones)

3) I asked questions that I, as a developer with 17 years experience (11 as a SQL DBA), who started coding when he was 4, could not answer. They were very tough questions, but I had hoped that the Stack Overflow users could answer them if I put the bounties high enough. I guess I can try putting them even higher.

4) The way to fix this is to award points to users for accepting answers and up-voting other people's answers as long as it didn't create a loophole that easily gave users a bunch of points. Maybe awarding a point for every 10 up-votes as long as the up-votes didn't follow a predictable pattern.

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    Realize that the vast majority of the reason people spend their valuable time answering questions here is not for bounty or reputation, but is actually because they love the work. I suggest a rethink of your posturing about upvotes/downvotes, and instead focus on quality. – Max Vernon Feb 22 '17 at 4:23
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    @Matthew The other answers were added while this question was at meta.se. That migration was eventually rejected, but it took a few days for everything to be consolidated back here. – Paul White Feb 22 '17 at 6:42
  • That is good, I have accepted the best answer that isn't mine. – Matthew Sontum Feb 23 '17 at 11:45

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