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When I joined Stack Exchange I started answering questions and gained a positive response from the community.

But these days, I don't feel like my answers help anyone anymore.

If you look into my physics Stack Exchange profile, you will find that almost 90% of my answers I have provided have neither been accepted nor been upvoted.

So I took this as a sign that my answers did not help anybody.

This is really demotivating as my enthusiasm in answering has been hitting rock bottom.

So I thought there must be some major flaw in all my answers that renders them useless.

It would be helpful if someone pointed out what major flaws my answers have, so that I can try my best to modify my style and contribute to the community the best I can.

Reputation doesn't matter to me, but when the effort involved goes uncredited then I feel insanely demotivated from further participation.

Please don't take me wrong. Stack Exchange is a community that I totally love and want to do my best for it.

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  • $\begingroup$ I was thinking the same thing . Should we add +1 reputation for the people who upvotes an answer or question ? $\endgroup$ – Dirichlet Aug 5 at 23:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Ohw Since reputation is used to show how trusted of a user you are, probably not. Reputation shouldn't be that easy to get, no matter how small. $\endgroup$ – BioPhysicist Aug 6 at 1:19
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    $\begingroup$ @BioPhysicist It's probable a little off topic now but What about those questions which reach like above 50-100 votes. For example if a new user gain 100 votes for a question , i don't think that person should get a privilege what a 6 months 1k rep user does. Even the tour page suggests "You are here for around a while you can see votes now" but clearly that user is not. If you want i can ask that as a separate question . $\endgroup$ – Dirichlet Aug 6 at 4:09
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    $\begingroup$ @Ohw You can ask it as a separate question, but I definitely suggest researching on Meta Stack Exchange first. You will find a lot to read about that topic. $\endgroup$ – David Z Aug 6 at 7:24
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    $\begingroup$ I'm pretty sure that over the 3 or 4 years that I've been contributing, I've gained fewer and fewer positive votes per answer. I'm guessing that this is because people have become more discriminating about the sort of thing they upvote. Whereas decent explanations of high school and first year university topics used to attract votes, this is now much less common. But it's still worth contributing, if just one reader gains something useful. It's also quite amusing when an answer that took very little effort to produce is showered with upvotes! $\endgroup$ – Philip Wood Aug 14 at 16:11
  • $\begingroup$ @PhilipWood "It's also quite amusing when an answer that took very little effort to produce is showered with upvotes!" You can thank the HNQ for that :) $\endgroup$ – BioPhysicist Aug 14 at 16:18
  • $\begingroup$ @BioPhysicist What does 'HNQ' mean? $\endgroup$ – Philip Wood Aug 14 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ @PhilipWood Hot Network Questions $\endgroup$ – BioPhysicist Aug 14 at 16:28
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I don't have the time to go look at your answers, but this happens all of the time.

Sometimes posters of questions are here for a quick answer. Once they see something they like they don't up vote or choose an accepted answer, and often they are never seen again.

Other times it depends on time of activity. Some questions just don't get a lot of views. Some answers just get shadowed by others.

Look at any high-rep user (including myself). You will most likely see many answers with a score of 0. Votes is not an indication of views. Many users don't vote on everything that they read or even like. While you can't see how many people looked at your specific answer, you can see how many people viewed the post, and you can assume that some subset of those people saw your answer.

You can also look at the "people reached" metric on your profile. I see 8,000 currently on your profile. I wouldn't call that nothing.

After a while you will also figure out which questions are worth answering and which ones aren't best suited for this site. Just keep answering. Keep interacting. Your impact is measured by more than just votes and acceptances.

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    $\begingroup$ Okay! Thank you so much! I'll try my best to keep contributing $\endgroup$ – Vamsi Krishna Aug 6 at 3:58
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I've looked through all your zero-score answers, and the thing that I noticed first of all was not the quality of your answers: instead it's the quality of the questions. Notice how a sizable portion of the questions (5 out of 11) either are now closed, or have zero score. These factors influence number of views, which is less than 50 for each of these questions. 1 question that currently has 2 upvotes is unclear itself IMHO (I don't think it deserves these upvotes), and the answers there (including yours) can't really be judged since they don't make even the question clearer, much less the answers themselves.

Of the 4 other questions, to some of them there are competing answers many of which do indeed look superior—by being fuller, sometimes much fuller. They are consequently higher-voted.

I suggest that you read the upvoted answers competing with yours and try to identify what you could have done better. E.g. add an illustration (not necessarily graphical: it might just be an example, toy model etc.), try explaining the subject from different perspectives, try figuring out what other answers lack to satisfactorily answer the question.

If you really feel like answering an unclear question, try to do your best to understand where the asker is confused, and only then consider posting an answer. Otherwise neither the OP, nor the readers will appreciate it, leaving your answer without any votes.

Of course, if you edit a zero-score answer (or post a new one) to a question that already has many upvoted answers, don't expect that you'll get an upvote: people are generally lazy, don't want to scroll down too much unless the text really deserves it, and Stack Exchange sites by default sort the answers by vote score.

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  • $\begingroup$ Oh wow that is some really helpful insight. Thanks! I'll work on it! $\endgroup$ – Vamsi Krishna Aug 8 at 4:07

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