I currently think of questions and answers as having three 'states'.
This question is on topic, well thought out, properly articulated and is not a poll or trying to incite discussion
This answer focuses on key points and weighs both the pro's and con's of a choice. Perhaps with references to external sources as required.
This question is a poll, is attempting to incite discussion, is off-topic, poorly researched, poorly articulated or will provide little to the site.
This answer doesn't weigh the pros and cons, or doesn't source references, or seems like a guess and maybe doesn't even answer the question.
These types of questions and answers may have some aspects of the bad points and some aspects of the good points. With a little guidance and effort these posts could be brought into the realm of good
So? What of it?
What i currently see with questions and answers is the ones in the ticker for hot questions getting lots of up-votes from people outside of our usual community. Or maybe a really poor question being down-voted to -6 or -7 before being deleted.
But currently we have hundreds of questions and answers sitting at around -1, 0 or 1 votes despite having hundreds of views.
So this is a community outreach, Vote up those good questions! Vote down those bad ones, suggest improvements to the ones that need improvement!
I'm confident that every question and answer here will fall into one of these three groups, and every group requires action of some kind.
Why would we bother?
I'm so glad you asked me this, imaginary viewer!
The benefits of voting more liberally and suggesting improvements will give us a more active community. This also gives us a larger pool of view points to determine the exemplary answers from the mediocre.
With our seeming influx of new members visiting having many votes around makes it very easy to see which answers are good, which are bad, which are fantastic and which are terrible. If everything ranges from -1 to 1 on average its very hard to spot what's a bad question, and what's just vendetta voting. But it is VERY easy to spot the good and bad when the range varies from -10 to 10!
This also helps us discover your views and take them into consideration. If you think something is bad, vote it down, this shows us its bad and means its more likely going to be easily spotted for deletion or improvement by the community!
all in all, the votes are there to separate the exemplary from the terrible, don't be afraid to vote!