First and foremost, remember that you have as many votes as you want.
Second and, uh, secondmost, remember to never node about noding.
What NOT to do
Let's face it - most of us wouldn't be here if there wasn't something good to read. I promise you, you will find some excellent, funny, witty, interesting, and thought-provoking writeups. Upvote them. Ching them. Send the author some loving messages. Get to know the good authors you find. Read some more of their work. Check out their homenodes. Bounce ideas off of them. Everything is a community.
I can guarantee that you will also come across a lot of crap here. Some people who like E2 just don't end up being good writers. Newbies make mistakes, and no offense to the long time users (including those who have been here since day one), but a lot of those old writeups just haven't stood the test of time. There is no bullshit to be earned. The bar has been raised.
So, what do you do when you find something unworthy of E2? Don't be afraid to downvote. Downvoting is your way of letting the writer and the Content Editors know that you don't like the writeup*. Perhaps yours will be the only downvote. Do not be ashamed or embarrassed about expressing your opinion. It's just a number in a database after all. However, you should provide your criticism (preferably of the constructive variety) to the author in the form of a /msg. Submit a Nuke Request if you think it's needed. If you are able, create a better writeup to replace it. This place needs more actual content. Let's begin.
* Do not confuse dislike with disagree. A well thought out and intelligently written writeup should be rewarded with an upvote even if you don't agree with the opinions or point of view of the author.
Now for what you came here for: The voting ideas.
Start at node_id #1
I have started a project to generate statistics for all of the nodes on E2. This may be very helpful for you in choosing writeups to vote on. For example, the reports list things such as:
- Writeups with the most upvotes/downvotes
- Writeups with the highest/lowest reputation
- Users with the highest/lowest XP
- Nodes with the most writeups
- Nodes with the longest/shortest titles
The concept behind these voting ideas is similar to some of the ideas listed below, except that I have already done the work for you. This project is run by starting at node_id #1 and working my way up gathering statistics on each node and voting on every writeup found. You can see my progress by visiting the nodes below:
Get your name listed in the node audit writeup, or just offer the service on your homenode. You will have authors begging you to vote on their writeups. Of course you will have to take the time to help the noder and offer some comments, but you should be doing that anyway, shouldn't you?
If no one asks you for a node audit, do it anyway...
...Pick a User, Any User
Users with lots of writeups
There are generally two places to find users with lots of writeups: Everything's Best Users or the top of the Other Users Nodelet. One reason you might want to pick a user with lots of writeups is so that you have a long term project. After all, you came to this node because you have too many votes on your hands. An M-noder will keep you busy for weeks or months.
Users with few writeups
Again, there are generally two places to find users with a few writeups (otherwise known as newbies): the bottom of Other Users or (unfortunately) Node Row. Obviously, you can't vote on the writeups in Node Row, but you can help the poor new guy from making the same mistake twice. Provide constructive criticism with each of your votes. Become a mentor. Just be nice - E2 can be hard to get used to for some people. If you must downvote, be gentle.
Make it a Contest
Try to find the highest and lowest rep nodes to vote on (note: the outliers Butterfinger McFlurry and I will REMOVE the fucking toilet seat if you don't shut up don't count). To do this, visit Everything User Search for any user and sort the writeups by reputation. You can also try searching for the oldest C!, the oldest user, the most controversial writeup (a huge number of total votes but a near-zero rep), or just make up your own ideas. Post the findings on your homenode.
Play vote tag (aka, Vote Swapping) with someone. Offer to vote on 10 of someone's writeups if they will return the favor to you. Note that this should not be an agreement to simply upvote, and is considered somewhat shady by the powers that be. Use at your own risk.
New Writeups / Cool Writeups
When looking at a writeup from the New Writeups or Cool Archive nodelets, get this: you don't have to limit yourself to only voting on the newest writeup, or the recently C!ed writeup. You can often easily spend 5-10 votes in a single node. In the case of the Page of Cool, you can often find a node where every w/u deserves an upvote.
Also, don't limit yourself to simply viewing the newest or most recently cooled writeups. There are some superdocs that allow you to see as many as the last 300 writeups submitted to E2, and the Cool Archive and Page of Cool let you go as far back as you want.
Click the Random Node link, or one of the links in the Random Nodes Nodelet. Vote on everything in that node.
It is common knowledge that the daylogs are the most frequently used vote dumping grounds. This writeup would be incomplete if I didn't at least mention this fact. While daylogs did not seem to be quite as popular back on E1, there are regular daylogs back through 1999, with scattered logs in 1996-1998 as well. If you are so inclined, you can probably spend all of your votes on daylogs until Everything3 arrives. <gtky>I just don't happen to agree with vote dumping in general. I used to believe that daylogs were a waste of time and space, but the longer I stay here, but more I find some of the most interesting and creative writeups in the day logs.</gtky> As with any other writeup, read the daylog before casting your vote.
To make voting on daylogs more interesting, go back and read the logs from days when important world events occurred. Try looking at dates important to you to see what others were doing. Try your birthday, anniversary, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Leap Day, try a year ago today, or pick the date of some important world event. Add some nostalgia. Learn about your fellow noders.
Be a Nice Neighbor
Go visit all the nodes that contain one of your writeups. Vote on your neighboring writeups. You are sharing the space with other noders, you might as well give your opinion on the living conditions.
To be neighborly myself, I would also ask that you read the voting suggestions by Footprints above.
Bookmarks / Message Inbox
Have you let the list of bookmarks on your homenode get out of hand? Clean them out by going back and reading and voting on each of them. The same goes for your Message Inbox - clean it out by visiting every hard link and pipe link before deleting the messages.
Remember when you first found E2? I bet you spent hours reading a node, following hardlinks and softlinks, bookmarking, and probably had several browser windows open at once. Get back to your roots. Do an "Ignore Exact" search on a topic that interests you. Start reading. Start learning. Start enjoying. Spend your votes as you go.
What to do when you don't have enough votes on your hands
Kind words beat upvotes and C!s every day.
Search for more writeups about voting on E2
Ironically, I was serially downvoted twice shortly after I posted this. Also, this is my writeup with the most downvotes. I guess you're just giving me your opinion. I love you guys.
Do you have more voting ideas? /msg me.