We instructed you with Node for the Ages
We scolded you with Softlink for the Ages
Now, we befuzzle you with -
Vote for the Ages!!!!!
What I do is, I use up all my votes as soon as I get them. I don't vote immediately on anything in New Writeups, they get too much temporary attention (the same with Cool User Picks!); if I remember the title of the node the next day, then it's definitely worth an upvote. Now, Chong ching!s Chang 'cause Chang chung! Chong is an example of a node that I remembered the next day (and the day after). A node I visit because it's brand-new is not as good a measure for how it will last the ages, as a node I visit because it crops up while browsing an interesting subject. I also browse randomly; the Random Node link and Random Nodes section are entertaining, and can be a stimulating way to use votes. Writeups that I think will stand the test of time get an upvote, and insulting or inconsistent nodes get a downvote. I don't vote on every writeup in a node, there are some I don't understand well enough to make a judgement call, and there are others which simply (IMHO) are not good enough quality nor bad enough quality to deserve a vote either way. I have upvoted writeups that I disagree with, because they were well-written and reasoned, and contributed to the knowledge base of E2. I have downvoted writeups I agree with, because they were too childishly obvious and short, and did not contribute anything of value. I /msg authors if I see a typo rather than downvote, trying to keep it friendly by saying "This can be improved by fixing the tpyo" instead of "There's a stupid typo in your stupid writeup".
Hmmm. This got way holier than thou than I intended. (Everyone do what I do and you'll all get into heaven!) Take it or leave it, I think it's the best way to go, but diversity is what makes the world go 'round.