Today I found another example: How to make a 16-gon?. This question shows no research effort whatsoever, yet it has been upvoted with a net of 4. Not only that, it has been answered by 3 different people. I haven't seen this happen on other communities of SE, but I do see it repeatedly here. I have noticed that this community of SE is less strict on the site's policy and guidelines than others. I'm not saying I'm against it, in fact, I've seen other communities where the closing squad jumps the gun, which is the other side of the spectrum and leads to even more frustration if (arguably) unjustified. Is it the result of people wanting to build reputation? Am I missing something?
Complementary arguments to Joseph's answer:
Couple of things maybe you might take into account about this community: It is indeed a community. This doesn't make us immune to regular moderation and implementations of the rest of the network but in terms of behavior, at least I, can't care less what other networks impose. We have discussed these items lots and lots of times but let me briefly summarize:
"Research effort" is an ill-defined and ambiguous concept. Dumping some irrelevant code or copy-pasting a code from somewhere is also slacking. Instead of satisfying your inner police, you can simply answer it, if you understand the question. Forcing the user to ask as you wish it is asked, is detrimental. There is no need to act like a robot. (Not that I imply that you do this, just saying).
In general, people here rather amazingly act according to an unspoken pact such that if somebody already answered in the ball park of some methodology, others instead of posting a competing answer, ask for adding features of that particular method. You can hardly see answers that are duplicates of each other. And if somebody's answer is better we mostly delete ours voluntarily. That is pretty much not happening elsewhere as far as I know.
I vote to mark things as read. In SO people build career over that stuff. Here what would it matter if I had 20k, or 100k? So this rep points frenzy is not our problem. Hence you can use it as liberal as you wish. But for the sake of argument let's say voting is something important for some metric. Still voting is one-sided. For community building, a new-comer having -6 votes without even understanding what voting means is plain stupid to have on a place where it continuously brags about community-building. Because everybody knows what a negative number means. But you might not understand what a number means that is randomly increasing. And some of us, believe it or not, really don't care. I sometimes upvote just to make people get out of the beginner priviledge restrictions.
I don't think the question is poor. It is pretty to the point. Some basic TeX document code would have been nicer but my answer is also not so long anyways. I think we all know what a poor question is by now.
We are not a cult. If we are claiming that people come here to ask questions, then we should act like so. Currently, I always feel like I'm on the customs authority office caught with some substance in my pocket, if I try to ask things on the other sites. It takes so long time, before the residents give a lecture about site rules and how to ask and by then I figure out by asking on an old fashioned mailing list or asking a colleague etc.
Having said all these, I also agree that TikZ questions get unjustified upvotes occasionally. Because I guess seeing is believing though other answers, you really think hard for a few hours that fix stuff internally, hardly makes it to 5.
Long story short, if you read a question and you think it is not that trivial and you understand what is asked, just answer it. The community is free to appreciate it with clicking the arrows and making the number under your square increase.
We downvote to mark something is seriously wrong, and
-1 is enough to be negative. How would you compare a
-13 question? Is it twice as bad? Is
-6 better than
-13 in terms of question quality? Instead here negative vote is a boolean and one vote is enough to make it negative enough.
I'll take the two factors separately and give what I understand here (I've neither voted for the question nor answered it).
Voting for questions is essentially a positive action: downvotes on TeX-sx are in general sparse and usually used for cases where a real issue arises. For most of the 'regulars', simply not voting at all is a good indication of an issue with a question: most good questions should have significantly positive scores. Now, if a few people do decide to upvote weaker questions, that can lead to a net positive score as here. However, that shouldn't be a big issue: most of the really useful questions end up with much bigger values.
In terms of answering, this process is independent of the question in a sense. Using the 'crystal ball' approach is pretty common for answering TeX issues, so many of us are adept at it. Particularly for graphics questions there is a long-standing question/issue/tension about whether to answer 'draw it for me' questions (see for example Our Do-it-for-me and Draw-it-for-me comments don't reflect our hypocrisy. Can they be improved?). For me, whilst I don't answer these in general I do see why people do: the OP needs help, setting up drawings from code is hard and they may really not know what to do. Certainly many of the answers to these questions show off some powerful techniques, so I have no problem uvoting such answers.