As a newcomer to this site I'm trying to understand how it works. I answered the question Who was the first retailer in Monterey, California? and whilst I wouldn't expect my original answer to get many upvotes as it didn't answer the question I believe the additional information I provided in a modification was pretty comprehensive, properly sourced, and based on original research including this particular item Vallejo document which I would challenge anyone to find as there are 78 volumes of Vallejo documents, each containing several hundred pages, with no index. I also answered the question and again would challenge anyone to suggest that my answer is in any way incorrect. The previous answer to the question received 3 upvotes to my 2 and yet it didn't provide the correct answer to the question. So why hasn't my answer received more upvotes? What's wrong with it?
1I can't speak for anyone else, but I don't like to upvote things I haven't fully read, and that was just too much text for me to slog through.– T.E.D. ModFeb 4, 2020 at 11:45
Ok then, but to focus on one specific - the other (brief) answer states "Thomas Larkin opened his store in 1834". Where is the source for the evidence of that statement? My answer is as concise as it can be to provide the sources and evidence for the conclusion. Please tell me which part of the answer is superfluous. If you prefer answers to be brief but unsupported then make that clear.– maceanFeb 4, 2020 at 12:39
3I didn't read your answer simply because I didn't read the question. The topic is one on which I have little knowledge, and the questions about Monterey tend to be obscure and punctilious. Having read it, I upvoted as well researched and the kind of answer I want.– MCW ModFeb 4, 2020 at 12:46
To be able to answer that question in the comment, I'd have to not only read through it all, but then analyze it as well. If I'm not particularly interested in donating the time to do the former, you certainly can't expect me to do and the latter as well.– T.E.D. ModFeb 4, 2020 at 14:48
The number of votes received is very seldom related to the quality of the answer, but more so to the popularity of the questions subject. The question you answered is several years old, and has an existing, accepted answer, and as Mark points out is too specific to be of general interest for many of our users. Adding the length of your answer to the lack of general interest in such a specific topic, and votes may suffer accordingly.
(I don't think any one of us has not had the situation where we put a lot of effort into what we felt was a 'great answer', only to get little acknowledgement in the form of votes)
On answer length, the only advice I would give is make the answer as long as necessary, but no longer. If your answer is long, make sure we can find your conclusions clearly stated (perhaps summarized) so we can decide if we wish to read the entire body of the answer. (The TLDR is a thing here.) Personally on long answers with large quote blocks I like to see a little emphasis placed using bold to draw my attention to the relevant bits.
If you intend on participating further, I think you will receive a positive response from the community.
2This is very true, in that the correlation to question upvotes is much stronger. I think my current record here for upvotes is on an answer for a question that has 83 upvotes and views in the 10's of thousands. That answer didn't suck, but I doubt anyone here would call it my best work. Getting 3 upvotes on an answer to a question that got 3 upvotes really isn't bad.– T.E.D. ModFeb 4, 2020 at 19:48