Okay, I hope it's pretty clear what I am going to talk about. I am going to talk about the first button from the left underneath the story title or chapter title. It's the upvote button. And I'm also going to talk about the consequences of pressing it and not pressing it. I hope you will read until the end.
As we know, the upvote button is pressed by any reader who likes the story enough to do this extra work. Unlike the social media like button, this upvote button actually carries a lot of weight to the content creators of AFF. For this upvote, an author needs to provide readers with quality work--and this is the most important, or the writer has to have friends on this website who love them too much to not upvote all their stories (i'm talking about my friends hehe). Upvote is a big measure for stories in AFF.
Okay, now that we have the definition of upvotes out of the way, let's plunge into what I want to say to my fellow readers. I've been in this site for two years now, and I am quite active in both reading and writing (tho i've been going through a writer's block these days). I have friends in this site who have passed their fifth year in AFF and they tell me that AFF used to be such a thriving place for readers and writers and now...well, it is quite dead. Writers don't have all that motivation to publish a new chapter, readers aren't really keen on expressing their thoughts on the stories, etc. There is basically really less interaction.
Sometimes, readers forget to verify their accounts. Or they just don't want to. I'm here to read for myself, why'd I do the extra work? Honey, that is a very nice way to think about the situation. Of course, in this world, you'll live for yourself, don't do the extra work to make another happy. You sure are here for your own enjoyment, but who is giving you that? Writers. So please make sure that you appreciate the creator of your enjoyment and verify your account to vote them up.
It might sound like I'm talking to silent readers at this moment, I most probably am, I just think there should be some kind of way they want to tell the authors that they are doing a good job if not with words. And AFF really makes that easy by including that upvote button in not only one spot, but two spots! Their silence gets too eerie sometimes. It makes a writer feel like they are sitting in the middle of a circle of mean people. When I have a story with 2000+ subs but only 20 people bother to upvote after the eleventh chapter yet all the 2000+ people view that chapter, it becomes a little weird. Upvoting is not just a number, it really emphasizes that the writing is good. That truly boosts the writers and sparks motivation in them as they now know that one more person is looking forward to that story of theirs that they have spent days on planning and writing and polishing. Remember your silence can mean that you're not saying anything because you don't like the content. Authors get mixed signals all the time. Some stop because of that.
As a writer myself (even though i quite at it T__T), I have seen subscribers hop from one story of mine to another story of mine and to another, but don't bother to vote. I crave to know what they thought about my stories but they are busy tending after themselves, not trying to understand that my writing is giving them a worthwhile time. I just don't get it, you don't have to be a writer yourself to appreciate other writers. I upvote every good story I come across. Before a writer, I was a reader and I still am a reader. I always want to make my authors happy, with a vote or with plenty comments. I want them to know that whatever time I had spent reading their stuff, I felt very good and that I owe it to them.
Most times, readers forget about upvoting. That is not nice. Again, I know you're reading for your own enjoyment but appreciating the source of your enjoyment is something you're supposed to do as a human. Forgetting makes you very ignorant, not wanting to give karma points to author makes you very stingy and all of this makes the writers think that maybe they should just stop. No one bothers anymore. I've felt like that a lot. It's not a good feeling at all.
Also, in a place where the worth of your story is based on how many upvotes it gets, it is difficult to not focus on the numbers. There are options that list stories of one tag from most upvoted to least upvoted. Now, would you want your story to be in the end of the list, given people only ready the first ten or fifteen from the list? It might mean that your story isn't good enough regarding the plot lines, characters, all that writing stuff, etc. but it can also mean that your readers are not very appreciative of you. In either cases, it's not your fault! You just need a little more practice with writing OR you just need better readers.
Writing is not complete without reading. So readers, you must understand the weight of it on your shoulders. Upvote the good stories as long as you can. Your one upvote can save one writer from leaving this site. If you didn't upvote that one story you liked in the past, there is a possibility that you will go back and discover that the writer has deactivated or deleted that story. There are many many many reason for a writer to deactivate. But one of the many reasons is not enough appreciation of their hard work. So, you get what I'm saying, right? The upvote button is underneath the title on the very left and there's another one under the chapter text. In case you didn't know where the options are, now you do!