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surely the average is lower because of lots of new people who, initially having a low score, bring the average down a lot
SO is very stingy with their votes, unfortunately.
faheel29744yI guess it's because in the past users asked more general questions like 'How to revert a Git commit' or 'How does garbage collection work in Java' etc., and since the answers to those questions were relevant to a larger audience, they got more exposure and hence more votes (and they still keep getting them).
But over time the questions (and their answers) kept getting more specific for previously existing technology, and only those posts that were regarding newer technology got comparitively larger exposure and votes. And since software development hasn't changed *that* much over the last decade, the average score kept getting lower and lower. The increasing number of users also contributed to the decrease in average score.
I'd be more interested to see the median graph. Average doesn't tell you anything, especially when you have users like Jon Skeet who hit over 1m rep.
Root799853y1) more users, which means
2) more idiots, who ask
3) more low-quality questions; resulting in
4) higher user frustrations, leading to
5) lower tolerance for poor quality content, and
6) higher standards, resulting in
7) fewer upvotes, and finally
8) lower average scores.
There are also more decent questions already answered, which may lower the overall quality of new questions, further exacerbating the above.