imho it's about feeling proud about the statements one makes that your peers will approve of.
As we all do, I work diligently at my job all day. Perl programming isn't even close to being on my radar anymore. With that said, PerlMonks is very important to me for various reasons... the newbs keep me guessing and the expert answers keep me on my toes testing. (I have numerous VMs and v4/v6 accessible FBSD boxen I play on when time permits ;)
Currently, I get 18 votes per day. Sometimes I blast right through them, and sometimes not. Most often I spend (what I feel are important) votes on quality replies to posts in chronological order.
However... recently, I've been taking a different approach. Instead of just bouncing on 'Newest Nodes' or (my personal fav) 'Recent Threads', I've been waiting 12 hrs on the 'Recent Threads' to see who is doing what.
In essence, instead of spending my votes on 'ok' responses immediately just because I want to spend them, I've started to take a sit-back approach to see who does what.
With this diligent-type overwatch, it is allowing me to better clarify (in my own mind) what deserves to be 'A' or ++, but more importantly, in (my style) EXTREMELY RARELY -- when necessary.
Through this, I'm learning a lot about my fellow Monks, and also what they have a tendency to tolerate. It has also led me to many home-nodes as well. I'm glad the recent discussion of canning the -- came up, because in reality, it made me a more diligent and determined Monk in the process as it forced me to better intertwine with both the post and the poster of every OP.
It's the weekend. Go to bed now.