Voat is unique in a number of ways, and adjusting to the website can be a challenge, let alone adjusting to the existing culture. Below are some brief answers to commonly asked questions. Be sure to consult the About and FAQ pages for more comprehensive information.
Basic Use of the Website
The most commonly asked questions tend to consider how to use the essential features of Voat, i.e. making submissions and comments, voting, sending messages, making new communities (called subverses), and what the meanings of SCP and CCP are.
SCP and CCP
SCP stands for Submission Contribution Points; CCP stands for Comment Contribution Points. Both scores are calculated based on the net number of upvotes and downvotes one's submissions and comments have received, respectively. SCP has no meaning beyond a record of how much one has submitted and how well received those submissions have been. However, CCP is very meaningful and plays a central role in Voat's functionality, so making comments and participating in discussions is essential for a fully functional user experience.
Also important to note: CCP can only be gained in public, non-anonymous subverses -- meaning subverses that show up in the /v/all feed and that do not anonymize usernames. Subverses that do not show up in /v/all are subverses that have been set to "Private" and subverses that have a "minimum CCP required to downvote" requirement. Therefore, upvotes received in such subverses will not increase CCP, and thus no progress towards being able to post submissions, send messages, or downvote posts will be made if the only subverses one uses are those that do not appear in /v/all.
Nothing special is required to post a comment; just begin typing in the text box beneath the body of a submission, or hit "reply" underneath a comment you would like to respond to, and once your message is typed out, hit "Submit comment" or "Submit reply", and your comment will be there for all to see -- no SCP or CCP is required to do this. However, if you have received more downvotes on comments than upvotes, your CCP will be negative, and this will limit you to 10 comments a day. This, like most CCP requirements on Voat, exists as a deterrent to Spam and other abuses; it is not perfect, but it protects the website.
There is a requirement for posting submissions on Voat: 10 CCP is needed. This means you have to have received at least 10 upvotes on comments you have made before you can post any submissions; 10 CCP is a low number; one comment could be enough. The requirement exists to prevent thousands of bots from being made and generating submission spam immediately. Filling out a Captcha will also be necessary for the posting of a submission after 10 CCP has been required -- this requirement goes away after a certain amount of CCP has been accumulated.
The same requirements apply to sending messages as apply to making submissions: 10 CCP is required and Captchas will have to be filled out early on.
Creating Communities (Subverses)
No CCP is required to create your own subverse; however, you will have to wait until your account has reached an age of at least 30 days before you can do so.
There is no requirement to be able to upvote (except for having an account!), but there is a limit to the number of times you can upvote per day. This limit ordinarily equals one half of your CCP -- so if you have 5,000 CCP, you can upvote 2,500 posts and comments in a day. However, when your CCP is below a certain amount this "half rule" is not in effect, and you are allowed to upvote more than half of your CCP worth of posts a day regardless of your score. Only above this figure (the value of which at present is uncertain due to ongoing changes) does this upvote allotment begin to increase.
Downvoting does have a CCP requirement -- 100 CCP is needed.
It is not possible to downvote anything older than 7 days, and it is not possible to either upvote or downvote posts older than 3 months; such posts are "archived", and they cannot even be replied to.
Also worth noting: "Farming" upvotes is against Voat's rules, since it diminishes the strength of the CCP requirements, as well as their purpose. Therefore, any posts dedicated to multiple users upvoting each other to gain CCP is a violation of Voat's rules, and could result in a site-wide account ban. The CCP requirements are not very high, so just spend some time talking with other users in non-anonymous, public subverses!
Front Page and /v/All
There are a number of different ways to view Voat. Most common is the Front page, to which https://www.voat.co links (the Voat logo at the top of every page also links to the front page). This page will show you posts from all the subverses you have subscribed to, unless you have not subscribed to any subverses, in which case the front page will show you the default subverses. Subscribing to only one subverse will replace all the default subverses with that one subverse subscribed to, so be sure to subscribe to every community you are interested in following!
/v/all is a view that can be accessed by clicking the "all" button above the Voat logo at the top of the page, or by adding "/v/all" to the main website URL. /v/all shows recent and active posts from all subverses on Voat, with the exception of any subverses you have blocked (subverses can be blocked by visiting the target subverse and clicking the "Block" button in the sidebar, or by clicking the "block subverse" button underneath a post from the target subverse when viewed from /v/all).
Hitting the "New" button within the same row as the Voat logo will shift the view of the front page or /v/all from "Hot", which shows posts based on time of posting and activity, to a running list of the most recently submitted posts. "Top", on the other hand, lists posts by the most upvotes, within a set period of time (24 hours, a month, forever, etc.).
You can also exclusively view content from a subverse without subscribing to anything by clicking on a link to a subverse and sorting by "Hot", "New" or "Top" as you please.
Night mode deserves its own section. Beside the "Log off" button is a light bulb -- it is highly recommended that you click it. This will toggle night mode for your account, and vastly improve your Voat experience, especially at night! This setting can also be changed within your User Settings (accessible by clicking on the gear symbol beside the light bulb).
In the sidebar of every page is now a searchbar that makes use of a website (https://www.SearchVoat.co) created by a Voat user, which provides a very usable means of searching for submissions on Voat. Give it a try if you ever need to search for something!
That should be enough information to get the average user started. The markdown page is helpful for learning how to do fancy things with your comments. And again, be sure to check out the About and FAQ pages -- links can be found at the bottom of every page -- or if that fails, ask another user for help!