While I value my followers, and the stars let me know that people agree with what I say, for me the comments are the best. I love getting to know people on here, and the comments let me know whether or not I truly made a difference. If it weren't for the comments, I don't think I'd still be with Ask, followers and stars or not.
I had no clue what either were about when I joined the Ask. Com community. They meant nothing to me then and still don't really. I like if I help someone, so it's nice to see people put stars. On the other hand, I've read answers by some very intelligent, compassionate people, so I follow them. Would I like them to follow me, yes, it's a boost of self esteem but some of them have hundreds of followers, so I can understand them not following back.
Stars because people will follow you for reasons that could have nothing to do with the quality of your answers (ex: cute profile picture) but the votes reveal a little more. But I feel like people are too stingy with their "helpfuls" anyway. Mainly referring to many askers, who asks questions, get many very helpful answers, and don't even thank them or at least give them a helpful vote. The worst are people who give a fun vote but not a helpful- it's completely pointless.
I feel satisfaction when I recieve a star, but I feel very humbled when someone follows me, and it is a huge compliment. Every time so far, it has physically made me smile, and check out the followers profile and a few of their questions and answers.