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I should preface this post with the fact that from my recent experience here I feel a little burned by meta and I have to imagine that other meta newbies have had equally bad experiences.

I am a SO newbie and posted that question and to be honest, I didn't really know what I was asking until I read the second response to my question which then help me clarify my question.

The issue I have with what happened and what I would like to put up for discussion is a perhaps implementing a no downvote window after posts. In my case, within a minute or so of asking the question some user with several thousand points of rep pounced on the question (to answer first and earn precious reputation points), answered and then downvoted it. I have to imagine that since it had been given the taint of a negative question there was nowhere to go but down... I think it might be a good idea to have a downvote window of say 10 minutes of posting the question before you can downvote it if the poster has less than 50 reputation. This would allow newbies time to respond and update their question as well as being a fair bit friendlier when someone has made an honest mistake.

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Ha! I laughed out loud when I saw this had been downvoted :) –  user168046 Sep 4 '11 at 1:27
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This suggested solution to a non-issue comes up constantly. Read the faq, watch the site for a while before posting, follow the well-documented rules or you will get burned. This is true of stack overflow and virtually every other online community, learn to deal with it because it's not up to the internet to confirm to your expectations. If you think an entire culture needs to be "fixed", you don't belong in that culture. –  meagar Sep 4 '11 at 1:29
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@meagar, No, many "cultures" need to be fixed. This may not be the solution to that, but burying our head in the sand, saying that we're perfect and don't need fixing is just egotism. We should always be examing ourselves, and our culture to see if we could do it better. That's one of the huge reasons for "discussion" questions. If you're not improving, then you're going backwards. –  Lance Roberts Sep 4 '11 at 1:47
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@lance my point was more that a one rep user has very little right to tell a culture he is not a part of to"fix" itself. –  meagar Sep 4 '11 at 4:42
    
    
    
The point is that Meta has been around for a long time (quite a bit longer than I've been hanging around it), and a lot has already been hashed out here, in some cases multiple times. You are encouraged, even expected, to do your homework before posting here, even more so than on SO. –  Josh Caswell Sep 4 '11 at 7:57

1 Answer 1

I think it might be a good idea to have a downvote window of say 10 minutes ... This would allow newbies time to respond and update their question ...

If your question doesn't get downvoted, how will you know that you need to edit your question to make it better? The commenting system is a helpful compliment to the downvotes, but the question's score is what really matters.

There are a few issues with your suggestion:

  • How would you implement such a window?
    If you post a low-quality question, and some helpful SO member posts a comment about how to improve your question, does the window now need to be adjusted to 10 minutes from the comment in order to give you time to make the recommended changes? (Hint: No.) What if they posted something helpful for you but they do it at the 9:59 mark or you can't get back before the window has expired? There is no way to make it "safe", the only thing you can do is learn from the downvotes (and upvotes).

  • Downvotes aren't permanent
    Edit your question and people can change their votes. Or if you have a good question, the upvotes will be much more plentiful than the initial downvotes. The system is self-correcting.

  • Treat the problem, not the symptom
    Downvotes are indications that something is wrong with the question. Instead of feeling "burned", you should be noting why the question is poor and reacting accordingly.

  • The "So What?" Factor
    I've got a -1 question out there and I've got negatively-scored answers too. Who cares? I'm here to learn from those who know more than me, and hopefully teach those who know less. It's rock-paper-scissors... nobody "wins" every scenario.

Win some. Lose some. Enrich yourself. Don't worry about downvotes...

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