I'm asking this question out of pure interest. I noticed sometimes that voting just goes on a roll either way, and recently found myself asking one of those questions that just got people on the wrong foot.
It is interesting to see how my question about a feature request was received negatively, while another similar question was received very well. Obviously I did something wrong, but what?
I will be grateful if someone could point out how I managed to a) ask a really bad question, or b) ask a not-so-bad question in a really bad manner.
For comparison, my question was: Can we make it easier on new guys? and was voted down promptly to -11 (at the time of writing). A similar question, Could we please be a bit nicer to new users? was voted up to 816 (also at the time of writing).
Now firstly, it was my bad for missing a similar question. My question should not have been asked in the first place, so that was one stupid thing I did. Secondly I don't think I should have used the word 'ironic' while comparing the closing of a vote to the summer of love campaign, because maybe that started the snowball rolling. So, sure enough, next time I'll try to improve my wording and do a better lookup for similar questions. Lastly, maybe the example scenario I referenced moved the focus away from the actual question, which was actually a feature request (a crap one probably, but hey).
I have a particular interest in written conversation, so this was an interesting lesson for me. Here are the 10 steps to successful business writing from the index of Jack Appleman's book. I know they are not all applicable to SO questions, then again, maybe they are:
- Understand the demand for good writing
- Know where you're taking your readers
- Be explicit, clear and concise
- Grab your readers's attention
- Write with rhythm to hold your readers
- Organize to help your readers understand
- Choose a tone that produces good results
- Put your best grammar on the page
- Edit, rewrite, and refine
- Master the documents you use most often
I guess I failed miserably on point 7 ;-)