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Could we please be a bit nicer to new users?

We have seen many question from new Stack Overflow users get down votes. This is actually discouraging them and they might not return to the site.

There has to be boundary that if the users is new to the site and have less than 10 reputation-points, then question could only be blocked, or flagged no down-vote for the question.

If the question is get blocked then there has be a link specifying how to post a question, and the rules for posting the question.

I don`t mean to encourage the silly questions, but we could show them that what this site is for, and how should they post the question, this could give them a clear picture.

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Before you post your first question, you go through an interstitial telling you what kind of questions are good, what kind of questions are bad, etc. I see no reason why a user should be spared the feedback that they're asking a bad question just because they chose to ignore the advice they were explicitly given. You're basically saying it's fine for users to be lazy - and I disagree with that. –  Jon Skeet Sep 14 '12 at 12:02
I think you'll have an easier time trying to encourage people to be nicer to new users, than instituting some rule that forces them to. We can't hand-hold everybody. –  Aaron Bertrand Sep 14 '12 at 12:02
Without meaning to be harsh, have you got an examples of users that were badly treated, but would actually have been worthwhile hand-holding? The massively downvoted questions I see are from people who clearly haven't read the FAQ, clearly skipped the interstitial page Jon mentioned, didn't bother to learn any formatting options and didn't bother to write in paragraphs or coherent sentences. Do we want to spend time hand holding these people, or actually answering questions asked by users who have bothered to learn how to ask? –  Matt Sep 14 '12 at 12:05
Just for your information: the downvotes you receive here are not some cruel way to illustrate to you we like downvoting. :) Downvotes here on Meta SO are often used to indicate disagreement, not necessarily to tell you that your question is bad. –  Bart Sep 14 '12 at 12:16
What I mean is, if its a first post, a user might not have found the answer anywhere so he/she is creating a account and post the question this could be the situation for many new users. I am also agree that user must read the guidelines for asking the question. But we could forgive them for their first mistake by blocking the question. This might give them a chance to go through the guidelines. I am not saying being lazy and not reading the guidelines is a good way. Well I got 13 down votes for a question which discuss about helping new users!! –  Darshan Joshi Sep 14 '12 at 12:18
Some ideas for helping new users are good and helpful, some would not be helpful. We rate those ideas like we rate any other questions. You don't get a free pass just because your question mentions new users or being "nice". –  Ben Brocka Sep 14 '12 at 12:22
I would counter with "Help Stack Overflow by downvoting bad content". The purpose of Stack Overflow is not to help new users, it's to provide reference-quality material for future users. If new users are posting crap, it should be downvoted. Anything else would be bad for the site. If a user can't be bothered to figure out what kinds of questions are acceptable here before they start trying to take advantage of the site, they shouldn't be encouraged to keep posting. Why should we take extra steps to hold this kind of users's hand? –  meagar Sep 14 '12 at 12:40
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marked as duplicate by Toon Krijthe, Martijn Pieters, John, Jim, Rory Sep 25 '12 at 22:15

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

4 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Votes should reflect the quality and correctness of the post; it doesn't matter if the user is new or old.

Stating that new users are being victimised is an unfair accusation. We also see many new users who post good questions/answers and get the upvotes they deserve.

We have seen many question from new Stack Overflow users get down votes. This is actually discouraging them and they might not return to the site.

To put in bluntly, if a downvote discourages them instead of encourage them to improve the post, then perhaps it is no great loss if they decide to walk away.

It is of course possible that some people may take the downvotes personally. It is therefore down to the community to nudge them in the right direction by dropping an explanatory comment and a link to the relevant faq. Hostility and sarcasm that we do sometimes see definitely do not help. (Related SO blog post: Kicking off the summer of love).

There has to be boundary that if the users is new to the site and have less than 10 reputation-points ...

The leeway that new users get is that their reputation will never fall below 1. Any further downvotes will have no effect on their reputation. It's only those that have been around for a while longer, and hence should have a better idea of what makes a good post, that are affected by downvotes.

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I think commenting on a downvote should be mandatory. –  Avi May 7 '13 at 12:01
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This is actually discouraging them and they might not return to the site.

Those downvotes are not personal. It is only bad posts that get down-votes. If that scares bad posters away for some unclear reason, that's only better for the site's level of quality. It's their own choice whether to learn from down-votes, and improve their (next) posts. If they take it, and really learn from it, then that's only better for Stack Overflow. If they don't want, then we should not care about it. They apparently don't find Stack Overflow (and their own questions) worth the effort.

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No one here in Stack Overflow downvote because of personal reasons.

Whenever a new user signs ups into this site, he/she is supposed to read the rules and regulations of this site and also the guidelines to wrap the questions in relevant words.

No one could write a perfect first post. He/she might get some downvotes. Downvoting doesn't means that you should not ask any other questions in the community, it just encourages you to post a strong enough post and show others that you have the potential to write a well phrase post.

My first post here

got 28 downvotes which is far more than yours. But I was not discouraged from that, I read the guidelines and posted strong regulated posts. Now my reputation of this week is clear enough to tell the story.

First read the guidelines and then post a question. Better use mind not heart. Nothing personal, just to encourage you to post good posts

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+1 for you post. I cant upvote you answer, reputation point limits! –  Darshan Joshi Sep 14 '12 at 12:57
First read faqs and follow the guidelines, then write a post. dont take these downvotes seriously, after all these are just virtual points, what matters the most is your potential and ability. –  Sahil Mahajan Mj Sep 14 '12 at 13:01
Well I have been through the guideline, but I have seen this happening to many new users at stackoverflow who haven`t followed the guideline. So I have asked the question here. –  Darshan Joshi Sep 14 '12 at 13:07
you can find dozens of similar questions in this community. so you are not supposed to ask similar type of questions dear. it would be closed if any similar post exists. so first do some research work at your own, then ask questions. It will help you in future. –  Sahil Mahajan Mj Sep 14 '12 at 13:10
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I do see the point being made by your question. And I do agree with the other answers that the upvote or downvote should be based on whether it is a good or bad question.

It is nice when people add a polite, constructive comment when they downvote a question, to explain their reasoning why they think it is bad and maybe give a way it can be improved.

But I have seen many cases where I think a question by a new user is good, and it has been downvoted many times by others with no comments explaining why. I always ask why people have downvoted this.

Also I've seen some horribly insulting comments about poor questions, sometimes by people with high reputation and even some moderators. I do agree that they at least, should take note of the reputation of the asker, and be more polite and constructive in their comments to new users about their question. That will help them and encourage them to get better. Insults are the wrong way to do it.

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