I always see Stack Overflow users giving -1 to new users' questions. This is not how you welcome a new user to the community. A new user does not know the rules yet.

I suggest that if one wants to give -1 to a new user, you prevent that and ask the downvoter to write a comment instead. new user = 2 first questions

I see the credit rating on my question is now at -9? My question, is she not well formed or formatted? If you don't agree with the content of a question do you down-rate it? If an Ubuntu user asks a question that might not be reasonable, will you also down-rate it?

No. You post an answer that will present your thinking and correct him? I think that is part of the problem. When you first go to a community like Facebook, and you don't know the faces, you don't feel like any of those people are your relations. Newbies exist here as well, especially in a professional community.

First, welcome the new user in more appropriate way. And most importantly, force them to see/read how to post a good question.

  • 3
    the one who game me -1 - well done... (-:
    – fatNjazzy
    Aug 1 '11 at 8:57
  • 9
    Okay, -1, because I disagree. A bad question is a bad question. And the suggestion with the forced comment was discussed to no end here on Meta (including declination). Aug 1 '11 at 9:00
  • Yes does not depend if the user is new - a bad question should be down voted but please give a reason. Also moderators will review the first question
    – mmmmmm
    Aug 1 '11 at 9:02
  • 6
    There's plenty of new users who just "get it" and asks adequate questions, not necessarily perfect. Why should we treat those that doesn't get it specially? We can give them tips all we want but that almost always never helps them improve as it is very rare for them to follow up on anything done here. Aug 1 '11 at 9:05
  • 1
    @Mark (I understand the reasons behind not wanting to force comment from a downvoter) but people don't always give comments; we are assuming that because they should, they will. I've had a couple of downvotes on Answers of mine (that have been accepted or had multiple up-votes) in the past day or two. I don't mind the rep loss but those downvotes don't help anyone - most casual users of the site can't see the vote breakdown. Aug 1 '11 at 9:15
  • if(user.QuestionCount<=2){downvote.Enabled=false;} AddComment_ButtonClick(..,..){if(CommentTextBox.Text!="") downvote.Enabled=true;}
    – Bastardo
    Aug 1 '11 at 9:42
  • The partly depends on the site, some sites don't need new users, but have lots of problems with bad questions, other sites need every new users they can get. Aug 1 '11 at 9:54
  • Down-votes on meta have the additional meaning of "I disagree with this idea".
    – ChrisF Mod
    Aug 1 '11 at 12:31
  • 4
    Here on meta votes are used to determine if people agree or disagree with suggestions. So downvoting because you think a suggestion would be a bad idea is perfectly common and acceptable here. And while your question's formatting/... could be improved, I assume most people downvoted to express that they think this would not be a desirable feature.
    – sth
    Aug 1 '11 at 12:31
  • 1
    All this stuff you are talking about requires a little bit empathy for newbies.However, most of the community acts like robots and that makes them emotioneless answering machines.They can't even bear a thank you at the bottom of the questions because they think it is noise.I upvoted your question but you can't expect some emotionless, professional answering machines to welcome a newbie with a question which does not fit SO format.Most of them will just burn the newbies in hell.
    – Bastardo
    Aug 1 '11 at 12:37
  • 2
    @Johnny Does removing a "thank you" really hurt anyone's feelings? Lines like these are removed because it gives us more space for the actual question and less distraction from the real problem at hand. And since "thank you"'s are removed on a common basis, nobody would think that the OP was ungrateful. Can you (or the OP) please give a concrete example of actions on a question that -- in your opinion -- treated a new member unfairly (for example in terms of voting behavior)?
    – slhck
    Aug 1 '11 at 12:45
  • possible duplicate of Downvoting of new user questions
    – Cody Gray
    Aug 1 '11 at 23:38
  • 2
    Two extremely important (in my opinion) ideals this proposal ignores: That downvotes must be anonymous, and that you should vote based on the content of the question/answer, not on how you feel about the author. Even ignoring that, how is it a good idea to make it harder to downvote bad content? Somehow every single user here managed to survive without this protection, why should new users need it?
    – meagar
    Aug 2 '11 at 5:14
  • lol you are now referring to your question as 'she'
    – scrblnrd3
    Mar 24 '13 at 1:31
  • 1

If a question happens to be poorly formatted, lacking research effort (or shows any other sign of just a "bad" question), it will be downvoted. Remember that voting is the number one tool users have to separate good from bad questions*, so why should they be restricted from using it?

Note that there are also new users who manage to ask perfectly valid, well-researched and well-written questions.

When judging the quality of a single question, there should be no difference made between a new user and a long-time user. After all, even a long-time user can write bad questions. We should prefer to judge every question by itself.

This is not how you welcome a new user to the community

You could also say, "This is not how a new user should treat the community" (e.g. by showing lack of interest and effort).

a new user that does not know the rules yet.

Then the user should spend a few minutes and get to know the rules. If you haven't noticed yet, there is

all of which are not that hard to read and understand.

* apart from close votes, which are only for users with reputation over 3000

  • 3
    The OP proposes a carrot, SO provides a stick. How about both a carrot and a stick ; you can downvote a new user (their first Q) but have to provide a comment to point out what is wrong and/or how to improve. As popularity of SO grows there will be more a more posts from those less tech-savvy than the usual SO demographic. We need to be wary of coming across negatively. Aug 1 '11 at 9:20
  • 1
    My general understanding was to always include a comment when I downvote a Q or A. I know there are others who probably don't do it, but given a bad enough question, there will most probably be somebody who points that out (e.g. by asking for more information, leaving snarky comments, question being closed, et cetera).
    – slhck
    Aug 1 '11 at 9:23
  • 1
    As I mentioned in a comment on the Q, my experience is that many people don't provide that comment. Bad Q's get jumped on, multiple down-votes and closed before the OP has chance to remedy the situation or even be told what was wrong. Voting is easy and it is human nature to take the path of least resistance at times. Aug 1 '11 at 9:26
  • I know what you are saying, but a bad question is a bad question, regardless of the OP being new to the community or not. There are users who get to 1.5k, asking bad questions all the time and getting their fair share of downvotes. I just don't think there should be any difference made between a new user and a long-time user when it comes to judging the quality of a single question. The main issue here is restricting downvotes. Mandatory comments have been discussed over and over here, so I won't go into that.
    – slhck
    Aug 1 '11 at 9:31
  • 2
    I agree that a bad question is a bad question and wasn't wanting to restrict downvotes. But one does have to consider the perception of the SO community. Instead of forcing a comment, how about pinging up one of those message boxes that are used across SO to mention that a user a new and might want/need a bit of help with their Q, care to comment?, kind of thing? Aug 1 '11 at 9:36
  • 1
    Yes, I agree with you, and it sounds like a reasonable idea -- but I'm almost certain this has already been proposed here.
    – slhck
    Aug 1 '11 at 9:37
  • @everyone My suggestion was bought up because this way, you can : welcome a new user in more appropriate way. And force him to see how to post a good question
    – fatNjazzy
    Aug 1 '11 at 12:35
  • 1
    @fatNjazzy it was not well formatted. the dwonvotes are because people disagree with your opinion/ feature request. Aug 1 '11 at 12:37
  • I usually give -1s if the new user question is completely unclear, or the formatting is bad. Also for pretty much all -1s awarded this way I always explain to them, sometimes even beginning with "Downvote:", so that I can reverse the downvote if the beginning user edits the question. I also suggest edits to these users as well.
    – user387578
    Apr 15 '18 at 8:45

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