Well, not sure if the title is good, but really, I am a bit frustrated with the user behaviour here. It is not related to just one question, but a few of them I've posted and most of the questions that I've answered.

Usually I see people here asking question like they do in forums, and most of them are first timers or newbies. They ask question in a language that is hard to understand at times, but most of time it makes sense that the person that asks the question is newbie and is not as clever as most of the experienced people using SO. But still the new user gets negative votes (vote down) just because his language doesn't make sense to others, though from the point of view of a new developer it makes sense to ask such questions.

Recently I posted a question asking "what is best way of compiling my project if I don't have proper theoretical environment." I got a few downvotes; I am still wondering why.

I understand Stack Overflow is not like regular forums that we had in older days, but isn't it still a discussion group in the same line? Do all users here expect you to be as intelligent as they are?

This is more of feedback and discussion on how inexperienced developer get discouraged by seeing such behaviour.

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    Your question about what is the best way to ... is opinion based and off-topic - that's for the downvotes there
    – juergen d
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 11:50
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    You, like all beginning users, were offered a tour of how the site works. You were also given an initial page with advice on how to ask questions, with a little checkbox on it for you to check that you had read the advice given and would take it to heart. Where in the tour and in the advice given did you get the impression that Stack Overflow is for discussions? Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 11:55
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    The site is doing its best to educate new users as to what is expected of questions. What wasn't clear in those attempts? How should we treat new users that have ignored the advice given? Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 11:56
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    @MartijnPieters well I never saw any such tour. Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 12:06
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    @SumitGupta: stackoverflow.com/tour. Initial page with checkbox: stackoverflow.com/questions/ask/advice Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 12:06
  • @MartijnPieters Are you denying that when the site started new users (like you and others who were there at the beginning) who were maybe making much more severe blunders (at the beginning) were not turned away and severely down voted?
    – One Face
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 12:37
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    @CRags I was never active in the early days, I don't know. Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 12:40
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    @SumitGupta We're letting you use our resources to get answers to your questions. The least you could do in return is to read a few paragraphs to make sure your question is high in quality so that others can answer it. (Not to mention that you explicitly checked the "thanks, I will keep these tips in mind when asking" box, so you can't say you didn't read it.)
    – Doorknob
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 12:46
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    possible duplicate of When is it justifiable to downvote a question?
    – gnat
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 12:49
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    @CRags: Note that there was very little out there to teach anyone about what works in a Q&A format, and how the goals of making this a great repository of programming problem solutions was going work. So yes, there are examples of early questions that now would not last very long. That doesn't mean we haven't learned and now do know how questions should be formulated. Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 13:58
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    @SumitGupta: so if you are not going to read advice given to you, why are you asking for advice now? Because your posts were downvoted and your posts were closed as off-topic, so that worked to get your attention. That just means those measures at least are working. I don't think we can do anything more for people that ignore information presented to them in a clear and concise manner. Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 14:00
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    @CRags: but the point of the site is to collect a repository of knowledge, not to teach people how to ask questions properly. Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 15:28
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    @CRags: my point is that there are plenty of new users that did read the advice given and are doing fine. How do you propose new users get a 'gentler' introduction? By allowing their bad questions to live longer? How will they then learn that the questions they are asking are bad? Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 15:35
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    @CRags: this has nothing to do with being a beginner in programming. You can still show your efforts, produce a minimal example that reproduces the problem, show your effort. Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 16:06
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    @CRags, Stack Overflow is probably not the right place for you yet. There is a certain minimum understanding level that's inherent to the format. If you don't have the experience to be able to describe your question clearly and succinctly, it's unlikely that your question is going to yield an answer that's useful to anyone but you, which is a core tenet of SE. Until you have some programming competence, tutorials and back-and-forth forums/discussion will be much better for you. SO will be here when you've mastered the basics, though!
    – jscs
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 19:49

4 Answers 4


isn't it still a discussion group in same line?

No it isn't. None of the Stack Exchange sites are suitable for discussions.

Questions and Answers. That's it. Not discussions.

I understand that downvotes are discouraging, but if someone can't understand the question due to how it was phrased, it is not a good question and deserves downvotes.

Some such questions can be salvaged - other users can edit it to be more understandable, but this is not always the case (and there is a danger that the edit changes the original question too much).

  • tell me, did you ever get to your senior (ofcourse when you were junior) and you always ask the proper question and never discuss them anything. I understand the site is doing a good to provide new education to user and keep it clean, but I really think it is unfair for some people from a part of world that do not get same level of resources and understanding as other get. And down voting them is really bit hard on them. Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 12:12
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    If I can't understand a question enough to even edit it, what am I supposed to do?
    – Oded
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 12:25
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    See editing question is definitely a good option, but I am against Down voting, especially if it is without comment. I think the better way is to enforce down vote with comment while hiding the name of person who down voted. Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 12:40
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    Why are downvotes so terrible?
    – Oded
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 12:41
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    they are not, just that I feel like left in between when I get down voted and I wasn't sure what is wrong... Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 12:42
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    There are always ways to improve a question. Always. Edit it. Clarify. Add more relevant details. Remove details that are not relevant. You get a downvote, you re-read the post and try to improve it.
    – Oded
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 12:46

Usually I see people here ask question like they do in forums,

Here's a problem right away. Stack Exchange is a network of question and answer sites, and should not be treated like a forum.

and most of them are first timer or newbie.

All new users, before asking their first question, must read the ask-advice page. Furthermore, there are an abundance of other resources available for new users to learn about our site, if they so please.

But still he get negative (vote down)

A downvote is not a personal attack. It is not an insult to the user who asked the question, which you seem to be implying. It's simply a signal of a question that could be improved in quality.

because his language doesn't make sense to other

If the question doesn't make sense, how are people supposed to answer it? Please do take the time to write a well-researched, understandable question. (Grammar or spelling errors are okay if English isn't your first language, as those can be edited out, but please do your best to make the premise of what you're asking easy to understand.)

I understand Stackoverflow is not regular forums that we have in older days, but isn't it still a discussion group in same line?

No! No no no. Stack Overflow or other Stack Exchange sites are not the place for discussion. We have a strict question-and-answer format. This is explained in detail in the tour linked earlier.

Do all user here expect you to be as intelligent as they are?

It's absolutely fine to ask "beginner" questions. Just make sure you've done your research and that your question is clear, and it should be treated just like any expert-level question would be.


Your question was probably voted down for the following reasons:

You asked Stack Overflow how to do something and started out with "But I don't want to do the way that is recommended, or the way I know works."

Secondly, you didn't try anything on your own. The 'Downvote' arrow has a message when you hover over it:

enter image description here

Your message did not show any research effort ("I don't want to use the command line, I don't want to do what is recommended"). And it's also not useful: reading that question, I don't walk away thinking I'm about to learn something new, I walk away thinking "The nerve of that <random internet person>.

That's why your question was downvoted.

As to why it was closed; I can only imagine the same people that downvoted it were hoping for another way to get rid of it, and they chose to vote to close. It's a poor question, but it doesn't deserve to be closed.

Normally I'd spend this part of my answer letting you know what you could have done better in this case. I don't have much to say this time, except:

  • If you're asking us for help, you should be prepared for the answer. If you already know the answer and just don't want to do it, then be prepared for the downvotes.
  • Well, I agree what you said, but as for "research" been done, if I know a stuff will work if I get some expensive method, but I am looking for inexpensive or less effort method, and I mention that in my question, than how research is not been involved. I am not getting clear point here. But again, most of it left for individual thinking. Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 12:09

what is best way of

The first thing that comes to my mind after reading that statement is define best?. In order to try to define best, your attempt becomes an opinion based approach. Thus, it is an off-topic question in itself. Hence, the question is open for downvotes and to be closed as off-topic because it is primarily opinion based.

And yes of course, Stack Overflow is not a forum.

Forums are largely discussion-based and tend to follow less strict rules about what posts can be like.

On Stack Overflow (and Stack Exchange in general), we require every new thread to be started with a question and every response to that question to be an attempt at answering it.

If there is any doubt remaining, have a look at : Is Stack Overflow a forum?

In my own case:

I had to spend sometime to understand how Stack Overflow works. I did not make any attempt to post anything in hurry, as I want to be associated with Stack Overflow in the long run. Since, I am a moderator of a technical forum, and an active member in various forums. But, I am quite judicious while I participate in this site. I respect and abide by the rules.

I would encourage you to stop thinking otherwise, and make a move to give your best to the community by your participation. Remember, while answering a question, there were, are and will always be less members actually answering, and more members seeking help. This applies to every other community out there on the web. If you ever made an attempt to answer a question, then you precisely know the effort it takes to help someone.

So, all I mean to say is, when you have also been into a role of an answerer/helper or whatever you call it, you are one of the community builders. Therefore, come out of your discomfort, there are lot of other pains in technical world. All you need is a kick start for whatever you do. Just remember, this site respects you equally the way you respect it.

Good luck and cheer up man!

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