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In my humble newbie opinion, the premises that I have to be aware of to question, comment or answer here, are many and complicated.

Immediately upon asking a question, I am throttled with downvotes, edits and comments implying my irresponsibility and that I should have rigorously read every word of the tour and other rules that are themselves irresponsibly interspersed throughout the website. (I'm not a stickler for the level of responsibility the website must have, but I am pointing out a hypocrisy according the vetters' own rules.)

The fact is, I made a true effort to do my due diligence before asking a question on the paradoxically oh so easy for newbies to locate and misuse 'Ask Question' tab.

As I'm arguing myself out of the mire I have created for myself in my great carelessness in the comments section, which is overseen by the oh so vigilant half of 'helpers' here who love to alternate between helping and criticizing, notwithstanding their lack of familiarity to the case at hand, pedantically paying attention to the perceived technical wrongs of the wording and not seeing the context, the thread of comments suddenly disappears without warning.

Of course, I should have opened a chat and finished discussing my "controversial point" there, says a separately-discovered-after-the-fact page. Additionally, claims a seasoned answerer elsewhere, the comments are a temporary 'privilege' that lose their relevance, subjected to the volition of the unbiased mod who has been participating in the selfsame argument. So, you see, the comments are subject to sudden removal, without any additional process, without prior warning.

Wait, I don't have 20 rep yet so I can't even enter a chat, and also, for myself, often times, if not most times, it can take some time to formulate the proper words for an argument about a controversial point. So using a chat room, which if I'm not mistaken, depends on mutual participation of both sides of the argument simultaneously, will not be effective. And if I am mistaken, well that would be because I can't enter a chat room in the first place to determine how the perfectly formed one at Stack Exchange does.

What's that? If my question has any validity, it has been posted in the wrong sub-site! Oh how lazy I must be! The energy it must have taken the commenter to write that! If only I used as much energy it took the commenter to write the kind advice, to transpose my question to a new site!

In conclusion: For a forum whose experienced users (who transform into vetters at will) regularly bemoan the wrongs of the newcomers, I see it differently. The way I see it, a forum touting its utility sucks in users and when the newbies ask questions they are met with unwarranted reproof, because until you receive your objectively valued rep points you don't deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt as to your efforts prior to the question. All I can say is I'm glad those vetters aren't vetters and judges in real life.

Oh, and let us not forget, this question will be deleted, because I must specifically formulate my griping into a question form, even though that could be done quietly in the head of the reader, otherwise it won't be methodological and formulaic enough for the robots of tomorrow to understand. I won't even be given a second chance to reformulate my material as it disappears into the ether, unless I made a copy of my words first on my own accord.

And I thought there was no shame in asking for help. Oh sweet pseudo-utilitarianism.

I would like to suggest that a notification in a pointed warning form of some kind should be displayed prominently to newcomers, before the fact. Pleasantries, attempts at tempting a newcomer to ask a question, kind requests and buried warnings are not clear enough (to borrow an ironic term used by editors here) for newcomers. The warning should be to the effect that just like the answers are subject to the whims of the answerers themselves and Stack Exchange rules, so is the question. The questioner loses control of their own question, sometimes through editing of others, and sometimes because it doesn't fulfill requirements, and can be entirely deleted in some time, a phenomenon unique to Stack Exchange. This point is also very relevant to comments, which can take time and energy to write, but often suddenly vanish (especially for newcomers). Maybe a warning isn't very friendly, but let's face it, the site isn't supposed to be friendly, right? It's just geared toward perceived usefulness. Notifications after the fact or not at all are not very useful. So in addition to the warning being useful for the newcomer, which is not that important, it will mainly be useful for the desire of some Stack Exchange users, to deter careless newcomers.

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    Some time was wasted there on both sides; I'm really not sure why. It's possible that chat rooms have drawn more attention than was warranted. In any event, it's better to move on... You re-asked your questions on another site. Neither was downvoted there; one of them got some answers. For the downvoted ones to disappear into the ether isn't that bad. – user259867 Apr 23 '15 at 2:15
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    If you're referring to your latest question on SO, then perhaps you should read the comments and take some constructive criticsm from it. Rather than ranting and assuming you are totally in the right here. – fbueckert Apr 23 '15 at 2:56
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    If you think SE is wasting your time, why do you compound that by wasting your time further with this post? – jscs Apr 23 '15 at 3:56
  • @fbueckert Did I forget to mention that most of my comments were deleted? You can't get much context the way it currently stands. If only it the comments were still relevant, maybe you could get a look and judge for yourself... – Sirudol Apr 23 '15 at 4:15
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    I have answered you and given you some food for thought. Not knowing if you are generally this sort of person, or just a new user having some frustrations which this site can bring when you are new, I have given the benefit of the doubt and tried to help. If you do not want to take the advice, or disagree with it, that is your choice to make. The site is not as bad as you make out, and many new users come just the very same way you did. Often they come back later and remark on how they now understand why things are like they are. :) – James Apr 23 '15 at 4:38
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    The only proper response is the one that gets you the results you want. What is it that you want from this post, or from me? – jscs Apr 23 '15 at 4:56
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    Your questions are not the kind we accept here, which is why you find yourself rebuffed. The system is working to protect SO users from people who drop requirements as questions. We expect you to come ask when you have experienced issues while you are working on your solution. Failure to do so will get you downvoted, closed and eventually autobanned. – user1228 Apr 23 '15 at 17:22
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I understand your frustration.
I was frustrated by some things when I first came here.

However, the difference is I didn't rant away to millions of users believing they must surely be wrong and I am right, because I was new.
Yes, now I happily disagree with others, regulars or moderators, but, politely and not being a doink about it.

I cannot comment on your question as you have not linked to it.
If it is this one then your frustration comes because you do not know how the site works, and have not spent any time looking around at how things work.

Arguably those who commented could have spent more time assisting you and explaining in more detail what you should or could do.
And had your first comment response been "humble" or even just "friendly" in the slightest way you may likely have received some additional help.

Instead, as a completely new user to a massive website with quite specific rules (member for 4 days), you immediately jumped to your own defense, and even attacked the advice you were given.
Sure, contest it even if you are a new user, but don't outright expect you are more knowledgeable than other seasoned users.

This is your first comment, which I've commented to below:

Please clarify what isn't clear

Your question is not clear.
It's fine if you want to contest this, however as with most sites, most things in life actually, there are official procedures to do so.

Your question was closed by two users. One with 11,250 reputation and member for 2.25 years, and the other a moderator who even without moderator status is also of exceptional standing with 102,745 reputation and member for 5.3 years.

That does not make them automatically right, but it stands for a load more experience and knowledge of the site, tags, and what is acceptable than yourself with 1 reputation and member for 4 days.

instead of vaguely designating the help center

But the Help Center is where you need to be, to learn a bit more about the site.
Again, had your initial response not been angry, defensive, and telling long standing users and a moderator why they are wrong, you might have received more useful and friendly info.
As it was so negative, users then had to begin to respond to your "negativity" instead of what should have been "Ok, can I have some advice then please".

As it stands, according to your logic

No, the logic of the site rules and requirements.
There are 4.2 million users on Stack Overflow alone, so rules and keeping things inline is paramount to ensure the site retains high standards.

any time anyone asks a question here it can be legitimately closed because maybe the questioner is asking how to use the software they are programming.

I believe your question is not entirely clear.
Had you taken the first bit of friendly advice and read the Help Center, you'd have learned that "On-Hold" and "Closed" do not mean "game over".
You can edit your question, improve it, and add more tags if necessary.
Ultimately flagging it to be "re-opened".

In fact, what I'm asking seems to fit very well with the scope defined in the help center: It relates to "software tools commonly used by programmers; and is a practical, answerable problem that is unique to software development." Even in Excel this is not an intuitively known action.

You are trying to use rules against us, but firstly, how is Excel used "commonly by programmers"?
Second, the site allowing "software tools commonly used by programmers" has no real bearing on you asking about a Google Spreadsheet.

The fact is, the Help Center is not a complete manual of how to use every aspect of the site. It's a "guide" on what is allowed, what is not, and how to "generally" use the site.

Your question here

In most of life, if you are friendly to others they'll be friendly back.
If you come barging in to a new group of people you do not know who have rules and requirements, and start moaning immediately because you do not understand how things work, then you will simply receive negativity back and no warm welcome.

StackExchange wasting time of newcomers, not the other way around

Before people have even seen your question and plea you insult them and are negative, arguably boisterous.

In my humble newbie opinion, the premises that I have to be aware of to question, comment or answer here, are many and complicated.

Absolutely right!
It is a larger learning curve here than a forum, or other sites, but the benefits are reaped once you settle in and learn the ways.

If you already know this, why do you not feel you have a learning curve?
If they are, as you stated "many and complicated" why have you argued against long standing users instead of taking their advice?

Immediately upon asking a question, I am throttled with downvotes, edits and comments implying my irresponsibility

To be fair, I would bet your many downvotes are most certainly from your attitude.
I cannot see why you would otherwise have received 13 downvotes and not a single up vote for such a question.
It was just off topic and all you needed was to take advice, and fix the question.

I've seen spam or really rude questions get less downvotes than yours.
It was your "hostile" attitude which users will not tolerate, and rightly so.

I should have rigorously read every word of the tour and other rules that are themselves irresponsibly interspersed throughout the website.

They are not. I would suggest your unfamiliarity of the site is the reason you state this.
The Help Center and Tour links are quite easy to find and visible for those who are willing to find them.

The fact is, I made a true effort to do my due diligence before asking a question on the paradoxically oh so easy for newbies to locate and misuse 'Ask Question' tab.

If you did this, then this is a fair point.
However, the Help Center/Tour are not "manuals", they are simple guides.
You will still need to "settle in" and feel your way around a bit.

The advice you received was simply what you needed to do, about tags and it being unclear.
Again, all you had to do was politely ask "what next" and someone would have kindly told you how to edit and re-open etc.

As I'm arguing myself out of the mire I have created for myself in my great carelessness in the comments section, which is overseen by the oh so vigilant half of 'helpers' here who love to alternate between helping and criticizing

But you stated yourself right there "the mire I have created for myself in my great carelessness in the comments section". Yes this is the very problem.
People will not help ranters, or users who come across as argumentative and ungrateful.

So they are not "alternating between helping and criticizing" they are trying to help, then defending themselves and the site against your attacks.

You have to understand, this is a massive site and given the plethora of questions asked every hour, we cannot spend time helping ever new person who simply needs to pop off for a bit and do a bit of reading. You are the one wanting some help, so please ask nicely, and within the requirements of the site.

There are many questions closed every hour, probably one every few mins across all tags.
This is the way the site works, because it's not just some forum where people can ask away the same old thing with no quality control - there are higher standards here.
And once you see this, you will benefit from it as you will also receive help back though answers within those higher standards.

pedantically paying attention to the perceived technical wrongs of the wording and not seeing the context, the thread of comments suddenly disappears without warning.

The question needs addressing. It is your job to do that as the question owner - or someone else could, but given your attitude that was not likely to happen.

So, you see, the comments are subject to sudden removal, without any additional process, without prior warning.

Same for you, and me, and the other 4.2 million users. Do you have some reason this is not a good idea?
You are new here, and these things might seem odd, but once you are familiar with things you will agree on most of the rules - at least the main ones which you are currently debating.

Wait, I don't have 20 rep yet so I can't even enter a chat [removed the usual new user rant about how they cannot comment until 50 rep or enter chat rooms]

Same for you, and me, and the other 4.2 million users.
And it's like this for very good reasons. Reasons many new comers do not know about or understand. It will become clear if you give the site a chance :)

What's that? If my question has any validity, it has been posted in the wrong sub-site! Oh how lazy I must be! The energy it must have taken the commenter to write that! If only I used as much energy it took the commenter to write the kind advice, to transpose my question to a new site!

Well, now you're just ranting away and I have nothing to comment on pointless and empty arguments.

In conclusion: For a forum whose experienced users (who transform into vetters at will) regularly bemoan the wrongs of the newcomers, I see it differently. The way I see it, a forum touting its utility sucks in users and when the newbies ask questions they are met with unwarranted reproof,

Forum? You seem to think this is some forum. This is Stack, not only different to a forum, but better for many reasons if you want a clear answer to a straight question.
If you want to debate and discuss your requirements, then this is not the site for that and a forum is better for that.

The way I see it is "newbies" come and ask questions without the proper knowledge of using the site.
The site responds in the same way it treats every one (I have 7,000 rep here and have had questions closed recently). This model is to ensure quality and a high standard, otherwise we're just some other forum, where there's no "serious" quality control or rules to adhere to.
Then we end up as a "Yahoo answers".

because until you receive your objectively valued rep points you don't deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt as to your efforts prior to the question.

"Benefit of the doubt"?
"Deserve"?
We earn trust in life, we prove "our" abilities.
Do you just get given a car and drivers license willy nilly on the basis of "benefit of the doubt"?
Can you wander into your works CEO office whenever you want?

Rules are everywhere, they are needed to instill and retain order.

You do not get into chat rooms until 20 rep as otherwise every new user without knowledge of the site etc would head there and rant, or spam, etc.

Oh, and let us not forget, this question will be deleted, because I must specifically formulate my griping into a question form, even though that could be done quietly in the head of the reader, otherwise it won't be methodological and formulaic enough for the robots of tomorrow to understand.

In other words, you want us to allow you to rant and moan away and we take it on the chin?
Nope. You are the new one here who has to learn the rules and how the site works.
You cannot blame us in any way that there is a learning curve. The site's offer complex benefits, and with that comes rules and systems, including limited usage and privileges until you earn them.

People will welcome you and give you any advice they can.
But you have to be civil.

I won't even be given a second chance to reformulate my material as it disappears into the ether, unless I made a copy of my words first on my own accord.

Yet more false statements.
It's still here, as is your question on Stack Overflow.
Both available to be edited, resolved, a change in attitude and the entire situation reversed and resolved.

And I thought there was no shame in asking for help. Oh sweet pseudo-utilitarianism.

Ah, you're back to rants with empty arguments fueled by stress and frustration.
Will leave it there then...

Conclusion

Give it some time to settle in. Take some friendly advice and feedback.

I suggest you go comment on that question and apologise for your outburst, and ask politely what you can do next.
You "might" receive a snide remark, this is a site with "users" not company owners, but I bet you will most certainly receive some help if you show willing!

  • You took the time to respond to my complaint. I wasn't expecting such a long answer. But that's what you wrote. I don't want to disrespect your efforts, but I don't have the time to rebut everything you have said. Notwithstanding, I think by pointing out just a few things I should be able to cover most of it. This is all I will say: – Sirudol Apr 23 '15 at 5:12
  • The crux of my opinion will be stated in contrast to your above statement: "Sure, contest it even if you are a new user, but don't outright expect you are more knowledgeable than other seasoned users." You see, this is what summarizes your opinion, and what perplexes me. Why are you speaking in terms of expectation? – Sirudol Apr 23 '15 at 5:12
  • What brought me to this website, and I'm sure many others, was not a desire to manipulate people into answering, and not a desire to subject myself to the relative levels of prior knowledge of the supposed discipline called StackExchange, I simply knew that many questions are answered here, and was under the impression that people would be willing to help. I didn't know, and I'm still not convinced, that everyone at this site expects a give and take. – Sirudol Apr 23 '15 at 5:13
  • I don't think that is called expecting what I don't deserve. I've heard about altruism. And there is no shame in asking for help. Whatever payback will be considered later is not of consequence. So I didn't feel compelled to consider the motives behind people answering questions, especially when the potential give and take aspect doesn't even make sense; I'll provide you with an answer if you make sure your question is asked properly... – Sirudol Apr 23 '15 at 5:13
  • Furthermore, I don't buy that one has to earn the benefit of the doubt. If someone is as suspicious as some users here seem to be, please move on. Don't pontificate defensively just because you don't have the patience to consider the potentially innocent motive behind the question. – Sirudol Apr 23 '15 at 5:13
  • Also I want to point out that a few times you utilized the fallacy of arguing from authority, and though one time there was an seemingly circumspective half-admition, in my opinion the half-defense doesn't justify the admition. Also there were a few argumentum ad populums there too. – Sirudol Apr 23 '15 at 5:13
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    @Sirudol You come here with a rant. Someone takes the useless effort to help you understand the problem, and you say "you wrote too much"? You are clearly hopeless! – Patrick Hofman Apr 23 '15 at 6:28
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    This is a Q&A site, where you ask a question because you want an answer. Your question was full of moans, rants, and even some offensive statements. Instead of just closing the question as I could have and telling you to STFU as I was entitled to do, I spent 20 mins digesting your offensive question, and then spent a further 20 mins providing you with a step by step reply. In my answer, I was not sarcastic, condescending, or judgmental in a negative way. I remained factual to try to advise you.And your response is "I don't have the time to rebut everything you have said"? – James Apr 23 '15 at 17:47
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    Why do you expect others to listen to you? Why should we listen to your rants and negative opinions on a site which you have no knowledge of? People have just tried to help you, in comments here and on your question on Stack Overflow, but you just argue, defend, and attack back. What do you want? READ THIS-> All you had to do was edit your question, make it more clear, and add another tag. It *would have been reopened and you would have received an answer*. What is the problem with that? Instead you debate and attempt to find flaws in one of the biggest sites on the internet. – James Apr 23 '15 at 17:54
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    You stated "I'll provide you with an answer if you make sure your question is asked properly" Urm, yes why not? This is not a forum, it's a site with millions of users, and tens of millions of questions and answers, with such vast numbers there has to be rules to retain order, but more importantly a high level of quality. Should we just allow people to ask vague questions which cannot be answered because we do not know exactly what they are asking? And then how do we answer? – James Apr 23 '15 at 18:00
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    If I ask you "lksd ffdnhjl sdhf?" what is you answer? Sure, that's a far fetched example, but I cannot answer you if you do not provide a clear question. But again, if you had taken the advice given to you, and learned a bit as a newcomer to a vast website, you would have learned your question was not "gone" or "game over", you simply had to edit it and make it more clear. It would then have been re-opened and you would have received answers. Instead you went on a rampage dictating how everything is against you and how hard it all is for you. We are not against you, you are against us! – James Apr 23 '15 at 18:03
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    "I don't buy that one has to earn the benefit of the doubt" Do you realise our (and your) opinions and what users want actually matters around here? That is why the site has "Meta", to discuss problems, options, and request changes and new features. However, your opinion currently stands for nothing while you are ranting and attacking things you have absolutely no understanding of! I do not care if you do not buy how something here is. It is that, and either learn how it works and you will reap massive benefits, or perhaps decide this site is not for you. – James Apr 23 '15 at 18:06
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    "If someone is as suspicious as some users here seem to be, please move on. Don't pontificate defensively just because you don't have the patience to consider the potentially innocent motive behind the question" I have seen users like you many times in the past. You do not care about others, or the rules or ways of the site. You want everyone who is not helping you to simply STFU and go away ("please move on"). Users like that, and how you currently appear, simply want their answer and do not care about how it effects the site or others. Well, like it or not, Stack won't tolerate that. – James Apr 23 '15 at 18:08
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    "one time there was an seemingly circumspective half-admition, in my opinion the half-defense doesn't justify the admition" Are you angry by nature? Do you ever stop and actually take a thought or breath before responding to something? You do realise so far, your entire experience on this site has been terrible because you are taking everything the wrong way? Half admition (or, admission) = being civil and understanding. I do not have any "half-defense" to justify. You are in the wrong, and your stubbornness and unwillingness to learn is the issue here, not my trying to help you. – James Apr 23 '15 at 18:15
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    "a few times you utilized the fallacy of arguing from authority" Look, you made a silly, pointless and mostly meaningless rant. You asked a question (Q) on a Q&A site and I answered (A). If you don't even understand the basic fundamental premise of how a Q&A site works, then I do not know what to say to you. I did not argue from "authority" I argued from "experience", something which you do not have so I tried to help you. But, you seem to take everything as an attack, look for problems, and skip around it like a foaming-mouthed bull terrier. I fear there is no way to help you. Good luck.. – James Apr 23 '15 at 18:19

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