This might not be the regular trend but every now or then I see a new user asking a question (that does not fit the Stack Exchange question format) and is downvoted heavily. I'm just trying to understand why and if possible anything can be done instead. I know of a couple of people who essentially make throwaway accounts to ask questions because they don't know how to format their questions and get downvoted for it.

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    +1 for a well-written question. Isn't it obvious? – NVZ Jul 1 '16 at 12:49
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    +1 for the first on-topic question by a 1-rep user of the day. – Glorfindel Jul 1 '16 at 12:58
  • Because questions which contain poor grammar are often not clear, and questions that are not clear, cannot be answered which makes them not helpful to the community. It isn't hard to perform a grammar check on a question before you hit submit. – Ramhound Jul 2 '16 at 11:52

Just hover over the downvote arrow. It reads:

"This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful"

What can be done to prevent such downvotes?

  • Make it clear to us what the question is asking.
  • Proofread to remove silly typos and grammar mistakes (as far as you can)
  • Include the research you've done and why that didn't help.

Also visit the respective Stack Exchange site's Tour page and Help Center for a better understanding on what's on-topic for the site.

I, personally, do not downvote for poor English. I try to help the OP by editing the question. But I can't make everyone think like me.

  • I've never noticed the popup displayed when hovering over the downvote arrow, possibly another reason to give the benefit of doubt to new users sometimes? – Meshugah - Bank Of Hodlers Jul 1 '16 at 12:56
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    @VigneshKarthikeyan why should we "reward" new users for not making themselves familiar with the site and how it works? Down voting is not a punishment, it's a way of pointing out that something is wrong with the question or answer. Those downvotes can be (and often are) reversed if you fix the post – Catija Jul 1 '16 at 13:44
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    Someone doing a Google search for a problem they're having and following a link to a StackExchange site is going to find an question / answer that way. If that question is poorly written they're not going to think "Well this must have been a new user so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt". No, they're going to think "Well that was a confusing mess of a question, I'll go elsewhere to find my solution". They may even taint Stack Exchange as a whole with that impression and never follow a link to Stack Exchange ever again. That's in nobodies interest. – JonW Jul 1 '16 at 14:16
  • @VigneshKarthikeyan - You don't have to be an experienced Stack Exchange user to know that submitting a question, in a written form with grammatical mistakes, is a bad idea. So the only reason somebody would ask a question, in a written form with grammatical mistakes, is because they did not go to the effort to remove them. Unless you friends, who create throw away accounts, ask questions in a verbal form with poor grammar they should know their written content should be grammatical correct. A question with poor grammar is not helpful to the community. – Ramhound Jul 2 '16 at 11:54

Usually it is not just the formatting or grammar, it is the lack of effort, from which very serious formatting and grammar issues are the first sign.

Users across the network of sites heavily dislike users that just want a quick answer with no effort shown. Those questions are downvoted heavily, to give the signal to learn from it and don't do it again.

  • I just felt kind of bad looking at some questions that seemed to be honest questions but were very open-ended. – Meshugah - Bank Of Hodlers Jul 1 '16 at 12:54
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    If the post shows effort, but a lack of correct English language or some grammar issues, usually users will look through that and see the quality of the post. Those users will edit it into shape, as I do a lot on Stack Overflow. – Patrick Hofman Jul 1 '16 at 12:55
  • not everyone's browsers offer spell check. Not everyone has English as a first language. Not all formatting and grammar errors are a sign of laziness. While I often find grammar and punctuation errors side-by-side with disorganized questions in a strange order, absence of details, and other markers of a bad question, I don't see how it helps anyone for you to declare that all of these are caused simply by laziness - they could easily be caused by other things, and you'd be happier realizing that. – Kate Gregory Jul 1 '16 at 14:46
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    I didn't say some grammar problems are a sign of lack of effort, but some posts with very serious formatting and grammar problems are. And they deserve a downvote @KateGregory – Patrick Hofman Jul 1 '16 at 14:49
  • I mean like this one: meta.stackexchange.com/q/280764/245360 @KateGregory – Patrick Hofman Jul 1 '16 at 14:50
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    @VigneshKarthikeyan - Question that are "very open-ended" are often the very questions that have multiple problems, which means the question as a whole, isn't that helpful to the community. – Ramhound Jul 2 '16 at 11:58
  • Hey @Pat, need another favor... can you please undelete this one? OP got mad at me personally and decided to delete it as kind of petty revenge. (and as a useful feature request, don't think it should be deleted just like that) – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask V2 Jul 3 '16 at 10:08

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