-8

There doesn't seem to be a place within the stack exchange network for general questions, website support, or an FAQ, and the "rules" (the tour) are extremely vague and unhelpful.

Users and mods can be very hostile to new members, over very petty issues, which supposedly break (non-existent) site rules or community guidelines.

On meta specifically, posts can be marked as duplicates (when they aren't, or when previous, supposedly similar questions fail to answer the question being asked), and either users or moderators are very quick to down vote questions which they "disagree with". I don't understand how someone can "disagree" with a question ("I disagree" is not a reasonable response to "why is the sky blue"), but that is the explanation which has been given.

I think that these are real problems which could be solved with a few very simple additional features.

I am not asking why the community is hostile (I'm merely pointing out that it is), but I am asking why there is not a better (or any) set of clear and understandable rules and guidelines, or a place for general questions and support, or an FAQ. and maybe a feature to prevent downvote abuse/brigading.

(For an example of brigading, observe the 200 downvotes that I'm going to receive for posting this completely reasonable question, while likely not receiving any reasonable answers)

  • 8
    i.stack.imgur.com/Cc8BB.png – Stijn Feb 6 '17 at 10:56
  • 4
    Calling someone hostile is not nice. – Patrick Hofman Feb 6 '17 at 11:01
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of How can we be friendlier to new users? – gnat Feb 6 '17 at 11:27
  • 9
    "observe the 200 downvotes that I'm going to receive for posting this completely reasonable question" the tooltip for the downvote button says "...does not show any research effort"... If you had gone through the "help" button or searched here for "FAQ" then most of your questions would have been answered. – Cai Feb 6 '17 at 11:35
  • You were suggesting to add such a place, while it already exists, hence (I guess) at least part of the downvotes. +1 from me, as it's not trivial to skim through everything, and sometimes there are no clear rules as well. (which is a different matter.) – Shadow Wizard Feb 6 '17 at 11:46
  • 1
    Please focus on one issue, and please propose a solution. There are already mechanisms to deal with a user that's having a bad day. And it's occasionally only perceived hostility, because someone got a downvote, or their question closed. It's not about personal vendettas, and we don't know each other (you're probably a dog). – Margarine Feb 6 '17 at 12:00
  • 2
    You don't need to add [solved] to your titles. The fact that you accept an answer already indicates that. And yes, I like to be pedantic. – rene Feb 6 '17 at 13:00
  • 2
    I distinctly recall that the new FAQ and tour was adopted cause the old single page FAQ was seen as being too unfriendly for new users. Can't seem to find that post though. – Journeyman Geek Feb 6 '17 at 14:18
  • 'few very simple additional features.' - lemme guess - they require more effort from overloaded SO contributors that answer questions for free and have to filter out the bad ones, and no effort from users who ignore/disregard the site policies/rules that are freely available from the help menu items. – Martin James Feb 6 '17 at 14:35
  • @MartinJames No, it's just asking for features that already exist. – Servy Feb 6 '17 at 14:49
10

I am asking why there is not a better (or any) set of clear and understandable rules and guidelines

There is! The help center covers a lot of subjects on SE sites in general, but also some site-specific rules. See for example the What topics can I ask about here? and What types of questions should I avoid asking? sections.

or a place for general questions and support

You are on it. Questions on the entire network of sites are on-topic here, but just like any other site, we have some rules, and those rules will be enforced. If you want to ask site-specific questions, go to the site's own meta, like Meta Stack Overflow or Meta Seasoned Advice.

or an FAQ

Today is your lucky day. See the FAQ main post and the tag. Site-specific FAQs can be found on their own meta (each per-site meta has its own faq tag).

and maybe a feature to prevent downvote abuse/brigading.

There is. There is a serial voting (up and down) script that detects fraudulent votes. Also moderators have special tools to investigate voting fraud. Those tools don't prevent users from expressing their opinion about the quality of the post though (in the form of either an up or down vote). Note that users vote based on the description in the vote buttons, which says for the downvote button: "This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful".

  • 1
    Fair enough, answer appears to be complete now. :) – Shadow Wizard Feb 6 '17 at 11:48
  • 1
    But it goes without saying that the same bunch of users is brigading the active tab AND vocal when something is posted that doesn't fit. The serial voting script is not going to solve that, nor should it. – rene Feb 6 '17 at 12:54
  • I somehow missed the help center. now I feel stupid... – Sebastian Hahn Feb 12 '17 at 17:13
1

To a large extent, we run on common law. There's a codified set of rules - as per the site TOS and FAQ pages, but how communities end up enforcing or interpreting those rules vary.

Quite often though, there's specifics to site policies that come up in our meta sites but these are edge cases (like SU's oft-debated ban on hackintosh questions, and our workaround for realising software recs are shopping questions).

So, when in doubt, the FAQ and tour takes precedence. While I was a fan of the single page FAQ I often refer to my site FAQ when deciding on what action to take, and its pretty easy. The tour's a new thing, and I've never really needed it.

Users and mods can be very hostile to new members, over very petty issues, which supposedly break (non-existent) site rules or community guidelines.

If its not in the FAQ, ask about it politely. Something like "hey, I wasn't aware this was in the rules and its not in the FAQ. Could you kindly point me at where these guidelines are?"

On meta specifically, posts can be marked as duplicates (when they aren't, or when previous, supposedly similar questions fail to answer the question being asked), and either users or moderators are very quick to down vote questions which they "disagree with". I

The first bit - Depends on the question. But if something is wrongly dupe-voted, maybe edit it as appropriate so its more obviously not a dupe?

The second part indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of the meta system. Other than MSE (which is special for historical reasons). Votes on every meta don't affect your reputation. Users voting for or against, as acts as a form of direct representation of what the community feels on a post. There's literally no consequence outside potentially hurt feelings from a downvoted meta post. Its not hostile. Its how we do things. No one's likely to hold what you say on meta against you on the main site.

  • 2
    But if something is wrongly dupe-voted, maybe make a case in a custom flag? Why mod-flag if you can edit the question and explain why it isn't a duplicate, as the header indicates? – Patrick Hofman Feb 6 '17 at 15:10
  • or that I suppose. I've never come across the situation on SU meta, or any other meta I frequent. You're right though. Idea yonked. – Journeyman Geek Feb 6 '17 at 15:11

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .