tl;dr: propositions in bold italics

On the one hand, quality control is paramount for SE success, so posting guidelines need to be adhered to. New users are often unfamiliar with SE rules. This can sometimes result in a somewhat blunt response to homework questions, for example. Although this often happens in complete agreement with SE guidelines, this nevertheless has already been highlighted as an issue. Similar discussion about homework questions.

Taking this a bit further, I speculate that this may lead to a significant number of younger users who are alienated by this "harsh" response, especially children who have decided to join the community and made a first clumsy post. Personally, I have the impression that the average age of users posting their first question is dropping, especially on certain forums (I'm thinking of Chemistry, but that may be just a feeling, I have no data to back that up).

I feel that SE should be as inclusive as possible in regards to potential young members, and that it would be a significant loss to the community if their interest is bashed away by an indiscriminate policy (for me, this is especially objectionable in SE's scientific branches). I realize that SE's core idea of up/downvoting posts does not bear an offensive quality, but that's an adult concept. SE has grown far past its bare core and now faces the delightful perspective of answering kids' questions. Something to be cherished, I'd say.

User anonymity makes an age-based response impossible. Therefore, I'd argue for a set of "canned answers" for the most obvious breaches of SE rules (most notably, homework questions that don't show effort) that are formulated in a friendly manner and invite further participation. Maybe they can contain fields that need to be filled in, like links to existing answers.

Alternatively, maybe it would make sense to create a rule that requires some basic form of friendliness in all answers, especially those mark the question as inappropriate? This seems harder, because friendliness is a subjective quality.

  • 11
    The goal of SE isn't to be as inclusive as possible, it's to make the highest quality Q/A possible. Some exclusion (namely the exclusion of bad content and in the longer term those who create it) is necessary to that end. – mag Mar 14 '18 at 12:23
  • 1
    So you have no data to backup this recommendation, which is what exactly? – Ramhound Mar 14 '18 at 12:23
  • 1
    @Ramhound highlighted recommendations in bold italics – Zubo Mar 14 '18 at 12:26
  • 1
    @Magisch this is what the third paragraph is about – Zubo Mar 14 '18 at 12:26
  • 1
    @Zubo This I feel like SE should be as inclusive as possible is a non starter. The goals of the network are already clearly defined. – mag Mar 14 '18 at 12:27
  • 1
    @Magisch without the community the Q&A aspect of the site will fall away and become non-existent. – user310756 Mar 14 '18 at 12:28
  • 9
    I think some of us have been doing that, "Welcome to [site.se]. Please take a quick tour and help center to understand how this site works, bla bla bla". Is that not friendly enough? And answering off-topic/low-quality question is never been SE's goal, regardless of users' age. – Meta Andrew T. Mar 14 '18 at 12:28
  • @YvetteColomb One does not mean the other can't exist, but the focus is not on providing the most inclusivity possible. Moderation and content rating necessitates some form of exclusion. – mag Mar 14 '18 at 12:32
  • @HTTP very. That sort of canned response for homework questions, maybe? – Zubo Mar 14 '18 at 12:34
  • What kind of canned responses do you want? @Zubo – Patrick Hofman Mar 14 '18 at 12:35
  • 4
    @PatrickHofman I guess something along the lines of "Thanks for your question, we highly appreciate your efforts, but we are afraid this is off topic here. Please come back when you grow up a bit" – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask Mar 14 '18 at 12:37
  • Canned response or not, dealing with a lot of such questions make people just DV and cast a close vote in the end. Want more good comment? bring help with the close review queue IMO – yagmoth555 Mar 14 '18 at 12:37
  • 1
    Your recommendation already exists. – Ramhound Mar 14 '18 at 12:41

Stack Exchange is inclusive of young users. In fact there's been teenage moderators on many of the sites, including Stack Overflow.

The Network has a Be Nice Policy and the moderators are there to help ensure people respect that. If you feel you are not being treated fairly, you can always flag for a moderator, make a post on the meta site or contact the community team.

There has been on-going issues with how the community treats new users. Could we please be a bit nicer to new users? and it's important to be mindful that we were all new and to try be helpful.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    That's good to hear. I routinely see harsh answers to homework questions, however, so this policy is not ubiquitously adopted. Also, the functionality you describe requires familiarity with the site, which new users don't have. – Zubo Mar 14 '18 at 12:30
  • 1
    @Zubo of course, it takes time to adjust. Sometimes it can be a good idea to take a backseat and have a look at the types of questions and answers are well received to see what type of format the site accepts and likes. – user310756 Mar 14 '18 at 12:34
  • 15
    I routinely see harsh answers to homework questions... I routinely see homework dumps with no effort at all. – Patrick Hofman Mar 14 '18 at 12:35
  • 6
    @Zubo It's not that it isn't adopted, but rather that you seem to be misinterpreting it. Being nice to new users doesn't mean doing their homework for them and refusing to tell them when they act inappropriately. It just means acting professionally when you tell them that they have acted inappropriately. As for new users not being familiar with the rules, they're given all the information about what is expected of them before they ask, it's on them to read the information presented to them. If they choose to ignore the rules, then they'll have to accept the consequences of that choice. – Servy Mar 14 '18 at 14:40

You must log in to answer this question.

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