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As a newbie to posting on Stack Overflow I wanted to give feedback as there are a couple of elements which I have felt are a little unfriendly.

I created an account here several years ago but haven't used it for asking questions until recently. I always try and search properly to check if my question has been previously answered, and have read through the asking a good question guide.

However it feels some elements of the community are far too keen to start downvoting posts or shut your dialogue down by just posting some link to another question, which actually doesn't really answer your question.

Furthermore the hypocrisy is even greater, because when one searches Stack Overflow, there are many, many questions which are similar to other questions and/or just asking someone to tell them how to do stuff. Admittedly these posts are often a couple of years old, but it sets a tone which then makes it surprising for a newbie when they get aggro for posting questions in a similar fashion.

Consequently a little more patience from some elements of the community would go a long way in helping newbies feel welcome to post.

closed as off-topic by Rob, Nicol Bolas, PolyGeo, Glorfindel, gnat Apr 23 at 21:33

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question's topic is only applicable to one specific site in the Stack Exchange Network. Questions on Meta Stack Exchange should relate to features or policies that commonly apply to the network or the software that drives it, within the guidelines defined in the help center. You should ask this question on the meta site where your concern originated." – Nicol Bolas, PolyGeo, Glorfindel, gnat
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Is it just Stack Overflow or the whole Stack Exchange network? If it is the former, your complaint / concern is better posted at their own Meta. – rene Apr 23 at 20:23
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    Well, I've looked over the questions you asked today and I personally see nothing unfriendly in comments. Yes, one question got closed as a duplicate but that is about it. Can you explain a bit more why you perceive all these helping hands as unfriendly? What did you expect to happen and didn't turnout that way? – rene Apr 23 at 20:28
  • The questions I asked today have been great. However I asked a couple the past few days and all they got were downvoted with no explanation why and no attempt to answer the question or tell me how to improve the post. – Andy Apr 23 at 20:38
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    Downvotes, and voting to close, especially as duplicates, are not being unfriendly. Conversely, they send signals, to future readers, and to you, that the question is not worth others' time, and that it has already been answered elsewhere. – fbueckert Apr 23 at 20:39
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    Sure but a downvote with no guidance as where to look is of no help to the newb – Andy Apr 23 at 20:43
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    Even for the other questions I don't see anything extra ordinary. The only one where you didn't get feedback was on that pysftp question and that downvote is probably because their either seems to be a bit too much code (the M in MCVE stands for Minimal) or a user thought it was a local issue which by definition make such question less useful for future visitors. – rene Apr 23 at 20:46
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    It's not meant to be. It's meant to be a signal to future readers. Telling others that this post is not worth their time saves far more time overall than ever trying to fix questions personally. – fbueckert Apr 23 at 20:46
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    Possible duplicate of The second draft of our Code of Conduct is available for feedback and review - If something was missed add an answer there. – Rob Apr 23 at 20:52
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    The article linked by Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog was actually really helpful. But helpful for the reply which was made to the OP. I now support downvoting. Please go ahead and downvote this thread into oblivion. – Andy Apr 23 at 20:58
  • @Andy I am quite sure that if the purpose of the downvotes is just to "rank content quality" then there is no need for "downvoting into oblivion". Now... if we were to think that some downvotes aren't really that needed... – SPArchaeologist Apr 24 at 8:44
  • Hi Andy ... I'm saddened to see an eloquent "I feel it is unfriendly" post on meta downvoted to -25. At least some of us hear you. Be of good cheer. – jonathanjo Apr 24 at 15:14
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    @jonathanjo Who do you think hasn't heard him? Just because it is downvoted, doesn't mean it's not heard. – fbueckert Apr 24 at 16:41
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I honestly don't think I'm increasingly unfriendly.

However it feels some elements of the community are far too keen to start downvoting posts or shut your dialogue down by just posting some link to another question, which actually doesn't really answer your question.

Voting (up and down) is at the core of the mechanism used by the community to value the content. I'm very much aware of its power and it is the key feature that makes that I value the sites in the SE network higher then other sites. You can't have a great site without being strict about the content. Visit Yahoo! Answers to see what happens if you don't do that.

Posting a link to another question is not a way to shutdown dialogue. I often post links to similar questions to verify if I'm on the right track. With a bit of luck my search fu turns out a better result you have had so far. That is not be a shamed of. Just use it to see if you can focus your question with that new information. It is fine to respond with a comment that you're going to edit your post with the new information.

Furthermore the hypocrisy is even greater, because when one searches Stack Overflow, there are many, many questions which are similar to other questions and/or just asking someone to tell them how to do stuff. Admittedly these posts are often a couple of years old, but it sets a tone which then makes it surprising for a newbie when they get aggro for posting questions in a similar fashion.

Yes, the collection of question and answers is growing, many thousands per day. Most of them are repeats of former questions. Unfortunately on SO there are not enough users that can handle all these new posts so it might look indeed that asking without researching is okay. It is not but I have to find ways to deal with all these posts someday. I have a backlog (call it a review queue) to handle. And sometimes I'm called to meta for my actions. I'm sorry.

Consequently a little more patience from some elements of the community would go a long way in helping newbies feel welcome to post.

I've been patient for 6 to 8 weeks to see some new feature being implemented that should help new users in asking their first questions. But let me put this expectation right: I'm not unwelcome to anyone but don't get me started on all these users (not you, you're nice) that have the expectation they are entitled to a tailored answer. I'm not catering for that. I'm catering for those that visit a question and my answer long after we have moved on. The content on an SE site is for the generation to come.

Don't be a newbie. Be someone that cares about posting quality content, be it questions or answers. That is all that matters. Who or what you are is irrelevant for the quality of a post. Let's assume good faith, also from the voters.

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    Thank you for your time in replying Rene. It is much appreciated and you have put things into context for me! – Andy Apr 23 at 22:27

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