--- The General Question ---
Should I avoid posting (writing questions or answers) unless I am willing (and able) to put forth the exorbitant effort required to produce "exceptional content". **Will a reasonable effort post that still has meaningful, useful, & overall "good" content (though far from "perfect") be generally accepted?
I am generally afraid to make posts out of fear of losing significant reputation (& privileges) or being heavily flagged (& risking suspension or worse of the account itself) if my post is anything shy of exceptional. Is my fear valid & creating a sub-excellent post is a strong gamble that is quite likely to receive significant disapproval and/or flags? Or am I worrying about nothing and I'm just being overly pessimistic about the community's standards?
--- Detailed Description & Background Context ---
On Q&A sites like Stack Exchange, I find myself extraordinarily hesitant to post, whether it being asking a question, giving an answer, or even commenting. When I post something I feel the need to put in exorbitant effort trying to make it "absolutely perfect"; I fear that not doing so may generate more detrimental backlash in my direction than actually useful constructive discussion.
Fear is of Functional Damage (Not Emotional)
Like most people I feel some disappointment at any disapproval towards my posts; though this is simply the nature of constructive criticism & review when posting on sites with open review systems. I don't have any problems with this and heartily accept any advice or suggestions for improvement. My concerns are more technical and relate to both the reputation & privilege system, and the flagging & moderation processes. I fear the functional damage to my account these systems might cause that accompany any criticism: positive, negative, and most problematically intentionally malicious.
I'm not afraid of the emotional baggage of the criticism, but of the associated reputation losses & resulting revocation of privileges. Even worse any administrative actions that might be taken on my account from suspension to termination.
Sources of Concern
Thankfully making a comment doesn't directly risk reputation, but comments can still be flagged just like questions or answers. I am especially worried of my contributions being flagged by people that are either very hypercritical or downright malevolent/mischievous (i.e. they downvote & flag for the sake of causing misery/chaos). Even with intelligent checks in-place designed to prevent this exact occurrence, in my experience an automatic flag handler tends to bias against you & treats most unjust flags as valid. The manual peer/moderator flag review process usually works well, but sometimes you will suffer the wrath of the inevitable "bad moderator". A "bad moderator" could be one that is some combination of -among other things- inept, biased, hypercritical, overzealous, power-mad, spiteful, or simply in a bad mood at the time of review; any of these could lead to unfair judgements or disproportionate punishments. (NOTE#1: A "overly kind moderator" with opposite traits can still give unfair judgements in the other direction and may be too lenient with grievous violations; this is still problematic but in a different way.)
I recognize that any Stack Exchange site is clearly and intentionally designed to have a more critical nature and give far more importance to high-quality & useful contributions than on other similar sites. This Stack Overflow blog post about the site's optimization goals details the rational that guides the design of the reputation & sorting systems. The post clearly explains the necessity of increased criticism & filtering in both increasing average content quality and maximizing attention to very-high quality content. While Stack Overflow doesn't necessarily speak for all SE communities, it is the original so it embodies the spirit & style of the majority quite well.
Deciding Whether & What to Post
I have a nearly perfectionist quality standard for most work I do while also being obstructively deliberate with every detail; I am already so critical of my own work that creating it is needlessly slow. That being said; I understand that half-assed, useless, or otherwise undoubtedly low quality content should and will be downvoted, criticized, and likely flagged. But my fear is that, after spending upwards of several hours & excessive effort into carefully writing a thoroughly detailed question or highly precise analytical answer that I genuinely believe to be "good", I'll still receive primarily negative reactions to it for not being "good enough" and suffer the consequences. (*This* question itself took approaching 10 hours to create with most being to either researching the various components that create this overarching problem, or carefully writing the question (and relevant context) as clearly & specifically as possible.)
I don't want to gamble my account and privileges whenever I genuinely want to ask a meaningful question, or when I feel like writing a reasonably helpful answer to an unanswered question if it doesn't cause me much hassle, from nothing more than a desire to be helpful. As is, I feel I should only risk asking a question if I direly require the answer. I should also only risk answering for the purpose of gaining reputation to build a safety buffer or gain usable leeway, and only if I can confidently put forth the full effort needed to create an "exceptional" answer. I don't want to have this attitude, but the apparent construction of the system & my prior experiences creates a quite pessimistic outlook that suggests I should "play it safe" by avoiding writing ... anything.
Perhaps I am too distrusting of people and am anticipating behaviors that are less than realistic or far less common than I expect. Perhaps I am once again being massively over-deliberate in thinking about these decisions. I know this dilemma impacts me far more than most SE users, but I also know that I am not the only one that has this problem.
What level of quality standards are generally accepted for posts? Are my ideas of the typical quality expectations far off from reality?
Am I substantially overestimating the losses/penalties I'd receive for less-than-perfect work? As long as I put in decent effort to my posts, will negative responses (downvotes & flags) not occur frequently enough to risk any "functional damages" (I.e., gains from positive responses reliably outweigh negatives, so reputation points shouldn't drop)? Is posting far less "dangerous" than I'm expecting it to be?
NOTE #2: I am aware that reputation points losses are significantly weaker than reputation points gains (for example, upvotes being +10 and downvotes being -2), but considering the highly-critical nature I've witnessed across SE, I expect the quantity of negative responses to decidedly exceed positive responses for all but the highest quality posts. The greatest concern is the reputation points losses from flags & any other administrative punishments that might follow flags.
Any additional relevant advice or tips would also be greatly appreciated. Also, please let me know of any criticisms about this question post itself so that I may improve in the future.