-18

Suggestion

I suggest shortening this particular FAQ Answer significantly: https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/121351/718637 and also to shorten the FAQ itself.

Reasons

  • I feel that particular answer and the FAQ itself is not easily digestible.
  • The FAQ should be accessible, above all, to newcomers as they are the ones most likely to need that information.
  • Being a newcomer myself I think there is just too much information in the FAQ and in this particular article
  • Background information should be hidden from view (via links) so newcomers can decide how deep they would like to dive into a topic and how much time they have available to invest.

Possible Change

Summarize the FAQ answer in a very short manner which is readable in few Seconds. This answer should be structured like that:

  1. Calm down the newcomers worries
  2. Provide some basic reasons on why the downvotes happen
  3. Provide the newcomer with a easy way to work on getting fewer downvotes

For an examplary FAQ answer see: https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/344758/718637

A much shorter version of this answer could even be implemented as a pop-up when the first downvote is cast against a newcomer's post. Like for example: "Hey, you received a Downvote! Dont worry, the People here only want to improve your experience when using the site. For more Information on How to Improve see here: xxxx"

  • 2
    Are you refering to the hundred or so sites on the network or just to meta.se? BTW the conventions re downvoting on the rest of the network don't apply here, so it's important to differentiate. – Bitter dreggs. Mar 7 at 19:41
  • 21
    You need to explain to me why it needs to be readable in a few seconds? Is that due to incapability to comprehend anything that is longer then a tweet? The FAQ answer already has a tl;dr and honestly don't see how a tl;dr of the tl;dr is going to help. – rene Mar 7 at 19:42
  • @Bitterdreggs. i am actually referencing to the initial User Experience for a new comer. Making this as hassle free as possible is essential for growth of the Site/Sites and to keep Newcomers engaged. Downvoting functionality was just a example i experienced myself – Kevin Kötz Mar 7 at 19:45
  • @rene A Newcomer most likely has found Stack Exchange via google. He has no background information about how the site works. So if he has a question which he thinks is super easy to answer for someone on SE he will just create an account and ask the Question. If the question is not answered and he is greeted with negative feedback (something doesn't work like assumed) he will only consider to read the shortest of explanations. If he would need to read an assay to get answers on his thoughts he will just drop SE, because again, he just found the site. It has no use to him yet. – Kevin Kötz Mar 7 at 19:56
  • 5
    While I get your reasoning I personally think it is okay if these kind of users drop SE (this will not be the company stance / directive). SE tries to be a quality knowledge base. That needs effort from all parties involved. Your example user doesn't sound like someone who is willing to invest in building this canonical knowledge base with us. – rene Mar 7 at 20:23
  • 3
    @rene "I personally think it is okay if these kind of users drop SE (this will not be the company stance / directive)." That's why I've got suspended least time. Take care! – πάντα ῥεῖ Mar 7 at 20:41
  • @πάνταῥεῖ well, I don't have much of an history here, which can't be said from you, right? ;) – rene Mar 7 at 20:44
  • 1
    for a really examplary FAQ answer, see here – gnat Mar 7 at 21:54
15

My experience (being here for a couple of years) is that new users don't read anything and just ignore what the sites engine tells them (popups whatever).

A major part of these just want to get an answer for their homework quickly and asap (due at the next day), without showing any research done (including to read the site policies).

So no, it isn't worth to put additional efforts to pick them up at their mistakes and misconceptions. That would be just another waste of time and efforts.

If a new user is really intelligent enough to consider attending the help pages and FAQ, why should we have to give shortcut information there and not showing them all of the things and thoughts which matter for a specific site?

|improve this answer|||||
  • My feeling was that SE would want the biggest possible adoption throughout a wide range of People with different levels of expertise. Maybe even beginning in their youth. Making it as easy as possible would be key for that. But i feel what you say. Convincing Meta about this Shortcoming is impossible for me. Meta most likely consists of SE Veterans who are much too far away from a Newcomer to understand the issues i see. Convincing Meta of those Issues is not worth my time (just like you think making the site more newcomer friendly is not worth your time). – Kevin Kötz Mar 7 at 20:14
  • 4
    @KevinKötz Well, I see and understand those issues you claim, but in the light that we want to build a FAQ rlike epository they aren't really an issue. All of that has been extensively discussed yet. – πάντα ῥεῖ Mar 7 at 20:20
  • 1
    Making any single facet of the site 'as easy as possible' is a bad idea. Optimizing 'A' adversely affects 'B', 'C' and 'D'. – Martin James Mar 8 at 1:54
  • @MartinJames I absolutely understand that. But working on a problem which has the potential to have a long term negative impact on something is never going to be a bad idea. As the adoptionrate of new talent (newcomers) is crucial to the long term success of something, working on resolving their needs is never going to be a bad idea. Of course you do not need to make this a number one priority, but forgetting to work on it is no solution as well. – Kevin Kötz Mar 8 at 8:06
  • @KevinKötz one problem is identifying problems that have net long-term negative impacts. Another is estimating the effort/cost in implementing solutions. Life is riddled with efforts that, in hindsight, turn out to be counter-productive. Be wary of conclusions about complex issues that contain absolutes like 'never' - they are often wrong:) – Martin James Mar 16 at 12:04
7

There is a TL;DR at the beginning of the answer, which provides a short version of the answer. It states:

That's the short version of the answer, and it has been stated before here on Meta. If you are looking for some more detailed explanations of where you could look, read on!

The rest of the content is intended to be detailed.

I don't believe that this FAQ's main content needs to be shortened. The whole point of an FAQ is to explain a specific aspect of the system in detail.

To quote from your question:

I Feel like this particular answer and the FAQ itself is not easily digestible.

Yeah, I did feel that the details were kind of hard to read, so I did make a few edits to it to make it more palatable (split a few very long paragraphs, make the headings more clear, etc.). I think these edits should resolve this concern.

The FAQ should be very easy to digest for Newcomers as it is very likely most used by them

If, as you say, someone has no preexisting mindset or information about Stack Exchange, I think that all the relevant information should be detailed in just one post, rather than having to click a bunch of links to find the relevant information.

Being a newcomer myself I think there is just too much information in the FAQ and in this particular article

Given the TL;DR at the top of the post, those who read on for the full details are doing so because they choose to do so. They are not required to read the full content, and may stick with the TL;DR explanation.

Background information should be hidden from view (via links) so newcomers can decide how deep they would like to dive into a topic and how much time they have available to invest.

See my response to your second bullet. Additionally, the presence of headings makes it easy to get to the specific information one needs regarding a specific reason for downvoting. While the headings may not be directly collapsible, they do help split out the content.


With regards to your possible changes:

  1. Calm down the newcomers worries
  2. Provide some basic reasons on why the downvotes happen
  3. Provide the newcomer with a easy way to work on getting fewer downvotes

The existing content (with my recent edits) already accomplishes 1 and 2. As far as change 3, the fact remains that there are many reasons for downvoting, and resolving each one requires a different approach. There is not much of an "easy" way to get fewer downvotes.

|improve this answer|||||
  • I did ponder if the tl;dr shouldn't be the start instead of that initial paragraph it has now. If that change would happen maybe some of the textual suggestion of the OP can be considered. – rene Mar 7 at 20:25
  • I would suggest talking this through with the experts over at ux.stackexchange.com FAQ is Text -> Text is part of the UI -> UI is essential for user experience. – Kevin Kötz Mar 7 at 20:30
  • 1
    @KevinKötz FAQ pages here on Meta aren't really part of the UI, the help center is. FAQ posts here exist primarily for people who want more detail about a given feature than is in the help center. In fact, the word "FAQ" here is a bit of a misnomer, a bit of a historical artifact from the time the help center didn't exist. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Mar 7 at 20:35

You must log in to answer this question.

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