This is most prevalant in SO but it happens everywhere

  1. Misguided new user posts HORRIBLE question
  2. It gets closed/deleted
  3. User never comes back to SO

How do we let them know it's bad to post these questions, yet not make them permanently leave? This could become part of the be kind policy? Maybe make it so that they are prompted to edit instead of deleted???

  • 7
    You can only lead a horse to water; you can't force it to drink. There are many, many signs that a user is shown upon joining. If they ignore all of them, that's on them. Not us. – Daedalus Oct 6 at 5:19
  • See also this post which is closed as a duplicate of the above post. – Sonic the K-Day Hedgehog Oct 6 at 5:22
  • 4
    What else do you suggest beyond the tour, help center and the post notices after closure and deletion? During Asking they get guidance in the right side-bar and have a review step build in. Similar questions are offered once they start typing their title for a new question. If all of that isn't enough to prevent an horrible question, what is? If new users are looking for effortless participation then unfortunately SO is not for them as creating quality content does take some effort. We can't solve that. – rene Oct 6 at 6:22
  • How could we identify new users, as distinct from new accounts? – Martin James Oct 6 at 6:27
  • I was thinking, what if we brought back the thing where there was a section for code, a section for what went wrong, etc. When I first joined I got it and as a result my question wasn't that bad, it was a duplicate though. – Z9. Oct 6 at 8:35
  • @Z9. there was a "mentorship" experiment, where veteran users reviewed new questions from new users in chat before the question was posted, and directly helped the new user to improve. That would be ideal, but guess SE doesn't have the resources to support such thing in big scale, which is quite sad. :/ – Shadow 10 Years Wizard Oct 6 at 11:22
  • yeah, that sounds like an excellent idea. but who says they need to be veterans? they just have to have, like, 1k rep. wouldn't that mean hundreds of thousands of potential mentors? – Z9. Oct 6 at 12:22
  • I had the same problem three-four years ago. I came back :) – Severus Snape Oct 6 at 18:43
  • Although the question interface is better than it was, it is misleading. On the whole, it looks like a forum and so sets up an expectation of a forum (e.g. it talks about getting a notification by email a day later, when the reality is (the real expectation) that you should stick around and promptly (within 2 minutes) respond to any comments on the question). The question interface does not give much of a hint of the likelihood of a question being closed. – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q Oct 7 at 16:15

Are we scaring away new users?


But the question that should worry us is:

Are we scaring away new users who have a potential to contribute good content for no good reason?

And I would like to think the answer to this isn't obvious "yes", or at least "Yes, but try not to".

Those who are "scared away" usually don't bother to read the rules and guidelines. Those who do read will either realize the site isn't for them (e.g. realize their question is off topic) or will work hard on making their question better before posting it.

Only if on topic questions which are well written will get downvoted/closed/deleted then we should worry.

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  • Ok, thanks. I was just surprised by the amount of people leaving at 1 rep. – Z9. Oct 6 at 7:23
  • 3
    @Z9. most people won't stay even with more than 1 rep, they just come to ask and that's it. Don't have numbers, but pretty sure it's the vast majority of the people asking a single question. – Shadow 10 Years Wizard Oct 6 at 11:20
  • @Shadow There could probably be a query put together to back that up, I don't think it would be that difficult. – zcoop98 Oct 6 at 15:03

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