I've often encountered experienced users trolling newbies, with comments like:

hey guy, why your accept rate is too low - I'm downgrading your question!


SO isn't a place to do like this and this...

I propose the following: create a special tag, , and prevent users with reputation scores of less than, say, 10,000 or 20,000 from down-voting questions so tagged. If someone with insufficient reputation tries, then the system should advise him to edit the question or comment on it instead.

What do you think about that idea?


In spite of massive downgrading of my question. I'm still really sure that we need to think about measures to protect newbies/noobs from more experienced users (like those who is downgrading this question). Well, probably my proposal was a bit wrong, since it might lead to spammy posts and so on. Anyway we can think about special measures to protect newbies (all we were at the very beginning newbies!). I would suggest kind of san-boxing of newbies (reputation less than 200). Under sand-box I would understand:

  1. User in sand-box can't post more than 2 posts per day
  2. All questions of sand-boxed user will be tagged with or question can be in some other way marked as sand-boxed
  3. Sand-boxed question can't be downgraded
  4. Still other users can flag question as spam/abusive - so always there's way to remove/close post.
  5. Sand-boxed user can't make comments, upvote or downvote
  • Huh? I'm not sure I understand your proposal. Perhaps you could rephrase it? – Gabe Jun 2 '11 at 5:50
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    I must say, SO isn't a place to do like this and this... – Shog9 Jun 2 '11 at 5:53
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    Have you flagged specific abusive behavior and noticed it is not being handled correctly? – waffles Jun 2 '11 at 6:09
  • possible duplicate of Could we please be a bit nicer to the noobs? – Cody Gray Jun 2 '11 at 14:10
  • @Cody Cray: in spite of massive downgrading of my question. I'm still really sure that we need to think about measures to protect newbies/noobs from more experienced users. – Barmaley Red Star Jun 3 '11 at 5:43
  • The FAQ provides all the "protection" that they need. That and flags. I've never witnessed an inappropriate exchange between two users that wasn't swiftly and adeptly handled by the nearest moderator. Noise comments about accept rate are just that: noise. I flag every single one of them that I see, and I strongly encourage you to do the same. Informing new users about the possibility of accepting answers is quite OK. But nagging about an accept rate that's too low when they obviously already know about acceptance is not OK. I don't care if you're an "experienced" user or not. – Cody Gray Jun 3 '11 at 5:55
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    And as far as "SO isn't a place to do like this and this...", those comments are completely acceptable and justified. Certain things are off-topic or verboten here, and for perfectly good reasons. That doesn't mean people should be rude about it (and if they are, flag those comments). But informing new users about the policies of this site can be very helpful. Pointing them to links in the FAQ is even better. Downvoting or voting to close a question because it doesn't conform to our guidelines is not an insult to a user, newbie or not. Learn the policies, follow the rules, thicken your skin. – Cody Gray Jun 3 '11 at 5:56
  • Special question ... I read it carefully, multiple times. But reading the title and then the details, I'm not sure what your question is. Assume the title would be changed to something like " ... to protect newbies from more experienced users". Would that be a correct variation of the current TITLE (and what your real question is)? If so, then the next edit iteration should be to remove the "errors" that I think to read in the question details. It'd be happy to add some extra comments on that later on, OK? PS: do not give up! – Pierre.Vriens Mar 19 '15 at 20:42

If you ever see these kinds of comments...FLAG them! Your proposal only makes the question asker look bad when it is the idiotic commenter that is the problem. The comments serve no purpose (other than noise, ill-feeling etc) and should be removed.

Your profile page displays enough notice to accept answers (if a user is ever going to accept)...

Obviously if the question requires attention, edit or flag as necessary as well

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This is bad for at least two reasons. So I'll list one:

  1. It totally breaks the voting system. Don't like others critiquing your questions? Add this tag! Worried the system will block you from asking more questions because your existing questions are being down-voted? Just slap this tag on all of them! Tired of asking on-topic questions, ready for some inspired trolling? Hey, try this get-out-of-jail-free tag!

Like davidsleeps says, you can simply flag abusive comments when you encounter them. After all the comments are the problem...

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    No it doesn't totally break voting. If it is misused for the purposes you suggest, that will be obvious, and it can be removed. It just recalibrates expectations that the OP's code will be basic, answers should also use basic concepts, and the sort of comment-abuse flamestorm that is ritual on SO is particularly unwelcome. That's not to say that a particularly bad newbie question shouldn't be downvoted, closed etc. – smci Mar 24 '14 at 15:09
  • So... Break the system and then "fix" it by increasing the amount of moderation needed to handle ugly comments, edit wars, etc? Yeah, that doesn't work. The behavior of the system should encourage folks to do what is constructive, not drive them to find more damaging work-arounds. The motivation here is good - the solution proposed is not. – Shog9 Mar 24 '14 at 15:46
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    I repeat that it doesn't break it. It is using the system constructively, not a damaging workaround. If a small minority tried to misuse it as a damaging workaround, a) that would be quickly detected and fixed and b) it would not be a sound reason to not have the tag for the well-behaved majority. I know this discussion has closed, I'm just registering my dissent, with reasons. – smci Mar 24 '14 at 15:51
  • The proposal here is to disable a key part of the system for posts with a specific tag. By definition, it is breaking the system. There are multiple windows for abuse here, all of which are trivial to exploit and difficult to prevent. I don't care that you disagree, but it bothers me that you've put such little thought into this - saying "oh, we'll just detect and fix problems" without any concrete proposal for how such detection and correction would work is irresponsible. – Shog9 Mar 24 '14 at 15:58
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    Actually I was only agreeing with the OP's general suggestion to create a newbie-question. I did not agree with his suggested sandboxing and downvoting-protection (I thought all that stuff came below his 'EDIT' line), I share your opinion on those. I didn't explicitly comment on the sandboxing, it was your assumption that I was. It's not my fault the OP's question is a confusing mix of different suggestions, some bad, one arguably good. – smci Mar 24 '14 at 16:12

I understand the intention, but apart from the usefulness of meta tags, a tag like will offer no protection whatsoever. It's even possible to attract more unwarranted attention rather than making people sympathetic.

And there's also the daring feat that newcomers might mistreat it as another euphemism for plzsendtehcodez.

As said, just flag such comments. Or if it's a recurring problem with some commenters, step in and reprimand the bully right on the spot. (Some of those comments are adapted group behaviour, and flagging is too invisible; so it's sometimes sensible to explain why the comment is not helpful.)

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