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Sonic the Inclusive Werehog

I guess I should explain why I used chat to get answers instead of asking questions here. I’d do this for many more questions, if:

  • People would accept questions no matter what their magnitude was, from questions about large, relevant software details to things about minor aspects that only exist to satisfy my insane curiosity about SE. Right now, people tend to downvote such questions, and such questions are better suited to be asked in an informal setting than formally on the site.

  • Most importantly, the voting culture here wouldn’t effectively turn it into a “popularity contest”. Your “level of trust” (taken from rep league page) can decrease if people disagree with your ideas or the premise behind your posts, even though the post is high-quality and clear. This has created a chilling effect for me to propose new ideas on meta, and I tend to ask users on chat if my idea would be well-received.

Speaking of that last bullet, I feel that the system here is not conducive to having proper discussions where users feel free to propose and discuss ideas. The threat of having your reputation score or “trust level” eroded just because the community disagrees with your idea or believes your documentation about a particular aspect of the system is not worthwhile is enough for me to be fearful and extremely discerning about what I post here. You may have noticed that I’ve deleted these questions: to amplify the “popularity contest” feel, the system offers you the ability to “magically” get your lost “trust” back if you recant your disagreed opinion. This model makes perfect sense if voting were based on quality alone: bad-quality posts should be deleted. But in the same manner, users are incentivized against speaking their mind.

Also, unlike other sites’ topics, there is literally no other place to talk about the topic of this site other than here itself. I’m deeply interested in how the SE network works, and such deep interests are common among people like me. I’d like to be able to know more about it and document it for others to see. It’s why I have the most contributions here.

A lot of users have come to me saying that “rep on meta doesn’t matter” or “rep is just a number”. But I disagree: I care about my rep here. Every point is valuable to me. Sure, if I lose a little due to the occasional Tim Post losing keys, that’s fine, but I hate it when others downvote my posts that aren’t low quality, just that they think the premise isn't worthwhile.

On chat, any question, from those about major to very subtle and minor system mechanics, would be tolerated. There’s no voting culture or fear of losing rep points or “trust” just because someone disagrees with you.

Until these issues are solved, we need to work to solve them, to make Meta feel more inclusive to all, and not a popularity contest.

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