This latest turn has irritated me a bit, so forgive my tone.

A user comes in, writes a question, which is down-voted and closed. None of the people who voted to close left a comment, edited the question, or did anything beyond vote.

Then, when the user posted here in Meta, again, no responses, just more down votes, when his question in here was HOW TO IMPROVE THE QUESTION!

Now, one could argue that if someone has been here a while, they should know better, but a new user should get a hand up, not a boot to the face.

UPDATE: That user has not been back since the cold reception he got.

  • 3
    It would be good idea to have a log of people downvoting so when there is pattern the system alert. When I use to get a lot of downvotes. I was mailed by Mods of telling me I need to review my question before positing, something like that.
    – user15704
    Jan 23, 2019 at 16:57
  • @cookieMonster the system often gives a message that says something to the effect of "please leave a message if you think this post can be improved" when you downvote. I'm not sure what the criteria for the message is but I've seen it pretty often.
    – VLAZ
    Jan 25, 2019 at 7:56
  • 9
    So when a brand new user turns up, doesn't browse around to get an idea of how the site works, asks a terrible question and receives downvotes, is it the fault of the site? Note that explaining to a new user why they're getting downvotes makes you a huge target for that person to complain at and now that we've got a huge flashing warning telling you that if you make a misstep when interacting with a new user you could get sanctioned, I'm guessing people are less willing to take the risk
    – Richard
    Jan 26, 2019 at 10:50
  • 3
    @Richard I take that risk all the time. We had a new user one time who had his question voted all the way down to -7, and instead of help, he recieved abuse. All it took was a quick edit, a quick explanation to the OP, and a tiny bit of patience, and the post went up to over +50, the site benefited, and the OP got some useful answers. How is that a bad thing? Jan 26, 2019 at 17:15
  • 6
    @RichardU - By the same token, I've offered advice to users who're getting downvoted and received nothing but abuse from them, as if it's somehow my fault that their question is bad. The new "new users are a special breed that must be treated with kid gloves" policy is proving to be harmful, as you yourself are finding, since it encourages drive-by downvoting.
    – Richard
    Jan 26, 2019 at 17:18
  • 2
    @Richard If you're here, and have a rep over 1,000, you will get abuse, the higher the rep, the more abuse you will get. You should see some of what has been directed towards Kilisi and myself. Jan 26, 2019 at 17:48
  • 3
    @RichardU Take it up with our stack exchange overlords. They feel that comments on the line of "you need to [something] in order to get a positive reception" make things more unwelcoming for new users than just a down/close vote and move on. This has been repeatedly argued on meta.SE over the last year, without shifting the public opinions of the powers that be. Jan 27, 2019 at 21:40
  • @DanNeely well.... Jan 27, 2019 at 22:11
  • @RichardU I won't say for you, but for Kilisi, it is somewhat due to answers that people doesn't like to hear (even if it is the sad truth).
    – Walfrat
    Feb 1, 2019 at 12:08
  • @Walfrat I'd cop to the same charge. I know I dance on the line of the be-nice rule, especially when someone is about to do something unethical or foolish, or, god help them, run to HR without a damn good reason. Feb 1, 2019 at 14:36
  • Yeah well, my point was still that that it doesn't boild down to reputation. Otherwise the one that would have been getting more downvotes would be Joe and I have yet to see him with a negative score on a answer.
    – Walfrat
    Feb 1, 2019 at 14:47
  • 1
    @Walfrat I'll meet you half way and say it doesn't boil solely down to reputation. Joe, is... well, Joe. Feb 1, 2019 at 16:24

3 Answers 3


a new user should get a hand up, not a boot to the face.


  • 3
    It's hard to disagree with this sentiment, but at the same time it's also hard to disagree with other similarly pointless truisms like 'change can sometimes be good' or 'it's not polite to stare'
    – Richard
    Jan 26, 2019 at 19:32
  • 3
    @Richard can't be that hard to disagree, I got 2 downvotes already... ahaha
    – Kilisi Mod
    Jan 27, 2019 at 22:05

The ultimate responsibility to ask a good, answerable question is that of the asker, not the community. If you want to spend your time fixing others' questions for them, that's your prerogative, but please don't accuse others who may not have that same amount of time or patience, of being uninviting. (Personally I try to avoid editing questions by others, because I'm never sure if I'm changing the asker's intent.)

The caption on the downvote arrow is "This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful". Downvotes are a hint to the asker that there is probably an issue with their question, and again that it's up to them to figure out what and fix the question. If you are willing to take the time and effort to post comments trying to prise information from the asker, that they should have already provided in their question - more power to you, but again, others who won't or can't spare that time aren't necessarily being uninviting.

The meta downvotes are less forgivable, though, because in my experience people who take the time to participate on meta are the ones that actually care about their questions and want to learn, so those people should definitely be assisted wherever possible. OTOH, the downvoters may have felt that the meta question was already answered by the how to ask page (which, BTW, is the "hand up for new users" you're talking about).

  • 3
    Part of helping people is guiding them through the steps around here. When a user is new, it's hard because there are the rules, and then there are how the rules are enforced, and how they are interpreted. If, as in this case, a user comes in, get's his post shut down with no comment, then asks what he can do to improve, and again, gets voted down with no comment, that person will feel EXTREMELY unwelcome, and answers like this, which essentially says "Tough Shyte", certainly don't help matters Jan 25, 2019 at 15:27
  • 3
    @RichardU Quite a lot of new users manage to read the rules and get it right though.
    – pipe
    Jan 30, 2019 at 20:38
  • @pipe How many? could you quantify this for me? Jan 30, 2019 at 21:09
  • 1
    @RichardU No, I just took a look at the new questions on the front page and it seemed to me that most of the completely new users (without association bonus) had a zero or positive score. But I can't see if there are pending close votes or the number of up/downvotes.
    – pipe
    Jan 31, 2019 at 8:29
  • 1
    I don't have the same feeling @pipe
    – Walfrat
    Feb 1, 2019 at 12:05
  • @pipe did you take into account that questions drop off the frontpage when they have a sufficient amount of downvotes? (I believe that happens at -3).
    – JAD
    Feb 6, 2019 at 10:55
  • @JAD No, I didn't spend an excessive amount of time on it since I'm happy with the status quo and think it's better for the website. If someone wants change, I think it's up to them to show the problem.
    – pipe
    Feb 6, 2019 at 12:15
  • @IanKemp The sad thing is that the hair-trigger VTC'er crowd genuinely believes that they're doing a service when they put their rigid interpretation of "the rules" of the site above concern for the asker and often even common courtesy. That's the core disagreement right there. Many of us feel it is NEVER OK to make someone feel dismissed when asking a question, especially if it is an earnest question about a problem that impact their quality of life at work.
    – teego1967
    Feb 6, 2019 at 13:37
  • Man, I agreed with you while reading this till I realized that this was the Workplace meta and not Stack Overflow. Workplace will always be more welcoming than Stack Overflow. End of story. We help anyone with anything job related. That's it. Sometimes that includes helping them ask us a good question. And we do it because we're nice.
    – user53651
    Feb 6, 2019 at 16:05

It doesn't really have anything to do with them being a new user.

"please leave a message if you think this post can be improved" :

I'm assuming there is more content to this thread? I've no idea who is supposed to be responsible for what in this context. Read: there's no story or drama here that amuses me, and with the context offered the question answers itself.

"How can I politely inform the person in R&D that MIS are still waiting for a response?"

By, politely informing the person in R&D that MIS are still waiting for a response.

It's actually really cut and dry, so plus one to the question and the answer. I'm of the opinion that there's about ten questions that ever needed to be asked on any given SE, to begin finding a suitable dupes.

e.g: somebody's out of the loop on an email thread, who do I resend to? : everybody - to cyoa.

  • 4
    That was not helpful at all. Jan 28, 2019 at 19:18
  • You prefer the answer that consists solely of, "Absolutely." ? I'm not here to be a yes-man.
    – Mazura
    Jan 28, 2019 at 19:21
  • 3
    At least eight people prefer the answer of "absolutely". Your answer is not helpful because it does not address the discussion at all. closing without comment, then responding to a question on Meta by downvoting it without comment doesn't help anyone. Jan 28, 2019 at 19:28
  • I gave you my honest opinion and you downvoted it, for the most correctly used and insulting reason ever: it was not useful. This is why people who DV don't leave their name, for you to come and complain.
    – Mazura
    Jan 28, 2019 at 19:28
  • For the record, I did not and never will DV Be more inviting to new users. But nor will I ever abstain from holding an SE question to the highest expectations.
    – Mazura
    Jan 28, 2019 at 19:30
  • I'm not saying you did. I simply said that your answer was not helpful. But if you want high standards, there's comments, edits, et cetera, which was the whole point of the topic. If people aren't here to help others, I don't know why they even bother. Jan 28, 2019 at 19:31
  • I'm just trying to offer some insight into someone that might find themselves often having to DV and run, because being a naysayer is a daunting task at times; easier to just push the button. The Be Nice policy makes what would be easy to say face to face, have to a be an epic novel held with kid gloves. - Dopamine is why they bother.
    – Mazura
    Jan 28, 2019 at 19:42
  • LOL, well if you look at some of my answers, they tend to tapdance on the line of the be nice policy, and believe me, there are more than a few people I'd like to introduce to the old "clue-by-four", but if someone walks in here clueless, they should be given a bit of a break Jan 28, 2019 at 19:49
  • Imagine I DVed your Q and left a comment, and now this is the thread I've got to deal with, where six comments in I'm finally asking you, what do you want to do about: "None of the people who voted to close left a comment, edited the question, or did anything beyond vote."
    – Mazura
    Jan 28, 2019 at 19:54
  • That's by design at SE. But honestly what happened here IMO is a new user that got the short stick because everyone thought they'd run away anyway. If I said that at least one out of every ten of my comments ever actually changed a question for the better, I'd be lying.
    – Mazura
    Jan 28, 2019 at 19:57
  • I typically try to comment "You might want to include..." in my comments, and I often incorporate comments into my answers here. Jan 28, 2019 at 20:00
  • That's my point. I'll be half way into typing where's your flipping research, delete that, start writing You might want to include .... and then I'll say to myself, screw it: -1; bad question. That's the problem you have to solve.
    – Mazura
    Jan 28, 2019 at 20:05
  • Oh, believe me, I can take a person to the woodshed quite nicely. As I did here in my answer. but, for the most part, I try to give the people the benefit of the doubt when they are starting out. My patience, however, is inversely proportionate to rep Jan 28, 2019 at 20:08
  • IME there's two kinds of SEers (as I linked at ELU, where also {1} reputation is always a correlative issue - my hat's off to you for being unbiased by it; most aren't). Two kinds: those who practice true altruism, and those who want to rule lawyer the scientific method of answering a question, known as Stack Exchange. Without either, it would neither be interesting nor correct, or loud enough to be heard over the signal to noise. See, Ian's answer.
    – Mazura
    Jan 28, 2019 at 20:20
  • 1
    Rep is easy to get if you start with a stack in it's infancy, so I don't give it too much credence. It also tends to draw a bit of abuse. "YOU THINK YOU'RE SO GREAT BECAUSE YOU'VE GOT A HIGH REP". So, it balances out a bit. As I said, I get tons of abuse. It's part of the price you pay if you want to help. Jan 28, 2019 at 20:34

You must log in to answer this question.

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