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Ok, throwing this out in Meta because I am noting a shift in...attitude? on the primary site.

To begin. When I joined Worldbuilding, I found all manner of interesting puzzles and fun things to try to solve. Imagination and Logic in one big happy ball of goop, as it were. I tend to gravitate toward certain types of questions, and there was never a short supply.

Lately, it seems to me, that many of the new questions that are coming up are being put on hold very, very fast. Many that are not being put on hold are gathering a lot of downvotes.

I can see new users getting put on hold as they work their way through the question writing process. (I still say that "on Hold" needs to be more specific as to the purpose so new users will expect it) I also know that downvotes are a non-specific anonymous rating of the quality of a question. Rep doesn't get heavily damaged by a downvote but it does sting.

The whole reason I bring this up is that Worldbuilding isn't quite the welcoming place it was a year ago. On the surface, it may not be a horrible thing. We want better questions, better answers, and so on.

There is a hidden downside though. Slap a new user down as hard as seems to be happening, they are less likely to return. Less users means fewer questions and less diversity of topic. It does us no good, as a Community, to treat n00bs poorly. Yeah, we will have to deal with some poor quality questions. But for every one that is truly dreadful, we close 2 that have the core of a good question, it just isn't brought out very well.

Are we really getting flooded with that many very poor quality questions? Am I missing the fun stuff in the pile goo? Is anyone else noticing this? (Semi Rhetorical questions for background)

I fully admit I am speaking based on an impression based on observation, not on something based on amassing a large quantity of hard data. I noticed this trend after taking a short hiatus and seem to have returned to a place with a much less friendly vibe.

What are your thoughts, and what can we do, if anything?

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    $\begingroup$ Do you have any relevant examples? While we should be careful to not point fingers at specific users and their questions, it's much easier to discuss this if you can provide some examples that illustrate the behavior you want to highlight. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Feb 27 '18 at 17:53
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling As of right now, On the "newest" questions, 15 of the first 30 are on hold. 14 of the 30 have 0 or negative votes. I know at least 2 sitting at zero were at -1 until I gave them upvotes. There is overlap. but there is a spread too. The bulk of the remaining have very few upvotes. Like I said, it's a feeling, a gut reaction, nothing really concrete, and perhaps it should be dismissed as such. $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Feb 27 '18 at 18:06
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    $\begingroup$ FWIW I've noticed similar trends on other sites as well, that roughly half of new questions get put on hold and a similarly large fraction get downvoted. $\endgroup$ – David Z Feb 27 '18 at 20:03
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    $\begingroup$ TBH, I think we're not harsh enough on questions. The questions that do garner a lot of downvotes are often very ill-researched, and the ones that remain open are also often pretty bad questions. Overall, downvotes on questions are actually very rare compared to upvotes. $\endgroup$ – Aify Feb 28 '18 at 6:50
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    $\begingroup$ Rarely downvoting myself and i can't close anything, doing my best to link the sandbox and encourage improvement, however your concern is that those people won't come back. I'd argue more users returning with more horribly asked questions is not desired. I also would argue that this se is if anything very supportive- when compared to many others. I would also be surprised if that many users, especially those that don't put in any effort, return anyhow $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Feb 28 '18 at 8:24
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    $\begingroup$ Closing fast is not a problem. It is a solution to questions changing after they was answered and answers answering not what asker meant to ask. Problem is with users not editing their questions during on hold period,or editing without really removing the issue that put question on hold in the first place. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Feb 28 '18 at 10:44
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    $\begingroup$ @Molot On Hold fast is not a problem, but I always get frustrated when there is nowhere near enough information as to why a question was put on hold. It can blindside folks.I admit, I have always seen this as troublesome $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Feb 28 '18 at 14:32
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    $\begingroup$ @PaulTIKI Well, I have seen many questions about actions of an individual, and surprise of the OP that it was put on hold as story based. Or questions about society in thousands years and surprise why it was put on hold as too broad... Or why it was "unclear what you are asking" when there is a wall of text with not a single question mark in it. Go figure... $\endgroup$ – Mołot Feb 28 '18 at 14:37
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    $\begingroup$ @Paul TIKI I noticed a question recently that asked what a creature with no physical mechanism would sound like. It was pretty much immediately hit with superficial, faintly sarcastic "like speakers, duh"/"could be whatever it wants because sound is air vibrations, duh" replies. Now, I actually had an answer to offer, since the spirit of the question still seemed good (would such a being understand cadence and rhythm of speech was basically the direction I was going to go in an answer). But since it's on hold, I can't offer that answer, so the asker is stuck with the dismissive replies. $\endgroup$ – Amut Mar 1 '18 at 21:04
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    $\begingroup$ We have these topics in meta semi-frequently. The problem is we have some toxic, mean-spirited users with high rep who are all-too-happy to close and downvote but offer no constructive criticism. They don't want questions improved, they want to run new users off and feel like they won the internet. I don't know how to fix a problem where high rep users are more concerned with their own base gratification than the health and culture of the community. I don't think you can. It sucks, but I've stopped recommending this SE entirely, and I rarely come here. $\endgroup$ – SudoSedWinifred Mar 4 '18 at 15:56
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    $\begingroup$ Jumping in to provide an on-the-ground example: I am a newbie, as of about two weeks ago,. It was extremely jarring to not only be told your question was poor but that you shouldn't be allowed to ask it. The fact that people could just shut down a newbie from asking questions at all without explanation really does give the impression of not only elitism but straight-up hubris in a question-answer forum. Thankfully in my case, at least a few people bothered to take the time to help me out with why they were downvoting me (and thus allow for improvement), or I would have been long gone. $\endgroup$ – Carduus Mar 4 '18 at 16:12
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    $\begingroup$ One "trend" I have noted that we have (or so it seems to me) more questions closed as too broad despite actually being answerable. Basically the questions are just badly written so all the criteria are not clearly stated. Probably because the person asking the question did not know the answer to his question and thus failed to understand the context? This should be a simple edit after close and reopen but what actually happens is... nothing. The question gets closed, the OP still does not know what is wrong, cannot really fix it and just gets frustrated. Not sure how to fix the issue. $\endgroup$ – Ville Niemi Mar 5 '18 at 6:46
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    $\begingroup$ I am guessing that more constructive comments that actually explain why the question is too broad and give some suggestions on how to fix it would help but actually doing that requires almost as much effort than just answering the question by making "reasonable assumptions" about what was wanted. This is for the exact same reason the question was too broad to begin with. Your ability to define the question is directly related to your understanding of the desired answer. $\endgroup$ – Ville Niemi Mar 5 '18 at 6:51
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    $\begingroup$ Who are these high rep users everyone just keeps bashing on? I mean I've seen quite a lot of high rep users participating in these conversations and I assume that at least those are not part of the problem. And the users that have a bad behavior might not be aware of it, they are not doing it on purpose. $\endgroup$ – Vincent Mar 5 '18 at 21:27
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I have noticed something similar as well, though I don't know if it is more prominent than normal as I haven't done any real analysis, its just a cursory thing.

  1. While closing questions quickly can be a bit of a shock, particularly to new users, it is better for them and their questions that issues get addressed quickly.

  2. Users should remember to be nice, in particular this should be kept in mind when dealing with new users. I have left many a comment for users to remember this. One concrete thing we can all do is remind our fellow users to be nice when commenting on posts.

  3. How we handle new users is very important to the site. On the one side we need to maintain the standards of the site and that will mean closing questions and downvoting them as well. On the other, we don't want to dissaude new users from participating.

Balance is not what we are going for here. We don't want to "be nice" to the detriment of the quality on the site. That said, how we apply the rules and expectations and how we deal with new people could definitely use some work regardless of how widespread the problem happens to be.

So....our to do list.

  • Pay attention to who you are addressing when you comment. Chances are established users won't be overly offended by a closed question or stock comment. New users on the other hand don't know how the site works, nor are they familiar with our expectations
  • Comment, particularly relating to new users, when downvoting or voting to close.
  • Remind other users to be nice in comments as well. If we police ourselves we can help everyone out.
  • Flag repeat offenders so mods can reach out and remind them. Some people don't take hints or don't take general comments to apply to them.
  • Provide links to the tour and help. Shortcut to the links by adding: [tour] and [help]
  • Let new users know that it takes time to figure things out and you've been there.
  • Do not be lax on our standards just because users are new, in the end it doesn't help them and it doesn't help the site, just do it with tact and an understanding of who you are talking to...
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with this post very much - especially the last bit. Unfortunately, people are also lax on standards with people that are higher rep just because of said rep. What I didn't know was that bit about flagging repeat offenders - can you elaborate a bit more on that? $\endgroup$ – Aify Feb 28 '18 at 6:47
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    $\begingroup$ @Aify i VTC posts by new users, old users, diamond moderators... I VTC each post I see as deserving VTC. I only hope others would do the same. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Feb 28 '18 at 10:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Mołot Yes, please do. Who posted something shouldn't matter one iota as to whether it should be closed or not. Same with answers; we've (unfortunately) had some really poor answers posted by high-rep users, including diamond moderators. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Feb 28 '18 at 12:56
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with most of this, but I'd say to flag every time someone doesn't follow the "be nice" policy; don't restrict this to just "repeat offenders". Let the mods be the arbitrers of whether someone is a "repeat offender". Diamond moderators have access to more detail than ordinary, even high-reputation, users, and this can be used to judge if someone is making a single off-the-cuff poorly-worded remark or if it's part of a pattern, but we need to be made aware of each instance. So, if you see something, flag it. About the worst outcome is that you get a declined flag; no big deal. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Feb 28 '18 at 12:59
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    $\begingroup$ (That said, you obviously shouldn't flag for no reason, because each flag will take some time for a diamond moderator to look at, but if something is serious enough to meet the criteria for a "rude or abusive" flag, it's probably better to flag and it turn out to not be an issue, than to not flag and risk letting bad stuff linger on the site.) $\endgroup$ – a CVn Feb 28 '18 at 13:03
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling Good points. $\endgroup$ – James Feb 28 '18 at 14:16
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This isn't an answer as such - at least not to the question of why (yet) - but more to support the claim of increased negativity. I put a couple of SEDE queries together (Close Ratio, Down Vote Ratio) and got a scattered but upward trend in:

Closed questions as a fraction of total questions:

Without deleted Closed questions as a fraction of total questions With deleted Closed questions with deleted as a fraction of total questions Down votes as a fraction of all votes:

Down votes as a fraction of all votes

Disclaimer: I'm not trained in SQL at all, this is all a mash up of things I've googled so I could well be wrong somewhere. 41% of all questions being put on hold seems pretty high so, if you know more, feel free to double check.

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    $\begingroup$ "more to support the claim of increased negativity" It could easily be result of decreasing question quality. $\endgroup$ – Nicol Bolas Mar 4 '18 at 4:57
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    $\begingroup$ @NicolBolas I suppose it depends on how you view it. I was thinking decreased question quality could be one of the reasons for increased negativity. $\endgroup$ – Lio Elbammalf Mar 4 '18 at 9:05
  • $\begingroup$ @NicolBolas ...maybe... data.stackexchange.com/worldbuilding/query/814155#graph --- The graph shows the average score over number of views, where the model is that score changes are a rare event from the stream of views. [ --- for comparison, this data.stackexchange.com/stackoverflow/query/814156#graph (for Stackoverflow) would be statistically significant ] $\endgroup$ – NofP Mar 4 '18 at 13:29
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    $\begingroup$ I think this shows correlation rather than causation, but I see it as evidence of my point when I couple that with looking at on hold and closed questions that I (personally) think are ok, or at least would be with minor edits $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Mar 5 '18 at 21:08
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    $\begingroup$ These data might be skewed because old, bad questions have been deleted, and so they don’t appear in your queries.   I.e., when you’re looking three years into the past, you’re seeing only the questions that were good enough to survive for three years, and a larger proportion of them are good. $\endgroup$ – Peregrine Rook Mar 6 '18 at 22:35
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    $\begingroup$ @PeregrineRook Posts have a "deletion date" property too which leads me to assume that, whether the actual question is accessible or not, the data on the post still is. I could be wrong in that though, do you have a reason to believe deleting the question takes it out of the data? $\endgroup$ – Lio Elbammalf Mar 8 '18 at 18:30
  • $\begingroup$ That’s two questions.   (Well, 1½.)  Posts that are “deleted” are definitely not really deleted (except, maybe, under very special circumstances), but I didn’t know that they were visible through SEDE.   Can you see posts whose “deletion date” is not null or blank?   In the normal Stack Exchange interface, the ability to see deleted posts is a privilege. $\endgroup$ – Peregrine Rook Mar 8 '18 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ @PeregrineRook Turns out you're right, they weren't included in the original data but I found I could access them if I used a different list. I added the graph of those including the deleted posts and left the old one to compare. $\endgroup$ – Lio Elbammalf Mar 8 '18 at 23:25
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    $\begingroup$ @NicolBolas An easy assumption to make, but it smacks of blaming the victim. Evidence is needed to back up propositions like this. Otherwise it's pure hot air. In another discussion a user opined standards her have evolved, mutated would have been more correct, in which case standards might be more negative. The statistics suggest as much. $\endgroup$ – a4android Mar 9 '18 at 4:14
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    $\begingroup$ @a4android: "it smacks of blaming the victim" And the use of that phrase assumes that there is a victim. Evidence is needed to back up the original proposition that there is a negativity problem. Thus far, the statistical evidence only leads to the conclusion that there've been a large number of downvotes very recently. That could be due to "negativity" or due to an uptick in crap posts. The statistics cannot tell one from the other. $\endgroup$ – Nicol Bolas Mar 9 '18 at 4:17
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    $\begingroup$ @NicolBolas Some fine rhetoric flourishes. I am aware of what the statistics. Imputing causation is hard. Why not both? I would require evidence to be definitive. Your original comment was, unfortunately, glib. While many question certainly could be better, a little consideration is often denied to help improve them. This site does have a be nice policy. It should be exercised more often. $\endgroup$ – a4android Mar 9 '18 at 4:30
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    $\begingroup$ @a4android: "Why not both?" Because when you're asking a group of people to change their behavior, you are the one who needs to provide evidence that they're doing it wrong. $\endgroup$ – Nicol Bolas Mar 9 '18 at 5:06
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I've only been here for two years or so, but I've noticed a recent uptick in poor quality questions. Questions that could be answered by reading a Wikipedia page on the topic, questions that could be answered with a single Google search and don't require any sort of extrapolation or interpolation, questions containing multiple distinct questions, questions that are just impossible to interpret, and a lot of duplicate questions.

Three trends that would be useful to know are:

  • Of the questions from new users being put on hold, how many are then edited by the user in an attempt to clarify and secure a reopening? If the trend is downward it would suggest the new users are scared away or don't know how to proceed.

  • Of the questions from new users being put on hold, how many are being reopened at all? A downward trend would suggest the number of irredeemably poor questions is on the rise.

  • How does the number of questions on hold or closed compare to the number of answers recommended for deletion/deleted? If they trend in parallel it would suggest users don't understand how the site works or the expectations.

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  • $\begingroup$ Assuming you can see the following page, it should answer you questions partially : worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/tools/question-close-stats $\endgroup$ – Vincent Mar 5 '18 at 4:34
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    $\begingroup$ @Vincent That page is only visible for users with more than 10k rep. If they show the answers to these questions, could you share them? $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Mar 5 '18 at 7:43
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    $\begingroup$ @Secespitus i.stack.imgur.com/1E6No.jpg $\endgroup$ – Vincent Mar 5 '18 at 15:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Vincent What is the time period for that data and how does it compare to previous periods? $\endgroup$ – rek Mar 5 '18 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ It's from the last 90 days. Another table like this have been posted a few weeks back, somewhere on Meta... To get more specific information, SEDE is the way to go, like in the answer below. $\endgroup$ – Vincent Mar 5 '18 at 21:06
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    $\begingroup$ Bonus, the custom close reasons : i.stack.imgur.com/dneuK.jpg $\endgroup$ – Vincent Mar 5 '18 at 21:13
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I have felt a subjective increase in questions in the form of "I'm not creative. Be creative for me," which does seem to line up with the rate that other people are VTCing. Obviously I cannot determine if that is because my subjective expectations for questions are going up or if the quality of the question is going down.

I know I try to start a dialogue going in comments when I VTC, whenever I reasonably can. Sometimes I'm just like "I can't be bothered with this," but I try my best to post big comments wherever I can. The way I see it, your question may be too poor to answer in StackExchange's format, but if you can get 5 people who voted to close your question to all engage in an effort to help you anyways, then that's a very powerful support group!

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  • $\begingroup$ That powerful support group would be great. Close voters should take a swipe at editing reasonable questions to meet their high standards. Maybe edit them instead of closing them. Many closed ideas die without a single edit. The OP is discouraged or does not know how, and the close voters move on. $\endgroup$ – Willk Mar 14 '18 at 17:33
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No. Stop. Don't.

Rigorous downvoting and VTC are the only way to keep a Stack Exchange site's quality high. This is not "treating n00bs poorly", it's expecting them to comply with the basic rules of the site. If they don't know those rules because they've chosen not to read them, or deliberately chosen to ignore them - tough. In ordinary society, being ignorant of a law or ignoring it doesn't exempt you from being subject to it and the consequences of breaking it; why should Stack Exchange sites work differently?

At the end of the day, a downvote/VTC on a question is intended to convey that the community finds something to be wrong with said question. The first thing that a user who has asked such a question should do is thus ask themselves: "what did I do wrong"? If the question has been closed, the close reason will (should) tell them what they need to do to fix their question. Downvotes are a little trickier, because people often don't leave comments, but they still provide an indicator that at least one person finds an issue with the question, and thus the asker should probably relook at it.

The argument about new users becoming discouraged and leaving because their questions get downvoted and/or closed doesn't fly for me. I'd argue that any user who does that either doesn't care enough to get an answer, or has an extremely thin skin and takes everything personally, or has an extremely high opinion of themselves. Do you really want those sorts of users on this site?

Please remember that downvotes and voting to close serve an extremely important purpose: culling the crap. Discourage people from doing that and you end up with a mess like Stack Overflow, where the "be nice" policy has been unofficially modified to "thou shalt not VTC unless you can absolutely positively without a doubt prove that this question is junk, and even if you can get the question closed, someone will probably disagree with you and reopen it because not hurting feelings is more important than ensuring quality".

Unsurprisingly, the end result is that the amount of crap question on Stack Overflow has risen almost exponentially, while the amount of people acting on bad questions has decreased in lockstep - as those who actually care about quality have stopped tending to questions because their close votes end up having no effect. The end result is that Stack Overflow is drowning under a disgusting mess of terrible questions, which essentially destroys the site's usefulness.

Yes, being rigorous about question quality means there is a possibility that you lose people who could have been valuable contributors. It does mean that sometimes, legitimate questions will get closed by accident. But as Stack Overflow has demonstrated, while being nasty is problematic, being too nice is far, far worse.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't get the impression that anyone is suggesting letting the community's overall standards down, just to stop raising the cost of entry. If you want this community to continue to thrive, nastiness to a brand newbie is the worst possible thing you can do. $\endgroup$ – Carduus Mar 9 '18 at 17:24
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    $\begingroup$ "In ordinary society, being ignorant of a law or ignoring it doesn't exempt you from being subject to it and the consequences of breaking it; why should Stack Exchange sites work differently?" Because we're not talking about crime here. We're talking about a site that is supposed to be welcoming. I still say that its part of our responsibility to educate the noob. If the noob continues to misbehave then that's a different story. $\endgroup$ – Len Mar 9 '18 at 19:41
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I haven't been here long at all and I certainly don't yet have the reputation that a lot if you do, so I apologize for presuming to chime in. But I feel like I have to because I have been the target of some of this negativity and have certainly seen it towards others.

What I've seen is of this variety: Behaving obtusely, on purpose, as if pretending that you don't know what the person is talking about in their question. "What do you mean by this...? What do you mean by that...?" Come on, folks. We've all seen the same movies and TV shows, we've all read the same novels, we've all heard the same sci-fi terms.

Or crafting responses that clearly are intended to make the questioner feel as if they are stupid for having the audacity to ask such a stupid question.

And in some cases out right making fun of the question.

Example: I once asked What is INSIDE a Wormhole? . I'll admit, not a shining moment for me. However... since no one knows what's in a worm hole I think its not that big a leap to wonder what's in there. The way I see it, there are two appropriate responses to this question (in light of its obvious stupidity):

A) "No one knows what's inside a worm hole so we cant comment".

Or B) "No one knows for sure, but here are some educated guesses based on what we do know about worm holes". I know we don't offer opinions but surely educated guesses are allowed.

I think we can all agree that "worms" is not an appropriate response to the question. Funny? Yes. Very. I actually got a big kick out of it. I have a sense of humor. Appropriate? No.

I take issue with the idea that I have to make note of every instance, as if since I don't have a list handy that means none of it really happened. It happens. We know it does. The issue is whether or not we let it go because we kinda agree with it.

I also take issue with the notion that there are lots more low quality questions. The fact is, there are more questions. Period. And of those more questions there are going to be more that are not as well written as others. I'm sure there are more that are well written too.

There may be many reasons for this: English as a second language, the lack of knowledge and experience that many of you have, folks coming at this from the point of view that science-fiction and/or fantasy are kids stuff, and yes maybe they didn't even bother to take the tour or read the "how to ask a better question" page. But surely there's a better way to handle those than making fun or immediately down-voting with little consideration.

Also I noticed that there was a lot of "No, I don't know what you mean" or "no, I disagree" to this question. If one person noticed it then its there. Don't dismiss it out of hand. If one person noticed it then are probably lots of others who noticed it too but don't say anything out of fear of being shunned by the rest.

In short I'm just saying that this should be a welcoming site. Not a "we're too smart to bother with your dumb little question" site. I think we need to accept that part of being a higher reputation person on this site includes helping the noob questioner to ask better questions. Ultimately that just helps everybody. It might require more work from you, but... better website.

Here's a suggestion: All noobs are automatically guided to the "how to" pages first.

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    $\begingroup$ I really enjoy your questions. Please don't be discouraged by stupid remarks on the comments to them. Also I hope my answer to the question about the inside of a wormhole did not come across as rude. $\endgroup$ – Renan Mar 5 '18 at 21:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Renan, thanks. Like I said, I have a sense of humor and actually enjoyed your response. I don't mind frivolity especially since the site can tend to get serious. We should all remember that we're here to create fictions, entertainments. That's what world building is. So maybe using your comment as my example wasn't the best one. I've seen far ruder comments and have begun to flag some of them as such. I think we all have the responsibility to answer questions to the best of our knowledge and also help noobs and maintain the positive attitude of the site. In the meantime, lets have fun! $\endgroup$ – Len Mar 6 '18 at 19:53
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    $\begingroup$ I'm glad you're flagging rudeness where you see it. Mods can't see everything, so we rely on flags from the community. Thank you. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Mar 6 '18 at 20:04
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    $\begingroup$ A joke comment on a question is now considered "rude"? Pray tell, how have you survived on the Internet this far with such a thin skin? $\endgroup$ – Ian Kemp Mar 7 '18 at 11:35
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    $\begingroup$ @IanKemp, To you and whoever plused 1 you - Did you read the parts where I wrote?: " Funny? Yes. Very. I actually got a big kick out of it. I have a sense of humor" and "Like I said, I have a sense of humor and actually enjoyed your response. I don't mind frivolity especially since the site can tend to get serious." My skin isn't the issue here. Let me ask you a question though, where do you think your comment falls on the rudeness spectrum? Do you think it skews on the positive side? Thanks for your comment though. XOXO $\endgroup$ – Len Mar 7 '18 at 15:20
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Perhaps a very simple strategy to improve the impression described by Paul TiKi could be to replace casting any vote (be it a VTC or a downvote) by the following protocol:

  1. Leave a constructive comment: e.g. "Perhaps you could improve this question with ..." or "How about considering also ... ?"
  2. If the user resolves the issue, all good. Otherwise, leave a second comment to explain the reasons behind the disagreement "In my opinion there is a flaw with this question, which is ..." or "I disagree with your setup/opinion because of ..." or "I believe that this question is off-topic/not-about-wordlbuilding, because ... "
  3. Let it be, regardless of the answer/reaction of the user.
  4. Go to other questions where such thread of comments have happened between two other users, review it, and objectively evaluate whether the question deserves a VTC or, less punitive, a downvote."

Personally, I have been trying to follow such approach in the reviews.

I think it is important to always clarify the reasons behind one's dissatisfaction with a question, be it about the language, or the clarity, or even about one's own perception of what constitutes worldbuilding. That being said, a fair system should not empower a prosecutor to be also judge and jury at the same time, especially if we perceive them to be a bit trigger-happy.

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    $\begingroup$ "evaluate whether the question deserves a VTC or, less punitive, a downvote". It's the opposite, a downvote means the content is bad/low quality and I guess it could be meant as punitive too. VTC is not the same thing. VTC is not because the content is bad or bad quality, it's just that it's not a good question, for different reasons like opinion based. $\endgroup$ – Vincent Mar 3 '18 at 17:54
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    $\begingroup$ Your approach is much more demanding for reviewers. You need to check the question several times to see if the asker made improvements. We can simply post a comment and VTC at the same time and we are encourages to do so, instead of just closing. Closing a question is not hostile because it is meant to be temporary. It is actually put on hold. The question becomes closed after a few days. Quickly closing questions that are too broad for example, is a good thing. It saves people time. Yet new users don't see it that way. That is why posting a comment is important. $\endgroup$ – Vincent Mar 3 '18 at 18:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Vincent I differ on the relationship between downvote and VTC. The former can be retracted if the question improves without preventing contributions from the author or other members of the community. The latter is simply the expression of a policing oligarchy to stop further development of certain questions. The amount of work to reopen questions adds undesired overhead on top of editing by the author. $\endgroup$ – NofP Mar 4 '18 at 0:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Vincent We can simply post a comment and VTC at the same time and we are encourages to do so, instead of just closing. --- one could also encourage just leaving a constructive comment ;-) ----- also, considering how trivial and simple is the review process from the review queue on WB, it can't be that much of added effort. Unless I missed something very deep about writing a comment and clicking a button. $\endgroup$ – NofP Mar 4 '18 at 1:02
  • $\begingroup$ I haven't said that it is something difficult. I was just saying that it happens to have a question closed with no explanation. $\endgroup$ – Vincent Mar 4 '18 at 2:09
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    $\begingroup$ "The latter is simply the expression of a policing oligarchy to stop further development of certain questions." There is no plot and no organized police force here. $\endgroup$ – Vincent Mar 4 '18 at 2:16
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    $\begingroup$ @NofP: You're basically saying that questions should not be closed. That's not a useful way to run the site. There's a reason why question closure exists. And if a question merits closure and you don't vote to close it, that's bad. "The amount of work to reopen questions adds undesired overhead on top of editing by the author." Then the person making that post shouldn't have posted a poor question to begin with. Remember: closure only happens when the user has done something wrong. If they were doing things right the first time, they wouldn't have to add that "undesired overhead". $\endgroup$ – Nicol Bolas Mar 4 '18 at 4:56
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    $\begingroup$ Downvotes can be removed (and reversed!) after an edit, and close votes can be retracted any time before the question is actually closed. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Mar 9 '18 at 4:55

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