We've been having a bunch of back-and-forth about treatment of newbies (enough that I won't bother to post links). I suggest that unless there are some real rules changes, nothing is going to simply change by a remarkable adjustment of group behavior -- not that it would be the end of the world if nothing changed, but there seem to be enough users that want things a bit different that maybe we should visit some of the rules.

People have been griping about rudeness to newbies. In my experience, many of these instances arise through comments. Right now, we have the option of flagging a comment as the only recourse, but I suggest that if the community can express displeasure in a slightly more public way, some may think a bit longer before being intentionally snippy in a comment. Clicking a downvote button would be one way to let a self-moderating community moderate itself.

I also suggest that it might be appropriate to cap the number of downvotes allowed for new users, at least for some time period, to allow the accumulated downvotes to make their points and give the newbie time to edit before he/she gets ganged up on. Perhaps if attempting the extended downvote, the late downvoter can be prompted to edit the question.....

A next step targets the newbies, reminding them about what a good question is, and that courtesy dictates that they minimally search the site on their topic before posting their question-- maybe even auto suggesting search terms, and doing the search, before giving them a "really post" prompt.

Lastly, if this is a real problem that we choose to deal with, perhaps a review of the question for low-rep participants (<10) PRIOR TO the question actually going up, is in order. This would be a last resort, I think.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Downvoting on comments was declined on MetaSO. I don't know about the rest. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Apr 19, 2013 at 17:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ I am not a great writer, which as a mod I apologize for, but I do think this new users problem is severely over inflated. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Apr 19, 2013 at 17:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ I couldn't agree more, actually-- cf my "its not broken" answer on an earlier thread. More than anything else, I'm trying to point out that discussing it and chanting "we have to be nicer" is absolutely not a productive path without proposed action, do I proposed action. @Kortuk, I think you're a fine writer. Also, I 100% disagree that criticism of Non-native English is a problem here. I've seen criticism of nasty web colloquilisms, like all caps, no punctuation, bad acronyms, etc., but that's entirely appropriate. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 19, 2013 at 18:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @CamilStaps, it got plenty of upvotes too, but the listed reasons were for "..if you accidentally upvoted a comment you didn't intend to Second, if you strongly believe that a comment is misleading, incorrect or off topic." I'm suggesting a downvote for inappropriate rudeness. If the work "Engineering" is in our title, nonprofessional behavior in responses should not be tolerated by the community. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 19, 2013 at 18:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ You can flag comments when they are rude. I'm not saying I disagree with your ideas, I'm just saying it probably won't get status-completed. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Apr 19, 2013 at 18:47

3 Answers 3


Creating a Question should already give some similar questions, based on the question title.

Of course, some of the more frequent duplicates should be added to the page with a short blurb. Mainly the Can I use X Power Supply to replace Y question.


The last paragraph essentially proposes to quarantine questions from users, which haven't yet demonstrated sufficient diligence. If it were a separate feature in a separate post, I would +1 it.

Such quarantine would be a 1-time thing from the new user's point of view. Unless there are problems.

in response to Scotts's comment:

I disagree that it will cut the legitimate traffic and therefore it's dangerous. I can illustrate this. I'm running a yahoo group (sensorforum, if anyone is curious). There is a setting, which routes first 5 messages from a new user into a "pending moderation" box. The first 5 messages don't go live immediately. It doesn't cut traffic at all, in my experience. New users don't realize that there will be a quarantine (who reads the FAQ anyway?), so they will post anyway.

This sometimes creates duplicate postings: "my message didn't go live, i'll try this again". But this is a minor snag, which can be dealt with.

More details:

  • Timeout. In an unlikely event that the message is not looked at by the reviewers, the message goes live automatically in, say, 2 hours.
  • Green channels. For example: members, who have, say, 200 rep on other SE sites don't get the quarantine.

These kinds of small impediments (as opposed to frictionless free-for-all operation) make members cherish the membership.

  • \$\begingroup\$ If it seems to resonate, I'll post it for discussion, which it would obviously require. It has a real potential for cutting down traffic and discouraging new users, so its on the dangerous side \$\endgroup\$ Apr 19, 2013 at 23:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ This type of thing is what SE is not about. They intentionally pride themselves on filtering once you post. No delay to go live. That is what close votes are for. To stop the things that should not be live. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Apr 19, 2013 at 23:49

If new user's questions were filtered, I'd certainly hope that everyone had the ability to read the site unfiltered (and "approve" a question immediately by answering it) if we so choose.

I know that would be my usual mode of reading.

Generally, things could be improved a lot if certain individuals here were not trying to control what everyone else can see but instead only influencing an optional "filtered view" of the site which like-minded users could elect to read if they prefer.


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