I have noticed that when a new user posts for the first time people around here tend to react in two very distinct ways. I am speaking of questions that are off topic for some reason but might be improved.

The two reactions are:

  1. downvote/flag/vote to close without even trying to help the user
  2. do (or not) one or more of the above but comment trying to explain the problem(s) to the newbie

I understand that if you stick to the rules option 1 is the way to go but sometimes I feel that waiting a bit and trying to help might be better, also if we want to keep the Q&A quality high since we are few, as I've read somewhere around here.

So the question is: is there a sort of guideline or the guideline is "well if you have time to waste to help someone who can't help you you are welcome but don't bother anyone else"?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I modified the title to be a little more specific about your concern. I was going to suggest a third "reaction" which is to simply edit the question to improve it, but sometimes off-topic questions can't be saved. \$\endgroup\$ – JYelton Jul 28 '14 at 2:38

There is a section of the Help center that is quite spot-on: What kind of behavior is expected of users?

In short:

Be honest.

Above all, be honest. If you see misinformation, vote it down. Add comments indicating what, specifically, is wrong. Last but not least, edit and improve the existing questions and answers! By doing these things, you are helping keep Stack Exchange a great place to share knowledge of our craft.

Be nice.

Civility is required at all times; rudeness will not be tolerated. Treat others with the same respect you’d want them to treat you because we’re all here to learn, together. Be tolerant of others who may not know everything you know, and bring your sense of humor.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I accepted your answer maybe a bit too fast. I read the link, it appears to be a set of generic rules for every user, not a "how to treat noobs" guide. I was wondering if the community has this sort of guide or not. \$\endgroup\$ – Vladimir Cravero Jul 21 '14 at 7:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @VladimirCravero well, you shouldn't treat noobs differently, you should just consider the quality of the post. Of course, you can't expect that a new user fully understands the site, therefore he might need some pointers and extra patience. But it's all just common sense. Ah, and don't expect everyone else to do the same, that's just life. \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio Jul 21 '14 at 9:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ What I need to understand is if it's more important to keep the Q&A overall quality high or to help people understand EE. \$\endgroup\$ – Vladimir Cravero Jul 21 '14 at 12:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ In my opinion if the two requirements are in contrast, then there's something wrong. Can't you vote to close and leave a comment to help the poster? Can't you just edit the post to improve it's quality? Sometimes I feel that if I can't provide adequate feedback I prefer not doing anything and leave the task to other reviewers. \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio Jul 21 '14 at 13:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair enough, I'll try and form my opinion then. Thanks for your advice. \$\endgroup\$ – Vladimir Cravero Jul 21 '14 at 13:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is no difference in how to treat noobs. "Be nice" covers it all. It's not necessarily the way things happen \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Jul 21 '14 at 15:14

IMO this site is all about (providing) information. A downvote by itself (whether on a question or on an answer) provides very little information. When I downvote I either upvote a comment that describes my reason for downvoting, or add such a comment myself. I consider leaving an author in the dark as to why he was downvoted as (somewhat) rude behavior. IMO such a comment itself does not necessarily have to be polite: a "design this for me, and do it quickly" type of question, or one that written in ALL CAPS SMS STYLE deserves a (mildly) rude comment.

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Wow, OK I came here to ask a question, but I'd like to respond.
I'm not sure that an answer is the right way.
(maybe there's a meta meta electronics to ask...that's going to get much too confusing. :^)

Re new user: I'm one, I don't have the hang of things, but I've been disappointed seeing discussions I'm involved in going away. I'm not all that interested in a record for the future, or whatever the rational is for voting down answers and making them go away. OK, I don't want flame wars and bad behavior should be discouraged, but not by cutting off the head.

I mostly want to talk about electronics and instruments that are important to me today. A somewhat selfish view, and maybe stack exchange is not for me.

I was talking with a new user about piezo's, he said he'd done lotsa circuits. I believed him. There I was crafting a response to his last post, which was a bit rude. In my (now gone) response, I pointed out that there was really no disagreement, since in some way pressure and acceleration are the same thing... and when I posted it the discussion had gone away.

Too bad, I wonder if he knew anything about driving peizo's? I'd bet the hysteresis I see in driving them is due to discharge effects.

Anyway it seems to me that people are cut off much too early. Why can't discussions go on for a few days?
Of course I'm use to Phil A. over on SED.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This might have been better as a new question ;-). But if you're referring to the answers I think you are that wasn't really a new user. It's someone who's had their account suspended for disruptive behaviour and has created hundreds of sockpuppet accounts to get around it. Normally an answer is only deleted when the owner deletes or when it's really not an answer at all. Answers that are wrong can be downvoted and commented on, and of course in that case someone may realise the answer is wrong and delete it themselves. \$\endgroup\$ – PeterJ Jul 22 '14 at 8:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ The main site is really just for asking questions and giving answers, and that is take pretty seriously. If you just want to shoot the breeze, visit the chat. \$\endgroup\$ – The Photon Jul 22 '14 at 23:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ (or head over to reddit /r/electronics or AllAboutCircuits forums or ...) \$\endgroup\$ – The Photon Jul 22 '14 at 23:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also for more conversational EE chat, consider the EEVBlog forum. (Note that EE.SE is not a forum.) \$\endgroup\$ – JYelton Jul 28 '14 at 2:40

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