There are a lot of people with less than 10 experience or have posted less than 10 times that create problems for the community. Some of these problems can be seen in these posts.

Attitude towards new users... Condescending Moderator Amongst others meta posts.

This leads to the community firing back in some cases. This could lead to alienation, which isn't necessarily a bad thing if the users don't want to contribute but may also throw off some people who really want to learn. I can't say that I haven't had my share of comments that wern't condescending. I think this could be solved with a technical solution. There needs to be a bigger barrier for new users with questions. Something needs to force them to read the rules and\or give them some incentive to write good questions.

Would this be useful to the community?

If so what are some ways this could be accomplished?

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    \$\begingroup\$ [Please excuse me for repeating this.] A good online EE community is one where new users have to send a photo of their oscilloscope to apply for membership. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Feb 17 '16 at 21:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Great Idea! That would definitely stop all of the how do I connect X device up to AC mains questions :) \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Feb 18 '16 at 0:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NickAlexeev so...you're voting to kick me off the site for not owning/building/coding a 'scope yet? ;-) \$\endgroup\$ – Robherc KV5ROB Feb 19 '16 at 13:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Robherc You'd get a special invitation, and it would be sent via a ham radio. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Feb 25 '16 at 20:04

I agree that a barrier would be beneficial for the community.

Technically, we don't have a mechanism for evaluating new users until they post. We only have a first post review queue. The first post hits the main board before it's reviewed.

1 Previously, I have described an idea of a quarantine.

2 StackOverflow has barier mechanism called Triage. It exists only on StackOverflow. I wish it were available to us too.


This would not work.

These people already ignored any available rules and documentation, they are clearly not interested in asking good questions or following any guidelines, as such when "forced" to read something, they will annoyed click on the "yes" and do whatever they want anyways.

Our current solution is to close and downvote these questions, and while not perfect, this is working ok. It would be more efficient if that certain share of currently active users would take off their velvet gloves and stopped trying to handhold people and instead show them the right direction (door if necessary).

What would work as a techinical solution is to have some criteria for possibly bad questions (first question, bad history, smart content filter) that would put it into a queue, and only if enough users have agreed to have it on the front page, then it gets activated. If someone says no, the user gets a notification with the particular rules that he should take care of to make his question better.

However this would mean even more effort for existing users (going through dedicated queues instead of randomly spotting and nuking crap), and since the pain pressure is not high enough at the moment, no one would be willing to do this kind of work.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The problem with the current system is new users come in, assume this is like a regular forum and start asking bad questions, then get yelled at. This is bad for the new users, and bad for people that want to help people. There either needs to be a message or something that forces a user to write a better question or penalizes them automatically. I don't even want to see questions from users that have an experience level lower than 10, it's not worth it. If you look at time from a community stand point, is it worth it to have 10 users correcting a bad question? These are 20% of the questions \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Feb 18 '16 at 0:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ If people aren't interested in doing this, shouldn't we prevent them from posting at all? Shouldn't they be forced into using the circuit tool or posting a picture or link so we don't have to tell them to? \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Feb 18 '16 at 0:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @laptop2d: Yes, it would be great if we had a way to automagically lock out users that are about to ask stupid questions, but imho this is not possible. Forcing them to use the circuit tool or posting a picture is useless since there are plenty of questions that require neither, and also they would just produce crappy circuits and photos there. There is no way to display a message that forces them to obey a rule. They will still just click ok or whatever and continue with what they want. Also I never proposed to correct question, I say close and downvote into oblivion. \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Feb 18 '16 at 11:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @laptop2d: Additionally your rep limit to see questions might be fine for you, but not for others. There are still a number of questions from new users that are fine, sometimes even really good, and if you prevent new users from asking questions (which essentially is what a rep limit for posting questions will do), then those would be lost too. Generally it will dry out the influx of new users completely. \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Feb 18 '16 at 11:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think this would work, would increase community moderation workload, and would drive away new users -both bad users and good users- who would move on and seek other methods of help. \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Feb 18 '16 at 12:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ScottSeidman: Yes, at the moment it will not work because the pain felt by the community is not big enough, but if the pain felt is big enough people will want to put effort into it by moderating. The question is though at what point in the future will it be high enough? Even the amount of crap dumped onto SO these days isn't big enough yet. \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Feb 18 '16 at 12:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's not the Moderation pain I'm most concerned about. It's the chasing away of potential good users \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Feb 18 '16 at 12:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ScottSeidman: I think that if we balance the criteria and heuristics for putting things into some moderation queue well, this will not be the case. It will mostly hit people that have never posted on any other stack, or those with bad track records. I don't think that people that really want to ask good questions will have a big problem with their first question being reviewed for a while before going public. \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Feb 18 '16 at 12:27

I'm not sure I would classify this as a real problem. It would be a problem if not enough users hung around. Do we have any evidence that this is the case?

On the flip side, some would call the current environment a solution and not a problem -- though I'm not sure I'm in that camp.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Had a recent look at all the low quality questions? Clearly those would not have been asked in that way or at all if people had read, understood and followed the rules. \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Feb 17 '16 at 21:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think there needs to be more website feedback on rules. We shouldn't have to explain them every time to new users. Thats why we built computers in the first place. Does every user need an introduction to the community which takes time? we could be 1) answering real questions 2)getting on with our lives. I think it is a failing of the site if a new user doesn't read the rules, they should come up with a big flashy sign and be forced to read them, given a grace period or something \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Feb 18 '16 at 0:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @laptop2d: What are you proposing to force to read them? A quiz asking about the content of what they were supposed to read? And even if this was in place (which would be so incredibly annoying that probably noone wants to do it) why would that change the mindset of a user who already has his question in mind and just wants to dump it here? \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Feb 18 '16 at 12:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ You could go with what we already have, which is a box off to the right with the rules in it. The new user either doesn't see it or does see it and just wants to answer their question so they click right through. If something were to be implemented, it should only be done to new users. It could be incredibly annoying, like a box that pops up for 5 mins and doesn't shut down. Or something as simple as a check that ensures they at least have a question mark in their post. Or put them on probation and give them negative points until their question has been cleared. \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Feb 19 '16 at 19:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ These take time to code up and implement. I think the triage idea is great, its already been implemented and tested by a much bigger community that had that need. \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Feb 19 '16 at 19:16

While it'd sometimes seem nice to be able to take some of the garbage posters' heads in your hands, open the /tour page & help center too, thenforce them to sit there and read it... Unfortunately I don't think any of us have time for that, and most new users are simply not going to read & follow 'the rules' until they 'get in trouble' for braking them

As another possible solution (well, a partial one, at least) I'd like to at least see first questions/answers be marked as such, if not placed in a 'first posts,' 'quarantine,' or 'unfiltered' tab until the first post/late answer/low quality review has been done.

I don't think it has yet become necessary to impose a 'total lockout' lf questions/answers 'pending approval,' but I definitely see a benefit to reliability of information and ease of browsing if 'questionable' content is at least noted as such.


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