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As a newish user I want to give some feedback to veterans who close questions by brand new users. It can be pretty intimidating to have one's question shut down as off topic or opinion-based when one is not used to the culture of SE. In this case the poor person wasn't even welcomed to the group and invited to take the tour before their question was closed. I've noticed some new users never pop their heads up again once their questions have been shut down. Seems to me it's better to let such questions alone and close or delete them later rather than risk scaring off good people.

So to define the question more: what are we gaining by quickly closing imperfect questions by new users? And is that gain greater than what we lose by the chilling effect on potentially valuable new contributors to the group?

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    I noticed this post, which argues for a strict standard for questions during the early stages of the site's existence. I get that... but I also think at this stage, keeping new users engaged needs to be bumped up in priority. Are they any metrics available as to how this site is doing in terms of numbers of users over the years? Oct 8, 2022 at 19:44
  • I am currently banned from posting questions without any warning or explanation. I am relegated to post here because I can't even post a question to meta about this. I am a new user here. Jesus has a Spirit of Freedom not control. We are in babylon no doubt. Oct 17, 2022 at 18:19

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Dan, I want you to know that I agree with you about the friendliness. It is an issue on other SE sites as well. I've discussed this also with staff.

What's happening is the workflow of self-management. SE is "managed by the community". So, hundreds and thousands of high-rep users review new posts. It's all voluntary. They want to see "good quality". When something isn't "good quality" (whatever that means to each person), they take action against the post. There are many, many new posts constantly being reviewed, so they get in a bit of a hurry.

The issue is with the tools to review and address "low quality" posts from new users. There aren't always the right buttons to click right now. Only, downvote or close or comment, which makes it difficult to review the load of many new posts while being both fast and friendly and helpful for new users to understand. So, it is the friendliness that may often get dropped.

That's not any excuse, that's just the status quo explained in a nutshell.

For me, I want to lean on the side of being too friendly, not cold and callous. I went through the challenge and unfriendliness on many SE sites. It did make me better at asking questions, but the unfriendliness is indeed a problem.

The best thing to do for now is:

  1. Continue asking specific questions and raise awareness like this meta post does
  2. Do your own review and comment, being the friendly person the site needs
  3. Talk with other users on Hermeneutics in the site chat room
  4. Wait for updates for SE software to introduce tools that will make empower a friendlier welcoming party
  5. Use flags: If you see a post being treated badly, click "Flag" and explain to the moderators your concern. If moderators have already reviewed it, bring it up in the chat or make a meta question about it here

Thank you for this. I hope you continue to contribute and be part of the solution. And, please comment.

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  • thanks for your answer. I haven't yet flagged a question. I thought that action was to complain about the question rather than responses to it. I'll check out the site chat room. I'd be interested to hear answers from moderators who hold to a stricter policy too. Oct 8, 2022 at 12:48
  • @DanFefferman There are three of us moderators. It's not so much about a strict policy, but our approach and our personalities. The flag simply puts it in our queue with whatever you flag it under, including a custom message. Don't go overboard of course. And, don't keep re-flagging after mods have seen it. But, that certainly is a way to bring something to our attention.
    – Jesse Mod
    Oct 8, 2022 at 13:21
  • I think I'm confusing moderators with whatever the term is for people who are qualified to close posts. Oct 8, 2022 at 19:39
  • @closing posts can be done by users with high enough rep and it takes 3-5 votes to close, depending on the site. Moderators can close and open posts with just one vote.
    – Jesse Mod
    Oct 10, 2022 at 8:11
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thanks for raising this!

New user experience is super important and an area most stacks struggle with. In this case the user has been on the site for a year and a half, and has asked 17 questions, so I don't see a huge problem with closing off topic questions quickly. I do agree with your general concern and would encourage all community members to be welcoming and helpful.

One of the major problems of the site is a lack of community engagement with the review queues - most community members don't Vote to Close on Questions, and so this occasionally leads to quicker interventions by the Moderator team, as if we don't intervene sometimes things just don't get Closed or Reopened. So we value every bit of help we get from the community on all these fronts.

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    Good to learn that the person I referred to wasn't scared off after all. The point stands, however, that it can be intimidating for a new user to be created with having their question closed. Ditto for being told the question belongs somewhere else or that it needs reference. Oct 8, 2022 at 19:33
  • @curiousdanni - I appreciate your efforts to welcome new uses and invite them to the tour. Unfortunately, if you to get there quickly, the bot's admonition to be nice sometimes gets ignored. Not that people are being mean, just that they forget to be welcoming. Oct 8, 2022 at 19:35
  • Yep, good to raise concern, that wasn't a brand new user so that example was okay, point still stands. We need to be friendly with new users. We need help in the queues. All good stuff.
    – Jesse Mod
    Oct 10, 2022 at 8:13

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