That's the message one gets when hovering over the downvote arrow.

New user

Good question - Does training up a child really work out?

Sure it's a bit complicated and bewildering as initially presented

There are close votes for off topic questions.

What is with laying into a new user with downvotes?

What is it with laying into an answer (or question) with downvotes that is not exactly like your theology?

This question does show research effort!

It is VERY useful and important to consider!

What's with the site that this behavior is becoming normal?

If one goes back a few years, there are contrary responses to questions that are from opposing camps with 10, 15 etc upvotes. Now, similar answers get closed or deleted because some have got a bit sensitive and disrespectful of a view not like theirs?

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    The quality of this website is maintained by diligent activity, by careful voting, and by administration of adverse influences. This, on the part of all users but especially by those Moderators elected by the Community. I comment on the content of what is being archived on the platform.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 13, 2023 at 11:22
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    Right - I think the downvotes against this Question are unmerited. It's okay to express concerns and to question how we're responding to others on the site, especially towards new users. Let's encourage this!
    – Steve can help Mod
    Commented Mar 13, 2023 at 11:33
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    @Stevecanhelp I take your point. I have retracted the vote to close.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 13, 2023 at 12:30
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    Thanks @NigelJ - appreciate your supportive attitude too. I'm clearing the initial comments from this Q.
    – Steve can help Mod
    Commented Mar 13, 2023 at 15:58

2 Answers 2


The main problem with the original question isn't the question itself, but how that question is worded.

People experienced on this site will immediately see that as a problem and vote it down or suggest it be closed. But newcomers will interpret those down-votes as meaning that something is wrong with the underlying question.

It's important to let people know why their question is causing this reaction, and what could be done about it.

If continually told "wrong, try again", with no explanation, people will have no idea how to improve what they did beyond making random guesses, and they will eventually give up.

That is not good.


Thanks for posting this Question - the new user experience is really important, and despite being focused on a rather technical subject we've got to make sure that it's accessible to new users.

I will admit that I downvoted this Question, because to my perception it makes basic misunderstandings around the context and intent of the text of Proverbs, which I clarified via Comment:

Hi Nate, welcome to the site - hermeneutics is all about interpreting the text faithfully in its own context. I would suggest that this Q at its core this is a common misunderstanding of the intent of Proverbs. There are sayings in there which are exact opposites, for example Proverbs 26:4-5. The sayings are not immutable promises from God, but rather general truths. The book assumes that the recipient understands they need wisdom to know which saying to apply and when, and for what purpose.

In this case I do think I jumped too quickly into the critique, and perhaps should have separated this into two comments - one welcoming the user and thanking them for their input, and another with the critique. By putting it all together it was clearly received as a 'rebuke' rather than contributory information. And then this negative slant seems to have cascaded into the regrettable situation you are now highlighting.

I don't think this question would exist at all if the user had done some basic research on the book of Proverbs, its genre, or its structure - and that's why I downvoted this content. In general we have a site-wide issue with lack of downvoting, where low quality content is only left at 0 or upvoted, and this has led to some Questions with five or six Zero voted Answers. And so personally, in line with the SE site model, I do make a point of Downvoting content as consistently as I can with the model's voting guidance.

In this case this has been an overly negative initial experience for a new user, and so I agree that myself and others could have done better in advising and encouraging the user appropriately.

For anybody passionate about this space, I would encourage you to engage in the First Answers and First Questions Review Queues to help ensure new users have the best possible initial experience with the site. Every single interaction counts!

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    Given that OP Nate retorted at your helpful initial comment, "Thanks for the welcome, but your rebuke is ungrounded. I came looking for an exegetical explanation, not an insult to my intelligence and understanding..." you are being more than gracious! You never rebuked the OP or insulted his intelligence but it was taken that way. Unfortunately. I tend to encourage newcomers even if they haven't yet got the hang of the site but when one has occasionally taken offense at me, I just leave them alone from there on.
    – Anne
    Commented Mar 13, 2023 at 15:06
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    Thanks Anne - conversations online are tough, without visual cues I suspect it's easy enough to take a downvote and a comment talking about the need for wisdom to be a slight against their intelligence. Often people expect negative interactions on the web, and across all of life struggle to take critique positively. My intent was good, but I like reflecting on it to see what I could change to communicate that more accurately. Appreciate your kind words :)
    – Steve can help Mod
    Commented Mar 13, 2023 at 15:56
  • Thanks for your mature leadership in this and a sympathetic response. I'd like to push a little against, 'it makes basic misunderstandings around the context and intent of the text of Proverbs'. Surely this is the entire purpose of this site to present such 'misunderstandings' and get feedback - some useful, some way off, some enhancing the idea we might have started with. Who fully understands anything about the bible content? I'd suggest 'basic misunderstandings' run riot here and it's a good place to get a variety of answers.
    – Steve
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 8:26

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