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In the past 24 hours 4 new users joined and posted a terrible first question. One of them even received an upvote.

Since they are new users, downvotes do nothing to their rep. Their rep stays at 1, so new users can come in with terrible quality questions, even plagiarized, and all we can do is delete the question?

Is our question criteria defined enough for newbies (no offence) to understand it?

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  • $\begingroup$ Our criteria surely isn't completely fleshed out. BUT it's on the right panel 24/7 - "A Policy on Plagiarism". Like on SO, it takes the community to drag them down. We can do it ;) $\endgroup$
    – d'alar'cop
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 10:02
  • $\begingroup$ Don't worry about them not being punished. They probably won't come back anyway if they get lots of downvotes, even if they don't lose any rep for it. $\endgroup$
    – Kenshin
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 11:46
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know much about Meta. Is there some reason why this is being downvoted? $\endgroup$
    – d'alar'cop
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 11:51
  • $\begingroup$ @d'alar'cop I don't know. $\endgroup$
    – warspyking
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 14:52
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    $\begingroup$ You know, I'll be honest, you're not the best candidate to be complaining about people posting bad questions, considering that almost 40% of your own questions have a negative score. $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 19:08
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    $\begingroup$ @Joe Z. That's not the point here. I don't claim I have perfect question scoring. $\endgroup$
    – warspyking
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 19:09
  • $\begingroup$ I've been seeing a huge amount of terrible questions in the past month or so. What makes these four users especially egregious? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 0:02
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    $\begingroup$ @Gilles have you? then you must have seen many good ones too $\endgroup$
    – d'alar'cop
    Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 0:23

1 Answer 1

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Well, we've all got to start somewhere.

I think it'll take people time to understand the community's rules - and more importantly, its (developing) culture. I don't think that adding more text explaining the rules in more detail is likely to help, because people are unlikely to read it before posting.

So we downvote the posts. The posts themselves disappear from view due to low score or are deleted - ok, so no problem there. Well, some work for the moderators, so a possible workload issue, but no problem apart from that.

The person that posted them isn't punished in any way, but I'm ok with that. I don't think 'punishment' is really appropriate for a first post that doesn't hit the spot.

If any 1 user was doing 10 of those in a row then I think some additional action might be necessary, but if people are just coming to the site and making a single mistake right off the bat, let's let bygones be bygones. Some of them will probably stay to be great contributors.

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    $\begingroup$ Do we have a suggestion to read the help center's criteria when a user first posts? If not we should. $\endgroup$
    – warspyking
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 10:40
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    $\begingroup$ @warspyking New users do see a slew of material when they first join and post. Most people just skip past it, but it is all there and made available. $\endgroup$
    – user20
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 18:10
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    $\begingroup$ Oh, it's also worth noting; one of them most helpful thing you can do for new users is leave a comment explaining your vote. It's obviously optional, but the user may not understand why they're being poorly-received. $\endgroup$
    – user20
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 18:12
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    $\begingroup$ Well, actually by downvoting newbies, this make them frustrated and they tend to lost interest in participation. They feel like they are indeed being punished. I say this from personal experience, in the first few days in StackOverflow, a few downvotes is enough to say "ok then, screw up all you, guys", and then I went away for months. Most newbies that receives downvotes (specially if unexplained), close-votes or unpolite comments rarely come back. I myself, there are some communities here in SE that I participated in the past and that now I do not want to participate anymore with anything. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 19:12
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    $\begingroup$ @Victor has hit the nail on the head here. AE, you say punishment isn't appropriate, but multi-downvoting can feel a hell of a lot like it for a new user. Many many people throughout all of SE have been chased away by getting lots of downvotes and negativity as soon as they join. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 12:41
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor I agree, downvoting - and multi-downvoting in particular - feels like punishment to a new user. $\endgroup$
    – A E
    Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 19:13

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