Whilst down-voting is encouraged for sloppy, no effort, questions. Or answers that are bad or clearly incorrect. I have noticed a growing trend of down votes on first question/posts in the review section. Said down-votes never have any comments as to how to improve,or whats expected when asking questions or why it was down-voted. I have often been left wondering why the question was down-voted myself . A simple comment on how to improve the question, without down-voting, would probably be better served for someone posting for the first time at Ask Ubuntu.

Ubuntu is encouraging folk to come to Ask Ubuntu for Ubuntu help. Many of those directed here have no idea how SE sites work and just need a quick answer. I find the over use of down-voting, without leaving an explanation in the comments rather discouraging and uninviting to new users posting for the first time on a SE site.

Are we making Ask Ubuntu to uninviting to first time posters ?

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    Do you have any examples you could add to your questions? IMO We're not downvoting enough. – Jorge Castro Oct 13 '13 at 13:49
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    Sure my first post in meta. Why has this been down-voted so much lol.So you don't see down-voting first post users, directed here from a link on ubuntu.com , as discouraging and uninviting ? They should conform to something non ubuntu IE the SE way? – damien Oct 13 '13 at 23:34
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    @damien About the downvotes, read the section on voting in the meta help page: askubuntu.com/help/whats-meta – Seth Oct 14 '13 at 0:26
  • I have kindly presented you with a down-vote, have a nice day. – Mateo Oct 14 '13 at 1:02
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    Could you please clarify "They should conform to something non ubuntu IE the SE way?" To my mind, Ask Ubuntu should adhere to SE standards. Otherwise, one could have a separate Q&A site such as The Document Foundation has for LibreOffice or whoever has done so for Fedora. IMO, such sites could be as warm and inviting as they choose. As of now, Ask Ubuntu is a Stack Exchange site. – user25656 Oct 14 '13 at 2:45

We get, on average, 200 questions a day. There are simply not enough active users to review, vote and comment on every single question.

This is an extremely high volume site:

If question askers don't take the time to read the help guide that's a risk they take. We simply can't personally tutor every new user who doesn't follow the rules. Trust me, I've tried.

Downvoting plays a very important role in the maintenance of the site. Filtering questions, invoking the question ban, and helping to detect spam (and get it deleted) are just a few of the important functions of voting.


While it is important to encourage users to add a comment when they downvote, it isn't going to happen every time. I don't consider this uninviting to new users, I jumped right in and never had a problem and I know scores of other users who did as well. If you take the time to write good questions, read the help guide and learn how the site works you won't have any trouble, and if you don't, that's why the voting system is here.

Ultimately, while the voting system may initially appear discouraging, it's actually here to make sure good questions get good answers, and it does it's job well.

Also, if you see a good question that has been voted down, vote it up! Good questions (and answers) should always be voted up.

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If a community driven site can't be bothered encouraging new users and instead focuses on negativity, down-voting , for what ever reason, this place can never be seen as friendly/inviting/encouraging.

Actually for users that take time to read and understand the rules we are quite friendly inviting, and encouraging. It was so when I started, and I know of lots of users who started after me that will say the same thing.

If you can be bothered to down vote you can be bothered to comment.

That's only partially true. When I started downvoting I usually left a comment explaining why. However that slowly stopped so that now I only comment if it's not obvious why I'm downvoting. This is why:

We get about 200 questions a day. Let's say 50 of those are bad questions for whatever reason. Let's go on to say that I downvote and comment on 10 (which usually doesn't happen anyway). Repeat for 7 days. Now I have 70 downvotes and 70 comments.

That's a lot of time that could be better spent helping the user on their problem, if they would have only taken time to read the rules in the first place, not to mention 150 other questions that are more deserving of help (i.e. more on-topic, with askers who actually care, shown by the fact that they took time to form a good question).

Basically, if you won't take the time to write a good, on-topic question you can't expect us to always take the time to explain why you are downvoted, when the answer is right there if you would read it.

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    Where do you get this mystical "6000 questions a day" figure from? We get a mere 190 questions per day on Ask Ubuntu. – user98085 Oct 12 '13 at 4:05
  • @FEichinger I think he meant... I don't know where he got that stats... – Braiam Oct 12 '13 at 4:09
  • @FEichinger That's odd... I did think that was too much. I was looking at this query here: data.stackexchange.com/stackoverflow/query/89504/… I didn't release that the SE site had that number. Either I'm stupid or something is wrong. – Seth Oct 12 '13 at 16:41
  • @Seth: The query is for "questions per month" :-) – Aditya Oct 13 '13 at 8:26
  • @Aditya Yes, but I was dividing the numbers by 30 or 31 to get questions per day.. It was really late at night, perhaps I did something wrong >.< – Seth Oct 13 '13 at 19:00
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    I am well aware of the benefits of down-voting questions and how the site works. It doesn't take away how discouraging and uninviting this is to first time posters. If not closed there question will get even less attention. ubuntu.com should stop directing folk here. If you can be bothered to down vote you can be bothered to comment. especially since its the users first post/question If a community driven site can't be bothered encouraging new users and instead focuses on negativity, down-voting , for what ever reason, this place can never be seen as friendly/inviting/encouraging. – damien Oct 13 '13 at 23:56
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    The most friendly place I've ever been to. – Mateo Oct 14 '13 at 0:54
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    @damien adding to what Seth replied/addressed (the first quote) this site (the Stack Exchange Network) expect certain quality and in some is enforced with Iron Fist like Skeptics. We in Ask Ubuntu hope keeping a professional and tidy site where people can ask questions and get answers precise and that address their issues. – Braiam Oct 14 '13 at 0:58
  • Oh yeah, @damien I responded to your comment in my answer. See the last revision. – Seth Oct 14 '13 at 1:01
  • 199312 / 30 = 6643.733333333 so... yeah, apparently we get 6.6 k post per day. – Braiam Oct 18 '13 at 19:40
  • @Braiam The SE site only averages over a 2 week period.. So I dunno which one is right.. – Seth Oct 18 '13 at 20:56

Thanks, damien, for your question and the empahty speaking from it!

It is not only the ever-present threat of being downvoted right away for whatever reason without knowing why and without the chance to react, but also several other "features" that are really giving you a warm welcome. Not.

For example, as a new user you are not invited to participate by commenting or voting until someone else has upvoted you to an appropriate level. You can only fire questions and pray. Result: feels awful. Depending on the graciousness of $someone to give you a voice. Learn to feel like refugees do. Democracy is different.

But $someone can not only downvote [in reality: your question | feels like: you] to oblivion but also effectively close it as "already answered" and point you to something else which really, really does not answer your question. You don't even have a chance to explain or defend yourself. The possibility alone (and seen it on so many questions) is definitely challenging to not Ctrl-W right away.

By such measures, SE forums are firmly presenting themselves as little VR-castles under the reign of some guys that hardly do anything else. The "bosses" are indicated by a several K posting numbers under their username like kerves on colts in the wild west. They decide what's good and bad, and they have their mechanisms established, their walls in place, to defend their reign.

I know that it's not true, because you guys have not made the rules, and you give good advice and invest an admirable amount of time in doing so, but it feels like that when you are on the outside of those walls.

Alone reading a (-5) score for damien's question without being able to upvote it supports this impression. And what does it mean? Bad question, not backed up with enough information, don't want to see it bubbling up, or just abuse as voting buttons for the subject of damiens question?

And when writing this statement, I know that those newbies sharing my feelings will not be able to upvote it. And many will not dare to write an own comment on this because they fear to be downvoted right away (which I absolutely expect for this post, because of well... eh... walls... you know...). See what I mean?

Reason why I do write this anyway? I dunno. Maybe I'm old enough to just not care. Or too much time tonight, some wine, and to noisy outside to sleep ;)

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    Please add "have my text being edited by $someone without defense" to the list above. – flaschbier Oct 13 '13 at 5:34
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    this is a collaboratively maintained site. Thus everyone including yourself has the right to submit edits to each others questions and answers. – fossfreedom Oct 13 '13 at 9:15
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    Not really. For example, I cannot edit Seth's answer, while Seth can edit mine. – flaschbier Oct 13 '13 at 9:31
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    everyone - including anonymous users have the right to submit edits. Your edits are peer reviewed before acceptance. That's how all stack-exchange sites work. – fossfreedom Oct 13 '13 at 9:45
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    The exception to that is meta where suggested edits are disabled. – user98085 Oct 13 '13 at 9:52
  • @FEichinger - indeed - obviously I was referring to new users on the main site as this Q refers ;) – fossfreedom Oct 13 '13 at 9:58
  • @flaschbier - at the end of the day its a question about commitment. If you commit to the site, actively providing good questions/edits and answers you earn the right to do various stuff. Learn the in's and out's of the site and you earn the privilegies. The analogy is driving a car - you wouldnt want to have the right to do all stuff on the roads without actually learning to drive :) – fossfreedom Oct 13 '13 at 10:04
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    @fossfreedom this is true, but actually not my point. Earning a drivers license is a defined process, depending on ability, not on graciousness of other drivers. – flaschbier Oct 13 '13 at 10:24
  • @flaschbier actually it depends of the graciousness of 1 or many examiners which they are more critical at the time of finding faults, hence worse. Here is more lax since people might like your approach and upvote it. – Braiam Oct 14 '13 at 0:37
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    @Braiam At the moment, -5 "like" or respect my outside-in view... What, those liking it cannot vote. Ups, I forgot ;) Remember that the downvote button does not read "I have another opinion" but "was not useful". – flaschbier Oct 14 '13 at 12:19
  • About the downvotes in meta, read the section on voting in the meta help page: askubuntu.com/help/whats-meta – Braiam Oct 14 '13 at 14:06
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    Cool. Documentation replaces code :D Thanks for pointing me to this anyway. – flaschbier Oct 14 '13 at 17:34
  • @flaschbier, "Documentation replaces code": what does that mean? – user25656 Oct 15 '13 at 2:51
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    @vasa1 Please hover your mouse cursor over the grey downvoting arrow. You see poopping up "This answer is not useful" as a so called bubble help intended to educate you about the meaning of the user interface element in question. But actually the help is not true and somewhere else, not visible right away, the meaning of the button is defined differently. This is either a programming error (providing wrong instruction) or as comes as vogonism to the newbie ;D Hope this helps. – flaschbier Oct 15 '13 at 6:43
  • @flaschbier , all the bubble means to me is that by clicking on the down arrow I vote that the answer is not useful in the context of the question. How I interpret usefulness is personal and therefore subjective. – user25656 Oct 15 '13 at 11:21

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