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This is a brand new user with only 1 point reputation who has asked a question that is on-topic, in fact as on-topic as can possibly be, and somehow they were given a net negative vote and someone had the audacity to vote for it to be closed:

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It says right there: "user4446 is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct."

How is voting to close the question welcoming?

If the new Code of Conduct is not enough, what should be the guidelines for treating new users on the QCSE? An example of a guideline would be not to negative vote new users with <200 reputation, but instead to leave a comment explaining why you don't like the question.

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    $\begingroup$ even if you are right here, you cannot force people to not downvote something, so I don't see what you can do about this. If the question is interesting someone else will upvote it, and all will be well. Even having an "official guideline" in place would not change this kind of thing. Also, you know, losing two internet points is not the end of the world. $\endgroup$ – glS Aug 28 '18 at 19:10
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    $\begingroup$ @gIS, you are right we can't force anyone, but there are certainly guidelines for upvoting and downvoting in the mother Meta. Also, I'm asking about making further guidelines for QCSE if the "Code of Conduct" is not already enough to discourage people from being mean to new users. We have to be welcoming to new users. Downvoting without giving comment, and voting to close, is not welcoming in my opinion. Our number of questions/day went down from about 4.5 to 1.7 in the last 2 months, and our daily views went down a lot too. $\endgroup$ – user1271772 Aug 28 '18 at 19:16
  • $\begingroup$ that there is causation between the decrease in traffic and the site "not being welcoming" is all to be proven, especially given that the decrease in traffic seems to me to be easily explainable by the initial hype and excitement about the new toy naturally fading away (which by the way I don't think is a bad thing, as it allows to more faithfully assess how the site is really going). About making further guidelines about niceness, I guess it could be done, though I don't see how it would change thing significantly. $\endgroup$ – glS Aug 28 '18 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ My personal opinion is that some degree of "unwelcomingness" is intrinsic in the stackexchange model, and is also desirable in that is what protect these sites from a flood of noise. I mean it's kind of like the academic system: some degree of harshness (without overdoing) is useful and necessary to mantain a high standard. Just look at quora to see what happens when you do not heavily filter the content $\endgroup$ – glS Aug 28 '18 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ I see your opinion. My interpretation of the code of conduct (and even the previous "be nice policy" was to be welcoming and never unwelcoming, but that's also just my opinion. There have been some questions from new users that were closed and I didn't feel too passionate about it, but in this case it's a real quantum question and I think that the close voter went a bit too far. $\endgroup$ – user1271772 Aug 28 '18 at 19:27
  • $\begingroup$ yes, possibly, but then again as long as it's just the odd vote to close (which seems to have been dealt with already by the way) no damage is done. Five votes are required to close a question. If five people agree on it, then that is already an entirely different matter (even though it's true that sometimes one can get carried away and be hasty in voting to close, but that is another story). Mentioning these things in chat should be enough for a quick fix =). Also people could definitely upvote more! $\endgroup$ – glS Aug 28 '18 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ There's a new feature where it says "new user" next to new users' names, and it specifically says to be more welcoming to them and refers to the new CoC which is way more comprehensive than the old "be nice" policy. Yet still it got a close vote, which I found quite surprising. Hopefully this is the "odd one one". $\endgroup$ – user1271772 Aug 28 '18 at 20:26
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    $\begingroup$ Could, for instance, the close vote have been on the unedited version of the question? Also, close votes are not unwelcoming, since people don't even learn about them. Closing questions is unwelcoming. $\endgroup$ – Norbert Schuch Aug 28 '18 at 21:50
  • $\begingroup$ It was probably on the original version, which was still on-topic but of less quality. The question could have been edited instead of voting to close. Or a comment could have been made. If a user with 3000 reputation asked a question like this maybe it would be ok to vote to close it, but for a user with 1 point reputation? Someone who signed up just to ask this, gets sent away? They're not going to come back again. The -1 vote was unwelcoming. Sure they don't see the close vote, but the fact that someone voted to close is disturbing to me. $\endgroup$ – user1271772 Aug 28 '18 at 23:13
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    $\begingroup$ @user1271772 Basically, you are saying we should drop any kind of quality assurance. $\endgroup$ – Norbert Schuch Aug 29 '18 at 20:40
  • $\begingroup$ I am not. For a brand new user who asks an on-topic quantum question, leave a comment to help them learn the ropes. $\endgroup$ – user1271772 Aug 29 '18 at 20:41
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    $\begingroup$ @user1271772 But then those unwanted questions stick around. The next user who comes will see lots of those and think that's on topic ... seems like a slippery slope. $\endgroup$ – Norbert Schuch Aug 29 '18 at 21:20
  • $\begingroup$ I see. Well I personally want to welcome more questions rather than fewer questions. We will also (likely) remain in beta until we regularly have 10 questions per day, and we're currently at 1.5. But your vision of this SE is a slightly different community from my vision of it, which is ok I guess. Perhaps the close vote isn't such a big deal since 5 people can vote to keep open and the "new user" never sees any of it. The downvote is something I'm more passionate about. Again maybe your idea of what deserves a downvote is different from mine, which is also okay I guess, but this Meta question $\endgroup$ – user1271772 Aug 29 '18 at 21:28
  • $\begingroup$ was here to see what others think about it. $\endgroup$ – user1271772 Aug 29 '18 at 21:28
  • $\begingroup$ @user1271772 More focused questions => more/better answers, and thus (hopefully) more visits. Otherwise, you'll have lots of questions with few/no/downvotes answers which likely doesn't help the site either. Beyond, there are lots of good & working sites in beta since a long time. $\endgroup$ – Norbert Schuch Aug 29 '18 at 22:53
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Please try not to extrapolate a down-vote or even a close vote as an affront to the entire Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct is about treating each other with patience and respect. While you can argue that further explanation of a down-vote can be constructive, it is not a required part of the process.

Users are entitled to their opinion — users are even entitled to be wrong when deciding what does or does not belong on this site. That is why moderation is a community-led activity. Conflating the issues of "be nice" with trying to assert that everyone must agree-always creates an uncomfortable environment where everyone is afraid to disagree or express any type of dissenting opinion — whether it's through a down-vote or a close-vote or a comment — until the whole thing ceases to be functional at all.

I'm not assuming bad intentions or ill will or on your part, much like we shouldn't assume bad intentions or ill will in others. The Code of Conduct is there to established a pattern of behavior, not to raise it every time someone disagrees. You might ask how we can improve handling off topic questions to better help users who are new to the system, but blanket accusations of a mean community gone wrong are not going to be constructive.

Incidentally, the drop off you are seeing following a site's launch is a completely normal part of a site's life cycle. I hope you are finding the ensuing comments more helpful. Take care.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. In any case can we create guidelines for how to treat new users on the QCSE? $\endgroup$ – user1271772 Aug 29 '18 at 0:49
  • $\begingroup$ "site's life cycle" -- Does that mean it's generally finite? :-o $\endgroup$ – Norbert Schuch Aug 29 '18 at 20:38
  • $\begingroup$ @user1271772 How would you enforce them? Kick out everyone who issues a close vote? $\endgroup$ – Norbert Schuch Aug 29 '18 at 20:39
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    $\begingroup$ @NorbertSchuch Yes, the site is over when this internet fad has run its course, or when the sun expands into a red giant and it's simply to much trouble to move this whole thing to another planet. $\endgroup$ – Robert Cartaino Aug 29 '18 at 20:44
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    $\begingroup$ StackExchange is not migrating to Mars? I'm disappointed :-( $\endgroup$ – Norbert Schuch Aug 29 '18 at 21:19
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertCartaino: I am disappointed that you think it would be too much trouble to move the Stack Exchange Network to another celestial body within the 7.5 billion years left before the sun becomes a red giant. If humans cannot at least get the data stored on Proxima B by then, it would be quite disappointing. I don't want to die either, I've had arrangements for my body to be frozen. Hopefully my frozen body will be sent to Proxima B or a planet with a longer lifetime so that aliens who are way smarter than humans are will find it and figure out how to bring me back to life. $\endgroup$ – user1271772 Aug 29 '18 at 21:39

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