The last week we had seen (again) some discussions here what is "wrong" with this site, why are here so many closed and downvoted questions and why people are interpreting this as "hostility" and "unhelpfulness". Peter Tòmas Scott made some kind of survey, and his final suggestions were
Improve communication of the site's purpose.
Change the self-moderating style
The first topic was already adressed here by an attempt of Rachel to get permission for changing the site's name. My question is: how can we address the second point (which is IMHO the more important one)?
Will it improve the sites' perception if we try to improve our means of communication, being more polite, less terse, using the "downvote" button less often against newbies (even when we suggest to close a question), and so on? Let me show you some examples for questions which were closed and/or downvoted in the last 12 hours:
- I add dynamically dropdown and input fields rows using Jquery
- reading line from text files in java (netbeans)
- What's wrong about thos code
- While loops in C# for Windows Forms. I'm trying to loop certain coefficients so that they can keep displaying on certain labels
Should we not have a more polite comment template for these kind of "fix-my-code" requests? Like "Hi OP, are you aware that these kind of questions are off-topic on this site? ...".
Moreover, these are a new users, can't we just close those questions instead of giving them a ton of additional downvotes?
Ok, this is primarily opinion-based. But a downvote, and those precanned links? What about enclosing the link into somethink like "Hi XYZ, are you aware that your question is probably too oppionated to let someone give you a good answer, see for more information"?
This is IMHO a much better example of how the closing should happen, a comment which was detailed enough to get a "thanks" respond from the OP.
The comments below those question are fine, and the questions are not yet closed. But the downvotes? The questions are not badly written or expect the reader to have a glass-bowl. And what about a friendly comment like "Hi OP, are you aware that questions of this type are often downvoted or closed on this site if they do not show that the asker did some research effort before"
Closed as "unclear" after it got a long-winded answer with 4 upvotes? Sorry, just because for some of us the question seemed to be unanswerable, others seemed to have a different opinion - and that was obvious at the time of closing. There must be a better way to deal with such questions.
Closed as a dupe (that is debatable, my close vote would have been for a different reason), but 5 downvotes? The question was clearly written and from a newbie. There must be a better way to handle this.
And finally, a more positive one:
Correctly closed, because this was not programming specific, and surely too opinionated. But it got lots of comments and upvotes before (still those 3 IMHO unneccessary downvotes). So that is IMHO a much more constructive way of closing a question.
So, what do you think about this?
EDIT: Here is another one I would like to add for demonstration purposes:
Why not use a more friendly comment like "Hi SlashMet, are you aware that we have a strict no-crosspost policy here in the stackexchange network? Please delete one of your doubles, or expect the community to downvote and close both of your questions." Of course, that question would be closed either because it is a "fix-my-code" request, and it would surely make sense to tell the OP that, too.