I have seen many times that a question asked by a new user is down-voted because of its quality. I think this is pretty discouraging for a person asking their first question. What if instead of down-voting the question, links or examples are provided to newbie, to show them how to ask a good question.

I also think that, the first question should be up-voted regardless of its quality to encourage the newbie to participate in the community. If the question is really bad, we should spent more time on the question to educate and help the person to modify the question.

Is this the right behavior?


Well, I just spotted this question, it is having similar discussion. Maybe this question is a possible duplicate of question.

  • 3
    SFSE is much more gentle about newbies than most of the other Stack Exchange forums I have looked at. Try asking a poorly formed question on the EL&U forum and see how long it takes you to get to -5. They even neg users who answer such questions, even if the answer is well formed, because they work hard to discourage poorly formed questions, even at the expense of the feelings of newer users.
    – Adrian Larson Mod
    Sep 7, 2016 at 13:11
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    Down voting a poorly formed question serve the purpose to maintain quality and compel questioner to work more on their question, which is good for community. But down voting the very first question discourages the questioner which makes them less active on the community which, I do not think, is a good for the community.
    – abdn
    Sep 7, 2016 at 13:55
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    I didn't downvote this post by the way. Somewhat ironic that someone did without comment. But we do need to get less defensive about it. It's not a systemic issue and it's not highly punitive. If you're going to put yourself out there, you need to be willing to accept some level of rejection if your content is not up to snuff.
    – Adrian Larson Mod
    Sep 7, 2016 at 13:59
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    :) its OK for me. I don't mind these thing. It is good for the community. I am Just concerned about the new users who are not used to it.
    – abdn
    Sep 7, 2016 at 14:01
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    I think it's worth noting that a lot of the first time posters are simply asking us to do their work for them. It's pretty rare that the problem a first time poster is asking is a discrete problem, rather than I broad 'my requirement is'.
    – Nick C
    Sep 9, 2016 at 3:27
  • @abdn I agree with you. I do feel that down voting serves a purpose, but some users just find this forum through a google search. They quickly signup and post a question without knowing the rules. Some think it's just free code writing but I feel like most people change their behavior when informed about how the community works and too many people down vote without comments. I've noticed that more users are starting to welcome and inform before down voting and I'm glad to see that. I've learned so much here I want everyone to stay, learn, and not be discouraged immediately by down votes. Sep 9, 2016 at 19:43

3 Answers 3


This has been a discussion going on about Stack Exchange in general for a long time. There's a similar post here specifically about Stack Overflow and a post here made 7 years ago. I also read a pretty nasty albeit interesting attack piece which you can read here.

What if instead of down-voting the question, links or examples are provided to newbie, to show them how to ask a good question.

From what I've seen, the link to "How do I ask a good question?" is often provided to posts that aren't up-to-scratch. I personally disagree with the notion of not downvoting because it serves a purpose, the tool tip sums it up:

This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful

If any question, whether you've got 1 rep point or 100,000 rep points doesn't show research effort, is unclear or just plain useless it should be downvoted. To do otherwise on first posts would just set the wrong precedent in my view and couldn't be managed even if we did want to do that.

I also think that, the first question should be up-voted regardless of its quality to encourage the newbie to participate in the community.

I disagree with this, again it would set a bad precident and may very well encourage users to keep writing bad questions. Of course we want new users to participate, but allowing bad questions, even for first-posters will lower the quality of SFSE as a whole. Salesforce Stack Exchange as a resource is simply more important than any individual user.

If the question is really bad, we should spent more time on the question to educate and help the person to modify the question.

I think regardless of if it's bad, very bad or very very bad we should do this anyway. As you've mentioned, we want people to participate but the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts, 2+2=5, that type of thing. We can only get there by being disciplined and using Stack Exchange the way it's designed, that good questions and answers rise to the top and vice versa.

I would agree that we could, sometimes, type things in a nicer way. I include myself in that notion too! Ideally we'd live in a culture where, as Jeff Atwood says in The Ten Commandments of Egoless Programming...

be kind to the coder, not to the code

... We might be kind to the asker but not to the question.

When people are direct in asking things like "What have you tried so far?" to a question that doesn't specifiy that, I don't believe it's an attack on a user personally rather than a critique of the question itself.

I do want to emphasise what Adrian Larson said, compared to other Exchanges, SFSE is MUCH kinder and considerate. Indeed I've seen comments and answers to questions on other boards that are just plain rude and some Exchanges have a very elitist culture. That, in my opinion, does not exist here.

  • 1
    ...regardless of if it's bad, very bad or very very bad... what about if it's very very very bad? Just kidding, always appreciate your 2¢! Well said.
    – Adrian Larson Mod
    Sep 8, 2016 at 16:39
  • @AdrianLarson If it's very very very bad they we should sign them up to magazine subscriptions they don't want and get pizzas delivered to their homes that they didn't order. ;)
    – Dan Jones
    Sep 9, 2016 at 7:55
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    the attack piece was sobering. I'm surprised I ever got any answers to my two questions on SO as I'm by no means a Javascript or CSS whiz. It is hard to find the line between the 'just do my work' OPs and the sincere, but not well-informed how to ask, OPs. Poet - A very insightful answer
    – cropredy
    Sep 10, 2016 at 3:55
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    I mostly agree, except that you'll see I'm not very good at down voting (less than 4%, it looks like). I personally do prefer to comment on salvageable posts, and reserve down votes for questions or answers that are simply beyond repair. I think I personally draw the line in regards to the amount of effort the person spends in the post. Posts that looks like they were typed in 10 seconds flat usually can't add value to the community, but a post that's five paragraphs long, but simply not well-researched would probably get a comment, since they put forth a best-faith effort.
    – sfdcfox Mod
    Sep 11, 2016 at 7:02
  • @crop That piece was indeed sobering, but thankfully I don't think it describes our user base. It seems to be an issue of the over-burdened. Right now, our community is small enough we've managed to avoid that behavior.
    – Adrian Larson Mod
    Sep 13, 2016 at 12:29

because I can't 'vote' to do so... if a mod clicks close it closes! My preference is to try and leave an encouraging comment and see how they/the community responds.

Answers that are are poorly constructed I tend to treat in the same manner, but if an answer is technically wrong then I will sometimes downvote as well.

Questions posted as answers are a different story, for those I leave a comment and then delete the answer immediately.


My philosophy of moderation (if that isn't a bit pretentious) with poor quality posts is always to comment, but not to start downvotes unless the user does not try and respond to being led towards getting a good question out of their post. So in this example at least the questioner is trying to explain more as they have been prompted.

I will tend to avoid downvoting as much as possible - currently only 25 downvotes out of 502 votes cast (approximately 5%) as I am keen to try and help people become useful members of the community by understanding how to ask good questions and be able to supply useful answers. I downvoted on this example as the questioner had been a member for a while and should understand the need to post a decent quality question to get useful answers.

I also try to avoid making too many snap judgements on the queues I have access to, if I am really not sure I might just leave a comment or hit Skip to let the rest of the community decide.

  • This is more or less similar to what I was thinking but was not able to explain. It takes more effort to leave a comment and then checking back if the answer is improved.
    – abdn
    Sep 11, 2016 at 12:34

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