Luckily we are still growing and it seems now the holiday season has passed again and we see a few new community members join the site and ask their questions.
What has been striking me most the past couple of months is that the quality of questions coming from new users seems to deteriorate. I see more and more bad grammar being used with the same amount of spelling mistakes. Now some of this can of course be explained because not all community members are native English speakers (which is why we all have the power and duty to edit and improve their questions and answers), but it is not all just grammar and spelling which makes the quality of questions low.
I see questions with limited to no research effort or questions which simply are not clear (contain no additional information what so ever). Now Stack Exchange rules and conduct would be to downvote those questions, but on a new user I always feel this has a negative impact. Certainly if the downvote is not accompanied with a comment (I personally would love to see it impossible to downvote without leaving a comment, as I just find that evil).
So in my role and a moderator and a community member I try not to downvote anything unless I absolutely see no other means of indicating unwanted behaviour. Mostly I just revert to not voting and leaving a comment indicating improvement is required. But I'm wondering if there is anything more we can do to educate our new users while not diminishing or discouraging them?