There are a handful of new users coming to our Tridion StackExchange site every week, but they don't often seem to grow into avid users (they get stuck at a reputation of 1, or 101 if they have other StackExchange accounts). See https://tridion.stackexchange.com/users?tab=NewUsers&sort=creationdate for the list.

I have a feeling because of the welcome we give (some of) them they end up not caring. Just an example of how new people are welcomed here: https://tridion.stackexchange.com/questions/18121/migrating-from-dd4t-providers-sdltridion2013sp1-to-dd4t-providers-sdlweb8

The user is new to our site and as it seems also new to our product, he (or she) asks a question and gets welcomed with two downvotes. No comments on why his (or her) question is downvoted, just two downvotes. I left a comment asking for an edit on the question (as I often do, after I had seen the first downvote), today I notice a second down vote but nobody is even trying to help this user.

If you ask me downvotes are the most rediculous thing you can ever use, certainly on new users. For one, it won't cost the new user any points since they cannot get a reputation less than 1, but it does cost you as a downvoter 1 point. More importantly if you downvote without leaving a comment, to me that feels like you are stabbing somebody in the back. They are hurt, but have no idea who did it or why it was done.

Downvotes are an important tool to keep our site clean and to the point, it makes sense to downvote a bad question when you know the user who asked the question should know better. But even then, if you decide to downvote, please leave a comment indicating what is wrong with the question, so the user gets a change to edit his question and improve it (after which you can decide to remove your downvote, since the question has been edited).

Let's discuss this...


Seems we still have people doing it, see Upgrade to SDL Web 8.5 queries it got a downvote without a comment on it. I'll add the featured tag to this question to see if it can get some more views and a continued discussion.

1 Answer 1


Firstly - kudos for using an example where your own "please edit" comment also comes into question. Walking the walk... way to kick off an open and self-critical discussion.

I think I agree with your point on down-votes, Bart, but not because they cost you a couple of points. I think any of us should be willing to give up a couple of points to improve the site. For example, when an answer is wrong, a down-vote is a perfectly good way to send it downwards. Still - as the recipient of the occasional down-vote, I can tell you that it's much easier to take if someone bothers to comment at the same time. But definitely - down-voting questions should really be for the ones we're trying to get rid of.

In the example in question, it may simply be that people have seen your comment, agreed with it, and felt that further comment wouldn't help. By down-voting, they were signalling to the questioner just that.

Geek culture has always had an element of tough love. In Stack Exchange sites, this is explicit. If your question or answer isn't of a high enough quality to be of value to the community, it doesn't belong here. The question is: how do we maintain that standard, while encouraging people to stay and improve?

Your comment is delivered in a neutral tone. You're plainly trying to help, and that includes suggestions for improvement. It's like walking a tightrope, and I think you've managed as well as any of us might, yet still - an over-sensitive visitor might take it as unwelcoming. At this point, I think I'd say, there's not much else to be done.

One practice we used to follow was beginning these comments with "Welcome to Tridion Stack Exchange...". I'm fairly sure I've seen you do that yourself. I think that helps, and we should try to do more of it.

A standard "welcome" opening also gives the opportunity to place a link to more information: "Welcome to Tridion Stack Exchange. Please take the time to visit our help page, where we explain how our community works."

On such a newcomers' page, the visitor is not under criticism, no matter how they choose to interpret it. That's hard to achieve in the comment itself, so maybe we should keep it to a standard text with a link.

I'm not sure how the rest of SE deals with this, and think I'm not alone in this. I've been vaguely aware of the how to ask page, and with a bit of guess work I ended up at our own help page. The fact that it took some vague awareness and that I had to invest effort in finding these is certainly part of the problem.

With a bit of effort, we can probably make the help page more useful to newcomers, and we can probably make it more discoverable. In any case, linking to it from an initial welcome comment would help.

  • I totally agree that a downvote is a useful and proper tool, which is why I didn't start a debate about if we should remove the option altogether, I just wanted to discuss the use of a downvote on a newby user.Certainly on a small community like ourselves, On Stack Overflow, the community is enormous, so they can use tough love more easily.I like the "Welcome to the site" comments, but don't use it myself anymore since I think that info is there before they write their first question already, which is why now I use my "edit" comment. Not overly friendly, but I don't downvote newbies period. Nov 24, 2017 at 16:48
  • I might have to add that a downvote for me as a moderator is also a less effective tool, since if I think a question should be deleted, I can simply delete it. But I'd much rather would see that people flag a question for delete, than just giving it a downvote. Downvote on answers, now that makes more sense, on questions, a downvote by itself is too random and sends an unclear message (at least for newby users). Nov 24, 2017 at 16:53
  • BTW - who can edit the help page? Nov 24, 2017 at 17:00
  • I think SE can only do that, but we can request changes (I think they asked us in the beginning what it should read, and suggested a default, which is what we kept). Nov 24, 2017 at 17:04

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