Here's a question written by a newcomer with a small starting rep. It currently has a total negative score of -7, and four close votes (including the one I just cast). It was written 13 hours ago and has not yet been closed. Jeesh!

Granted, the question has problems! But it's hard for people to learn how to pose better questions when this level of negative voting occurs.

It would be different if it were an established participant who was asking something outrageous like, How can I take revenge on my competitor and steal his best grad student -- or something like that. I did once see an outrageous question posed by someone with a pretty good rep, that got a lot of downvotes. That can happen, and my point is that Nikki's question is not in that realm.

Friends, can't we be reasonable and stop downvoting such a question when it gets to -3, and instead focus our efforts on closing the question swiftly and painlessly?


I will change my suggested floor to -4 based on the answer by @strongbad.

  • 1
    I agree, and I was going to write a similar suggestion. Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 7:06
  • 5
    I strongly agree: my close vote is down-vote enough for a newcomer.
    – jakebeal
    Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 11:05

2 Answers 2


We definitely should be nice to new users. This includes welcoming them and explaining what can be improved about their questions and answers. As for not down voting them, large negative scores, especially in the absence of close votes, have little positive influence and a pretty big negative influence.

That said, it is worth noting that questions with a score of -4 or worse are hidden from the active page. Assuming a question has a close vote, giving it a score of -4 will get it off the active page. This has the advantage of decreasing the visibility until higher rep users handle it through the close review queue.

Additionally, closed questions with non-postive scores are automatically deleted by the community bot.

  • 4
    The fact that questions with a score of -4 or less are hidden from the active page can be a drawback, however. For instance, I close-vote more from the active page than from the review-queue, because the review queue shows questions from my ignored tags or questions that I'd skip anyway. Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 7:14
  • @MassimoOrtolano yes, it can be. Seems like the review queue should respect ignored tags but that might be hard to do client side.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 14:45
  • @StrongBad since the review queue can filter based on tags, I'd doubt that would be very difficult.
    – muru
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 3:12

I am a newcomer and that post was mine. When I find the website for the first time. It made the best first impression on me. I thought that was a great way to ask questions in a friendly manner. I did not want to hurt anyone or waste your time. I am just a newcomer. on that post, I mentioned that I am not a native speaker, instead of giving me a piece of advice you just told me you need to work on your writing before going and studying there. I was in the middle of very important talk with my professor, instead of guiding you just teased me. I know that I made mistakes. I am going to leave this website. I want the admin to remove my account. Thank you for stopping me. I WON'T be active here anymore. Best wishes!

  • 12
    A belated welcome to AC.SE. I am sorry your initial experience was not welcoming. The SE system takes some getting used to since we are a question and answer site and not a discussion forum. Please take a look at our help center and feel free to ask other questions. Down voting and closing questions are just the way SE tries to maintain a high quality site and having one bad experience doesn't mean you will never get good answers.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 20:04
  • 1
    SE feels very bad to newcomers.. that's clear!
    – user111388
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 17:36

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