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I have noticed that it is probably very difficult for many new users to start contributing and gain privileges.

I see that new users who aren't posting amazing content get little to no sympathy upvotes whereas the oldest members got a rediculous amount of reputation basically for free during the first years.

Looking at the average rep/answer ratios and how much harder it is to get an upvote on anything now compared to the initial launch it is easy to see that it would be straight impossible to catch up if one wasn't "gaming the system" for the sole purpose of getting rep.

I also think that there is a good case to be made based on the data available that some users likely see reputation as a competition and stop upvoting content worthy of an upvote if they don't want a user to get much reputation. Which results in average answer/reputation score decreasing over the course of one's participation even if the content's quality is maintained or improved.

Furthermore it seems to me that too many questions by new users are getting locked without much effort to mend the content and resolving it otherwise.

Thus willing contributors are quitting because this place is straight up passively or otherwise aggressive and discouraging.

I personally think moderators are doing an awful job at encouraging participation and seeing their own limitations in expertise but hey what do you expect from a perfectly enlightened householder whose coming was foretold.. Moderator team is imho ruining this community the most, either with stupid policy or stupid enforcement of policy and am myself retiring because i have answered a bunch of questions already and i perceive this community and the moderator Andrei in particular as abusive.

Imho when mods delete things they can neither refute nor comprehend that is abuse of power and vandalization of the site.

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  • How can I pm you? – Kumāra Bhikkhu Jul 2 at 3:10
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    I can create a chat room if asked -- a chat room isn't "private" but it's quite secluded. Or people sometimes post their email address in their user profile. Or I'm much more tolerant of using comments for "extended discussion", here on Meta than on the main site. – ChrisW Jul 2 at 8:13
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    You can pm me off-site as we are facebook friends – deadmanposting Jul 2 at 8:19
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The title is about "welcoming" but most of the text is about "reputation" (including "sympathy upvotes").

It seems to me that the site's Moderation policies for Questions is the site really going out of its way to be unusually welcome or non-hostile towards new users, I'm not sure what more is feasible without the site's losing its character completely (and becoming a forum or a chat site instead of a Q&A site).

I also think that there is a good case to be made based on the data available that some users likely see reputation as a competition and stop upvoting content worthy of an upvote if they don't want a user to get much reputation.

I like to upvote -- though perhaps I've become less enthusiastic recently, so thanks for the reminder that voting can matter -- and I can see from here that so do (or so did) most other high-reputation users.

People can vote as they like, personally I try to upvote if there's something good about an answer and nothing "bad" i.e. nothing I disagree with -- if there's anything I disagree with then I tend not to upvote, I imagine that's why you'll sometimes "see" me not upvoting something.

I wonder sometimes if I should award "bounty" (to give/share my reputation to others) but I fear that would be putting undue attention on reputation, and risks playing favourites, and just make the problem worse, so I haven't done that.

There's a Christian aphorism that "love of money is the root of all evil", you might say something similar about love of reputation. I think of it as a measure of how much you've used (posted on) the site, which is a metric that's mostly useful for assigning privileges e.g. whether you've used the site enough to know what the site's/community's conventions are (especially about what topics should or shouldn't be closed).

I think the important threshold is 500 or 750, that's where you can be considered a "high reputation" user.

If it's above 1,000 then you're an "old friend" IMO.

Which results in average answer/reputation score decreasing over the course of one's participation even if the content's quality is maintained or improved.

I think it's that there are fewer avid users than there were a few years ago -- there are fewer people on Meta too.

Furthermore it seems to me that too many questions by new users are getting locked without much effort to mend the content and resolving it otherwise.

IMO there are few closed questions, less than one a week which is almost none.

Plus I see an average of about two deleted questions per week, mostly not closed and (from a quick sample inspection) mostly self-deleted i.e. deleted by the post's own author.


Thus willing contributors are quitting because this place is straight up passively or otherwise aggressive and discouraging.

That may be a problem -- and "the place" being "aggressive" might be an action item for moderators (as you know).

There have always been a few questions on meta about how to make the site better and/or more popular.


I personally think moderators are doing an awful job at encouraging participation

You're welcome. :-)

and seeing their own limitations in expertise

I did ask other people when they were volunteering me for the job, but they declined and so here I am.

Not a great job but somebody has to do it.

It might be hard for me to get the right balance, here you're saying that moderation is too aggressive, in other contexts e.g. here you have reckoned I am too permissive, too laissez-faire.

what do you expect from a perfectly enlightened householder

I try not to expect too much, isn't that right?

I think Andrei's reputation comes from posting good answers (mine is more due to having posted many answers).

IMO it's the users of the site that are important, it's the content that's worthwhile (or not) -- the moderation and the meta and so on is a bit of a chore.

Apparently (given what I've read here on Meta) every moderator acquired at least one "hater" who at least for a time seemed to despise or vehemently disagree with them -- and apparently (given what I've read of moderators of other sites) fwiw that's a bit the experience of every SE moderator but what can you do.

The Code of Conduct recommends that we "Focus on the content, not the person." Maybe it's better to focus on specific site policies and how they're applied to specific posts, instead of on "Him" -- "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." and so on!

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  • Please refrain from psychoanalyzing me, you have no idea what i am thinking and what my focus is. You have provided some insights here. The smirky 'you're welcome' is a useless comment. The contradiction of aggressiveness is comparing two different contexts and is unwarranted, if you want i can explain it further but it was said in different contexts and i don't think permissiveness & leniency are antonyms of aggression. – deadmanposting Jul 2 at 17:06
  • As to our supreme leader Andrei Volkov, i better not say anything.. – deadmanposting Jul 2 at 17:16
  • Fwiw i think you do a decent job moderating and your engagement & commitment is more than what i can ask for and expect. I just don't think you are all i want a moderation team to be and as i see it you are alone and complemented only by the fully enlightened dude who is very weird. – deadmanposting Jul 2 at 17:19
  • Im not saying it to make friends, i think it's frustrating and burdensome to talk to you at times but at least you make yourself available and are otherwise exemplary imo. – deadmanposting Jul 2 at 17:23
  • I think on closed questions you are right and my concern wasn't valid. Just seemed like it was more than that. – deadmanposting Jul 2 at 17:28
  • I too think I'm tedious to talk to, unfortunately, and that any friends I have are usually too good-willed and socially-skilful themselves to say so. I don't feel too alone on the team -- I try to maintain a consensus with other moderators, including Lanka, I might ask privately for their second opinion if I'm unsure, before I act -- but certainly I try to do whatever I think needs doing, so that other people don't have to and so that it doesn't go undone, so I don't doubt that I'm the most visible/active including on Meta etc. – ChrisW Jul 2 at 17:33
  • I guess my main "source of truth" here comes not only from other moderators (i.e. the "team") but more so from Meta (i.e. the "community") -- from my having read closely everything that's been posted here, from my asking specific questions (about how the community wants me to moderate) when I'm unsure, sorting those into faq topics and summarising them -- so I developed some idea of what "the community" wants. Then as long as the whole community doesn't revolt, which it never has, it ticks along (and mostly without my moderation) -- not perfect but it's what it is, as good as I can. – ChrisW Jul 2 at 17:40
  • Who is Lanka, his account is like a ghost here imo. As far as i am concerned you consulting him is as if you went to a fortune-teller. What i mean is that he isn't active at all and is not participating in discussions with me, is not making points, isn't making himself available for questions, isn't he more or less retired? – deadmanposting Jul 2 at 17:43
  • His visibility has quite intermittent. He showed up recently just long enough to give DD a 6 month holiday, and what more could one ask of him, that was excellently done IMO (and a great support). – ChrisW Jul 2 at 17:48
  • I think your are alright for discussion and worth talking to, don't take that comment the wrong way as most of our interactions are on less than pleasant topics or very difficult things to communicate. – deadmanposting Jul 2 at 17:51
  • I tink it was 3 months and too little too late if you ask me but whatever. I understand that he is in the background but i wish the moderators were as active and engaged as you are to help grow the community. Frankly i think it's going downhill and probably going to keep declining. I see no reason to participate further other than maybe asking simple reference questions like help me find a sutta pls. – deadmanposting Jul 2 at 17:57
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    You're right, that was three months. If there is a next time maybe I will have learned better from Lanka's recent example. As for whether it's going up-hill or down-, call me crazy but I'm reminded a bit of this. From my perspective it's well enough -- because for the moment nobody is being disruptive daily on the main site; who knows, maybe e.g. KumāraBhikkhu will be a new user posting answers worth reading; some other users are continuing to answer difficult questions which I couldn't; and so ... -- all pretty subjective, eh? Not based on metrics. – ChrisW Jul 2 at 18:15
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    I'm not sure that moderators can grow the community -- to take a gardening analogy, we can only prune it or weed it. A moderator more skilful than me might know how to be "sunny" too -- but I don't know how to provide water, fertiliser, seeds, etc. My point is that it's users who are the community and grow the community. I guess I see my job as moderator as being to provide a hygienic and sheltered place where people won't be repelled by unchecked inter-personal aggression or too-low-quality content (though the community typically doesn't want me as moderator to judge a post on its "quality"). – ChrisW Jul 2 at 18:29
  • I like the analogy i just honestly find some moderator to be more of a mad cow gotten loose than a gardener in that picture. In regards to the upvote/downvote strategy it is pretty much exactly how i view it, i am upvoting as long as it has some truth to it and no mistakes, downvoting what i think is wrong. Thanks for taking the time to address my concerns. – deadmanposting Jul 2 at 19:12
  • I wouldn't complain he's too inactive then. :-) I try to be predictable, "lawful", explaining at length even if that's boring and indecisive. Andrei can be an animal sometimes of unusual expressiveness, and demonstrative or performative. Thank you for the chat and a meeting of minds, and for helping out. – ChrisW Jul 2 at 20:15

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