There is a distinct decline in the level of civility here. Some of this is due to new users coming in and posting spam and other nonsense, but the offtopic and downvote buttons are doing a pretty good job of keeping this under control.

Unfortunately, a lot of this is coming from more experienced users, and the site's built-in moderation system is not (and probably cannot) handle this very well. Folks are rushing to pound new users down with "this belongs on meta!", "this is off topic", "this is a duplicate!" and "read the FAQ!". All this, of course, is accompanied by a flurry of downvotes. This is not very welcoming to new users who don't know about meta, or what is offtopic, or the FAQ.

Now I am not proposing that we just allow offtopic, meta, or duplicate questions. However, I think we could be gentler in the way we express these sorts of things. Explain what meta and the FAQ are and provide useful links. Just using please and thank-you when asking folks to read the FAQ or post something on meta would be an improvement. I also think we could rein in the downvoting a bit. Not that we shouldn't vote stuff down, but unless a new user's post is clearly spam, voting it down to -1 or -2 should be sufficient to send a message without piling on.

I like Super User and I want it to become a resource for everyone, not just an elitist site for people who were in the private beta.

  • 11
    For the reference of others, this is a blatant copy of this Meta Stack Overflow post posted over 4 years ago about the state of the site...four years ago.
    – Zelda
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 12:37
  • 1
    Copying and pasting, eh? I can do that to...but I'm not going to. I am, however, failing to see the point of you brining this up, again, by copying something from 4 years ago.
    – tombull89
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 12:48
  • As a new user, I welcome this. +1
    – user1061912
    Commented May 10, 2020 at 20:52

2 Answers 2


I would ask, good sir, that you do not crosspost the same post with minor changes to multiple sites. Or, well, as the commenter above pointed out blatantly copy the same posts. I'd challenge you to a duel, but it's painfully hard to find a white glove, and I am told shooting someone, even politely, is bad manners these days.

Now, that we have politeness out of the way, perhaps we can get down to the serious business of user education. While having bunnies running around, in green meadows is a lovely idea, and we can all dance around the fire singing kumbayah...

The sites are here for a reason - to try to build a set of quality resources people can draw on. Downvotes are one of those. The other is of course, the FAQ and meta.

Perhaps rather than complaining about mean-ness, we could get some love from new users. Reading the FAQ wouldn't hurt (nor would rereading it!) Even seasoned users make mistakes. Rules could change - as it did on SF and SU. Get to know the community. While I'm primarily on SU, a good chunk of SF knows me by now, and I do try to contribute where possible.

I want SU to be a resource for everyone. Not Yahoo Answers mk2.

  • 1
    @think123, I have to agree - when I started on any of the stack exchange sites I felt almost picked on but this did one thing - it ensured I improved the quality of my questions and as a result I got better answers. This then leads to a better website/source of information.
    – Dave
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 13:55
  • That parenthesis...
    – Bob
    Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 5:30
  • Why else would anyone use trailing parenthesis? ;p
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 7:29
  • Oops, did I mess something up by fixing the hanging parenthesis? Commented Dec 23, 2018 at 21:26

There's no crying on the intertubes

Anyone actually interested in actually learning about the site/community will take the time to familiarize themselves with the norms, expectations, and FAQ. Whether that happens before their first post, after their first downvote, or somewhere in between, you're either interested in participating in the community or you are not.

If someone really has no interest and just pops in for a single Q and A, then why would they expect anything different from the myriad other forums they could have gone to. I'd say a terse response on SU is quite tame compared to what you can run into in the wilds.

And if it really is too terse for the community, it will be crushed. The community is as civil as the community wants to be. In something wholly democratic, it's kind of a truism. It's like saying things cost what they're worth. There's no use arguing about it.

Also, it's just text on a screen. It's not going to ruin your day. Or, if it's going to ruin your day, see above...

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