I will begin by jumping ahead to my bottom line proposal:

When we find ourselves in a gray zone between what is nice and what is not nice, let us take into account the relative newness of the participant.

Now the lead-in that I skipped over:

New participants sometimes take a little while to figure out how things work here. That's understandable. It took me awhile, and there were some hurt feelings along the way (that was prior to discovering Spanish Language SE). Of course, a StackEchange community should never let a specific user blackmail it into relaxing the rules and customs for that user alone, and I'm not suggesting that we relax the norms of what is a properly formed question or answer for this user in particular, or even for new participants in general. As an example of the general principle I'm proposing, here is a comment to a relatively new participant's answer that I think will help me illustrate what I'm getting at:

No respondes a la pregunta. Por favor procura adaptar la respuesta a lo que está preguntando OP, en vez de copiar y pegar a ciegas sin aportar nada más. | (You are not responding to the question. Please try to adapt the answer to what OP is asking, instead of blindly copying and pasting without adding anything else.)

(I'm quoting the text of the comment here because I have flagged it and it might be quietly removed.)

I understand the desire to keep to certain standards. We want to guide new participants to write well-constructed answers. This means upvoting when they get it right, downvoting when they don't, and giving constructive guidance in comments below the answer, that the new participants can learn from.

I'm requesting that we consider how the recipient will feel when reading the guidance we give.

Imagine that you are a participant who's been on the site for one month, who starts out with a style that values intuition over documentation, and a down-to-earth style over meticulousness in syntax and spelling, but who makes a sincere effort to adapt to the site culture. I can understand an experienced participant feeling vexed about sloppy answers, but let's be more careful about what we say to new participants.

Let's continue to guide new arrivals with feedback showing the reasons behind our votes, but let's phrase our feedback with more empathy and consideration for how long someone has been here. One month, my friends, is a very short time.

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    @walen Thanks. I think there should be room for the creative types and for the nitpicky types (like me), both, here. By the way I think now it's time to let him have a phase of doing his own self-editing for awhile. We've shown him the way, and I wouldn't like to train him into expecting others to copyedit and proofread all his posts. However, I think it's okay to give a comment e.g. "proofread, please." (My personal opinion.) And I do still plan to fix something if there's something that will be hard for the average reader to understand, but I think I've figured out what he meant. Dec 22, 2017 at 2:23
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    I felt this was a rather isolated incident and not representative of the friendly attitudes of the members of this community either towards me or towards other people so I would not get too worried about it @walen. I do not think we need any changes in our general approach.
    – mdewey
    Dec 22, 2017 at 14:13
  • @mdewey Agreed. This is one of the nicest SE sites I've seen, and walen's warmhearted response is an example of that. // I brought this to Meta because Spanish Language SE is a site where a new participant who knows a lot may come into conflict with more experienced participants who have been working for some time on site quality standards. Working with this new participant will help us work with future similar new participants. My hope with this question is that the community will guide the moderators to treat newcomers especially gently. If you support the proposal, I hope you'll upvote it. Dec 22, 2017 at 14:21
  • aparente001: regarding My hope with this question is that the community will guide the moderators to treat newcomers especially gently, I don't see why moderators are specially on the focus here. I of course agree on treating users well (Be nice!) but I do not understand the need to make a distinction between moderators and not moderators, since after all this is a site moderated by the community, where moderators are just there to check for broken windows.
    – fedorqui
    Dec 22, 2017 at 23:09
  • @fedorqui - Because the moderators have special powers which I would like to see applied more gently with newcomers; but you're right, I'm trying to influence everybody else too. This can be a hard club to crack into. It wasn't hard for me, but I've seen some newcomers find it so. We have such well-meaning moderators and such a well-meaning community that I think with very small adjustments we'll be able to get newcomers who are initially a bit sloppy with their posts integrated into the site a bit more smoothly with less ... Dec 23, 2017 at 1:10
  • ...ruffled feathers. (Although some ruffling is inevitable -- where there are feathers there will be ruffling.) Dec 23, 2017 at 1:10


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