There are several questions regarding phrasing of the scope in FAQ lately and I want to bring something up that's been causing some minor irritation for me for a while. I believe the FAQ is interpreted (by some) in a very inflexible way, almost as if it's a list of "commandments". Consider the following phrasing: "Yes, the current FAQ doesn't allow those two questions ... ", taken from a recent comment regarding an FAQ related meta question (no offense intended to the author of the comment).

I have said this before in different context but I will formulate it again; I think we should rather be constructive than destructive. Shooting down questions or answers immediately (especially without giving an attempt to rephrase or improve) based on arguable interpretations of the FAQ will ultimately damage the site and community. I have been having problems with that sort of behavior lately on some SE sites (unexplained close votes, generally anti-constructive behavior) and I am getting tired and worried about it.

I would like to hear the opinions of others on the matter. Do we want a forum (forum as in a communication medium, not an electronic bulletin board) that is extremely strict in it's regulations and narrow in it's scope? Or do we prefer a community dedicated to asking and answering questions about sports? I believe the SE sites, especially the betas, should avoid steering towards the first alternative as it will ultimately damage the community and the site.

  • you lost me with "unexplained close votes." Sorry close votes happen, there is no real duty to explain (in fact often it's better to just let you voting speak for itself). I usually explain because I want to help the questioner/answerer, but it's not required behavior. – wax eagle Aug 9 '12 at 16:04
  • Unexplained downvotes I see. Unexplained close votes...they seem to have been obvious, but perhaps I'm wrong. – user527 Aug 9 '12 at 16:13
  • @waxeagle there's nothing to be sorry about really, as you say they happen. But it is "good practice" to give feedback otherwise there is really no point with the community concept. It's not like there are a million questions that require attention (unlike SO for instance), so a couple of words on why a question doesn't cut it as it is, should be prioritized. A well formulated comment also promotes critical thinking, so that the down/close-voter thinks about what he/she doesn't really like and why. – posdef Aug 9 '12 at 16:18
  • The need to justify one's actions is the most natural way to prevent people from doing something for the heck of it. – posdef Aug 9 '12 at 16:18
  • no. close votes stand on their own, there is no need to justify them IMO. – wax eagle Aug 9 '12 at 16:38

NO! The Stack Exchange platform is unique in that it is not specifically an "information datacenter" or a "forum" but a relatively clean Q&A site where others can seek help from those with experience/knowledge. Also, SE is run by moderators from within the community. This makes SE stand out.

The FAQ is taken verbatim and downvotes are taking place because a user assumes that an OP is not a participant of a sport. Understand that we are still in beta and are ironing out the kinks as they come up. Penalizing users by strictly abiding to the FAQ is not fair since we are still better defining our scope.

I'm getting worried also. I am here to help others. If my answers are not adequate, fine....but please let me know how I can improve my quality. Also, don't be vindictive. It just becomes a war among the community, and that alone causes discord.

Let's build one another up instead of tearing one another down. It is what is best for the community, and it will allow us to grow together, not apart.

  • FYI, another pet peeve I have about where we stand at the moment. – user527 Aug 9 '12 at 15:46
  • I find it peculiar that no-one seems to think this is an important point except you and me – posdef Aug 13 '12 at 13:30

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