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I want to put out this issue that actually is not just on the photography stackexchange but everywhere on stack exchange. Often moderators seem to have a different attitude with newer members (even though they may only be new to the specific site).

I often had my first questions criticised and put on hold and later accepted because almost as a rule moderators and older users think they have a right to put down newer users. In my case I posted a question, Are forex prints less popular in the US than in Europe?, and I can show that there are dozens of similar questions (anyone who wants a list I can provide one).

The question is still on hold, and I have no way to "un-hold" it or discuss the decision with whoever put it on hold. It was voted down by the people who put it on hold (I assume) but it was then voted up by other people (so it may interest someone).

This is a very annoying problem for new people, since, as I said, it almost feels like a rule: every time I post my first question I get down-voted, criticised, put on hold, but later, for other questions, this never happens, and I get up-votes, positive comments, etc. At this point I do not believe it is by chance, but it feels like moderators do have an attitude. How can this problem be addressed?

To summarize and answer some of the comments, I am referring to the problem that I think new users are treated differently. I may be wrong, but my experience is that new users' questions are more often put down than known users. And I define this as "bad attitude" towards new users, and this is what the problem is for me, not my question in particular since my question is irrelevant in the big scheme of things.

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    See also: photo.stackexchange.com/help/reopen-questions – John Cavan Jul 1 '16 at 13:21
  • downvoted. If the question were about reopening your forex question on the main site, that's a good discussion. But I disagree with your basic premise that the mods's attitudes are wrong. – scottbb Jul 1 '16 at 14:31
  • @scottbb I may have phrased the question wrong, I accept your criticism. What I mean is that (and it is natural human reaction) moderators, being humans, tend to be stricter with new users, while when they encounter a user who has been on the site for a while with a high reputation tend to be more permissive. It is human and natural, but I find it could be improved. – user Jul 1 '16 at 14:36
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To add to what John said. The views of the communities on particular sites change over time. What was ok at one point in the past, may not be okay later as the community evolves (or something that was previously not allowed may become allowed). Moderators have the responsibility to do their best to ensure the community's guidelines are followed. These policies are established through meta and if you disagree with one, the best bet is to ask about it on meta, either by finding the original discussion or posting a new objection if you can't find a similar one on meta already.

In the case of service recommendations, it's a pretty clear cut example of something that the community has said repeatedly that they don't want. They are subject to change, so answers don't last and they are generally going to be of limited value to others. It just produces too much noise and too little lasting value. As John mentioned, there are other better alternatives. (Full disclosure, while I am not a Photography mod, I am a moderator on other SE sites.)

  • How about the way I rephrased the question, as someone who for the first time needs to print out photographs on forex, as he used to do in Europe, and finds it works differently. Don't you think that question has value? – user Jul 1 '16 at 14:40
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    @user You didn't materially alter the question. You're still asking for a service recommendation. An example of a better form of the question would be something along the lines of "Why are prices so much higher for Forex printing in the US?" Though, I'm not even sure we could offer much there other than "because that's the way the market is". I'm not really sure what you are looking for here that we can really help with. – AJ Henderson Jul 1 '16 at 17:19
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    @user re: serrvice recommendation: web-based print shops come and go all the time; very few are around over a span of a few years. And because their business is fundamentally tied to mailing things, as your basic needs show they are often region-specific, or limited in who they can service, specifically because of international shipping. Fundamentally, when the bulk of the providers are region-limited, that makes for bad topics at Photo.SE. – scottbb Jul 1 '16 at 17:28
  • Ok, I am not quite sure I agree, but I do get your points. So, basically there is nowhere one can get that information. What about a question such as: are forex prints much used in the US? Would that be an okay question to ask? That might also explain the market difference. – user Jul 1 '16 at 18:26
  • I would expect that a question about how frequently a given technique is used within a particular region would be on topic, yes. – AJ Henderson Jul 1 '16 at 19:12
  • I rephrased the question, can it be taken off "on hold" or should I open a new one? – user Jul 2 '16 at 0:05
  • @user - it can certainly be taken off "on hold" if it meets requirements now. It was still a bit unclear and the writing was a little rough. (I'm guessing English isn't your first language?) I cleaned it up a bit while trying to focus on the addressable questions in it. – AJ Henderson Jul 2 '16 at 1:01
  • @AJHenderson Feel free to make any edit you like, thanks – user Jul 2 '16 at 1:03
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    I accept the fact that views may change with time and the reason I saw older questions similar to mine may be due to the fact that they were previously accepted but are not anymore. – user Jul 2 '16 at 16:06
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Not sure I see the "attitude" that you're describing. You may not agree with the decision, but the entire purpose of the "on hold" model is to allow for correction. If, as moderator, I didn't think your question ever had a chance I could simply delete it and that is much more final. I think you're assuming negative intentions as opposed to realizing that the folks here are simply using the tools of the site specifically put there for this purpose.

As a moderator, we have the same right to vote to put questions on hold as other users, the only difference is that our vote automatically puts the question over the threshold regardless of vote volume. As a consequence, we use it sparingly, but we do use it. As to the older questions, there are a couple of things to note... When I encounter those, and I think they're off topic, I often lock them to prevent further response and to indicate that they're not an example of a good question. Questions do escape through from time to time, we're moderators, not all seeing beings of enormous power.

Finally, as a note, the close reason that you saw is one pre-defined for this site in order to help us cut down or remove certain types of questions that are about product or service finding that, well, are often best answered by Google or similar services. I'm sorry if you don't agree with that selection, but I do, Mike simply beat me to it.

  • I am referring to the problem that I think new users are treated differently. I may be wrong, but my experience is that whenever I post my first question it is always put down, after that it won't happen. Maybe it is just bad luck, maybe it is "bad attitude" towards new users. In some cases it may be justified. I want to add this seems to happen on other sites as well, my question is how do we remove this "negative attitude" towards new users? I would bet anything that the same question by someone who had been on the site for a while would have been accepted with no issue. – user Jul 1 '16 at 14:22
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    I don't think they are treated differently. What I think is more likely to happen is that new users are more likely to trip up on types of questions that the community has, over time, decided that they don't want. It is a community, many of us have been participating for a lot of years, so we simply don't ask the types of questions likely to get put on hold or closed. In my experience, it's mostly been a function of asking before becoming familiar with the community. Meta is, really, a better place to get a sense of that then the main site. The debates happen here. – John Cavan Jul 1 '16 at 14:26
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    Also, as a general Stack user, you have access to chat features. That is an alternative source, especially to find out what might actually fly as a question, but also to sometimes get answers to ones like you just asked. Questions like that one can have poor shelf life if not maintained, it's one of the biggest reasons we don't like them. The use outside of a very small audience or time window can be negligible and so of less value. – John Cavan Jul 1 '16 at 14:30
  • My experience is that there is a difference between new and old users. There are really dozens of questions similar to mine, I understand some may have escaped, but dozens? It is full of similar questions everywhere. But they may have been from users who had been on the site for a while and they are left alone. I don't want to criticize this case in particular, I would like to open a conversation on how to improve the system in general. – user Jul 1 '16 at 14:31
  • Another comment, why do you think that particular question would have a small audience? Don't you think photographers who are doing their first shows may be helped by knowing of the best ways to print their photos? In particular if one comes from another continent, and finds things to work differently? – user Jul 1 '16 at 14:33
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    Understand that a reputation based system does give more latitude to those that have invested more time. I don't think that question asked by a experienced user of the site is any more likely to survive being placed on hold than yours was, but there is often more runway before it's closed. As for shelf life, I did use "or" there. Service questions that aren't maintained can often lead to broken links or misinformation over time. It happens a lot. – John Cavan Jul 1 '16 at 14:36
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    Also, as for dozens, I don't think it's that high and, even then, as AJ noted, the attitude can change over time and we don't go hunting old questions down as a result. Bear in mind, there are over 16,000 questions on the site spanning a lot of years and a lot of discussion. As I said, read the meta history a bit, you'll see it's not capricious. – John Cavan Jul 1 '16 at 14:38
  • Well, it depends. If there are 10000 users who have posted similar questions and 9900 were closed and 100 were left open, I agree with you, it is not high. But if 110 were posted and 100 left open, it is quite high. But honestly I would not know how to check that. – user Jul 1 '16 at 14:51
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    @user most of the worst offenders end up deleted, so until you have 10k rep on the site, you won't even see most of them. Photography gets a ton of "find a good or service for me questions" and they are pretty much universally closed or deleted. If you can find one asked fresh within the last year, then that might be something worth discussing, but anything older than that is from a completely different time in the site's history. – AJ Henderson Jul 1 '16 at 17:22
  • Ok, I do see that most are older than a year. Freshest is about 14 months ago. – user Jul 1 '16 at 18:22
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...every time I post my first question I get down-voted, criticised, put on hold, but later, for other questions, this never happens, and I get up-votes, positive comments, etc. At this point I do not believe it is by chance, but it feels like moderators do have an attitude.

I voted to close this without even looking at your reputation or anything in your profile. We get questions like this (What should I buy? What service should I use?) all the time, and they are for the most part off topic in this forum. You're right that we tend to treat new users differently, but not in the way you think -- we tend to give them a little more leeway and provide extra explanation when their questions don't meet our expectations. I might have left a comment if I'd noticed your reputation, but I think the automatic explanation is also quite clear:

Questions seeking specific product or service recommendations, where the answer is likely to be either entirely personal or short-lived as a result of changing markets, are off topic here. Please rephrase your question to describe the problem you're trying to solve or what you do not understand that prevents you from determining the answer yourself.

That tells you not only why questions like the one you asked aren't useful here, and it also tells you how to improve your question. The fact that your question was put on hold has nothing whatsoever to do with how long you've been a member of the site.

To summarize and answer some of the comments, I am referring to the problem that I think new users are treated differently. I may be wrong, but my experience is that new users' questions are more often put down than known users.

I agree that new users are more likely to have their questions downvoted or put on hold, but it's not due to any animosity toward them. People who've been around a while understand the goals of the site, what is and isn't acceptable, and how to write questions that are more likely to a) stay open and b) get some positive attention. If you stick around for a while and read and answer other people's questions, you too will become an experienced user. You can (and should) get started by reading through the material under the Help menu that explains what is and isn't on topic, how to write good questions, etc.

  • I have read all the feedback I got here and I have changed the question completely. You could look at it and remove the hold now if it fits with your expectations. – user Jul 1 '16 at 19:41

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